Page Title
Starlight Westies
Representatives of early
Westies from the
original Scottish stock
Westies are descended from Cairn Terriers, who occasionally whelped white puppies naturally, and
Scottish Terriers; who also occasionally produced white offspring. White offspring from other British
Terriers such as the Bedlington Terrier and Dandie Dinmont Terrier were occasionally introduced to the
bloodline for desired characteristics, but this practice generally stopped in the 1850s.
Col. Malcom's Sonny and Sarah
were typical of the Westie during the
early days of the breed's
Some sources credit Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm and his kin of Poltalloch, in the Argyll region of
Western Scotland as an originator of this breed in the 1800s. Other sources credit the 8th Duke of Argyll
(Chieftan of Clan Campbell) as an originator of the breed. However, there may have been some
cooperation between the two gentlemen. It may have taken as long as a hundred years of selective
breeding to produce all the desired qualities. Their white coat made them highly visible when hunting
on the Scottish moors and easily distinguished them from their game.
Photo taken in 1909 in the first decade of the breed on the Wolvey Kennel
Originally the breed was known as Poltalloch Terriers (after the name of Malcolm's home), although they
were also known as Roseneath Terriers (after the name of Argyll's home), White Roseneath Terriers,
and at the end of the 19th century, briefly as a white variety of the Scottish Terrier.
A group of the Poltalloch dogs of Col. Malcolm. From these dogs derive most of
the West Highland White Terriers in the world today.
The famous drawing by Sir
Edwin Landseer (1830),
showing a West Highland
White Terrier along with
other sporting dogs
Source: (
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England. The name was chosen for the rugged character of the dogs and the area of their club of the
American Kennel Club.