It is time to face the truth and talk about why Westies are the worst. They might be small and fluffy-looking dogs, but they are not as innocent as they seem.
Their full name is West Highland White Terrier dogs, but everyone calls them West Highland Terriers or Westies, for short. Yes, as you can see, this is a terrier breed of dog.
My guess is you already know at least one person who said they are not as sweet and well-tempered as people might think when they see them.
Ask professional groomers if you don’t believe me. They know all about the naughtiness of the Westies. After all, they often come in contact with Westies because of their grooming requirements.
But, why are Westies the worst?
What hides behind that cute face, black nose, and black button eyes? There are 13 reasons why Westies are the worst, and we are going to talk about all of them.
Why Westies Are The Worst Dogs
Every dog owner, no matter the breed, will tell you that all dogs have their good and bad sides. And, that is the truth with everything in life. There are two sides to the coin, and we can’t look at only one side to get the whole picture.
The point is that Westies do have a lot of positive traits. After all, they have been around for more than 300 years! This means people have loved them and wanted to keep the breed alive.
However, there are a lot of reasons why Westies are the worst as well. So, before buying or bringing a Westie into your home, think about these 13 reasons why people think Westland Terriers are the worst dogs.
Related Post: Why Schnauzers Are The Worst Dogs?
1. Not Lap Dogs
Westies are cute, small, fluffy dogs. They sure look like one of those adorable family pets that are ideal companions for every owner looking for a small lap dog. But, are they really as they seem?
No, they are not.
Westies are Scottish terrier dogs bred a long time ago to catch vermin, dig the ground, sniff into every hole, and fight whatever comes out of it. They are not lap dogs!
The reason why they look so small and cute is that breeders deliberately made them this way so that they can crawl into every tunnel, borrow, or hole in the ground. They are feisty, independent, and not at all up for cuddles on the lap all day long.
However, don’t mistake cuddles for loyalty. West Highland White Terriers are loyal, and in that sense, they do make great companions.
The next reason why Westies are the worst is their stubbornness. This is a trait of almost all dogs from the Terrier group.
It is natural that all Terriers, including Westies, have such a trait. They were bred to hunt prey that isn’t easy to catch. They had to think on their own, and keep on stubbornly digging or crawling through narrow spaces to reach their prey.
Even though these days, most Westies do not hunt vermin, they are still quite stubborn. If you want to make a Westie do something they don’t want to do — good luck!
Also, if you unleash a Westie and it sniffs or hears something interesting, it might chase… don’t expect it to come running back to you as soon as you say the command.
3. Not Open To Strangers
This is a reason that depends on how we train our Westies. Whether they will be open to strangers or not depends on their socialization and if we start it on time.
In other words, if we start socializing our West Highland Terriers from an early age, and teaching them to be open to strangers, and not to act defensively or aggressively towards them, we can “erase” this bad trait.
However, you will see later that it is not that easy to train a Westie. They are intelligent dogs, but if you remember — they are quite stubborn. This can influence the training process a lot, leaving us with Westies that have some kind of behavioral problem.
But, as we already said, there are two sides to every story. In this one, their reservedness toward strangers makes them excellent watchdogs.
4. Not Open To Other Dogs
Just as they are not open to strangers, they are not open to other dogs as well. This can be a problem if you want to take your dog to a dog park. Westies are small but brave and feisty, and they will start a fight with another dog.
Of course, socialization plays a major role in this behavioral issue, too. Start the socialization early, when your Westie is still a puppy, and teach him that other dogs are not a threat.
However, if you got an adult Westie — don’t worry. You can train and socialize an aggressive adult dog as well. You will need more patience and time, but it can be done.
5. They Bark A Lot
Oh, the barking… It can be quite a challenge to keep yourself composed and jolly when you have a dog that barks for almost any reason. You can also have a lot of problems with your neighbors, especially if you live in an apartment building.
This is another serious reason why Westies are the worst! Simply said — Westies bark.
You have to ask yourself, why do they bark, and do they ever get tired of barking? Westies are vocal, and they will have a lot to talk about. There are ways to calm down your dog and teach him not to bark as much.
For example, there are anti-dog barking devices you can try, but in the end, you will have to make peace with the fact that you have a very loud and talkative dog.
This is not a problem if you live in a house, but if you are living in an apartment, then you might want to reconsider having a Westie as a pet.
6. They Need Lots Of Mental Stimulation
Another reason why Westies are the worst is their constant need to do something. They need a lot of mental stimulation.
West Highland White Terriers cannot stay bored for too long. It’s just not in their nature. If you do leave your Westie for a long time with nothing to do, he might become destructive.
This trait can be seen as a good one if you have children. In that case, they make great family dogs because they can play with children and keep their doggy brain working.
The problem is, they are not suitable for very young children. Westies are not the most patient dogs, and children tend to pull, push, pinch, and do other unintentionally harmful things to a dog, especially when a dog looks like a toy.
Educating your children that dogs are not toys (no matter how fluffy they look) helps in these situations a lot. However, if you are looking for a dog nanny or a protector dog, some larger dog breeds can be more suitable.
7. They Need Lots Of Physical Stimulation
Just as they need a lot of mental stimulation, Westies need a lot of physical stimulation, too. In other words, these are high-energy dogs that need plenty of exercise.
