Can Westies Be Black?

By John Martin - May 7, 2021

Westie and Cairn Terrier looking at something

A mighty dog in a little body of a dog, Westie, is full of love and passion. You might not find any other dog as friendly as and lovelier than a Westie. 

They are known for their shaggy white coat. But you must be wondering whether they are also available in other colors, say black? Let’s read further and check if that is the case.

Can You Find a Westie as Black?

Westie or West Highland White Terrier is not black, nor are they available anywhere in any other color except white.

According to the American Kennel Club, a Westie coat is described as “white in color, two inches long with a soft undercoat.” If you find your dog with some other features, it is time to check with the vet.

Sometimes you may find some black spots and marks on your dog; they could cause some health problems.

People sometimes confuse a Westie with a Cairn Terrier, who is brown, and a Scottie Dog, who is black. The dogs look alike, having the same type of hair and build but not the color.

How Did The White Westie Come Into Being?

The history of West Highland White Terrier goes back to the 1700s. Westies are generally related to many other breeds, including Skye, Cairn Terriers, Scottish, and Dandle Dinmont. 

White Terrier was originally used for hunting purposes and killing of vermin like rats. 

The white color of the Westie has resulted from a tragic accident that occurred in the 19th century. It was the time when Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch accidentally killed one of the brown-colored Cairns. 

He was devastated and prevented such an accident from happening in the future, and he chooses to breed only white-colored dogs. This way, the dogs won’t be confused with the fox. 

In 1896, Scotland is where the West Highland white terrier first came into being. They were recognized in the British dog show in 1906, and after that, the American Kennel Club recognized their origin.

Related: How Much Do Westies Cost?

Difference Between A Wheaten Scottie Dog and Westie

Are you familiar with the color wheaten? It is something like an off-white color, lies somewhere between tan and white. 

The American Kennel Club defines a Scottie Dog in three different colors: black, brindle, and wheaten. Many people confuse Westie’s white coat with Scottie’s wheaten coat. 

Though these dogs may look alike, the behavior is different from each other. Even the color is different from what is seen. 

Westie can get along with other dog breeds as well. Although Scottie is also a family dog, these dogs tend to pick up a fight with their fellow canines.

Some Exceptions

Sometimes, you may find a purebred Westie in a slightly darker color, kind of wheaten.

When there are cross breeding Westies with non-Westies, most puppies turn out to be an off-white color. Still, Westies is nothing but white.

But, Why Does My Westie Have Black Specs on Their Skin?

If you find your Westie having black specs on the skin, it indicates some health problems. Some black marks and specs are signs of aging and non-severe ailments in Westies.

It is better to get the treatment to avoid any future ailments. 

Let’s discuss some common problems that can originate from black specs, their common symptoms, and how you can treat them.


Aging is what we as humans experience too. Over time, Westie’s skin starts to get darker due to hyperpigmentation on the skin.

That means the older your dog gets, and the more visible and more frequent the black spots will be. They will appear on your dog’s skin.


  • Sudden weight change– there will be a change in your dog’s weight in older age. Make sure to provide enough food to maintain nutrition.  
  • Body Stiffness– As there will be changes in the bone, your Westie’s body will become stiffer. Moreover, your dog might feel discomfort.
  • Changes in Behavior– You might find noticeable changes in the mood of your dog. You Westie might become less intolerable than before

How to Treat 

Aging is a natural process that you cannot treat. But what you can do is take enough care of your Westie to retain the best possible health.

Food Allergies

If you are wondering whether dogs too have food allergies, then yes. Some food can have severe bad effects on your dog. 

That can initiate the development of black spots on your dog’s skin, among other symptoms.

Mostly Westies is allergic to dairy, wheat, and beef. You need to be extra careful while feeding your dog.   


  • Itchy and Dry Skin– Westies have sensitive skin, and with food allergies, it may be the cause of itching
  • Vomiting- If your dog cannot digest something, it will surely get out of the system.
  • Diarrhea– It will occur as the most common symptom of food allergy

How to Treat

The first thing is to make sure your dog eats non-allergic food. You can find many manufacturers that provide meat-free and gluten-free food for dogs with food allergies.

Yeast Infections

Out of the two listed above, a yeast infection can be a serious problem. 

Yeast infections take place with an overproduction of Malassezia pachydermatis growing on your dog’s skin. 

The black spots would usually occur around the groin. You can also sense the foul smell, and the color will continue to get darker over time.


  • Itchiness– Your Westie might feel a lot of itching, and without treatment, it will get worse. It could also result in more skin infections and hair loss.
  • Foul Smell from Skin– Yeast is growing on the skin; that’s why there will be a foul smell.

How to Treat

Fortunately, the vet can treat yeast infections easily. The vets will provide you with some shampoos and medications after examining your Westie. 

The treatment will depend on one pet to the other and the seriousness of the condition. One most common treatment is medicated shampoo.

Washing their coat with the shampoo will kill the infection, and black spots will disappear during the time.

Related: Common Health Issues That Westies Face

Final Thoughts

Can a Westie be Black? No- a black colored breed would be Scottie, and a brown would most probably a Cairn.

There might be other reasons why your dog has black patches. Make sure to look out for those symptoms and get your Westie treated as soon as possible.

May, your friendly companion, always remain in good health!