Do Westies sleep a lot? Are they constantly on the go or more likely to be found curled up in front of the fire?
West Highland Terriers are an adorable small dog breed. Weighing in at 13 to 20 pounds on average, these little guys can make even the surliest of people crack a smile! Since the behaviors of different breeds vary so wildly, it is important to know these differences when considering your own pet.
Westies need an average of about 13 hours of sleep per day. When they are awake, they are known to be quite active and excitable, though they usually take several short naps during the day. Because of this, Westies are not considered a breed that sleeps excessively, especially during the day.
Whether you already have your own Westie or are considering whether or not you should get one, knowing their sleeping habits is an important part of owning one of these little dogs, as they thrive on routine. Read on to find out all about what sleeping habits to expect from these adorable little furballs.
Westies Do Not Need a Lot of Extra Sleep
Dogs, on average, need about 12 to 14 hours of sleep per day. This can go up or down depending on the breed, but Westies tend to fall right in the middle of that average at about 13 hours minimum. They are not excessive sleepers, but they still certainly enjoy their afternoon siestas!
For most Westies, you can expect pretty much the same sleeping behaviors:
- An overnight sleep schedule that mimics yours
- Several short naps throughout the day, with the length changing depending on how much they sleep overnight
- About 13 hours minimum of sleep per day, up to 16 hours
While awake, this tiny breed is a bundle of what seems like almost limitless energy. They love playing and running around, particularly with their favorite people or other dogs. They also love taking walks. Because of their high energy, they can tire quickly and require small naps throughout the day to recharge.
Even though Westies do not necessarily need more sleep than the average dog, it is more important than a lot of other breeds that they get enough sleep. Westies can be especially prone to long-term problems when they consistently miss out on their much-needed rest. This is even more true if yours is particularly high strung or active.
Sleep Habits for Westie Puppies
Puppies of all breeds need more sleep than their adult counterparts, and Westies are the same. As puppies, they have more energy while awake than after they’ve grown, which leads to even more sleeping. For Westie pups, sleeping for 18 to 20 hours per day is normal and not a cause for concern in itself.
Westie puppies may:
- Take more naps during the day
- Sleep more heavily when they do nap
- Sleep longer at night or go to bed earlier
As they get older, they slowly start sleeping fewer hours a day until they arrive at the average 13 hours of an adult dog.
Healthy Sleeping Habits for Westies
The average amount of sleep that a Westie needs is about 13 hours per day. While this may sound like a lot, your Westie will do the bulk of his or her sleeping at night with you. Westies tend to mimic the sleeping habits of their people by both going to bed and waking up around the same time.
If you tend to sleep fewer hours than average at night, you may find that your pup needs more sleep during the day to catch up on their own sleep needs. By contrast, if you sleep longer than average, your terrier may only take a short nap or two throughout the day.
For example, I typically get about seven to nine hours of sleep a day and wake up around ten in the morning. If I owned a Westie, I could expect that he or she would take several naps a day, as that is just over half of their daily sleeping needs. If we were to sleep in on the weekends, my hypothetical Westie would probably nap less on those days and be more active.
Westies are not especially picky about where they sleep, but they do tend to gravitate toward the same places after they find something especially comfortable. For that reason, it is advisable to provide a few safe sleeping spaces around the house for your pup. These spaces should be near enough to you for them to feel comfortable but at least somewhat out of the way to create a calm place.
Some examples are:
- A crate near your bed for overnight sleeping
- A pillow in an out of the way spot in the living room
- If you work at home, consider keeping a comfy sleeping spot in your office.
- If your Westie spends time in a fenced-in yard, he or she should have a sheltered sleep space outside.
In the end, the goal is to create safe sleeping near where you spend your own time since Westies enjoy staying close to their owners.
Crate Training for Better Sleep
Because Westies are well-known for appreciating their own space or “den,” they tend to do better when they have a space that is all theirs. A crate is a great way to give them personal space and has the added bonus of a safe place for them to hang out while you are out of the house.
Since a crate for a Westie is considered their own personal space, it is not recommended to use their crate as a punishment. If you want your Westie to be comfortable and happy in it, they should never dread being sent there. I would strongly recommend finding alternative ways to discipline your pup if you decide to crate train.
Crate-trained Westies tend to enjoy more regular sleeping habits, though their individual activity level during the day also plays a large part. When they have a safe place to sleep in no matter what is going on in the house, they are less likely to sacrifice sleep out of nervousness if something is different or excitement is afoot.
When to Worry About Westie Sleeping Habits
While Westies are well known for taking a snooze break several times a day, you should be familiar with your own dog’s normal sleeping habits to effectively spot any changes that could be spelling trouble. An abrupt change in sleeping patterns can mean that there is a problem with your little pooch.
A particular concern will be if your Westie starts sleeping significantly more or less than he or she typically does. As the owner, you are the best judge as to whether their sleeping habits have significantly changed.
These are some other concerns to watch out for:
- Your Westie’s sleep is suddenly more restless or agitated
- He or she has other concurrent symptoms such as a reduced appetite or irritability.
- Your Westie has less energy than usual when he or she is awake.
If this happens, you should consider taking your dog to a veterinarian for a checkup. You can not always see it when something is bothering your pooch, so a vet can help figure out why your Westie is suddenly changing his or her sleep habits.
While Westies definitely appreciate some good shut-eye, they do not sleep excessively when compared to other breeds. Of course, each dog is different and has its own normal sleeping patterns, but you generally do not need to worry about a Westie being asleep most of the time!
As energetic as they are when awake, most Westie owners find them to be the perfect balance of snuggly and playful. You can count on fun, playful times when they are awake while being able to take advantage of those oh-so-sweet snuggles while they nap.