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Westie Size: Small or Medium Dog Breed?


When it comes to classifying dogs, size does matter. It determines everything from their dietary needs to the amount of exercise they require. One breed that often comes up in size discussions is the Westie. But, is a Westie a small or medium dog? Let's find out.

What is a Westie Dog?

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a breed of dog known for its distinctive white coat and vibrant personality. Westies are among the most popular breeds due to their affectionate and energetic nature.

The Size of a Westie

Typically, Westies weigh between 15 and 20 pounds and stand about 10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder. This size classifies them firmly within the "small dog" category, although they are at the larger end of this spectrum.

Characteristics of Small and Medium Dogs

To understand why Westies are classified as small dogs, let's take a quick look at the general classifications of small and medium dogs.

Small Dogs

Small dog breeds are typically those that weigh under 22 pounds and stand less than 16 inches tall at the shoulder. These breeds are known for their adaptability to apartment living and lower exercise requirements compared to larger breeds.

Medium Dogs

Medium dog breeds, on the other hand, typically weigh between 24 to 57 pounds and stand 18 to 22 inches tall. These dogs often require more exercise and space compared to small breeds.

The Westie as a Small Dog

Given their weight and height, Westies fit within the range of small dogs. Their compact size makes them ideal for small living spaces. They are sturdy and agile, with enough energy to keep up with active families but can also adapt to a more relaxed lifestyle.

Physical Characteristics

Westies are robust and well-balanced dogs, with deep chests and muscular limbs that give them an appearance of strength. Their double coat, which is usually about two inches long and very dense, gives them a fluffy appearance that belies their sturdy physique.

Health Implications of their Size

The small size of Westies puts them at lower risk for certain health issues like hip dysplasia, which is more common in larger breeds. However, like all breeds, they do have their specific health concerns, such as skin conditions and certain genetic disorders.

Westie Dog Temperament

Westies are known for their strong-willed and lively personality. They are intelligent dogs with a good sense of humor, often entertaining their families with their antics. Learn more about a Westie's temperament here.

Training and Socialization

Westies are intelligent and can be trained easily with positive reinforcement methods. Socialization from a young age is important to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs.

Dietary Needs

As small dogs, Westies don't require a large amount of food. However, they need a balanced diet rich in protein, fats, and carbohydrates to support their energy levels.

Exercise Requirements

Despite their small size, Westies require regular exercise to keep them healthy and prevent obesity. A daily walk, combined with playtime, is generally sufficient.

Is a Westie Right for You?

Before adopting a Westie, consider your living situation, lifestyle, and the time you can devote to a pet. These dogs can be a joy to have around, but they require proper care and attention. You might want to read more about how to get a Westie here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the average size of a Westie?

The average Westie stands about 10 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 15 and 20 pounds.

Is a Westie good for apartment living?

Yes, Westies are adaptable and can do well in apartments provided they get regular exercise.

What are the exercise needs of a Westie?

Westies need daily exercise including walks and playtime to keep them healthy and prevent obesity.

What health problems are common in Westies?

Westies can suffer from certain health issues including skin conditions and certain genetic disorders.

Are Westies easy to train?

Yes, Westies are intelligent and respond well to positive reinforcement training methods.


Westies, with their lively nature and small size, make wonderful companions. Understanding their classification as small dogs can help you provide the care they need, from diet to exercise and healthcare.

Updated: July 31, 2023
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