West Highland White Terrier

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Place Category: History and West Highland Terrier

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  • The West Highland White Terrier, or Poltalloch Terrier, was first bred on the Polatalloch Estate near Crinan in the Heart of Argyll. They are known as Westies. The breed is famous for being alert, friendly, courageous, hardy, active, and independent.

    These lovely characters came about because the 16th Laird of Poltalloch, Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm, decided he wanted a white terrier. He began his breeding programme at the end of the 19th century and into the 20th. The breed was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1907, and it appeared at Crufts in that year.

    His idea to pursue a white dog may have come about after he accidentally shot a sand-coloured antecedent of the Westie. It is believed he may have mistaken the dog for its quarry as the dog emerged from woods. The same misidentification would not happen if the dog was white.

    The Malcolms are still lairds of Poltalloch, and the kennels are currently in use as a family home.

    Westies have been used in advertising for Cesar dog food, and as a brand symbol for Whyte and Mackay whisky.

    Our thanks to Elly, our poster girl, and to her owner Sam MacNaughton for the wonderful images.

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