Designer dogs are a dime a dozen these days, but not all are cut from the same cloth. The Westiepoo is one of the best. A cross between a Poodle and a West Highland White Terrier, these friendly little pooches are as cute as a button. Better still, they’ve got the personality to match. Loyal, lovable, and incredibly sociable, they make great family pets. But what else do you need to know about this endearing breed? Find out as we take a look at 20 things you didn’t know about the Westiepoo.
1. They’re half Poodle…
Over the past few years, there’s been increasing interest in crossing the Poodle with as many other breeds of dogs as physically possible. And little wonder. After starting life as a duck retriever in Germany, the breed eventually made it to the big time when they became the favored lapdogs of the French aristocracy. Smart, funny, and highly intelligent, these curly-coated canines are now one of the world’s most popular pets. Their appearance can vary enormously, thanks in no small part to how their frou-frou coat (which can be anything from apricot and black to blue, brown, café-au-lait, cream, gray, red, silver, silver beige, and white) lends itself to extreme styling. Some owners have even taken to painting their nails… although the less said about that, the better.
2. … And half West Highland White Terrier
The West Highland White Terrier (sometimes known as the “Westie”) hails from Scotland. Characterized by a lively and loyal temperament, these tiny little canines measure no more than around 12 inches tall and tip the scales at 15 to 22 pounds. After starting life as rat catchers, they eventually became a popular family pet thanks to their playful, affectionate natures.
3. They’ve been around since the 1970s
It may only have been in the past few years that we started hearing the name ‘Westiepoo’ with any kind of regularity, but it’s thought the breed has been around for at least half a century. According to verandaonhighland.com, breeders started getting into the Poodle hybrid game in around the 1960s, with the Cockapoo being one of the very first Poodle crossbreeds to make it into circulation. The Westiepoo came soon after, with the first reports of the mixed breed emerging in the early 1970s.
4. They’re not recognized as a ‘breed’
It may have a name and it may have a history that stretches back to the 1970s, but what the Westiepoo lacks is status. Breed status, that is. Despite being several generations on from the very first Westiepoo, the breed is still officially considered a ‘hybrid’, a mix of a terrier and a retriever that’s neither one nor the other. If you want a dog that looks like its jumped straight out of a Disney film, you’d struggle to find a better fit. If you want a pedigree, you’re going to have to look elsewhere.
5. They’re relatively inexpensive
If you want a pure breed Poodle, you should expect to pay around $1000-$1500. A Westie is slightly cheaper, but still no bargain at between $800-$1000. A Westiepoo, by comparison, is a positive steal. If you’d rather pick up a pup from a breeder than rescue an adult dog from a shelter, expect to spend no more than between $250 – $500.
6. They’re easy to train
Westiepoos may have a playful, eternally puppy-dog nature, but make no mistake. As you’d expect of the love child of two such clever breeds as the Poodle and the Westie, that slightly dopey expression is hiding a razor-sharp intelligence. As well as doing fabulously well in agility and obedience trials, they can also pick up tricks remarkably well. Once you’ve mastered the basics of sit, stay, and heel, you’ll find you whizz through teaching them to retrieve, high five, roll-over, and even dance in no time. Like all dogs, they respond best to positive reinforcement, so be sure to use training techniques that reward their every endeavor and success.
7. They’re great with kids
If you’re looking for a new canine companion to keep the kids happy, you’ll find it hard to beat a Westiepoo. Like their Westie and Poodle parents, Westiepoos are devoted, fun, amicable little creatures who tolerate kids, tweens, teens, and every other age group with the same good-natured humor. They also love attention, so tend to do well in families where there’s usually at least one person at home most of the time.
8. They get on better with dogs than with cats
Westiepoos are unusually tolerant of other dogs and will quickly become fast friends with any other pooches in the house. They’re not, however, quite so great with cats. As wagwalking.com notes, Westiepoos have a strong prey drive, so are likely to make life a little challenging for cats or other small creatures in the house. Unless you want to spend the next few years defending your cat from their attentions, you might have to decide between the two.
9. They can weigh up to 30 pounds
Westiepoos are by no means the biggest of dogs, but then again, what would you expect of the child of a Poodle and a Westie? They’re not, however, the kind of dog that’s going to fit into your handbag. Although their actual size will depend on which side of the family tree they most take after, most Westiepoos grow to around 11-17 inches tall, and tip the scales at around 30 lbs. Just be prepared for them to take some time to reach their maximum height and weight: at 6 months, they’re likely to measure 9 inches at the shoulder and weigh 19lbs. At 12 months, expect them to measure around 12 inches tall and weigh 22 lb. At 18 months, they should be just short of their maximum growth at 14 inches tall and 25 lbs.
10. They’re adaptable
A Westiepoo needs a moderate amount of activity; providing they get their daily walk, they’ll be pretty happy with whatever kind of living situation they find themselves in. If you have a detached house with a yard, they’ll appreciate the chance to wander around and make themselves the master of their domain. If you have a small apartment, they’ll cope equally well providing they have a few games to keep them mentally stimulated throughout the day…and as much of your undivided attention as possible, of course.
