The ongoing trend we see nowadays is the craze behind designer dogs. Designer dogs are preferred because of their specific characteristics and traits which they inherit from both the purebred parents.
The West of Argyll Terrier a.k.a. Westie is stealing the show when it comes to choosing the best designer breed dog.
What makes them so attractive is their size, hair, eyes, and their flexibility to fit perfectly into any size of space.
Origin of the Westie Beagle Mix
The West of Argyll Terrier is a mix of the West Highland White Terrier and the Beagle. This mixed breed is known to have developed around the 1900s.
The West Highland White Terrier has its lineage dating back to the 1600s century when King James I ordered for some “earth dogs” from Argyllshire.
These Scottish dogs were actually bred for attacking vermin and for hunting purposes by farmers and nobles in Scotland.
The white color of the terriers can be attributed to Colonel Malcolm, who decided to only breed white terriers after he accidentally shot down his reddish brown colored terrier while hunting.
These terriers were known as Poltalloch terriers or Roseneath Terriers.
They were bred for hundreds of years before they made an appearance at dog shows.
It first appeared in 1896 at a Scottish dog show and was named as West Highland White Terrier based on the place-northwestern Scotland where the breed was famous.
The American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1906.
The exact lineage of the modern-day Beagle is still unclear. However, it is believed that the modern-day beagle came up from a beagle pack that had Southern Hounds and North Country Beagles in it.
Both the Southern Hound and the North Country Beagle were specifically bred for hunting rabbit and hare. The Southern Hound is a lineage of the Talbot Hound which was imported to England in 1066 by William the Conqueror.
These breeds came close to extinction due to their small size and inability to run faster. However, due to their rabbit-hunting abilities, these breeds were still bred by some.
After years of refining these breeds, the standard modern-day Beagle was developed around the 1840s, and the distinction between the Southern Hound and North Country beagle was lost.
These Beagles were exported to America, and the American Kennel Club recognized this breed in 1880.
Physical Characteristics of the West of Argyll Terrier
The West Of Argyll Terriers are small dogs with the best physical characteristics of both its parents. It has the long ears of the Beagle and the button nose of the West Highland Terrier.
They are small size compact dogs with strong muscular hind legs. They have a double-coated fur with a rough outer coat and a dense and soft undercoat.
Their thick coat demands regular grooming and hair brushing every day. The medium length muzzle looks like a mustache and adds to their beauty.
Some of its important physical characteristics are:
- Height: Males 13-15 inches; Females 11-13 inches.
- Weight: Males 19-25 lbs; Females 16-22 lbs.
- Eye Color: Could be black or brown in color
- Nose Color: Could be black or brown in color
- Coat Color: Coat color can have a wide range of colors including white, fawn, brown, pied, brindle, white and black.
- Coat Length: Coat length can range from medium to little long.
- Coat Density: Medium coat density
- Coat Texture: Wiry coat, mainly because of the thick and wiry coat of Westies
Temperament and Personality Traits
The West of Argyll Terrier is known for their fun-loving, restless, and stubborn personality. They are also very courageous and self-independent dogs, given the fact that their ancestors were hunters.
They have a high level of curiosity and are easily distracted. They are always on the look-out for something fun and tend to get themselves into a lot of trouble doing so.
Some of their distinct personality traits are:
Since both the parents of the West Argyll Terrier are known for their distinctive stubborn character, it’s a no brainer that they would be too.
Known for being very stubborn, this adorable pooch will need a lot of your patience and time while training.
This breed of dogs are independent thinkers, and they don’t believe in pleasing you every time. They don’t always feel the need for human direction and will wander off on their own if left alone.
It is best if you use treats and toys to teach him while training and not let him off your sight at all. They also tend to be destructive in the beginning.
Make sure you give him plenty of toys and other things to keep him busy if you plan to leave him alone at home.
Not Very Friendly
Given the temperament of the West Highland White Terriers, the West Argyll Terrier is not a very friendly dog when it comes to socializing with other dogs. They tend to be very vocal and may start barking or whining when they see other dogs.
It is a good idea to let him socialize with your neighbor’s dog or the other pets at home at a very young age.
Even with kids, this breed can become aggressive and start barking when they see children. During training sessions, try to get the kids involved too.
These dogs are very smart and intelligent and can easily figure out to do and what not to do in different situations. They are curious to know everything that’s going around and will sense any kind of danger quickly.
Health and Conditions of This Designer Breed
The West of Argyll Terrier is an overall healthy dog with a life span between 11-15 years.
They usually live a healthy and long life except in cases where they might inherit some genetic diseases due to their parents.
