Breeds Westies

Westie Lifespan: How Long do Westies live?

I am glad you reach to this page which I dedicate my guest post today on westie lifespan. After revealing how long can a Westie live, I will highlight health risks and tips to take good care of them to increase their life expectancy.

What Is A Westie?

West Highland White Terrier is commonly known as Westie. They are loyal, stubborn and entertaining dogs that have a pack of personality in their small frame. Westies are both playful pets and hunters. They are always excited to explore new areas and do anything with their owners. The Westies have white coats which make them differ from their terrier relatives. Moreover, they are small in size but quite fast and nimble. It is dangerous to raise Westies with other dogs because they are not always good with other dogs.

How Long Do Westies Live?

Westie’s average lifespan is from 12 to 16 years. However, their lifespan mostly depends upon care and diseases. They are prone to some diseases and behavioral problems. Most dogs are considered seniors when they turn 7 to 10 years old. In this stage, the veterinarian recommends more vitamins and minerals to your Westie.

Common Health Problems That Reduce Westies Lifespan

You see health is important for us human and pets. For westies, common health problems are allergies, white shaker dog syndrome, hip dysplasia, craniomandibular osteopathy, pulmonary fibrosis and vision problems. I’ll break down in more detail below on these issues and later you will find way to improve their livelihood.


Allergies are common in Westies and cause itchy skin. Westie Armadillo Syndrome is a condition in which the head, belly and feet become itchy and inflamed. This can mostly affect dogs between 3 months to 12 months old. The condition spreads all over the body and causes hair loss and skin yeast infection. It has no cure. There are some medicines and shampoos that can slow down the process.

White shaker dog syndrome:

This is a neuromuscular disease that causes tremors in the Westies. It usually develops around 2 years of age and may lead to seizures in some dogs. So, few dogs with White Shaker Dog Syndrome need steroids for the rest of their life. This disease can reduce life expectancy in the Westies.

Hip dysplasia:

Hip dysplasia is a generative disease that affects the hip joint. In this disease, the femur does not perfectly fit into the hip joint. This problem is getting severe when dogs become older. In young ages, this disease just affects the dog during running. Some Westies show symptoms of hip dysplasia (do check these cooling mat especially for dog with hip dysplasia as well) around three months of age. Hip dysplasia is an inherited disease and has no treatment. Medicine is used to ease the pain of Westies.

Craniomandibular osteopathy:

It is the condition in which Westie’s skull bones become enlarged irregularly. It is an inherited disease and symptoms may appear when a dog becomes four to eight months old.

The symptoms of craniomandibular osteopathy are:

  • Excessive drooling
  • Swollen jaw
  • Intermittent Fever

There is no proper treatment of this disease, but some pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication are used to ease the pain. You can also use a feeding tube to feed you Westie because this condition hurts the jaw. So, it may be difficult for your dog to eat without a feeding tube.  

You can also notice that irregular bone growth may stop when your dog is one year old.  In some cases, dogs have to suffer for their whole life because of pain in their jaws. If you are thinking of raising other breeds, it is also important to know that besides Westie, the following breeds also subject to craniomandibular osteopathy, so beware: Scottish Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Boston Terrier and Bull Terrier.

Pulmonary fibrosis:

Pulmonary fibrosis is very common in the Westies. This condition affects Westie’s lungs and causes scar tissues to accumulate over the normal lung tissues. It makes it difficult for dogs to breathe and can cause Westie’s death. Pulmonary disease is also known as “Westie’s lung disease”. The scarring on the lungs due to the different irritants that causes chronic inflammation in lungs. The irritants can be any infection or pollutant in the air. It is a common condition in the Westies and very difficult to treat.

Vision problems:

Vision problems also affect Westie’s lifespan. Cataract is the eye disease which causes blurry visions. Surgical removal is the only treatment available for cataract. In old age, Westie’s eyes develop a haze that is grey in color. It covers the eyes and causes severe issues.

Tips To Help Your Westie Live Longer:

When you take good care, Westies can live longer lives. Here are some tips that can help you to increase your Westie’s lifespan.

