Are Westies Smart?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Smart Westie posing for picture outside wearing a bowtie

Westies are small and energetic furballs with an adorable, lively vibe that they carry. There’s no reason to hold back if you are planning to add this little member to your family.

However, though cute pets can make your day, a smart pet can adjust well and adapt much faster. So, while a Westie is undoubtedly adorable, is it smart too, or just a cute goofball?

Why is ‘Smartness’ an Important Factor for Consideration?

Our fast-paced lifestyles allow us very little time to spare for ourselves and our households. This is why it can be very tiresome to raise a pet properly if it is not smart enough. 

Such a pet might require a lot of attention and training to adapt to the household. Thus, you must understand your future pet’s temperament first to make sure that it fits your lifestyle well. 

A playful cute pet that is down to cuddles is surely going to make your day. But a pet that is smart too will adapt to your lifestyle quickly and won’t be much difficult to handle.

Other than that, you must keep in mind how socially smart your pet is. If it does not get along well with your other pets or smaller kids, it can also be rather troublesome. 

So, read on to find out if Westies are one of the smarter breeds of dogs or not!

Are Westies an Intelligent Dog Breed, or Just Silly Furballs?

This breed of dog is highly loyal, lovable, and makes a great companion at all times. They might be rather tiny, but their upbeat independent spirit is particularly striking! 

To help you explore a Westie’s temperament, we will take you through various characters of a Westie. Also, we will cover how you can raise them to not let their natural instincts overpower their smartness.

A True Terrier

Like any other terrier, a Westie is a playful, loyal, and adorable dog with a short height. They hailed from Scotland and were originally bred to be a rodent hunter.

Thus, naturally, they are quite inquisitive, highly alert, fast, and agile little dogs. Their hunting background makes them great canine companions as they tend to be highly devoted to their owners.

Moreover, like any other terrier, they are a smart breed of dogs who are easily adaptable to their environment. Usually, Westies are sociable and get along very well in a house with multiple pets. 

High Prey Drive

Though this hunting breed is rather an expert at the chase, their hunting traits are not utilized by us anymore. But the deeply ingrained hunting instincts of this breed can be quite troublesome.

Anything that moves can catch them off-guard, and they tend to bark or run after it recklessly. They have a fairly high prey drive in addition to their inquisitiveness, which makes them very impulsive beings.

Thus, it is best to keep them indoors mostly and strictly on a leash in an area without fencing. Also, in a household with multiple pets, it is likely to pursue smaller pets like gerbils, rats, or guinea pigs. 

You must keep smaller pets away from a Westie’s reach and train it from the start to co-exist with them. They are fast learners, and with proper supervision, they can learn to live with the fellow smaller pets lovingly.

Off-The Roof Self-Esteem

Westies are intelligent and confident beings with a highly independent spirit. Contrary to their size, they have huge pride in themselves, and it might be challenging to train them.

This breed of dog can be quite stubborn and have a tendency to act as their own boss. Thus, they might now always follow your instructions when they are not in the right mood. 

While these are energetic and active, they might not obey you if they are not up to it. However, this is mostly a problem when they have not been trained the right way from the start.

If you train them from the beginning to obey commands and behave properly while socializing, they will surely follow. With consistent training, they can adapt and learn to follow you properly.

Restless When Overly Bored

A Westie has been bred to hunt through Scotland’s rocky terrains for long hours without a break. They have been developed to use their intellect and engage in playful extended activities.

If they get neglected for a long period of time, their intellectual and inquisitive mind begins to agitate. They grow restless and might express themselves through barking or some other undesirable activities, for instance, digging.

This is why it is necessary to cater to a Westie’s exercise needs and train them well. Also, digging is an activity that, like most terriers, this breed also likes to engage in a lot.

This can potentially damage your lawn and create a mess. Thus, you must take your canine friend out for walks and strolls to let it engage in its independent activities.

Also, you must train your dog from the start to not dig the lawns and keep it engaged through play and games. This can keep the clever mind of the Westie on the run and won’t let it get restless.

Related: Are Westies Good for Hiking?

Inquisitiveness Keeps Them Going

A Westie is a very devoted dog to the ones who give it enough love and attention. They can easily adapt to their surroundings and gets comfortable with the person they are with.

But at the same time, they are fiercely independent as well and like to be on their own equally. So, as compared to many other dogs, Westies are much smarter and deal with a lot less separation anxiety. 

They can tolerate being away from you on a usual workday and engage in their own chasing activities. Although they like attention and playful company all the time, they will be fine at home until you return.

While they aren’t lap-dogs they will still want to stay near you or engage in playful activities when you’re back. However, you mustn’t let them get too lonely and spend an adequate amount of time with them.

Small Kids Must be Supervised Around Them

Westies can be very affectionate and loving towards kids as long as the company is playful. But they have their own boundaries and tendencies to guard their personal space as well.

While not all dogs are the same, and some might get along exceedingly well, you mustn’t leave them unsupervised. Every dog has a history and origin that contributes to their instincts and defense mechanism.

Though they are smart enough to keep their distance, we cannot predict their reaction when a kid evades their personal space. To avoid any undesirable experience, you must properly supervise the smaller kids around it.

However, for kids old enough to respect their boundaries and understand the dog, Westies can be great company. They are sociable creatures and can easily get along well with other pets after proper training.

Related: Are Westies Good Family Dogs?

Final Takeaway

There’s no denying that Westies can be stubbornly independent and might require patience to train. But they are one of the smarter canines who can resist separation anxiety, adapt, and become well-behaved with proper training.

They will stay devoted, loving, and make your day with their lively energy. So, if you’re fond of this little Westie’s upbeat energy and quirky attitude, just bring it home already!