Mad About Westies


West Highland White Terriers AKA Westies

The crazy cute Westie is one of the most popular small terriers among pet owners. Standing 10 to 11 inches at the shoulder, with dark piercing eyes, compact body, and an adorable carrot-shaped tail wagging with delight, the Westie’s looks are irresistible. Beneath the plush-toy exterior, though, beats the heart of true working terrier. Bred to hunt rats and other furry critters, Westies are surprisingly strong, brave and tough.  Look out chipmunks and squirrels!

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The West Highland White Terrier, commonly known as the Westie or Westy, is a Scottish breed of dog with a distinctive white coat. The modern breed is descended from a number of breeding programs of white terriers in Scotland prior to the 20th century.

West Highland White Terrier Dogs 101 Segment

The Westie is grouped with and probably closely related to the other terriers of Scotland, including the Cairn, the Dandie Dinmont, the Scottish and the Skye. It was bred to be a working terrier, going to ground to combat rats, rabbit, badger and fox. Legend has it that Colonel Malcolm was hunting with his small brown terriers and accidentally shot his favorite, mistaking it for a fox. Malcolm apparently set about developing a small white dog that could perform all the functions of a working terrier but would never be accidentally mistaken for prey. He selected the lightest puppies from litters of Cairn Terriers and bred them without crossing with any traditionally tan dogs. Eventually, he created pure white terriers that bred true to type, temperament, function and color.
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The white coat of the Westie or West Highland White Terrier should be hard to the touch, never soft and fluffy.  The westie breed has a two layer coats.  A soft under layer for warmth and a wirely outer coat for shedding dirt.

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The breed was listed officially as the West Highland White Terrier in 1907 at the Crufts dog show in England. The name was chosen for the rugged character of the dogs and the area of their development. The West Highland White Terrier Club of America was founded in 1909. It is a member club of the American Kennel Club. The Club’s annual meetings and specialty shows are held in conjunction with the Montgomery County Kennel Club Show at Ambler, Pennsylvania in October. In addition, the club holds a national Roving Specialty Show each year with one of the regional clubs acting as host.

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Most Westies will get dirty between baths no matter how often they are bathed. It is a Westie duty to see just how dirty it is possible to get before Mom or Dad catches them. If you are lucky, it is just plain mud or dirt and not something smelly!!

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BATHING PRODUCTS AND PROCEDURES:

  • DON’T use human shampoos unless “prescribed” by your vet. (Occasionally the vet may tell you to use a medicated human product for treatment of a medical condition. Of course, in this case, do as your vet tells you to do. ) Human products have a PH level set for human needs. A dog’s PH level requirement is quite different. Always use a product made specifically for dogs unless your vet specifically tells you to do otherwise.
  • Read the instructions on the shampoo. Many shampoos require that you leave them on the dog for 5-10 minutes before rinsing. This gives them time to work. If you do not follow the instructions, the product will not do its job.
  • Use a rinse that will re-moisturize the skin. Your vet can give advice on this subject but a very commonly used rinse is called HUMILAC. This product is a non-greasy skin conditioner that gets right through the hair and down to the skin without leaving any residue on the hair. It is like putting body lotion on your legs after you have bathed. It helps keep the skin from drying out even after more frequent baths. It can be sprayed on the dog and rubbed in. Possibly a more effective way to use it is to mix it with water and pour it over the dog in the final rinse. Instructions are on the bottle.
  • If your dog has dry, flaky skin (doggie dandruff) and you do not bath him frequently, use the HUMILAC as a spray between baths. If the dog is bathed more often, use it as a rinse (mixed with water) and follow up by using it as a spray between baths. NOTE: If the flaky skin continues, ask your vet to run a full Thyroid test. Low or low-normal thyroid can be a cause of skin problems and is easily corrected with medication.
  • Put a rubber mat on the floor of the tub or sink. This will give your dog a more secure footing.
  • Most important of all, when you shampoo your dog, you must do a thorough rinsing. Rinse your dog, rinse your dog again and rinse a third time. When you are SURE you have every bit of shampoo removed, rinse once more!! The residue left from the shampoo is often the CAUSE of itching.

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Photo Ideas

Time it well. If you’re looking for action shots, have your photo shoot before the daily three-mile run. If you want a serene portrait, make it after.

Let your dog get used to the camera. The click and flash of a camera can rattle dogs at first, says Rogers. Let your dog give the camera a good sniff, then start casually shooting the surroundings (if you’ve got a film camera, you can do this before you load the film). Once your dog’s gotten used to the camera and starts doing his own thing, begin taking pictures.

The idea is to keep things natural and relaxed. What not to do: Grab a ton of treats, abruptly shove the camera in your dog’s face, and repeat, “Mommy’s gonna take your picture!” at high pitch.

Take lots of pictures. This is the first rule of photography, no matter what the subject. The more you take, the better your chances of getting a few amazing shots. “Always bring an extra battery,” warns Rogers.

Turn off the flash. Most amateur photographers do best with warm, natural sunlight. To avoid washed-out pictures, shoot in the mornings or evenings, on slightly overcast days, or in the shade on a bright day.

For indoor shots, you’ll probably need a flash. You’ll get a more natural-looking shot if you use an off-camera flash and swivel it upward so the light’s bouncing off the ceiling.

Get down on your dog’s level. “If you stand over your dog and look down, every shot you take is going to look like everyone else’s,” says Rogers.

Pay attention to background. Simple backgrounds, like a white sandy beach or green trees, make your dog stand out. If you’ve got a point-and-shoot camera, have your dog at least a dozen feet in front of the background so he’ll be more in focus than whatever’s behind him, and of course, watch for the tree branches growing out of his head. Pay attention to color, too: No black backgrounds for black dogs, brown backgrounds for brown dogs, and so on.

Enlist help. A friend with a squeaky toy will come in handy if you want a head-on shot or a regal profile. However, keep your dog’s personality in mind with this tip. “Some dogs get amped up really fast when their toys are around, so it can have the opposite effect of what you intended,” says Rogers.

Get creative and playful. Lots of full-body shots taken from ten feet away can get mighty dull. Get up close so your dog fills the entire frame. Get even closer so you get the full effect of that long, wet nose. Photograph your dog head on, in profile, at 45-degree angles. And don’t get hung up on perfection; sometimes that shot with your dog’s tail out of the frame is the one you’ll have hanging on your wall for years. “With pet photography, serendipity is the name of the game,” says Rogers. “The best shots are often the spontaneous ones.”

Tips for Better Dog Photographs Featuring Tiki the Westie