Why Westie Are The Worst? 17 Reason To Think

When you hear the phrase “Why Westies Are The Worst,” you might envision high-maintenance grooming routines, aggressive temperaments, and a dog that’s not particularly family-friendly. However, as a long-time West Highland White Terrier (Westie) owner and lover, I’m here to explore these misconceptions, sharing my experiences and a broader understanding of what makes Westies a beloved breed to many.

Why Westies Are The Worst Dogs

Why Westies Are The Worst

I must clarify that the phrase “Why Westies Are The Worst Dogs” is often a misconception rather than a fact. Traditionally, some may argue that their stubbornness represents a significant challenge, making training a test of patience and consistency. Additionally, their strong prey drive could lead to spirited chases after smaller animals, potentially posing a risk in non-secure areas. Another point of contention could be their vocal nature; Westies are open about expressing themselves, which can sometimes lead to excessive barking, primarily if not appropriately managed. However, these characteristics, often misconstrued as unfavorable, stem from their intelligent and energetic nature, requiring understanding, training, and proper channels for their boundless energy.

Reasons Why Westie Are The Worst

Why Westies Are The Worst

Not Lap Dogs

One commonly misunderstood aspect about Westies is their temperament as lap dogs. While they are affectionate and enjoy spending time with their owners, Westies are not typical lap dogs. They possess a high level of independence and curiosity, which drives them to explore their surroundings rather than sit quietly for long periods. This characteristic can be mistaken for aloofness or a lack of affection. Still, it’s a testament to their adventurous spirit and zest for life. Understanding this aspect of their personality is crucial for potential owners expecting a more sedentary companion.

Stubbornness as a Trait

Another aspect often interpreted as a negative trait in Westies is their perceived stubbornness. This stubborn streak is part of their personality; it stems from their strong-willed and determined nature. Westies were originally bred for hunting, which requires resilience and the ability to think independently. This history contributes to their tenacious character. While this can make training more of a challenge, it also means that Westies can be highly trainable with the right approach—consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement. When understood and correctly managed, their stubbornness showcases their intelligence and can lead to rewarding companionship.

The Myth of Aggression

A common misconception that places Westies under the “worst dog” category is their supposed high aggression. However, labeling Westies as inherently aggressive oversimplifies their behavior and neglects the fundamental aspects of their temperament. It’s important to distinguish between aggression and a Westie’s high energy levels and their assertive nature. Their behavior often manifests their intelligence, requiring engagement and proper outlets for their energy. In situations where Westies might exhibit what appears to be aggression, it’s more accurately a display of their enthusiasm or a reaction to inadequate socialization or training. Proper socialization from a young age and consistent, understanding training can mitigate these behaviors significantly, leading to a well-adjusted and friendly pet. Recognizing their needs and investing time into their upbringing can prevent the development of negative behaviors misconstrued as aggression.

Not Open To Other Dogs

Another critique often directed towards Westies is their alleged lack of sociability with other dogs. This perceived aloofness is not an inherent trait but a product of their breeding. As with their stubbornness, their origins as hunting dogs mean they are fiercely independent and can sometimes be seen as less inclined to socialize or play with other dogs, especially if not socialized from a young age. However, they can still enjoy the company of other canines. Early and consistent socialization is critical in helping Westies learn how to interact positively with other dogs. When properly introduced and accustomed to the presence of other dogs, Westies can form strong bonds and enjoy playful interactions. This challenge is not impossible; it requires understanding, patience, and a proactive approach to socialization.

Not Open To Strangers

Westies may initially appear not open to strangers, often showing a reserved or cautious side upon meeting new people. This behavior should not be mistaken for unfriendliness but rather seen as part of their instinctive assessment process. Given their history as hunting dogs, their caution is rooted in their responsibility to protect themselves and their families. With time and proper socialization, Westies can become more welcoming of strangers, displaying warmth and affection once they feel comfortable and safe. This trait emphasizes the need for early and consistent socialization practices, enabling these dogs to understand that not all strangers pose a threat, fostering a more pleasant and confident demeanor.

Mane Maintenance: More Bark Than Bite?

Let’s start with grooming, one of the aspects that often lands Westies in the hot water of judgment. Westies are known for their beautiful, fluffy white coats, which, admittedly, require more grooming than the average dog’s fur. Brushing a Westie’s coat several times a week and taking regular baths are essential to keep it clean and mat-free. Professional grooming every few months helps maintain their distinctive look.

However, as I discovered with my Westie, Max, incorporating grooming into your routine can be less of a chore and more of a bonding activity. With the right approach, grooming time became a period for relaxation and connection, turning a so-called “worst” aspect into a best practice.

Need Lots Of Mental Stimulation

Another point often missed by those considering Westies as pets is their significant need for mental stimulation. This breed, brimming with intelligence and energy, thrives on challenges and enjoys engaging in activities that exercise their minds. Westies may resort to destructive behavior or excessive barking as outlets for their pent-up energy without sufficient stimulation. Engaging in interactive play, training sessions, puzzle toys, and regular socialization activities can greatly satisfy their mental requirements. Rather than being a downfall, this need for intellectual engagement highlights the Westie’s eagerness to learn and interact with their surroundings. It underscores the importance of being an active, inventive pet owner, ready to provide enriching experiences that fulfill this vibrant breed’s physical and mental needs.

