West Highland White Terriers, Westies, are a popular pet, having a reputation for being amiable, extroverted, and lively. So how long can a West Highland White Terrier live?
A Westie’s lifespan typically ranges from 12 to 16 years, depending on several variables like nutrition, activity level, and congenital abnormalities.
As a pet owner, there are lots of things you can do to give your animal companion the best chance of a long and healthy life. These recommendations include a balanced diet, frequent exercise and regular brushing and grooming.
What is the life expectancy of a Westie?
Life expectancy for Westies ranges from 12 to 16 years. A typical Westie can live up to 18 years, but this varies depending on different factors. Exceptions may survive for 20 years or longer.
In comparison to other breeds, the West Highland White Terrier’s average lifespan of 12 to 16 years makes them a long-lived breed. If we compare to larger dogs, small terriers have a longer average lifespan than larger breeds.
You can get some idea of the typical lifespan of other dog breeds from the list below.
Breed Typical Lifespan
- French Bulldogs: 10 to 12 years
- Labrador Retrievers: 12 to 13 years
- Great Dane: 5 to 8 years
- Chihuahua: 10 to 18 years
- Jack Russel Terrier: 13 to 16 years
- Boxer: 10 to 12 years
- Irish Wolfhound: 6 to 10 years
- Yorkshire Terrier: 13 to 16 years
- Pomeranian: 12 to 16 years
Do Male or Female Westies Live Longer?
According to research conducted by BMC on veterinary clinics in the UK, the average lifetime of a West Highland Terrier was 13.4 years. Male Westies live longer than females, with an average of 13.8 years for males compared to an average of 12.9 years for females.
The most frequent illnesses and fatalities experienced by Westies were also determined by the researchers.
The most prevalent conditions in Westie Highland Terriers were
- obesity (6.1%)
- overgrown nails (7.2%)
- allergic skin disorders (6.5%)
- ear disorders (10.6%)
- dental disease (15.7%)
- and ear disease
In comparison to female Westies, male Westies have higher rates of ear disease and hostility.
The likelihood of dental disease is higher in female Westies.
Westie Terriers do also have a few hereditary predispositions to health issues. Both males and female Westie Terriers can have these problems, but for males, not neutering the dog increases some health hazards. The undesirable aggression or marking habits in your Westie may also be reduced by neutering him.
According to a University of Georgia study involving 70,000 animals, neutering male dogs raised their life expectancy by 13.8%, while doing the same for female dogs increased their life expectancy by 26.0%.
For female Westies, the instances of the following health issues may be reduced if she is spayed:
- Ovarian cancer
- Pyometra – a bacterial infection of the uterus
- Uterine cancer
How Old is the Oldest Living Westie Highland Terrier?
As we mentioned above, 16 – 18 years is old for a West Highland Terrier, but there have been Westies who have lived to a much older age.
- A dedicated Facebook group claims that the oldest-recorded Westie, who was 24 years old, passed away in November 2021.
- Snowy, a 20-year-old Westie, is the oldest Westie still alive in the UK (at the time of writing).
Although West Highland White Terriers tend to be in good health, as they become older, they still run the risk of developing numerous health issues.
How Can I Help My Westie Live Longer?
You can do a lot of things to help your Westie puppy live healthy and longer, such as:
- healthy diet
- regular exercise
- regular brushing and grooming
- frequent visits to the vet
Feeding your Westie a high-quality diet is essential. Your Westie must consume the right kind of food in the right quantities. Meat, such as chicken and steak, is a staple of a Westie’s high-quality diet.
You should avoid feeding your dog the foods a Westie should not eat.
To keep healthy and happy, a Westie needs to exercise frequently.
Additionally, they require toys they can gnaw at to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Regular Brushing and Grooming
Westies require routine grooming and brushing to maintain a healthy coat. Regularly check their teeth and ears for indications of disease or infection.
Making Frequent Visits to the Vet
West Highland White Terriers need to get a checkup from the vet at least once a year. Your fur buddy will benefit from early detection of any potential health issues when they are much simpler to cure.
Westies are considered old and more susceptible to ailments once they reach 10 years old. As a result, you should consider more frequent vet visits past this age.
Is 12 Old For a Westie Terrier?
Westies are known for being sassy and headstrong, but as they age, their outspoken personalities and temperament will gradually begin to change.
Naturally, the aging symptoms differ from Westie to Westie. However, the aging process often starts between the ages of 7 and 10. The age of 12 is considered senior for a Westie, although you can certainly expect your Westie to live longer.
Key Aging Signs in Westies
There are various signs that your pet is approaching their senior years.
As with humans, some of the most common signs of aging in a Westie are diminished vision and hearing, as well as stiffer joints and reduced mobility.
As they age, one of the biggest worries for Westie dogs is cataract development. Older dogs frequently develop a grey haze that appears to cover the surface of their eyes.
The most common recommendation from your veterinarian for keeping your dog’s vision is to remove cataracts surgically.
Senior Westies above 10 or 12 years old are particularly prone to hearing loss, and while surgical alternatives are available, they might not be the best choice.
Using hand commands instead of verbal commands can make communication between you and your dog easier without the need for an operation. Additionally, you are strongly advised to examine the cleanliness of your Westie’s ear canals routinely.
Your aging Westie will require a little more gentle attention and care with their dental health. Making sure you brush his/her teeth regularly can aid in preventing tartar buildup, which encourages healthier gums.
Your older Westie Highland Terrier will eventually become less energetic and prefer lounging to running and jumping.
They may be getting bigger or thinner, and you’ll probably notice a variety of weight fluctuations. More calories will likely accumulate in your senior dog’s body, leading to an increase in fat the less active they are.
Other Health Concerns
When your Westie Highland Terrier reaches their later years, there are a variety of other issues you should keep an eye out for, including:
- Chronic diarrhea or vomiting
- Reduced appetite
- Having one or more feeble limbs or limping
Please contact your veterinarian immediately for treatment options if you notice any of these symptoms. A delay in diagnosis and treatment can worsen the outcomes for your beloved pet.
Westies are a relatively long-lived breed. They are susceptible to a few illnesses and health conditions, and you shouldn’t hesitate to ask a veterinarian for help if you need it. But with good care, good nutrition and plenty of fun and exercise, your beloved Westie has a great chance of a long, happy life.