I know....this is a bit strange to be reviewing dogs on this site however I think its worth doing especially as so many people are considering adding a dog to their family and, if they enjoy the outdoor lifestyle, then our experience with our girls may be of some help.
West Highland White Terriers, or Westies as they are affectionately known, are simply amazing dogs. They are just the right size to integrate into the travelling family, not taking up too much room or requiring large accessories like bedding or quantities of food. They are very friendly dogs and, while they can be a bit territorial, they are not yappy like a lot of the smaller dog breeds.
Obedience training Westies is an interesting game. Its more a test of wills. There is a saying in the Westie community, commands are optional...! I took our oldest girl, Kassidy to obedience training. She would be the star of the class while we were there. The second the class finished, she seemed to forget everything I taught her.
Health-wise, they have their share of issues like any pure breed, but none that I would say would be a deal breaker for anyone wanting to own a Westie. They can have skin issues but these are easily sorted out with proper diet and good quality medicated shampoo.
Focusing on their travelling habits, we have found them to be very good travelling dogs. For the most part, our girls are happy settling into their 'high chairs' and will sleep for 2 or 3 hours on end. Sometimes more, although Kassidy does get a bit antsy if she senses the car slowing down. The other two, Poppy and Savannah will sleep for hours...!
They are not the sort of dog I would trust off the lead unless it was in a enclosed space. Being terriers they are bred to chase rabbits and foxes and they are easily distracted. They will run off and good luck trying to recall them. We keep ours on the lead pretty much all the time.
Around caravan parks, our girls are great. Everyone loves Westies and they thrive on the attention. If you want a dog that everyone else will like too, the Westie is hard to beat. We like to think of ourselves as responsible dog owners, but regardless, we have never had a single complaint about our girls when they travel with us.
I believe their most enduring quality is their temperament. They are not like a typical dog. To me, they have cat like qualities mixed with their doggie traits. One minute, all they want is your attention and they love to play and cuddle. Then after they have had their fill, they are quite happy to go and lie down on their cushion and sleep for an hour or so, or they will quietly play alone with their favourite toy. Its this independence I like as some breeds can be a constant demand for your attention that becomes tiring after a while.
Sleeping arrangements? Well we have trained ours to sleep in crates at home, but on the road, inside a small caravan, its hard not to let them sleep with us on the bed. Having 3 makes it a bit squashy. The new van will have a separate bathroom and we are intending to train them to sleep in there on a custom made bed. I'm sure they will be fine with that.
All up I reckon Westies are the best dogs in the world and I'm not just saying that because we have them. They are great companions and they are ideally suited to the travelling RV lifestyle.
If you are interested in finding out more information about adopting a Westie, I highly recommend you contact a registered breeder in your area.
You can also find out more info by visiting the Devnik Westies Website