Proper diet:

Proper diet is the building block for a healthy and long life. In old age, Westie needs a diet that contains more minerals and vitamins. You have to ensure that you get good quality food for your Westie.

The perfect dog food helps your dog to promote healthier eyes and hair. It includes all the ingredients that help them to live a healthy life.

Royal Canin Shih Tzu Adult Dry Dog Food
  • Ideal for purebred Shih Tzus 10 months and older
  • Good for small breed’s short muzzle and underbite
  • Contains omega-3 fatty acids, omega-6 fatty acids, and biotin
  • Helps reduce amount of stools and stool odor
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Purina Pro Plan Small Breed
  • Formulated high in protein to meet the needs of highly active small dogs
  • High protein formula, with real chicken as the first ingredient
  • Vitamin A and linoleic acid—an omega-6 fatty acid—to help promote your dog’s healthy skin and coat.
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Mini Bites Vegan by V-Dog
  • Plant-powered nutrition helps our earth and care for your small dog
  • Reduce allergic reactions, improved oral hygiene, healthier skin and coat
  • Fully supplemented with everything your petite pup needs
  • Sourced, produced and packaged in California by a vegan-owned and operated family business
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Hill’s Science Diet Dry Dog Food for Small Dogs
  • Support bone and muscle strength thanks to calcium content
  • Omega-6 fatty acids nourish you dog’s skin
  • Made with natural ingredients and in USA
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Hill Science’s small breed dog canned food
  • Include chicken, pork liver, whole grain corn and cracked pearled barley
  • Help encourage lean muscles
  • Highly-digestible recipe helps your dogs absorb the nutrients needed to grow healthily
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Regular exercise:

In older ages, dogs become less active. They spend most of their time relaxing but it is not good for them. They may gain or lose weight. Therefore, you have to make sure that your Westie is getting enough exercise that makes him fit.

You should take your dog for a walk in the morning because your Westie needs to stay active and healthy. You can also consult with a dog trainer for exercise tips.

Veterinarian visits:

Regular veterinarian visits are important because it helps to diagnose underlying disease earlier. With time, the disease is getting worse and may be difficult to treat. Veterinarians should do stool tests and blood tests in regular checkups. Moreover, it is also essential to get your Westie fully vaccinated because it can also help to protect him from many diseases.

Dental care:

Dental care is important for a healthy life. You have to groom your dog with the routine of oral health in early ages. Regularly brushing is helpful to remove tartar from the teeth. If you see inflamed gums in your Westie’s mouth, it is good to visit the veterinarian before your dog starts to feel pain.

Nylabone Advance Oral Care for Dog
  • Yummy peanut flavor
  • Keep bad breath at bay
  • Nylon bristles to clean between teeth
  • Vet-recommended dog dental kit naturally
  • Dog oral kit made in the USA
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Vet’s best dog store tooth brush
  • Using fintertip to brush dog’s teeth.
  • Snug Fit
  • Easy to Use
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Nylabone Finger tooth brush
  • Soft rubber bristles
  • Makes cleaning your dog’s teeth easier
  • Removes plaque which helps with bad breath
  • Comes with 2 brushes
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H&H Pets Dual Headed Dog & Cat Toothbrush Set
  • Super Soft Bristles
  • Ideal for Westies
  • Made from human-usage grade materials
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Final Words on Westie’s Life Expectancy:

Westies are a strong and usually stubborn breed. The white coat is hard to touch and not fluffy. They can chase anything that moves but they are intelligent and faithful dogs. They need to train with patience. The average life expectancy is between 12 to 16 years.

Many chronic diseases can badly affect their lifespan. Proper attention and care are required for a healthy life. If you take care of your Westie, it can be possible that your dog may live a longer life.

How long do westies live for?
How long do westies live for? Tips to improve life expectancy of a Westie.

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Last update on 2024-06-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author

Mariana Perez

My name is Mariana, and I'm a huge Terrier lover, I like to contribute to pet blogs to share my own experience and knowledge on caring for dogs as man's best friends. I hope you enjoy my article and if you do, Like and Share to FB or Pinterest is always appreciated.


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