Brief History of Westie

The West Highland White Terrier is most commonly referred to as the "Westie". This member of the Terrier Group has its origins in the highlands of Scotland. It also shares its genetic pool with some other classic Scottish breeds, for example, the Cairn, the Scottish, Skye, the Sealyham and the Dandy Dinmont Terriers. It should be noted that these breeds were developed by people who had special ideas about what they expected from their dogs. The dogs were never kept as pets alone. They were working dogs, in the case of the terriers, their job was to keep vermin under control in the villages, mills, coal mines, farms and homes of their owners. Another job they had was to be hunters of fox, rabbit, otters and badgers, as well as other ground dwelling animals. Hunting was a sport for the wealthy, and a necessity for the less well off. The terriers of Scotland derived their names from the areas, or the estates, where they had their origin. To test a terrier's "gameness", a young terrier would be dropped into a barrel with a badger, and if it killed the badger, the terrier would be bred. If it did not kill, but was killed by the badger instead, it didn't matter. This was probably one of the first examples of man's experimenting with selective breeding.



The terrier is a dog that loves to dig, that's how he gets the animal that is being hunted to come out of his hole. Sometimes the terrier would go right down the hole after the animal, barking loudly and persistently, to tell the hunter where he was. A Westie is a zestful digger, so if you have a beautiful flower, or vegetable, garden, you may want to fence it off from this ground terror.

The story of the development of the West Highland White Terrier, is said to be from the estate of Colonel E.D. Malcolm, of Poltallock, Argyllshire, Scotland. He was using one of his favorite Cairn Terriers in a fox, or rabbit, hunt. The Cairn Terrier is a wheaten, or brown, color, and this was effective as camouflage. Unfortunately, Colonel Malcolm accidentally shot and killed his Cairn Terrier instead of the fox. In his remorse for this accident, the Colonel vowed to breed only for the white color so that such an accident could not happen again. It is documented that up to this time, any all-white colored terriers were destroyed as being undesirable. The Colonel changed that outlook, and developed the Westie to become a distinct breed. 
The Westie was seen in competition for the first time, at the London Crufts show in 1907. In 1908 the American Kennel Club recognized the West Highland White Terrier as a distinct breed. The West Highland White Terrier Club of America was founded in 1909.

Successful development of breed in the end of 60th brought over many new followers and connoisseurs. Many new kennels, well-known till now, appeared in 70th. And exactly these breeders influenced Westie`s modern type on the whole. Among them are ARNHOLME, BALLACOAR, BIRKFELL, BRIERLOW, CARILLION, CHECKBAR, CLANESTAR, DOMAROY, ERISORT, FAMECHECK, as well as the most popular kennel ASHGATE.

Ashgate Sinclair


Original sources: Barcbytes




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