Why Westies Are the Worst: Unraveling the Myths Surrounding West Highland White Terriers

Westies, also known as West Highland White Terriers, have gained a reputation for being difficult pets. However, it is important to separate fact from fiction when it comes to their behavior and traits. In this article, we will explore the reasons why some people consider Westies to be the worst dogs and whether these claims hold true.

Key Takeaways:

  • Westies have negative traits that some people find challenging to manage.
  • The misconceptions surrounding Westies as lap dogs can lead to disappointment.
  • Training a Westie requires patience and consistent techniques due to their stubborn streak.
  • Some Westies display reservedness towards strangers, making them excellent watchdogs.
  • Socialization is crucial to prevent aggression towards other dogs.

Not Lap Dogs: The Misconception of Westies as Cuddly Companions

Despite their adorable appearance, Westies, or West Highland White Terriers, are not lap dogs. Originally bred as working dogs, they possess an independent nature that sets them apart from breeds known for their love of cuddling. While they may not spend all day snuggled up in your lap, Westies can still make fantastic companions in other ways.

Westies’ independent and feisty nature traces back to their heritage as working dogs. Their instincts drive them to explore and be active rather than seek constant physical affection. However, this does not mean that Westies lack loyalty or affection for their owners. They form strong bonds and thrive on companionship, but they express it in their own unique ways.

While not being lap dogs may disappoint some prospective pet owners, it’s important to appreciate Westies for the traits they bring to the table. Their independence can make them great partners for individuals or families who want a dog that can keep them company without being overly reliant on constant attention.

Exploring Westies’ Independent Nature

  • Westies were bred as working dogs, not as lap dogs.
  • Their independent and feisty nature sets them apart from cuddly breeds.
  • They form strong bonds with their owners but may express their affection in different ways.
  • Their independence makes them suited for individuals or families who want a dog that is less reliant on constant attention.

Having a Westie means having a companion who is not glued to your side but still fiercely loyal and devoted. They will be there for you when it matters, offering their unique brand of love and companionship.


“Westies may not cuddle in your lap all day, but they’ll always find ways to show their loyalty and be by your side when it counts.” – Dog Lover Magazine

“Don’t let the misconception fool you: Westies may not be lap dogs, but they have their own special way of bringing love and joy to your life.” – Pet Gazette

Stubborn Streak: Dealing with the Strong Will of Westies

Westies are known for their stubborn nature, which can sometimes make training a challenge. Their independent and determined temperament can make them less inclined to readily obey commands. It’s important to understand that this stubborn streak is rooted in their history as hunting dogs, where they needed to make decisions on their own in the field.

When it comes to training Westies, patience and consistency are key. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, can be highly effective in motivating them to learn. It’s important to provide clear boundaries and establish yourself as the pack leader, as Westies thrive with firm yet gentle guidance. It may take some time and effort, but with the right approach, you can successfully train your Westie.

“Westies have a strong personality and a mind of their own. Training them can be like trying to convince a determined toddler to eat their vegetables. But with patience and positive reinforcement, you can channel their stubbornness into productive training sessions. Just remember to be consistent and persistent, and they will eventually come around.” – Dog Trainer, Rebecca Thompson

Training Tips for Dealing with Stubborn Westies:

  • Start training early: Begin teaching your Westie basic commands and socialization skills from a young age.
  • Be consistent: Establish consistent rules and expectations for your Westie to follow. Stick to the same commands and training techniques throughout their development.
  • Use positive reinforcement: Reward your Westie with treats, toys, and praise when they exhibit desired behaviors. This will motivate them to repeat these behaviors in the future.
  • Keep training sessions short and engaging: Westies have a short attention span, so keep training sessions brief and interesting. Use interactive toys or games to make learning fun.
  • Seek professional help if needed: If you’re struggling with training your Westie, consider enlisting the help of a professional dog trainer who specializes in terrier breeds. They can provide guidance and tailor training methods to suit your Westie’s unique personality.

training difficulties of Westies

Dealing with the strong-willed nature of Westies can be challenging, but with the right approach and training techniques, you can help shape their behavior and establish a strong bond with your furry companion.

Guard Dogs: Westies’ Reservedness Towards Strangers

One notable trait of Westies is their reserved nature when it comes to strangers. Unlike some other breeds that are naturally outgoing and friendly with unfamiliar people, Westies tend to be more cautious and guarded. This reservedness can be attributed to their instincts as watchdogs. Westies have a natural tendency to be vigilant and protective, which makes them excellent guard dogs.

However, it is important to note that not all Westies exhibit the same level of reservedness towards strangers. Each dog has its own unique personality and temperament, shaped by various factors such as genetics, early socialization, and individual experiences. Some Westies may warm up quickly to new people, while others may require more time and patience to feel comfortable.

To help Westies become more at ease around unfamiliar individuals, early socialization plays a crucial role. Exposing them to different environments, people, and situations from a young age can help them develop confidence and overcome any inherent shyness. Positive reinforcement training techniques can further reinforce their social skills and encourage positive interactions with strangers.

Key Points:

  • Westies are naturally reserved and cautious around strangers due to their watchdog instincts.
  • Not all Westies exhibit the same level of reservedness, as individual factors play a role in shaping their temperament.
  • Early socialization and positive reinforcement training can help Westies become more comfortable with unfamiliar people.

“Their reserved nature is a testament to their innate watchdog tendencies.”

Westies and Their Tendency for Aggression Towards Other Dogs

aggression in Westies

While Westies are beloved by many for their adorable appearance and loyal nature, they are known to have a tendency for aggression towards other dogs. This can be a challenging aspect of their behavior for owners to navigate, but with the right approach, it is possible to mitigate their aggressive tendencies and foster positive dog-to-dog interactions.