11. They can suffer from separation anxiety
Westiepoos are incredibly social little animals. While this makes them very easy to get along with, it comes with a downside. Westiepoos really don’t do well with being left alone for long stretches of the time: if you have a busy work schedule and a hectic social life, you may do better with another breed. If they’re left to their own devices for too long, they can become stressed… and with stress, comes destructive behavior. If you notice your previously well-behaved pooch starts displaying unusual or out of character behaviors like eliminating inappropriately, chewing the furniture, digging excessively, or barking inappropriately, they may well be suffering from separation anxiety. Ensuring they have plenty to keep them occupied while you’re away can help, but ultimately, there’s no better treatment than simply spending more time with them.
12. They need plenty of exercise
They may be small, but Westiepoos are active little creatures that require plenty of mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy. At a minimum, they need around 30 to 45 minutes of activity each day – this could be in the form of walks around the block, a game of catch in the yard, or a run around the park. When they’re young, they need even more fun and games, so be sure to work plenty of time into your daily routine to give them the time they need.
13. They’re prone to matting
Westiepoos shed very little (a boon for those who don’t want to spend their life plucking hairs from their clothes). But that doesn’t mean you can neglect their grooming routine completely. Westiepoos are prone to matting, particularly around their ears and eyes; to keep their tangles at bay, brush them at least a few times a week, paying particular attention to the most problematic areas. Some owners prefer to avoid the dreaded mats by clipping their coats regularly – short hair is typically a lot easier to care for than flowing locks. As part of their regular maintenance routine, make sure to check their ears for signs of wax build-up and infections, and to clean the outer ear gently with a damp sponge. If they’ll tolerate having their teeth cleaned, aim to brush them at least twice a week. Their nails also require care: clip them once a month or as soon as you start to hear them clipping against the floor.
14. Their appearance can vary
No two Westiepoos are the same. Even pups from the same litter can vary significantly. Some take after their Poodle heritage, with the same square body and soft, curly coat, while others resemble the Westie side of the family tree, with a rectangular body and rough, wiry coat. Typically, most Westiepoos will be white or white with shades of blonde, grey, or liver. Their eyes are dark and wideset and can be either round or oval. Their ear may sit upright with a fold at the tip or lie flat against their head. Noses are black while their snouts are long and straight.
15. They’re ideal for people with allergies
If your allergies have always put owning a dog off-limits, don’t give up on the idea of a pet just yet. Certain breeds are hypoallergenic, meaning they won’t set your sinuses into a tizzy. As westievibes.com notes, the Westiepoo is just such a breed, making them a great option for people who’ve always dreamt of owning a dog but didn’t think it was possible because of allergies.
16. They have a stubborn streak
They may be all big eyes and Disney star looks, but behind the cutie-pie appearance lies a stubborn streak a mile wide. The terrier side of a Westiepoo can make for an independent, willful pooch that does exactly what it wants, when it wants to do it. While training can help rein-in some of the less desirable aspects of this quirk, make sure to always walk them on a leash – if you don’t, there’s a good chance they’ll be the ones leading the walk, rather than you.
17. They won’t cost you a fortune on food
Westiepoos aren’t the largest of dogs, and their appetites are similarly small. Two cups of good quality kibble per day (equating to around $35 per week) should be more than enough to sate their appetites and keep them in peak condition. As with all dogs, their nutritional needs will vary according to age, activity level, and general health; if you’ve any concerns over just how much (and what kind of) food your pooch should be getting, speak to your vet.
18. They go by more than one name
Like a lot of breeds, Westiepoos go by more than just the one name. As dogbreedinfo.com notes, the pooch is interchangeably known as a Westiedoodle, Wee-Poo, Westi-poo, Westiepoo, Westiedoodle, or Westidoodle, depending on both the place and the person doing the talking.
19. They’re prone to hypoadrenocorticism
While Westiepoos are generally healthy, some pups are susceptible to the same genetic conditions that afflict both their Poodle and Westie parents. One of the most common conditions to afflict Poodles (and one you very much want to keep an eye out for in a Westiepoo) is hypoadrenocorticism, a condition caused by low levels of adrenal hormones. As thehappypuppysite.com notes, the condition typically makes itself known through lethargy, depression, low appetite, and a weak pulse. Other potential conditions to watch out for include gastric dilation-volvulus (sometimes referred to as stomach bloat) and atopic dermatitis.
20. They’ve been recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club
Like most crossbreeds, the Westiepoo has been snubbed by the American Kennel Club. But it’s not all bad news. So far, Westiepoos have been officially recognized by the American Canine Hybrid Club, the Designer Breed Registry, the Designer Dogs Kennel Club, the Dog Registry of America, Inc, and the International Designer Canine Registry.