The Westie is compact and short-coupled. It must be small enough to fit between rocks in a narrow passageway that was the typical fox den in its area of origin. These passages were often so narrow that the dog could not turn around. Short legs aided in maneuverability in the cramped passages. It had to have formidable teeth and jaws in order to face a fox in closed quarters. The harsh double coat, especially the hard, straight outer coat, provided protection from the fox's teeth, especially around the head, as well as from the elements. The tail needed to be sufficiently long to provide a handhold by which the dog could be pulled from shallow holes.
The busy Westie is happy, curious and always in the thick of things. It is affectionate and demanding, one of the friendliest terriers. It is not friendly, however, toward small animals. It enjoys a daily romp in a safe area or a walk on lead, as well as playtime at home. It is independent and somewhat stubborn. It barks and digs.
Temperament: Affectionate, Aggressive (might be), Friendly, Gentle, Intelligent, Lively, Playful