Westie Lifespan: How Long Does a Westie Live?

The Westie is one of the most liked breeds in the world. They’re loyal and intelligent dogs that will keep your family entertained for years.

Westies are known for their warm disposition and loving nature toward their human companions, but they can initially be reserved with new people. They might also be aggressive against unsocialized children and other pets.

Westie lifespan
Westie Lifespan: How long does a Westie live?

The average Westie weighs between 15 and 20 pounds and stands around 10 inches tall. But how long does a Westie live? Keep reading to learn more about Westie lifespan.

How Many Years Do Westies Live?

The typical Westie lifespan is between 12 and 16 years. Their longevity, however, is dependent on factors like care and illness. They have an increased risk of developing certain diseases and behavioral issues.

West Highland White Terrier
West Highland White Terrier on a plain background.

Your dog’s genealogy also plays a significant role in predicting its expected lifespan. That signifies that a dog’s chances of living a long life are higher if they come from a healthy and disease-free lineage.

It’s possible to extend your dog’s lifespan by learning about their breed and common diseases they’re prone to and how to identify them. For example, if your dog comes from a lineage with a history of dental problems, you might take them for checkups more frequently than usual.

You can also ensure your four-legged companion has a longer and better life by giving them a healthy diet and enough exercise.

Most Prevalent Health Issues in Westies

Here are the most common health issues in the Westies.

Westie lies on the ground
Westie lies on the ground and looks sad.

Pulmonary Fibrosis

Pulmonary fibrosis results in malady scars in tissues that hold your dog’s air sac and lungs. The loss of flexibility in the lungs prevents oxygen from entering the bloodstream. The disease’s most common symptoms include:

  • Panting
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing

The disease is perilous because it carries the risk of heart failure. Its diagnosis is poor since most dogs may not exhibit any signs for years. Sadly, there is currently no treatment available, and prevention can be challenging.


Westies are among those dog breeds with the highest cancer risk. They’re more susceptible to mammary gland tumors, lymphoma, and skin tumors. You must immediately send your pet to the veterinarian if they exhibit any cancer symptoms, such as weight loss, tiredness, immobility, vomiting, diarrhea, or behavioral changes.


Westie pups are more likely to contract bacterial and viral illnesses than any other dog breed. Vaccinating your dog will protect them from any infections. For instance, canine distemper and parvovirus are both life-threatening and incurable.

Thus, it would be best if you started your puppy’s vaccinations as soon as possible.


Westies frequently suffer from allergies, resulting in itchy skin. The most common allergy condition is Westie Armadillo Syndrome. The symptoms include severe itching and inflammation of the face, tummy, and paws.

It usually affects dogs between the ages of 3 and 12 months. The condition manifests systemically, resulting in widespread hair loss.

Eye Problems

Cataracts are the leading cause of visual impairment. An age-related grey haze forms in Westie’s eyes, causing opaqueness. The only remedy for cataracts is surgical removal.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is a progressive condition that mainly impairs the hip joint. The condition occurs when the femur doesn’t fit properly within the hip joint.

The condition’s severity worsens as a dog’s age increases. For a young dog, the illness only manifests itself when it’s time to run. Westies have a genetic predisposition for hip dysplasia; the symptoms typically appear when they’re three months old.

Craniomandibular Osteopathy

Craniomandibular osteopathy affects a dog’s skull bones, and Westies are particularly susceptible to it. It makes a puppy’s skull expand unevenly.

It’s possible to spot the signs when the puppy is between four to eight months old, and experts believe the condition is genetic. The most common symptoms include jaw swelling, intermittent fevers, and excessive salivation.

Ear Problems

Around 10 percent of Westies will get chronic ear infections at some point. Without expert assistance, it might be difficult for them to recover.

Dental Issues

If your puppy constantly scratches their cheeks to the point where blood is dripping down, it could indicate an oral ailment.

How Can I Help My Westie Live Longer?

When properly cared for, Westies can have longer lifespans. Here are some tips that can assist you in extending your dog’s life.

Feed Them a Proper Diet

You can increase your Westie’s life expectancy by feeding them a breed-suitable diet. Consider their age, activity level, and unique nutritional requirements before feeding them. Besides selecting highly nutritious foods, you must also consider quantity and richness.

owner pouring dog food
The owner pouring dog food in a bowl.

Remember that obesity decreases Westie’s life expectancy and increases the likelihood of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and urinary stones.

You should pick a diet containing vitamins known to promote bone, tooth, and joint health. Your Westie will benefit from healthier eyes and hair growth if you feed them the ideal food.

Set Up a Regular Exercise Routine

Even though it’s highly unlikely that your Westie will want to undertake a four-hour walk with you every day, you must create a regular exercise routine. You’ll need your dog active, whether taking them for a stroll to the dog park or a long jump.

Westie runs at a mountain
A Westie gets some exercise with mountains at the background!

You may also consult a dog trainer to get a personalized workout plan for you and your dog. Like humans, your Westie’s health will improve with continued exercise even as they age. Exercise strengthens the muscles that protect their most vulnerable joints, resulting in better sleep and enthusiasm.

Schedule Frequent Vet Visits

Scheduling regular vet visits will help you identify any health problems early. Suppose your dog has a chronic condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. Having them checked regularly is essential because such conditions can progress over time and become more challenging to treat.

Westie with a vet
Westie having an annual health examination with a vet.

Give Them Clean Water

Having a filter installed on your water supply, or at least purchasing a purified water container, is a good idea. Tap water in most areas has pollutants and undesired carcinogenic chemicals.

Will My Westie Easily Adjust to New Circumstances?

If you have an older Westie, they’ve likely lived in the same house, with the same schedule and people for years.

West Highland Terrier quiet
West Highland Terrier is quiet and looks anxious.

Your dog might resist having a sibling join the family or confining them for the first time while you take a trip. That’s standard conduct for most canine breeds because significant life transitions can be traumatic for a senior dog.

Most dog owners think bringing a puppy into the family may help revitalize their aging dog. But because Westies are so headstrong, you should consult a breeder or adoption expert before deciding whether or not to bring them a playmate.

What Are the Signs That My Westie Is Dying?

Here are a few telltale signs indicating your dog’s final days.  

Westie looks sleepy on a blanket
Westie looks sleepy on a soft and comfortable blanket.

Loss of Interest

Loss of curiosity about the world is a common symptom of a dog’s advancing age. That’s particularly true if they’ve suffered a long-term, chronic ailment. Your Westie may feel more weary than usual, reducing their desire to play for long hours.

Loss of Coordination

Towards the end of their lives, Westies see a decline in coordination. They might have lost some muscle mass and strength, making it challenging to maintain their equilibrium. Your dog might also have difficulty gauging distances.

Appetite Changes

Loss of appetite is common in dogs nearing their death. They might even stop eating entirely, causing rapid weight loss. Your dogs’ appetite will also diminish if they suffer from digestive problems.

Final Thoughts

The decision to purchase a Westie is a long-term commitment, as the average lifespan for this breed is 12-16 years. If you adhere to our guide on Westie lifespan standards, you can help your dog live a better life. Plus, you’ll know better when to take them to the vet for a checkup and maybe extend their lives.