If you thought that all Westies need are belly rubs and an occasional walk in the park, I am sorry to say — you are wrong.
Westies are hard-working, agile, and energetic dogs that have the need to run, sniff, explore, and dig around. Their beautiful white coat won’t shine brightly if you don’t give them what they need — exercise.
Of course, shiny fur is a metaphor… their fur will shine if you brush it. But, what I want to say is that Westies won’t be happy if you don’t give them enough daily exercise.
That’s why this dog is not for those who’d rather lounge on the sofa or those who don’t have the time to satisfy their high-energy needs.
There are lots of medium-sized dogs with low energy that might be a better choice for you and your family.
8. A Lot Of Skin Problems
There is more on the issue of why Westies are the worst. They have a lot of skin problems. The name of the skin issue they suffer from is Canine Dermatitis Atopica (or Atopy).
The thing with this skin problem is that it cannot be cured. It is like an allergic reaction that can’t simply go away. It is a lifetime skin health issue.
The symptoms are itchiness of the skin that results in (over time) excessive biting and scratching of the skin. If left uncontrolled, the dog can make scratching wounds on its skin.
These wounds are the perfect place for secondary infections, which need special attention because they can cause more problems.
If your dog has Canine Dermatitis Atopica, your vet will try to desensitize your dog and make it “react less” to allergens. A vet will also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and antihistamines.
9. Grooming Troubles
If you thought Westies are easy to maintain because they are working dogs, you are very wrong.
Westies have a double coat, and they require daily brushing. As the pet owner of a Westie dog, you will need to brush him every day to avoid tangles, and to keep both the inner and outer coat clean and healthy.
Most Westie owners take their dogs for a grooming session with a professional groomer every five to six weeks. This will take both time and money, so if you think this is reason enough why Westies are the worst, I can recommend you some of the low-maintenance dog breeds.
Follow this link and look through big and small low-maintenance dogs: 33 Low-Maintenance Dog Breeds
10. Strong Prey Drive
Remember when I mentioned that Westies are stubborn? Well, their stubbornness combined with their very strong prey drive truly makes going to the park a difficult time.
If you let your dog off the leash and it senses something in the nearby bushes or underground — it will bolt and follow the scent. You can call your Westie, or offer treats, but it won’t help. They need to explore and satisfy their innate prey drive.
But, we cannot blame them for this. It is very difficult to forbid a real hunting dog not to hunt. That’s what they were originally bred for, and that’s what they did for hundreds of years.
If you still want to get a Westie, even though you’ve read all the reasons so far, then I recommend getting a good professional dog trainer to help you with your stubborn doggo.
You can do it on your own, of course. However, you will need to know how to properly show dominance to your dog, and avoid any problems during training lessons.
It doesn’t matter that Westies are small dogs… they are just as brave as big dogs, and if you let them, they will become alpha dogs.
11. Separation Anxiety
When you have a dog that is reserved with other humans and other dogs, but is very loyal to its owner, you can have a dog that can develop a behavioral issue called separation anxiety.
This is often the situation with Westies. They get used to one person — you, and they follow you everywhere, they might even sleep on your head. Simply put — they want to be with you all the time. So, when you leave the home for a longer period, they get anxious and sad.
To prevent this issue with any dog breed, not just Westies, you need to develop and stick to a proper puppy schedule from the start. Also, you can leave some interactive toys for your dog while you are away to keep it occupied.
12. Hard To Train
You might have already guessed it — Westies are hard to train. This difficulty comes from the mentioned facts: they are stubborn and have a high prey drive.
Once again, hiring a professional dog trainer might be the best solution in this case. You can train your dog, but if you don’t know what you are doing, you can make the situation worse.
If you do decide to train a dog on your own, use a lot of positive reinforcement, treats, and a calm voice. Don’t hit your dog — that is never a good option.
You will also need a lot of patience. It won’t be easy, and you have to understand and be prepared that training a WHWT takes time. There is no point in getting upset… it won’t do you any good.
13. A Lot Of Health Issues
And, the final reason why Westies are the worst is the fact that they can have a lot of health problems. We mentioned skin issues that affect almost 25% of all Westies — which is a lot.
But, besides that, they can develop these health conditions and problems as well:
- Hip dysplasia (joint problems)
- Degenerative brain disease
- Teeth problems
- Ear problems
- Patellar luxation
On the other hand, Westies do have a long life expectancy — usually more than 14 years. Compared to other dog breeds, that is a lot. So, once again, there are ups and downs in everything.
So, did I make you think about why Westies are the worst? There are 13 reasons behind this opinion, and if you plan on getting a Westie, you will need to think about each of these reasons thoroughly.
Why? Because a dog like the Westie is a big responsibility. They need constant attention, exercise, and daily brushing. They are also quite stubborn and hard to train, and they won’t do well with very young children.
There are many positive things as well, but those are easy to accept and live with. That’s why we’re not going to talk about them. We are only mentioning the cons or the bad sides of owning a Westie.
Whether you decide to adopt or buy a Westie, remember these 13 reasons, and use them to prepare yourself for what’s to come.
And, another thing — dogs are unique, and some might not exhibit traits common to their breed. In other words, you might get a super easy Westie to take care of.