Need Lots Of Physical Stimulation

In addition to their mental needs, Westies also require plenty of physical exercise to stay healthy and happy. This high-energy breed benefits greatly from daily walks, runs, and play sessions that help burn off their abundant energy. Despite their small size, Westies possess a surprising amount of stamina and love to engage in activities that challenge them physically, from long walks in the park to vigorous playtime with toys. Failing to meet their physical exercise needs can lead to frustration and undesirable behaviors, such as excessive digging or chewing. Therefore, potential Westie owners should be prepared to incorporate ample physical activity into their daily schedule, ensuring a well-balanced lifestyle for these spirited companions.

Lot Of Skin Problems

Westies are adored for their bright white coats. Still, they are predisposed to various skin issues beneath that fluffy exterior. Many Westie owners navigate the challenges of skin sensitivities, allergies, and specific conditions like Atopic Dermatitis, which is common in the breed. These skin problems often manifest as itchiness, redness, and discomfort, leading to excessive scratching or licking from the affected dog. Managing these conditions typically involves a combination of veterinary care, specialized diets, and regular grooming routines to mitigate irritants. Understanding and addressing these skin issues early on is crucial, as it improves Westie’s quality of life and prevents complications that can arise from untreated skin conditions. With the proper care and attention, Westies can maintain their charming appearance and lead a comfortable, happy life despite these dermatological challenges.

Grooming Problem

Despite the image of low-maintenance fun that Westies project, their grooming requirements often surprise many new owners. Beyond regular brushing and the occasional bath, Westies are prone to issues like ear infections and gum disease, requiring routine attention. Their ears must be checked and cleaned regularly to prevent buildup that can lead to infections. At the same time, their teeth require frequent brushing to fend off dental problems, adding more steps to their grooming regimen. Furthermore, nail trimming, often overlooked, is essential to avoid discomfort and mobility issues. These grooming necessities highlight the commitment required to ensure a Westie looks good and remains healthy and comfortable, underscoring the importance of understanding and preparing for the comprehensive care needs of these spirited dogs.

Strong Prey Drive

West Highland White Terriers, with their origins deeply rooted in hunting, possess a robust prey drive noticeable in their everyday behavior. This instinctual trait drives them to chase after small animals, from squirrels in the backyard to the neighborhood cats. For Westie owners, understanding and managing this natural tendency is crucial. Without proper training and exercise, a Westie’s prey drive can lead to unwanted behaviors, such as relentless chasing or escaping to pursue an animal. However, channeling this energy through structured activities like agility training, lure coursing, or playing fetch can satisfy their hunting instincts and strengthen the bond between pet and owner. It’s important for prospective and current Westie owners to be aware of this trait and to provide appropriate outlets that allow these dogs to express their instincts healthily.

Separation Anxiety

Westies are known for their strong attachment to their owners, a characteristic that can sometimes evolve into separation anxiety. This condition is marked by signs of distress, such as excessive barking, destructive behavior, and restlessness when left alone. While their loyalty and affection are endearing, Westie owners must address separation anxiety early to ensure their pet’s emotional well-being. Implementing routine departures, gradually increasing the time spent away, and offering engaging toys can help alleviate stress. Creating a safe, comforting space for the Westie alone can provide security. Properly addressing separation anxiety promotes a happier, more balanced pet and prevents potential stress-related behavior issues.

Very Hard to Train

Despite their intelligent and eager-to-please nature, Westies can sometimes be challenging to train. This isn’t due to a lack of intelligence but rather a strong-willed temperament they often possess. Westies are independent thinkers, a trait that, while admirable, can lead to stubbornness during training sessions. New owners might find this characteristic trying, as Westies might only sometimes follow commands consistently, preferring to do things on their own time. Patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement are essential in training Westies. Owners must establish a firm yet gentle leadership role, using treats and praise to motivate and reward their pets for good behavior. Early socialization and puppy training classes are highly recommended to help manage this breed’s headstrong nature, ensuring they develop into well-behaved adult dogs.

Continuous Health Issues

With their charming personalities and distinctive white coats, Westies also face a predisposition towards specific health issues that require ongoing attention from their owners. Besides the skin conditions previously mentioned, these dogs are also susceptible to genetic disorders such as Craniomandibular Osteopathy, which affects the skull’s bone growth, leading to discomfort and sometimes severe pain during their puppyhood. Additionally, Pulmonic Stenosis, a heart defect, is not uncommon in the breed, posing a risk to their overall heart health and longevity. Owners should be vigilant for these symptoms and other potential health concerns, ensuring regular veterinary check-ups for early detection and management. This attentive approach to their health care can significantly enhance the quality of life for a Westie, allowing them to lead a vibrant and active lifestyle alongside their human companions.

