The Westiepoo is a friendly, intelligent and active dog. One that forms strong bonds with their family and usually gets on well with kids too. But as a Westie Poodle mix, they do vary quite a lot in terms of their personality and appearance. Today we are going to take a look at the pros and cons of caring for Westiepoo puppies. To help you decide whether this pup is the right pet for your family, and if so how to raise them right.
What is a Westiepoo?
The most popular white Terrier mix, the adorable Westiepoo is half West Highland White Terrier and half Poodle. Depending on the size of Poodle that is combined with the Westie you could get a range of sizes, but they are normally mixed with the Miniature Poodle. But as a cross breed you can never be quite sure what you are getting, as the pup could take after either parent in any combination! Make sure you love Westie and Poodle looks and personalties if you are picking up a Westiepoo puppy.
The West Highland Terrier Poodle mix was probably first combined in the US in the 1970’s. But their parent breeds have a rich history. To get to know the Westie Poodle mix properly, let’s check out the pure bred parents!
Origins of the Poodle
Poodles are available in Toy, Miniature and Standard types. Historically they were used by duck hunters, hence it’s athletic body type. More recently, Poodles have been used as guide dogs, pets, and are known to be used in dog show competitions.
Poodles are very elegant dogs, often seeming dignified and peculiar. Another fact you should know about the poodle is that they are one of the smartest dog breeds. Their intelligence and obedience makes them the perfect pet for families with kids.
History of the West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a beautiful smaller dog. But don’t let their cuteness fool you. Westie’s were initially bred to hunt rats and other rodents in the 1700s, meaning they are quite strong. While their coat looks like it would be soft, it’s actually tough.
They originated in Scotland and often hunted animals like badgers, otters, and foxes, aside from killing rodents. Because he is a terrier, he’s known to enjoy chasing other animals in the home. But he is very intelligent and can be easily trained to co-exist with other dogs or different animals. They are generally great family dogs.
Full grown Westiepoo adults typically weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, with the variation depending on the parents. Toy Westiepoos are naturally on the lower end of this scale. As for its height, your average Westiepoo will be between 11 and 17 inches tall.
Because they are a mix between a medium and a small size dog, the size does vary. You may end up with a small Westie Poodle, weighing 20 pounds, or a medium sized Westie Doodle weighing 30 pounds. Their appearance is popular as they look like teddy bears!
The smallest variety are referred to as teacup, micro or mini Westiepoos. These tiny Westie x Poodle puppies are very popular due to their diminiutive size, but they should be avoided as sadly it’s often poor breeding practices that make them so small. A Westie Toy Poodle mix, but using ailing pups or runts that carry health problems.
White Poodle Mix Characteristics
Westies and Poodles are both intelligent dogs, and so a Westiepoo puppy is likely to be clever too. If they take after the terrier parent more in temperament they will love to chase and be quite playful.
Both poodles and Westies are fairly independent and tend to bond with their families but not be too pushy with strangers, and a West Highland Terrier Poodle is likely to follow suit. However, if the terrier in them gets the upper hand their bold nature can have the potential to get them into a spot of bother.
Westiepoos temperaments will vary as they are a mixed breed and could inherit from either side. The common factors Poodles and West Highland Whites share include a fairly confident and aloof demeanour, and an active brain and busy body. Your puppy will need thorough socialization to help them to become comfortable around a range of different people and animals.
Both terriers and poodles are bred with hunting in mind, and terriers especially can have a very high prey drive. They might not be the best companion for a cat unless they have grown up with one, and have been known to harass small pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs. You can help your Westiepoo to potentially avoid the worst of these traits through socialization but it isn’t a guarantee.
Training a West Highland White Terrier and Poodle mix
Westiepoos are bred from two enthusiastic breeds, so they are likely to be active require at least two walks and some training sessions every day. Positive reinforcement training will help to focus their energy in a rewarding fashion, and to channel their enthusiasm into productive activities. You might like to give agility a go with this lively pup.
Grooming and Shedding
A West Highland White Terrier mix of any sort needs great coat care, due to their tendency towards dermatitis. If not groomed regularly, the Westiepoo can also end up looking messy. It’s important to get rid of the dead hair often to keep the coat looking fresh.
Are Westiepoos hypoallergenic?
