If you’ve decided to adopt a West Highland White Terrier into your family, the next step is deciding if you want to adopt a male or female Westie.
Obviously, there will be many similarities between the two genders, but there are also some important differences.
Before adopting a Westie, my family did some research and decided that a female Westie was right for our family. Ultimately, Murphy was a part of our lives for 16 great years.
On the other hand, plenty of other families have loved their male Westies just as much.
I’m going to cover some of the key differences and similarities between male and female Westies to help you make an informed decision about which gender Westie is right for you.
Physical Differences Between Male and Female Westies
One of the most noticeable differences between male and female West Highland Terriers is their size. Males are typically 10 to 12 inches tall and weigh 15 to 22 pounds, while females are generally smaller, standing 9 to 11 inches tall and weighing 13 to 16 pounds.
Male Westies also tend to have a more muscular build and larger head compared to females. While this difference is mainly aesthetic, it may impact your preference for one gender over the other.
Both male and female Westies have identical white hypoallergenic double coats.
Overall, the physical differences between male and female Westie are relatively minor. You may want to consider these differences when making your decision, but they should not be the only thing you consider.
Behavioral Differences Between Male and Female Westies
While there are some physical differences between male and female Westies, the real differences come in their personalities and behavior.
- Socialization: Some male Westies do not socialize well with other males, particularly if there are female dogs in heat in the area. They can become more aggressive and territorial.
- Roaming: Male Westies tend to roam more than females, especially if they smell a female dog in heat. They can be gone for several days in pursuit of females. Neutering your male Westie can help eliminate this problem.
- Bonding: Research says that male Westies often form a closer bond with one person, while female Westies tend to bond equally with many people. However, everyone in my family agreed that I was Murphy’s favorite person.
- Training: Male Westies reach maturity a little later than females. As a result, their high-energy puppy phase lasts longer, and effective training may not start as early as it does for females. But with patience, time, and understanding, male Westies are just as trainable as females.
- Temperament: Female Westies are a little more high-strung than males. They may become easily agitated, particularly when they are not spayed.
- Mood Swings: Female Westies may experience mood swings due to hormonal changes in their bodies. However, spaying can eliminate many of these hormonal changes and their accompanying mood swings. This is something to keep in mind if you are planning to adopt a female Westie.
- Barking: Westies love to bark. There doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between males and females when it comes to barking. Both genders tend to be excessive barkers.
Health Differences Between Male and Female Westies
Although overall a healthy breed, both male and female Westies can develop health problems, but there are some health differences between the two sexes.
Male Westies are at risk of developing prostate problems, including prostate cancer.
Female Westies are at risk of developing mammary cancer, pyometra (an infection of the uterus), and ovarian tumors.
Both male and female Westies are at risk of developing a rare disease called White Shaker Dog Syndrome. This is a neurological condition that causes tremors and while it can affect any dog, for some reason, it is much more common in small white dogs like Westies.
Don’t let these potential health issues scare you away from adopting a Westie. All dog breeds have health issues, and regular checkups with your vet is the best way to keep your dog healthy.
Male and Female Westie Lifespans
One of the attractions of Westies is their robust lifespan. These little white dogs typically enjoy a good long life, averaging between 13 to 16 years. This makes them a wonderful choice for those looking for a pet companion who will be part of their lives for many years to come.
Delving into the specifics, the overall median lifespan of Westies is 13.5 years. But if we break it down further by gender, a slightly different picture emerges.
Male Westies typically have a median lifespan of 13.8 years. They tend to be resilient little fellows, often leading a full and active life right up to their later years.
On the other hand, female Westies have a median lifespan of 12.9 years. Although this is slightly lower than their male counterparts, it’s still a testament to their robust health and longevity.
So, as you consider bringing a Westie into your life, know that you’re making a long-term commitment to a loving and lively companion. Whether you choose a male or female, a Westie promises to be a part of to your home for many rewarding years.
Cost Differences Between Male and Female Westies
Male Westies bred to compete in show dog competitions may be more expensive if they come from a lineage of successful show dogs.
Female Westies that are specially bred to have litters of their own will also be more expensive.
However, if you are reading this I assume you are interested in adopting a Westie as a family pet. In that case, the cost to adopt both male and female Westies from a reputable breeder is generally between $1,000 and $2,000.
What’s best for my family may not be what’s best for yours. I’m happy that we chose to adopt a female Westie, but there’s pretty good chance I would have been equally happy with a male dog.
Don’t be afraid to ask a veterinarian or breeder for advice on your specific situation. Remember, Westies have long lifespans, so this is a big commitment.
Ultimately, the decision between a male or female Westie comes down to personal preference and what will best fit your lifestyle and family. With proper care, training, and love, either gender of Westie will make a wonderful addition to your home.