Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
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A cross between the plucky, foxlike Pomeranian and the independent and laid-back West Highland White Terrier, the Weeranian is quite a rare crossbreed that is not seen much anywhere in the world. A small dog with a narrow face and large, erect ears, the Weeranian tends to inherit a good mix of both its parents’ genes and may or may not have the curling ‘Spitz’ tail of the Pomeranian.

Most individuals are tolerant and sweet-natured dogs that get on well with both children and other animals. With moderate exercise requirements and a grooming regime that is easy to keep on top of, the Weeranian is sure to grow in popularity over the coming years.

About & History

Though the Weeranian may not be as well-known as some of the other small designer dogs, this little bundle of fur has a lot to offer. Also known as the Pom Westie or Weeranian Terrier, the offspring of the Pomeranian and the West Highland White Terrier are small, fluffy and a whole lot of fun. While no one can say for sure when or where this cross-bred originated, we do know that the majority of small designer dogs were first created in the late 1900s and early 90s within America.

The West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is a Scottish breed of Terrier that is a particularly popular pet dog in the United Kingdom and Ireland. While the original dogs would have been bred with a number of fur colours, Westies have only been bred with white fur for more than a century now.

Traditionally, Westies were used to hunt small prey on mountains, including weasels and rabbits. The breed was once known as the Poltalloch Terrier and they were recognised by the Kennel Club as the West Highland White Terrier in 1907.

The Pomeranian

Pomeranians are renowned worldwide for being petite and independent. A Spitz type dog, as strange as it may sound, the diminutive Pomeranian actually descends from the likes of the Samoyed and the Siberian Husky.

Their name is derived from a historical region called ‘Pomerania’ that occupied parts of both Poland and Germany. Initial records of the dog can be traced back to the 1700s and they have been loved by aristocrats and royalty throughout the years. Amazingly, two of the dogs that survived the sinking of the Titanic are known to have been Poms!


Many Weeranians will look like smaller, more colourful Westies to the untrained eye though there are quite a few more differences. Most will have a face that is slimmer and more ‘fox-like’ than the Westie. Their ears are relatively large and erect, standing up in a triangular shape. Their eyes are dark and inquisitive. Though their body is small, it is quite robust compared to that of the Pom and is comparatively well-muscled. Their tail tends to curl at the end and may lie over their back, as is typical of any Spitz type dog.

Fully grown adults will weigh between 4.5kg and 7kg and measure from 20cm to 30cm, making them a ‘toy’ sized dog. The fur of the Weeranian is short to medium in length and will grow straight rather than wavy or curly. A variety of coat colours are possible, including white, grey, cream, fawn, brindle, red and black.

Character & Temperament

A breed that is easy to maintain and will fit in nicely to most households, the Weeranian is a good choice for a first-time owner. Cheerful and affectionate, they enjoy being around people and are happiest when in the same room as the hustle and bustle. Though their lively attitude and zest for life makes them a good option for children, they are equally at home with older people and will happily curl up at their feet with the fire roaring nearby. Impressively adaptable, this is a breed that can mold around the needs of the household, rather than the other way around.

Rarely wary of strangers, the Weeranian will usually greet new guests warmly and should certainly not be thought of as a guard dog. They can, however, be employed as watch dogs, as they will tend to give off some friendly ‘yaps’ when someone enters.

Quite independent and self-reliant, this is one small dog that does not tend to be prone to separation anxiety. While this does not mean that they should be left home alone for prolonged periods, it can offer owners some flexibility.


A real pleasure to train, working with a Weeranian should be both rewarding and entertaining. Quick to learn, curious and always willing to do what they are told, this little cross-breed is a star pupil. Most are happy to respond to everyone, meaning their training will not be the responsibility of just one ‘more dominant’ owner.

It cannot be ignored that a number of individuals will have a stubborn streak and may take somewhat longer than their counterparts to train. Owners should approach this type of attitude with patience and should be prepared to persevere with their training techniques, rewarding any break through when it comes.


A number of genetic conditions can pose issues to the Weeranian throughout its life. Knowledge is power and owners and breeders should inform themselves in order to monitor for certain conditions and to screen breeding animals appropriately.

Patellar Luxation

For some dogs, Patellar Luxation is a condition that they can easily live with and it does not seem to cause them much bother at all. While they may skip on their back legs for a step or two each walk, they will otherwise seem unfazed by their condition.

These dogs tend to have a low-grade luxation. On the other hand, some dogs will become quite disabled from their condition and can go on to develop chronic mobility issues and pain. In these cases, surgical intervention is typically advised.

Mitral Valve Disease

A common cardiac condition of older dogs, most will start to become symptomatic in later life. As studies have shown that medical intervention can slow down the progression of this disease, there is now a consensus that it is best to diagnosis affected animals as early as possible.

Collapsing Trachea

Those affected with a collapsing trachea will tend to have a characteristic cough when they exercise or become excited. Medications, such as bronchodilators and cough suppressants, can help. Most will also benefit from lifestyle changes, such as a weight loss programme and the use of a body harness rather than a neck collar when out on walks.

Skin Allergies

Of all the dog breeds that there are, Westies and Westie crosses are probably some of the most notorious allergy sufferers. Though symptoms can theoretically start at any age, most tend to show their first signs of being affected between the ages of one and five. As dogs can react to practically anything (from food to trees and grasses to dust mites), it can often be a condition that is difficult to control.

Exercise and Activity Levels

The small size and relatively laid-back nature of the Weeranian means that they do not have high exercise requirements and will be more than content with a few brisk walks a day. They do like to socialise, so any trip to a dog park would be gladly accepted. They do well in small flats or homes and do not necessarily need a garden as long as they are walked a few times each day.

On top of their outdoor walks, these inquisitive little guys relish any opportunity to play and to participate in fun doggy activities. Interactive toys are always received well and they just love it when the household children get involved.


Brushing the fur of the Weeranian every two to three days will keep it tangle free and shiny. Owners should introduce a brushing routine from a young age so the dog will accept it as a normal part of life. Beware of over-bathing the Weeranian, which can lead to dry fur and itchy skin.

It is important that owners introduce a tooth brushing regime to prevent calculus deposits from forming, which will lead to gingivitis and tooth decay. A pet or finger toothbrush can be used and, while pet tooth pastes are available, water is really all that is needed. Teeth should be brushed daily if possible.

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