Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult Wee-Chon
Luke McCormack / Flickr.com

The Wee-Chon is a hybrid dog, which is the result of breeding a Bichon Frise with a West Highland White Terrier. They measure up as a small to medium sized dog with the appeal of a living white teddy bear. The Wee-Chon has a reputation for being a loving and loyal family dog that is both playful with children and gentle with seniors.

A cheerful character, the Wee-Chon is a good choice of canine companion for those who will keep them company. Their loving nature means they can be miserable when left alone for long periods, which may manifest itself as barking or destructive behaviour. Generally a robust little dog, they are prone to certain niggly health problems, such as skin allergies and wobbly kneecaps.

About & History

The Wee-Chon has only been around for a decade or so, being a hybrid breed first created in the US. Their story is really that of the parent breeds.

The West Highland White Terrier

As you would expect from the name, the West Highland White Terrier originated from Scotland. Their origins go back to the 17th century and share a common line with other terriers, such as the Skye Terrier, the Scottish Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier.

Originally a working breed, the Westie’s job was to flush out and kill rats and other small vermin. Tradition has it that the Westie’s trademark white coat was down to the selective breeding of Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch. One day, when out hunting, the Colonel mistook one of his dogs for a fox and accidentally shot it. After that, he resolves to only breed white dogs that were sufficiently different from a fox to stand apart.

The Bichon Frise

The other side of the family tree, the Bichon Frise, is also an old established breed. Their story goes back to the 14th century and sailors who introduced the distant ancestors to France. Breeds that have contributed to the Bichon Frise’s development include the Havanese, Maltese, Bolognese, and Coton de Tulear.

The Bichon enjoyed a period of royal patronage in the 16th and 17th centuries when they became the favourites of French and Spanish royalty. However, they went out of fashion in the 18th century and it wasn’t until the middle of the 20th century that interest in the Bichon Frise revived. A jolly, easy-going dog, they have quite rightly earnt a place as a much-loved family pet.


Wee-Chon Large Photo
Luke McCormack / Flickr.com

Both parent breeds have an attractive unmistakable look and their hybrid is no different. The Wee-Chon is small to medium-sized, and almost always has a white coat. However, the occasional surprise occurs when a black and white pup is born into a litter.

They have a sweet face with a dark eyes and nose, framed by white fur. Their coat may take on the curly softness of the Bichon Frise or the coarser nature of the West Highland White’s hair. The Wee-Chon may have the prick ears of the Westie, but most commonly has gentle folded ears that add to that cute appeal.

Character & Temperament

A whole host of positive words describe the Wee-Chon, such as playful, cheerful, affectionate, and clever. They love to please, which is a great start for a family dog, as they are quick to train and generally not disruptive.

The Wee-Chon has a pleasing sense of fun, which is bound to put a smile on their owner’s face. However, as with all dogs, it’s important they are properly socialised as pups. If not, their small size can mean they are anxious in unfamiliar surroundings, which could lead to fear biting.

Also, the Wee-Chon should be trained and not treated like a plush toy. To do the latter can lead to a dog that thinks they’re in charge and result in so-called 'small dog syndrome'. This can make for unpleasant barking when the dog doesn’t recognise a visitor or is asked to do something they don’t want to do.


The Wee-Chon is clever but without being devious. Because they like to please, they respond well to reward-based training methods. The trick is to make training sessions fun, so that the dog thinks they are playing rather than working.

Also, keep training up throughout the dog’s life, so they are reassured by a sense of security that their owner is in charge. Again, this reduces the risk of small dog syndrome, which can make for a bossy, uncooperative dog.


Whilst there are no statistics as to the health problems suffered by the Wee-Chon, both parent breeds do share some predispositions to disease. It is therefore reasonable to assume their off-spring may inherit these traits.

Atopic Dermatitis

This refers to an allergy to pollens, grasses, or other environmental allergens, such as dust mites. The symptoms include itchiness and sore skin. Whilst atopy cannot be cured, it can be controlled with medication.

Dry Eye

Dry occurs when the eye fails to produce adequate tear fluid. This is an uncomfortable condition as the eye feels constantly hot and itchy. Again, there is no cure for dry eye, but topical treatments can alleviate the discomfort.

Legge-Perthe’s Disease

This condition affects the hip joint of young, growing dogs. The blood supply to the bone shuts down too early, cause the bone to become weak and crumbly. Options for treatment include surgery to remove the diseased femoral head or total hip replacement surgery.

Patellar Luxation

Also known as ‘wobbly kneecaps’, this condition causes the back leg to temporary seize up in the wrong position. Clues to this condition include a skipping gait on the affected leg, and intermittent lameness. Mild cases may require occasional pain relief, whilst those dogs more seriously affected require corrective surgery.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Whilst a Wee-Chon does not need excessive amounts of exercise, they do need regular twice daily walks. Ideally, some of this time is spent off the lead, playing chase or fetch. Should they not get enough exercise, this small dog is prone to a thickening waistline. Also, lack of mental stimulation will cause the Wee-Chon to find their own amusement, which is likely to be unwanted actions, such as digging or chewing.


Coat care to some extent depends on which parent they take after. For example, the course Westie coat may need regular stripping, whilst the silky Bichon curls need parlour visits for trimming.

The white face of the Wee-Chon means their cheeks are prone to tear staining. To avoid this, wipe the dog’s eyes regularly, especially if they are watery. Daily brushing and checking the coat after each walk is recommended. This helps prevents tangles that can easily turn into knots. Another important aspect of grooming is daily tooth brushing to reduce plaque formation and dental disease.

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