Pet Insurance for West Highland White Terriers

Find out all about the West Highland White Terrier and their common health conditions, then compare pet insurance options from some of Australia’s leading insurers.

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, updated on October 4th, 2023       

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Price range

$2,500 – $4,500






Affectionate, lively, confident

Coat length

Short, double coat

Exercise needs



Yes – but better with older children

Life expectancy

12–15 years

West Highland White Terrier


The West Highland White Terrier, often referred to as the Westie, originates from Scotland and has a history as a skilled vermin hunter. The breed was officially recognised in the early 20th century, and quickly gained popularity as household pets.

Westies have a distinctive appearance with a bright white double coat, erect ears and a compact and sturdy build that reflects their robust nature. They are known for their lively and friendly temperament, and can form strong bonds with their owners.

With their adaptable and affectionate disposition, Westies thrive in various living environments, whether in a bustling family household or a quieter setting.

Common diseases and conditions of West Highland White Terriers

  • Patellar luxation: this is a common orthopaedic issue where the kneecap dislocates from its normal position, causing pain and difficulty in walking.
  • Skin allergies: Westies are prone to various skin allergies, which can be triggered by factors like food, environmental allergens or parasites.
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO): this is a hereditary condition characterised by the abnormal growth of the bones in the skull, causing jaw pain and difficulty in eating.
  • Cataracts: this involves clouding of the eye’s lens, potentially leading to impaired vision or blindness.
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease: this is a hip joint disorder that affects blood supply to the head of the femur, leading to hip joint degeneration.

Breed-specific issues:  

Westies are known for their spirited and independent nature, which can sometimes translate into stubbornness. This can pose a challenge during training, requiring patient and consistent efforts from owners. Additionally, Westies can exhibit a dominant attitude, making early socialisation and clear, positive training imperative for well-rounded behaviour. Furthermore, while not excessively vocal, they have a keen alertness that may lead to barking if not properly trained and socialised.

How much does pet insurance cost for a West Highland White Terrier?

There are many factors that can influence the cost of pet insurance for your Westie, including the following: 

  • Age: the older your dog is, the more pet insurance is likely to cost. This is because older dogs tend to have more physical health conditions and illnesses due to age, and so present a higher insurance risk.   
  • Type of insurance you choose:  there are three basic types of pet insurance for dogs available in Australia; accident-only, accident and illness, and comprehensive insurance. An accident-only policy is the cheapest type available, with comprehensive coverage costing the most. 
  • The policy annual limit: each pet insurance policy has an annual limit, which is the maximum amount that will be paid out on the policy in one financial year. Annual limits range from around $10,000 up to $25,000 or more.  
  • Sub limits: in addition to an annual limit, there may also be sub limits that apply to the policy, for example a $300 sub limit for consultation fees, or a $5,000 limit for cruciate ligament conditions.  
  • Benefit percentage: pet insurance may not cover 100% of the cost of your vet bill. Instead, it may pay a percentage of the total bill. This can range from 50% for cheaper policies up to 90% for top-of-the-range cover. 
  • Excess amount: this is the amount you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket each time you make a claim on your policy. Some pet insurance policies do not come with an excess amount, while others do. 
  • Any add-ons you choose: it’s possible to add on more cover options to a basic policy, such as emergency boarding fees, routine care and dental care. These add-ons extend the scope of your pet insurance, but do increase the overall cost of the policy.
  • Discounts: some insurers offer discounts of between 5% and 15% if you have multiple pets insured together, if you pay your premium annually, or if you bundle your pet insurance with other forms of insurance with the same company.  

Types of pet insurance you can choose from

Why compare pet insurance with Savvy?

Common questions about West Highland White Terriers

Are West Highland White Terriers good with children?

Yes – Westies are generally good with children, especially in families with older children who understand how to interact with dogs. They have an affectionate and lively nature, which makes them well-suited for family life. However, it's important to remember that no matter how well-natured a dog is, interactions between dogs and young children should always be supervised to ensure safety for both parties.

Do West Highland White Terriers require a lot of exercise?

Westies have moderate exercise needs. Daily walks, playtime and some mental stimulation are usually sufficient to keep them happy and healthy. They enjoy interactive play and short bursts of activity, but they are not overly demanding in terms of exercise compared to some other breeds.

What are the grooming requirements for a West Highland White Terrier?

Westies have a distinctive double coat that requires regular grooming. This includes brushing several times a week to prevent matting and tangling, as well as occasional baths. Additionally, regular check-ups with a professional groomer are recommended to maintain their coat's texture and appearance.

Do West Highland White Terriers get along with other pets?

Yes – with proper socialisation, Westies can get along well with other pets in the household. Early introductions and positive interactions can help foster good relationships between a Westie and other animals. However, it's important to note that Westies do have a prey drive, which means they may be inclined to chase smaller pets. As with any breed, individual personalities of both the Westie and the other pets play a significant role in their compatibility.

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West Highland White Terrier

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