How to Choose a West Highland White Terrier Puppy by:Richard Cussons
If you have found a breeder which matches your criteria, he or she may point out to you the west highland white terrier which comes closest to your ideal. Waiting for the "right" litter to be whelped is always a big pay-off, even if it takes weeks or months. The luckiest you can get is to be able to compare puppies, pedigrees and parents due to more than one good litter in your area. It's good to be in the know! Good litters won't be available for too long, and sometimes a choice litter is completely spoken for by the time the puppies are 8 to 12 weeks of age.
It is good to inform the breeder if you have another specific purpose for the dog other than its being a companion (e.g. for show or for work), and have the breeder help in the selection. It is rare to have a litter that has a good number of real "show prospects" among them.
And how do you appraise the westie puppies? There are more things to check aside from cuteness and appeal. The puppies need to be sturdy in built with straight legs. When you hold them, they need to feel firm and muscular. They will also be expectedly wriggly and active, but willing to relax and be cuddled for a few minutes. The puppy coats need to be tidy and thick; eyes, nose and ears clean from any unwanted dirt or irritation; and they must not be pot-bellied. Gums must not be pale, but pink.
If there are several puppies from the breeder to choose from, take the first puppy that you are considering away from its littermates and observe how it responds to you and its environment. Puppies aged seven to ten weeks old need to be capable of making personal forays into their surroundings; predictably, they will be on-guard, but soon they ideally need to be checking on new objects and be quite self-confident with themselves. Try talking to the puppy, and see if it goes after you as you move away. Shift its focus to a toy, and see if it has the instinct to watch, pursue, carry, oralthough the chances are remoteretrieve the ball for you. While the retriever-westie is certainly a rare surprise, be prudent of the other extreme, which is a dog that does not seem to be aware of a moving object. How about the dogs' personalities, and which are you more comfortable with? Again, the breeder who had spent hours with the parents and with the puppies can advise you.
With regard to the parents, take time to meet the west highland white terrier bitch for more temperament clues; she needs to be watchful and patient with her puppies, and positive and calm with showing them to a visitor. If the sire is available, take time to see him also.
About the author
Richard Cussons wants to help potential dog owners choose the best west highland white terrier puppy. Check out westiesavvy.com to learn more about this breed's characteristics and how to make west highland terrier training successful.