National Westie Day

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Originally bred to catch small rodents, today the West Highland White Terrier is known for capturing the hearts of anyone who is devoted to dogs. The breed is so beloved that they are celebrated each year with their own pet holiday: National Westie Day! 

National Westie DayNational Westie Day

When is National Westie Day?

National Westie Day is observed annually on March 20.  The date was chosen to honor the memory of Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm, who passed away on that day in 1930. 

The 16th Laird of the MacCullum-Malcolm played a prominent role in the development of the West Highland White Terrier.

Fun Facts About the Westie

To mark the occasion, we’ve fetched a few fun facts about the Westie.

Westie Coat Colors

As the breed’s name implies, the West Highland White Terrier has only one coat color.  This select shade can be traced back to the 1600s, when Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch shot and killed his dark-furred terrier, mistaking his four-legged hunting companion for a fox.

Long Live the Westie!  

The life span of the West Highland White Terrier ranges from 12 – 16 years.

The average female West Highland White Terrier weighs from 13 – 1 pounds and stands approximately 9 – 11 inches, while a male usually weighs in at 15 – 22 pounds, and stands 10 – 12 inches tall. 

What’s In A Name?

Before being dubbed the West Highland Terrier, the Westie was known by two other names.  As the breed originated thanks to the efforts of Edward Donald Malcolm, the 16th Laird of Poltalloch, the Westie was first called the Poltalloch Terrier.  As the Laird declined the honor, Westies were renamed the Roseneath Terrier, after the Duke of Argyll’s estate in Dumbartonshire.  

Although the West Highland White Terrier no doubt holds the number one spot in the heart of anyone who has been fortunate enough to welcome a member of the breed into their heart and home, the Westie ranked 46th on the American Kennel Club’s 2021 list of the most popular dog breeds.

In 1976 a Westie named Dianthus Buttons took home Best in Show honors at Crufts, a feat that would not happen again until Olac Moon Pilot stood at the top of the podium in 1990.  Fans of the breed would have to wait until Burneze Geordie Girl in 2016 to see another West Highland White Terrier earn the top title.

Known by dog devotees for his dog balloon sculptures, artist Jeff Koons created "Puppy," a Westie in the form of a floral sculpture, in 1992. Known by dog devotees for his dog balloon sculptures, artist Jeff Koons created "Puppy," a Westie in the form of a floral sculpture, in 1992. 
Jeff Koons’ sculpture Puppy. Photo credit: Noebse

Known by dog devotees for his dog balloon sculptures, artist Jeff Koons created “Puppy,” a Westie in the form of a floral sculpture, in 1992. The largest topiary sculpture in the world, “Puppy” sits outside of Spain’s Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Famous Pet Parents of Westies

Jennifer Aniston— Since 2011 the Friends star has sported a tattoo of the name Norman (her late West mix canine companion) on the inside of her right foot.  

Joan Caufield—  Starring on the big screen alongside such Hollywood heavyweights as BIng Crosby, Fred Astaire and William Holden, offscreen Joan Caufield’s co-star was a canine named Witty.  The Westie even enjoyed a moment in the spotlight alongside the actress in a 1944 issue of Life magazine.

Lillian Gish—  On a visit to Scotland the silent film star received a Westie from Sir Ian Malcolm.  In his honor, she dubbed the dog Malcolm.

Cary Grant—  The leading man in such Hollywood hits as Suspicion, To Catch A Thief and An Affair To Remember also starred as the leading man in the lives of his Westies, Archie and Cholmondeley.

Robert Pattinson—  The star of Twilight and The Batman grew up with a Westie named Patty, who he said he looked upon “like my sister.” 

JK Rowling—  The creator of the Harry Potter phenomenon turned to a fellow author as inspiration for the name of her Westie, who answers to Anne in honor of Anne Bronte.

Christian Serratos—  During her days portraying Angela in the Twilight film franchise, the star of The Walking Dead and Selena had a Westie pup named Bolt as a four-legged pal.

Famous Westies

Did you know that the logo for the Juicy Couture fashion house includes two Westies?

A West Highland White Terrier is the face of Cesar Canine Cuisine.

Although this famous Fido was actually a Skye Terrier, in the 2005 film Greyfriars Bobby the tailwagger in the title role was portrayed by a West Highland White Terrier.

The title character in the prolific children’s author Rosemary Wells’s series of McGruff books is a Westie. 

Dodger, a rescue West Highland Terrier/Jack Russell from Dogs Trust, portrayed Buddy for many years on the beloved British series Doc Martin.

A Westie named Olivia shared screen time with Viola Davis in the thriller Widows, Jason Bateman in the action comedy Game Night and Debby Ryan in the Netflix dramedy Insatiable.

Adopting a West Highland White Terrier

If you would like to welcome a rescued purebred Westie into your heart and home, you can get in touch with one of the nationwide pet specific pet adoption networks, such as Westie Rescue Network  or National Westie Network, which is a committee of the West Highland White Terrier Club of America

If you wish to adopt either a purebred or mixed breed Westie, contact local rescue organizations in your area.

You can search for adoptable Westies online at:

More Pet Holidays You Might Enjoy

We have hundreds of dog awareness days, weeks and month in our Pet Holiday Calendar including:

National Yorkshire Terrier Day

National Purebred Dog Day

Boykin Spaniel Day

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National Westie Day, annual pet holiday honoring the West Highland White TerrierNational Westie Day, annual pet holiday honoring the West Highland White Terrier

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