West of Argyll Terrier

Pippa Elliott
Dr Pippa Elliott (BVMS MRCVS, University of Glasgow)
Photo of adult West of Argyll Terrier
Have an image we can use? Message us here!

The West of Argyll Terrier is a hybrid dog – a mix between a West Highland White Terrier and a Beagle. These are a sturdy, small-to-medium sized dog with a coarse wiry coat. They are character-packed with a tendency to chase and are easily distracted by scents. Their cheerful character means they can make great family dogs but with a few provisos.

The West of Argyll Terrier does need an owner with experience, committed to regular training sessions using reward-based methods. They also need plenty of exercise due to their active nature. Not to do so risks them giving vent to their loud voice and love of barking.

About & History

Hybrids dogs, the West of Argyll Terrier included, are relative newcomers on the scene. As such, their story is in its infancy with their history belonging to the parent breeds.

The West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is an instantly recognisable breed. Their origin lies alongside many of the small terrier breeds whose job it was to hunt out vermin. These ancestors include the Cairn, Scottish, and Skye Terriers, plus the Dandie Dinmont Terrier.

Dogs similar to the Westie first appeared in the early 1700s in the Scottish Highlands. Back then, they were named for the country estates that bred them with names such as the Poltalloch and Roseneath Terrier. Around the end of the 19th century, the name West Highland White emerged, with the name made official in 1906.

The Beagle

The Beagle is an ancient breed, with hounds of a similar appearance dating back two millennia. They were described as ‘foot hounds’, meaning that hunters could follow their dog on foot rather then mounted on a horse. These smaller hounds were used to chase down rabbits and smaller prey.

Given that Beagles were foot hounds, they found wide popularity with a range of social classes. In the 1500s, most landed English gentlemen kept a pack of Beagles for the sport of hunting deer, hare, or rabbits. The breed spread further afield to the US in the mid-19th century.


The West of Argyll Terrier is a small-to-medium sized dog with the overall impression of a sturdy, well-built dog – in vehicle terms, more of a small SUV than a sport’s car. They have a well-proportioned skull with a good sized muzzle, rounded forehead, and bright intelligent eyes. Given that Westies have prick ears and Beagles drop ears, the West of Argyll Terrier’s ears can be anywhere in-between with a soft fold, giving them a cute, quizzical look.

Their coats err towards a course double coat with longer guard hairs and a dense undercoat. This gives a shaggy appearance with the outer hairs being short-to-medium length. Indeed, they often have ‘facial hair’, such as a moustache or beard (even the girls!). Common coat colours include white, cream, fawn, brown, brindle, black, or multi-coloured.

Character & Temperament

These dogs may be small in stature but they are big on personality. Words used to describe the West of Argyll Terrier’s character include stubborn, easily distracted, self-willed, bold, cheeky, naughty and loving.

In the right hands, the West of Argyll Terrier makes a fun-loving, friendly family dog. Their ideal owner has a moderate amount of experience with dogs and knows to distract a dog from bad behaviours, whilst encouraging them to be obedient.

The dogs with the best temperaments are well socialised from a young age. Also, bear in mind they are energetic fellows and their need for regular daily exercise must be met. They are easily bored and a West of Argyll Terrier with unspent energy is liable to divert it into barking or chasing other animals.


The West of Argyll Terrier can be a demanding chap to train. This is down to stubborn terrier traits from the Westie and the easily distracted nature of the Beagle. Taken to the extreme, this could make for a strongly self-willed dog with intent on pursuing any interesting smells that cross their path.

However, this doesn’t mean the West of Argyll Terrier is untrainable. Just that any potential owner should be prepared to put time into training their dog using reward based methods. They need to find their dog’s ‘must have’ treat early on, to motivate them and make obedience more attractive than sniffing down a scent trail.


As a hybrid dog, there is no data specific to the health problems to which the West of Argyll Terrier is prone. However, certain conditions have an above average chance of showing up in the parent breeds, so it is reasonable to assume their off-spring is also at increased risk.

Wobbly Kneecaps (Patellar Luxation)

Many dog breeds that weigh less than 10kg are prone to a movement in the kneecap (or patella), where it slips to one side of the knee joint. In mild cases, this is of little consequence, other than the dog skips a step on the affected back leg.

However, some dogs suffer from a more serious instability where the kneecap constantly pops in and out of place to cause pain, inflammation, and secondary arthritis within the knee. Treatment ranges from the occasional use of pain relief through to corrective surgery in the most severely affected dogs.

Legge Perthe’s Disease

Legge-Perthe’s Disease also affects the hind-legs, but this time the hip joint rather than the knee. This is a growth-related problem that happens in young actively growing animals. The blood supply to the growing hip joint shuts down too early, starving the active bone of nutrition. The result is a misshapen hip created from poor quality, crumbly bone.

This condition is painful and causes marked hind leg lameness in young dogs. Corrective surgery is necessary to improve mobility and give these dogs a better quality of life. One of two procedures is likely to be carried out – one being a total hip replacement and the other surgery to remove the very top part of the thigh bone so bone no longer rubs on bone.

Skin Allergies (Atopy)

Allergies to pollen or other environmental allergens are common in dogs. Symptoms are most frequently skin related with excessive licking or chewing, most commonly of the feet and belly.

Allergies can’t be cured but can often be controlled. These days, there are a multitude of effective medications that alleviate the symptoms, however, treatment is likely to be lifelong (albeit there may be some relief from symptoms in the colder winter months.)

Dry Eye (Kerato-Conjunctivitis Sicca)

Another problem inherited from the Westie side of the family is dry eye. This refers to a lack of tear production, which leads to a hot itchy eye. Left untreated this is not only uncomfortable and potentially distressing to the dog, but can lead to brown pigment being deposited on the clear cornea and interfering with vision.

Slipped Discs (Intervertebral Disc Disease)

The Beagle side of the family is prone to slipped discs. This is a painful condition with the potential to cause nerve damage. Some cases require pain relief and strict rest, however, any dog with signs of numbness in the paws should be assessed by a veterinary specialist with a view to surgery to remove the damaged disc and prevent it pressing on the spinal cord.

Exercise and Activity Levels

Small size doesn’t necessarily mean a dog needs less exercise. The West of Argyll Terrier being the perfect example because terrier and beagle blood make for a dog that needs plenty of mental and physical activity.

The West of Argyll Terrier requires a couple of walks a day, at least one of which should exert the dog to the point of being pleasantly tired. Games, such as fetch, are also appreciated, given their natural urge to track and chase.


Although the West of Argyll Terrier has a mostly wiry coat, they do still shed somewhat. Their coat is kept in tip-top condition by brushing two or three times a week with a slicker brush. This helps to spread natural conditioning oils, shifts shed hair, and dislodges tangles before they become a problem.

Another important part of grooming is daily tooth brushing. Just like human teeth, dogs’ teeth need regular brushing to remove plaque before it hardens into tartar. Not to do so risks the tartar pushing on the gum to cause recession and infection with the potential to loosen teeth.

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.