Westies Are So Expensive

Adopting or purchasing a West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as a Westie, can be substantial, but several factors contribute to their price. Primarily, their breeding and maintenance require significant investment. Westies are prone to several health issues, including skin conditions and joint problems, necessitating selective breeding practices to mitigate these concerns. Breeders invest in genetic testing and health screenings to ensure the puppies are healthy, which drives up the cost. Furthermore, the meticulous care needed for their distinctive white coats, including regular grooming and unique products, adds to the expenses. Additionally, the breed’s popularity and the demand for these charismatic dogs often exceed the supply, naturally inflating their price. Understanding these factors highlights that the investment made by breeders and caretakers to maintain the health, well-being, and quality of life of Westies directly influences their cost.

Behaviour Challenges in Westies

Despite the many endearing qualities of West Highland White Terriers, potential owners should be aware of specific behavioral challenges that the breed may present. Westies have a reputation for being somewhat stubborn, making training more challenging, especially for first-time dog owners. This stubborn streak, often mistaken for disobedience, stems from their high intelligence and independence. Additionally, Westies possess a strong prey drive inherited from their days as rodent hunters. This instinct can manifest in chasing after small animals, requiring constant vigilance and vital recall training in outdoor spaces. Socialization from a young age is crucial for Westies, as their spirited character can sometimes lead to dominance issues or aggression towards other dogs if not properly managed. Understanding and addressing these behavior traits early through consistent training and socialization can help mitigate potential problems, creating a well-adjusted and friendly companion.

The Myth of the Westie Temperament

On the topic of temperament, some narratives unfairly paint Westies as aggressive. In truth, Westies can display an affectionate and gentle nature, especially with consistent training. My experience with Max confirms this; he was nothing short of a cuddly companion after his early training period.

Early socialization, clear guidelines, and a consistent training regimen can significantly influence a Westie’s behavior, turning their intelligent and energetic nature into a positive force within the household. A well-socialized Westie is not the terror some might lead you to believe but a well-adapted family member.

Westies and Families: A Love Story Misrepresented

Another prevailing fallacy is that Westies aren’t great with kids. In reality, Westies can thrive in family environments. Max grew up alongside my young siblings and was a patient and protective presence. His ability to play gently yet engage in lively activities made him the ideal playmate for children.

Like with any breed, early and positive exposure to family life, including interactions with children, is critical. Cultivating mutual respect between the dog and family members lays the foundation for a harmonious relationship, debunking the myth of the ‘worst’ family pet.


Did I make you think about why Westies are the worst? This opinion is based on the following reasons. If you want to get a Westie, consider each of these reasons.

Why? Because taking care of a dog like a Westie is a big job. They need to be cared for, exercised, and brushed every day. These dogs are also very stubborn and challenging to train. They also need to do better with kids that are too young.

There are also many good things, but they are simple to accept and live with. We won’t talk about them because of this. We will only talk about the bad things about having a Westie.

Keep these reasons in mind whether you choose to adopt or buy a Westie. They will help you get ready for what’s to come.

Also, each dog is different, and some may not show features typical of their breed. You might get a Westie that is very easy to care for.

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1. Are Westies bad dogs?

Ans:- West Highland White Terriers, or Westies, are generally known for their friendly and affectionate nature. Like any breed, temperament may vary, but Westies are often considered good companions and family pets.

2. Do Westies get aggressive?

Ans:- Westies are not typically known for aggression. Early socialization and proper training play crucial roles in shaping their behavior. Responsible ownership and positive reinforcement can help prevent any aggressive tendencies.

3. What are the behavior problems with Westies?

Ans:- Expected behavior issues in Westies can include stubbornness and independence. Additionally, they may exhibit digging or barking behaviors. Consistent training and mental stimulation can address these challenges.

4. What are the cons of Westies?

Ans:- While Westies make lovely pets, potential cons may include their strong-willed nature and, at times, a tendency to bark. Regular exercise and mental stimulation can help manage these traits.

5. Do all Westies bark a lot?

Ans:- Westies can be vocal, and some may tend to bark. Training and early socialization can help minimize excessive barking. Providing mental and physical stimulation can also keep them content.

6. Are male or female Westies better?

Ans:- Choosing between a male or female Westie often depends on individual preferences. Both genders can make excellent pets. It’s essential to consider the specific personality of the dog rather than focusing solely on gender.

7. Are Westies challenging to train?

Ans:- Westies are intelligent but can be independent, making training challenging. Consistency, positive reinforcement, and patience are key to successfully training a Westie. Starting early with socialization and obedience training is beneficial.

8. Do Westies like other dogs?

Ans:- Westies can get along well with other dogs, especially if they are properly socialized from a young age. Early introductions and positive experiences with other dogs can help foster good relationships.

9. How do you discipline a Westie?

Ans:- Positive reinforcement is generally more effective than punishment with Westies. They respond well to praise and rewards. Consistent training, setting boundaries, and redirecting undesirable behaviors are effective discipline methods. Harsh methods are not recommended as they can lead to fear or aggression.

Meet Adam, the heart behind thepetssare.com. Passionate about pets, he shares expert advice and heartwarming tales to enhance the lives of fellow animal lovers.

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