Are Westies Good for Hiking?

By John Martin - May 12, 2021

Westie outdoors hiking

Have you been looking for a fun activity for your West Highland White Terrier? They have high energy levels, and this increases the amount of exercise they require.

Westies have often been referred to as “a big dog in a little dog’s body.” This feature makes them the perfect small breed to hike with.


Westies possess numerous likable characteristics. They are generally alert, entertaining, happy, friendly, smart, and loving.

They are known to be protective and thus suspicious around strangers. They are curious and thereby enjoy exploring new activities.

The lively dog breed rarely ever walks away from a fight and expresses same-sex aggression. They are determined and willing to try new things without hesitation.

Why Can Westies be Good Hiking Companions?

Westies are known for their joyful presence and tactile intelligence. However, if they do not receive the exercise they need, they tend to be restless.

The high level of energy displayed by Westies is one of the foremost reasons to make your pup a hiking companion. Here are some of the traits that make this small breed good for hiking.


Westies were originally trained in Scotland for hunting and killing vermin, fox, rats, and badgers. They have been described as lively, quick, and curious due to their independent spirit.

If your Westie is not given enough time for outdoor activities, he tends to bark and dig aggressively. Due to their origin, they have a strong inclination to chase small animals, and this trait cannot be curbed.


Although Westies enjoy their time on the couch, they transform into different dogs outdoors. Their terrier traits emerge once they escape the comfort of the indoors in the form of explosive energy.

Westies are known to run for as much as a half marathon as they have energy in spades. They can easily hike for over four miles daily, as their endurance is incredible.


The West Highland White Terrier is an intelligent dog and has a high sense of self-esteem, which makes him stubborn sometimes. They have a generally bold and confident nature, which encourages them to indulge in novel activities with ease.

Westies are fun-loving dogs that welcome adventurous activities without any hesitation. Owing to their terrier background, they thrive on the extent of their agility and never back down from a challenge.


Owing to their intelligence, Westies are extremely easy to train, and their adaptability is exceptional. Due to this, they can be extremely obedient dogs and excel at dog sports if they are trained early on.

The West Highland White Terrier can be trained to perfect sports such as tracking, agility, flyball, and obedience competitions. They perform well in hunting vermin, Earthdog tests, and quarry in underground dens.

Due to these characteristics of Westies, they are built in a way that allows them to indulge in running for long periods. Therefore, if you are looking for a hiking buddy, your pup is the best option!

Related: 13 Common Health and Skin Problems to Watch for in Westies

Tips to Follow While Hiking With Your Westie

Being properly equipped before setting out on your adventure is essential. Here are some tips to make the journey more enjoyable with your West Highland White Terrier!

Use the Right Gear

Investing in a flat collar or body harness for your pup is advisable as front harnesses restrict motion in the shoulders. If your dog does not prefer walking on a leash, a front-hook leash is recommended.

A retractable leash will allow freer movement for your dog while hiking if you used correctly on a well-behaved pup. Consider a seat cover in your car to avoid a mess after the hike.

Obey Leash Rules

Leashes are essential for your safety, the safety of your dog, and the safety of other people and dogs. Public settings contain numerous variables that cannot be predicted, and they could cause harm to you or your puppy.

No matter how well-behaved and friendly your Westie is, hike trails consist of different types of people and dogs. Therefore, it is important to have control over your pup’s whereabouts at all times during the hike.

Related: 17 Westie Mix Breeds You Will Love

Critter Control

You may come across a variety of critters while hiking, such as ticks, black bears, and fleas, which are harmful if they find their way to your Westie. To prevent this, consider flea and tick repellent, and a Lyme Disease vaccine is recommended before hiking.

A bear bell could be a valuable addition to your hiking expeditions as they scare off any wildlife in the way. It can be attached to your Westie’s leash or even your backpack.

First Aid Kit

Prepare a kit that can effectively deal with potential scrapes, bites, and stings, or cuts. This kit should be equipped to aid both you and your dog if the need arises.

A first aid kit can be stored in your car or in a small pouch that can be placed in your hiking backpack. Tumbles are expected while hiking with Westies, and precaution is therefore important.

Watch Out for Heatstroke

If your dog’s internal temperature gets too high, it could lead to heatstroke. Watch out for signs such as a bright red tongue, rapid panting, dizziness, or vomiting.

If these signs appear in your Westies, stop and get into the shade. Wet their chest and armpits or visit a veterinarian for severe cases.

Related: What You Should Look For In A Good Westie Shampoo

Post-Adventure Assessment

Before getting into the car at the end of your hike, check your pup for ticks and carry a tick remover with you. While checking your dog, look for cuts, burrs, and allergic reactions.

Use the first aid kit for injuries that can be dealt with immediately. For more serious cuts or reactions, take your Westie to the vet.

To Sum Up

West Highland White Terriers can be amazing companions while hiking. Indulging in the rigorous physical activity gives your Westie a chance to explore new sports and spend quality time with you.

These active furry friends can enhance your hiking experience while also giving your puppy a fun adventure. Westies are the perfect small dogs to use as company for a hike due to their thirst for an adventure outdoors.