The West Highland White Terrier is known to have various genetically caused diseases such as abdominal hernia and the “lion jaw,” which is commonly seen mostly in puppies.
Skin diseases are also common with this breed.
In the case of Beagles, there are some common ailments that are usually seen, such as glaucoma, cherry eye, patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, and others.
Umbilical hernia and carnitine deficiency are other major ailments that generally affect this breed.
While there are hardly cases of these diseases seen in the West of Argyll Terrier, you can always prevent them by doing regular checkups with the vet.
Eye examination, internal imaging, and full body examinations should be done as soon as you get your Terrier home.
These Terriers tend to gain extra weight if they are not regularly taken out for exercises. It is recommended to take your Terrier out for a 30-minute walk or run daily.
They are active dogs and need constant activities such as running or swimming in order to keep them happy and healthy.
The West of Argyll Terriers also needs regular brushing and shampooing due to their dense coat. Their hair may get entangled very soon; hence, it is advised to brush your terrier daily.
Use a mild shampoo or a vet recommended shampoo and bathe them at least twice a week since they are usually quite smelly. Make sure you brush the coat both before and after a bath.
Diet and Nutrition
The Argyll Terrier is not a picky food-eater and can easily finish any bowl of dog food you give him. Thanks to its sensitive sense of smell it inherits from the Beagle, they can smell food right away and run behind it.
However, they also tend to have a sensitive stomach and may take time to digest certain foods.
Feeding dry dog foods to your terrier is a good choice, but you should be careful of the quality you give and quantity of food.
These breed of dogs are very active and hence need a high calorie and high-protein diet. Make sure you give them a balanced diet.
Check out the ingredients before you buy any dog food. It is best to buy high-quality foods that contain protein from meat, fish, beef, and so on.
Foods that contain by-products such as corn and wheat should be avoided since they may not be suitable for your Terrier’s sensitive stomach.
Dogs that are the size of the Terrier and is active will require around 600-700 kilocalories in a day while inactive dogs will require approximately 450 kilocalories per day.
The portion size is also very important. Do not feed your Terrier large portions at once. Instead, give equally divided small meals 3-4 times a day.
Plan the meals in such a way that there is enough time between each meal in order to help the dog digest the food properly.
As mentioned earlier, obesity is also a common problem observed in this breed. Make sure you keep your dog’s weight controlled by feeding him low-fat content diet in case of weight gain.
Because of their thick fur, this breed also needs enough nutrition for shiny and silky fur. For that, try to include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids or salmon oil, etc.
Pros and Cons of the Mixed Breed
- Smart and intelligent like the Westie
- Keen sense of smell like the Beagle
- Small and compact in size, making it perfect for apartments or anywhere else
- Attractive fur and adorable looking
- Very active and curious to learn new things
- Very loyal and faithful to its owner just like the Westie
- Very stubborn and will make you pull your hair out during training sessions
- Not very friendly with other dogs and kids
- Need to be brushed daily
3 Common Questions About the West of Argyll Terrier
Will the West of Argyll Terrier inherit the genetic diseases of its parents?
Mostly, No. In the case of mixed breeds, they usually have good genetic diversity as compared to their parents. This makes them live a healthy life with minimal health issues.
While individual parents may be prone to inherit genetic diseases, the chances become almost zero in case of mixed breeds.
The negative genes are mostly silenced out when two different purebreds are bred together.
Is the Westie Beagle mix breed difficult to handle?
Both No and Yes. As mentioned earlier, this breed of Terrier can be very stubborn and also display destructive behavior in the beginning.
You need to be super calm and patient while dealing with him. But, after he calms down and takes you as his master, you will feel the world change around you.
This breed of dogs is known for their loyalty to their owners. They will become overprotective of you and will always watch out every step of yours.
They can be easily trained with treats and lots of toys.
How expensive is it to maintain this mixed breed?
Because of its thick and wiry fur, this dog requires a lot of care when it comes to maintaining a healthy coat. You need to spend a little to buy high-quality hair brush and combs.
This dog also needs to be regularly shampooed since they can be quite smelly. So, you will need to spend on buying good quality shampoo for him.
Apart from these, maintaining this breed will be like maintaining any other dog. The plus point is its small size, so you don’t have to buy anything in large quantities.
The West of Argyll Terrier is a fun, quirky, and intelligent dog to own. They are happy in any size of space and adjusts very well, even in small apartments.
As responsible pet parents, you need to make sure they take regular exercises and their fur is well maintained.
Training them won’t be much of a hassle with the correct techniques and lots of treats.
Overall, this is a great dog to have in your home because of its loyalty and adorable face.