West Highland White Terriers (or Westies for short) were bred not because of their ability to hunt foxes and vermin but because of their pristine white color－at least, that is what history said.
According to historians, Westies came to be because of a field accident. Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch mistakenly shot his Cairn terrier, thinking it was a fox.
Out of devastation, he made it a point to breed a terrier that can easily stand out in a crowd of greenery. That is the reason why Westies only have one color.
A Glimpse of Scottish White
Regardless of their history, Westies are a favorite among aspiring dog owners not only because of their pure, lamb color but also because they are the most subdued among all terriers.
They are a perfect balance of sweetness and independence, and compliance and tenacity. They can be trained to be kind to strangers (except for burglars) more easily than other breeds in the terrier group.
Not to mention that they are very much affordable. West Highland White Terrier price can go as low as $600 to as much as $1,400 depending on the breeder.
This price may or may not be influenced by the additional stuff included in the purchase such as initial veterinary care, pet supplies, grooming costs, and health certification, among others.
In purchasing a Westie, however, the selling price is not the only expense you have to worry about. Here are some more of them.
Shelter – Westies can do well in both apartment and family home living as long as they have enough exercise and play to keep them from being bored and destructive.
They are not attention seekers. Separation anxiety is not a problem in their breed. However, they are highly encouraged to be kept indoors rather than be tied on a leash outside.
Aside from a fur coat that is unable to withstand the elements, Westies are highly prone to dig and catch critters underneath the ground. If you do not want them to make a mess on your well-trimmed lawn, they must be left inside the home.
And to ensure that your dog has a specific space it can call “room,” invest in a good crate. It can be used not only as its resting place during the night but it can also be its refuge as you let off steam due to your pup’s bad behavior.
For a Westie that typically grows up to 9-11 inches in height and weighs up to 13-22 pounds, a 30” dog crate is enough to accommodate your pet.
You can buy a medium dog crate for at least $27. Prices go higher depending on the materials the product is made of.
Transportation costs – Shipping of West Highland White Terriers may or may not be included in the services your chosen breeder provides. To be on the safe side, have a look at reputable pet travel services out there and arrange the paperwork yourself.
Most airlines charge depending on the destination and/or the accumulated mileage. For flights within the continental US, you can expect to pay at least $350 to $875 per pet.
For overseas travel, prices can go from $450 to $3,500. Some services do not yet include the additional fees (customs, clearances, travel crate, supplies) needed to ensure that your pet stays safe and sound throughout the flight.
Certification – Some breeders only apply for limited registration for their newborn pups. This means that the litter cannot be bred to produce more litters.
If you are not a breeder and you do not plan to have your pet reproduce, you do not need to worry about this. But if you do, there might be a long process involved.
To know more about the paperwork needed to obtain full registration, ask your breeder about it. Also, prepare to pay at least $35 (the registration fee set by the American Kennel Club, the most recognized kennel club in the US) for each pup you register.
Obedience Training – West Highland White Terriers are very much easy to train, thanks to their intelligence and a desire to be entertained. You can actually train them yourself.
However, you must remember that terriers tend to be quick and temperamental especially if they do not understand what’s in it for them to learn all those tricks.
Aside from that, they are quick to react when they do not like what they are being subjected to all the more if reinforcement is done through punishable means.
If you think that you do not have the patience to handle an independent, stubborn terrier (even if it’s your own), pay the rate of a professional dog trainer to do the obedience training instead.
Most camps charge $450 to $800 depending on the setting of the training. For home training, they tend to charge more.
Food – West Highland White Terriers have no special considerations when it comes to their food. You just need to ensure that the formula contains enough nutrients to keep them healthy and happy.
A bag of high-quality dog food made especially for small breed dogs like the Westies can cost at least $29 and it can only last for 10 days.
The longevity can go shorter depending on the specific pup’s caloric needs. Of course, the more active the dog, the more food it needs to sustain its daily lifestyle.
Veterinary Care – Westies can experience a host of diseases like Legg-Calve-Perthes disease and pulmonary fibrosis which they can get through genetics and the environment.
Some, such as patellar luxation, can be corrected using surgery. Some vets recommend the medial patellar luxation stabilization surgery that can cost from $950 to $1,100 depending on the clinic. The price may or may not include the professional fee.
Other diseases like the craniomandibular osteopathy can be diagnosed early on. As soon as you receive your pup, have a vet check it immediately. A routine checkup session can cost about $60 each.
Another way to prevent diseases is to have your dog vaccinated. A vaccination shot can cost around $19 to $33 each depending on the type of shot you want to purchase.
Grooming Needs – This breed is known to be hypoallergenic. Meaning, it can be kept by those who suffer from allergies provided that the Westie’s coat is groomed regularly.
Luckily, grooming it is easy. A simple brushing of the coat is enough to keep the coat healthy and shiny. A $8-brush can already do the trick.
The pristine white color, however, may be difficult to maintain. Some owners recommend a host of solutions to keep it that way. A cheap, easy way is to use baby wipes to clean the fur thoroughly at the first sign of dirt. They only cost $4.
Non-food Supplies – To keep them entertained and to expel their excess energy, Westies must be taken into regular walks around the neighborhood at least 30 minutes a day.
For this, you need a good-quality harness and leash. Without them, your pup would zoom quickly to any small animal it can find and you won’t be able to catch up.
A harness and leash made by a reputable manufacturer can cost at least $35 and $11, respectively.
Before Buying a Westie
All things must be considered. The price and the costs included to keep your Westie healthy and happy under your care is just one of them.
Another important thing you need to think about before splurging on these white cuties is your time. Westies may not be prone to separation anxiety. However, they still need love and attention from their owners. If you are unable to give them that, then think twice before buying one.
Finally, you must also consider the responsibility of keeping a pet in general. Just like humans, they eat, sleep, pee, and poop at specific times and places.
But unlike us, they do not have the common sense to “just know” where to do all of them. They must be taught, trained, and reminded repeatedly where exactly they can do these activities.