While they don’t shed all that much, thanks to its Poodle parent, they aren’t hypoallergenic. So are best avoided by allergy sufferers. Being a Poodle Westie mix they could inherit the coat of either parent, so you need to be prepared to potentially deal with Poodle levels of grooming or a regular visit to the dog groomer.
Westiepoo haircuts are often required, to manage their long curly coats. If your Westiepoo inherits a white coat like the Westie, and some Poodles, have then this might need some special shampoo to keep looking clean too.
Westiepoo Health and Care
All dogs, whether they’re purebred or a designer dog, can experience health conditions. When it comes to the Westiepoo, they can experience health conditions passed down from their parents. The Poodle and the Westie have their own set of health issues.
Poodles commonly experience a condition known as hypoadrenocorticism. A study found that 8.6% of Poodles have this condition, which is indicated by low levels of adrenal hormones. Unfortunately, it’s a highly heritable disease and is likely to be passed down to offspring. Symptoms include lethargy, depression, not eating, and a weak pulse, among others.
Another condition known to affect poodles is gastric dilation-volvulus. This is also known as stomach bloat and symptoms include abdominal pain, depression, bad behavior, and vomiting.
As for West Highland White Terriers, they often experience atopic dermatitis. This is a skin condition that affects up to 25% of all dogs of this breed. This condition isn’t known to be as heritable as the other conditions mentioned and is easier to treat, but it’s important to be aware that your puppy could experience any one of the problems listed above.
How long do Westiepoos live?
Westiepoo lifespan varies a lot, but on average you can expect a mixed breed dog to live around the same length of time as their parents. Or perhaps a little longer given their wider gene pool! So that would be somewhere between 10 to 18 years!
Purebred advocates like that they can trace the ancestry of their purebred dogs and predict the outcome. They know their lifespans, how they’ll look, and their temperament. But the reality is that purebred dogs are more likely to inherit illnesses.
This is due to the small gene pool that purebred dogs have, which ends up in overlapping genes and inbreeding depression. This causes shorter lifespans, reduced litter size, among other complications. But when we look at designer dogs, we see that they don’t suffer from inbreeding depression thanks to the different gene pools mixing.
It’s possible that the Westie cross Toy Poodle has less of a chance of developing diseases and being inherently weak. We know that often designer dogs and mixed breeds may actually live longer than purebred dogs. They are more resistant to disease, have larger litters, and are happier.
The Ideal Home for a Westiepoo
The ideal home for a Westiepoo will be an active home where the family has an interest in training and are around for much of the day. As they are half terrier they might not be the best match for small pets. However, they are very intelligent and if introduced to other pets when young, they will learn to co-exist peacefully.
Poodles and West Highland Whites have mixed reputations when it comes to kids. The most important thing to remember is that socialization with young children is essential. Pick a puppy with parents that are confident and laid back, socialize them thoroughly to lots of different people and make sure that you never leave kids unsupervised with a dog or allow them to touch them in bed or while eating.
How to Pick a Westiepoo Puppy
When shopping around for Westie Poodle puppies, make sure that they are being raised in a good home. Visit the breeder, meet the mother and father as well if at all possible, and examine the entire litter to check that they appear healthy and happy. This is a big commitment, so ask all of the questions you need to ask. Be wary of any breeder who does not have lots of questions for you too.
Both parents should be health tested for any conditions relevant to their breed, and should have a purpose beyond being bred from. Whether that’s as a working dog or an adored family pet. Last but not least, you’ll want to make sure the puppy you bring home has already been checked by a certified vet and is up to date with their worming, flea treatment and first vaccinations.
Is a Westiepoo Right For Me?
Are you happy with either the typical poodle temperament, the typical westie personality or a combination of both? Do you have time to commit to training, plenty of patience and a love of exercise? Then a Westiepoo could be on your shortlist of potential new pups!
- Beuchat, Carol. The myth of hybrid vigor in dogs…is a myth. The Institute of Canine Biology, 2014.
- Glickman, LT et al. Incidence of and breed-related risk factors for gastric dilation-volvulus in dogs. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2000.
- Koharik, Arman. A new direction for kennel club regulations and breed standards. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 2007.
- T.R. Famula et al. Heritability and complex segregation analysis of hypoadrenocorticism in the standard poodle. Journal of Small Animal Practice, 2006.
- The American Kennel Club
- The Kennel Club UK
- Universities Federation for Animal Welfare