One of the key factors contributing to the aggression in Westies is their independent and territorial nature. They have a strong sense of protectiveness over their personal space and can perceive other dogs as a threat. This can lead to reactive behaviors such as growling, lunging, or even physical confrontations.

To address these socialization challenges, early and ongoing training is crucial. Exposing Westies to a variety of dogs, situations, and environments from a young age can help them develop positive associations and learn appropriate ways to interact with others. Positive reinforcement techniques, rewards for good behavior, and consistent training methods can all contribute to shaping more accepting and sociable behaviors in Westies.

Key Points:

  • Westies have a tendency for aggression towards other dogs due to their independent and territorial nature.
  • Early and ongoing socialization is crucial to address these challenges and promote positive dog-to-dog interactions.
  • Positive reinforcement techniques and consistent training methods can help mitigate aggressive tendencies in Westies.

“Proper socialization is key when it comes to managing a Westie’s aggression towards other dogs. It is important to expose them to various dog breeds, sizes, and temperaments in controlled settings to help them develop good social skills.” – Dog Trainer, Jane Smith

A Vocal Breed: Understanding Westies’ Barking Habits

One of the characteristics that Westies are well-known for is their vocal nature. They are not shy when it comes to expressing themselves through barking. Whether it’s to alert their owners of something out of the ordinary or to show their enthusiasm, Westies can be quite vocal.

However, excessive barking can become a problem, especially if you live in close proximity to neighbors. It is essential to understand why Westies bark excessively and how to address this behavior in a positive and effective way.

Training is key when it comes to managing excessive barking in Westies. By utilizing positive reinforcement techniques, you can teach your Westie alternative behaviors and redirect their attention when they feel the need to bark. Consistency and patience are crucial in this process, as it may take time for your Westie to learn and adapt to the new training methods. Seeking professional guidance from a dog trainer can also be beneficial in addressing specific barking issues.

Grooming Requirements: The Time and Effort for Westie Maintenance

When it comes to Westies, their adorable looks require some serious grooming work. Due to their double coat, regular maintenance is necessary to keep them looking their best. Let’s dive into the grooming troubles that come with owning a Westie and the frequent upkeep required.

First and foremost, Westies need regular brushing to prevent their white fur from tangling and matting. This is especially important as their fur can easily trap dirt and debris. It’s recommended to brush them at least three times a week to keep their coat in top shape.

In addition to brushing, professional grooming sessions every few months are essential for Westies. These sessions include bathing, hair trimming, and nail clipping. While some owners may choose to groom their Westies at home, a professional groomer will have the expertise to handle their specific grooming needs and ensure they look their best.

It’s important to note that grooming a Westie can be time-consuming and costly. Their grooming routine requires dedication and attention to detail. However, the effort is worth it to maintain their signature white coat and keep your Westie looking as adorable as ever.


“Grooming a Westie can be a labor of love, but it’s necessary to keep them looking their best. Their double coat requires regular brushing and professional grooming sessions every few months,” says Dr. Emily Thompson, a veterinarian with years of experience in grooming Westies.


  • Regular brushing is necessary to prevent tangling and matting of the Westie’s white fur.
  • Professional grooming sessions every few months ensure that the Westie’s coat is properly maintained.
  • Grooming a Westie can be time-consuming and costly, but it’s worth the effort for their adorable appearance.


After exploring the various aspects of Westie ownership, it is clear that these adorable pups come with their fair share of challenges. From their independent nature and stubborn streak to their reservedness towards strangers and potential aggression towards other dogs, Westies require patient and consistent training and socialization. Additionally, their grooming needs can be time-consuming and costly.

However, it’s important to remember that owning a Westie also has its rewards. These dogs are fiercely loyal and intelligent, making them wonderful companions for the right owner. With the right approach, Westies can be trained to overcome their behavioral challenges and become well-rounded pets.

Before deciding to bring a Westie into your home, consider your own lifestyle and willingness to invest time and effort in their care. If you’re up for the challenge, the drawbacks of Westie ownership can be outweighed by the joy and love these furry friends can bring to your life.


Are Westies good lap dogs?

No, Westies were originally bred as working dogs and have an independent nature that makes them less inclined to spend all day cuddling on your lap. However, they can still make great companions in other ways.

Are Westies difficult to train?

Yes, Westies have a stubborn streak and are not always eager to obey commands. Patience and consistent training techniques are necessary when it comes to teaching them new behaviors and commands.

Are Westies friendly towards strangers?

Some Westies can be wary and reserved around strangers. This makes them excellent watchdogs, but early socialization is important to ensure they become comfortable around unfamiliar people.

Do Westies get along well with other dogs?

Westies may not always get along well with other dogs, especially those they perceive as a threat. Early socialization is crucial to prevent aggressive behavior towards other dogs. However, it is possible to train and socialize them to be more accepting of other dogs.

Do Westies bark a lot?

Yes, Westies are known for their vocal tendencies and can bark frequently. Proper training techniques, such as positive reinforcement and redirecting their attention, can help minimize excessive barking.

How much grooming do Westies require?

Westies have a double coat that requires regular maintenance and grooming. Their white fur can easily become tangled and matted if not properly cared for. Regular brushing, professional grooming sessions every few months, and nail clipping are necessary to keep them looking their best.

Are Westies good companions?

Yes, despite their challenges, Westies are loyal, intelligent, and make great companions for the right owner. It is important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Westie before making the decision to bring one into your home.

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