Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
Photo of adult Westiepoo
Bassschlüssel / commons.wikimedia.org

Small, sweet and too cute for words, the Westiepoo is one of the original designer dogs and is now a popular choice of pet internationally. Mixing the plucky West Highland White Terrier with the obedient and smart Poodle has resulted in a little dog that is full of personality. As separation anxiety can become an issue for some, potential owners should be sure they have enough time available to spend with this dependent dog.

While Westies are renowned for their pure white coat, mixing them with the Poodle has resulted in progeny that can have cream, brown or even black fur. Rarely measuring much more than 40cm, these dogs are quite petite and can thrive in apartments and small houses.

About & History

One of the original designer dogs developed in the 1970s, the Westiepoo – also known as the Westiedoodle or Wee-Poo – is a sweet little companion that is a combination of the West Highland White Terrier and either the Toy Poodle or the Miniature Poodle. Though precise records are lacking, most agree that the first mating likely occurred in the USA. While we may only have a few years of historical information available for the Westiepoo, we know plenty about their popular parents.

The West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier is also known as the ‘Westie’ and comes from Scotland; as is true of many similar Terrier breeds, including the Skye Terrier and Cairn Terrier. A small and feisty dog, Westies were originally used to hunt vermin. While they would have once been available in a variety of colours, they are now only bred with white fur.

The Poodle

The Poodle is thought of by many as the ‘king’ of the Designer Dog world as they feature in so many different crossbreeds. Their near domination of the hybrid community is most likely due to a combination of their size variations (allowing for breeders to offer height options), hypoallergenic fur and sweet, intelligent natures. Though many associate the Poodle with France, it is more likely to have originated in Germany.

A breed that has always loved to swim, the Poodle was once used to retrieve prey from both land and water. The famous ‘Poodle clip’ is thought to have been an attempt to minimise tangling and matting when in the water, rather than a fashion statement.


Westiepoo Large Photo
Gordito1869 / commons.wikimedia.org

A compact dog with a rectangular body and a proportionate head, the Westiepoo is quite a small dog that tends to reach heights of 33cm to 43cm. When mature, they will usually weigh in at around 9kg to 13kg. Of course, those bred from a Toy Poodle will be smaller than those bred from a Miniature Poodle.

The dark eyes of the Westiepoo are rounded and portray an alert and pleasant expression. Their ears are rarely erect like those of the Westie, and most breed members will have ears that flop down and hang to the side of their face. Their dark noses complement their eyes and will be relatively large, sitting at the end of their straight muzzle.

The Westiepoo’s fur is medium in length and typically quite wavy. While many individuals will have a white coat, it is also possible for their fur to be cream, fawn, apricot or black.

Character & Temperament

A delightful family pet, the Westiepoo is loving and affectionate; a dog that will devote itself to its masters. They like to be the center of attention and will never say no to a belly rub or chin scratch. Though the love for their family is certainly an endearing feature, it is not unheard of for Westiepoos to become over attached to people. In some cases, they may develop separation anxiety, particularly if in a household where they are left alone for prolonged periods of time. They are best suited to a home where someone is around most of the time and they should be crate trained from a young age so that they have a secure ‘den’ to stay in when left alone.

Though practically never aggressive or hostile, the Westiepoo is wary of new people arriving into their territory and can take a while to warm up to them. They will often bark for several minutes whenever a new person arrives. This trait makes them a good little watch dog.

While happy in the company of other dogs, many will still have a high prey drive so can simply not be trusted around smaller pets. To increase the odds of a Westiepoo pup bonding with pre-existing family pets, they should be socialised with them as early as possible.


Photo of Westiepoo puppy
Edmund White / Flickr.com

Intelligent, curious and eager to please, the Westiepoo makes the ideal student and can even be trained by the children in the household. They pick up on new things quickly and respond best to positive reinforcement and food rewards. At times, their intellect can work against the trainer as they may not be too happy to cooperate at times when there is no apparent benefit for them!

As with many small dogs, the Westiepoo can take longer to toilet train than others, but this is more to do with the small size of their bladder than anything else. Frequent bathroom breaks, a consistent schedule and crate training can all help in early toilet training.


Though there are no specific health tests recommended for breeding Westiepoos, it would be prudent to screen them for the conditions we know that Westies and Poodles are prone to. Though outcrossing purebreds is widely believed to improve the health of their puppies, there are still a number of conditions that should be monitored.

Patellar Luxation

It is not unusual when in the dog park to spot a small breed that seems to hop and skip for a few steps, before returning to a normal walking pace. It is most likely that this dog is suffering from patellar luxation.

An orthopaedic condition affecting the kneecap that is graded from one to four, those with a mild, grade one luxation may show little signs of being affected. However, for those with higher grade luxations, they may suffer with their mobility and a corrective surgery might be in their best interest.

Legg Calvé Perthes Disease

An orthopaedic condition that results in the degeneration of the head of the femur bone over time, young dogs that are affected will become progressively lame and will have a reduced muscle mass of their hind limbs. While conservative management – which often includes pain relief and physiotherapy – can help, surgery is often advised.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy

Progressive Retinal Atrophy is an incurable and progressive deterioration in eyesight that will eventually lead to blindness. Screening programmes are strongly advised for all breeding parents to reduce the number of affected animals within the population.

Mitral Valve Disease

Usually the first sign of an animal being affected with Mitral Valve Disease is a low-grade murmur that is picked up during a routine health check. As the condition progresses, animals may start to show symptoms, including a mild cough in the morning or a reluctance to exercise.

Diagnostic tests, such as thoracic x-rays and echocardiograms, can confirm the diagnosis. Early diagnosis is beneficial, as there are now certain medications that have been proven to slow down the progression of the disease.

Exercise and Activity Levels

With moderate exercise requirements, a consistent 30 to 60 minutes a day should be plenty for the Westiepoo. Keep their routine varied and try to mix up the locations and dog parks that they go to in order to keep things interesting. On top of their daily walks, they should have the opportunity to participate in a number of activities, such as agility and obedience training.

If a Westiepoo does not receive sufficient exercise, they may well develop nuisance behaviours and can become hyperactive. However, once their needs have been met, they make good house guests and are well-suited to living in small homes and apartments.


Though many breeders tout the Westiepoo as being 100% hypoallergenic, this trait is not guaranteed. Most will not shed a lot and are easy to maintain, requiring a good brush every few days. Pendulous ears should be cleaned out every week or two to remove any wax. Some will need ear plucking, though this is usually only advised if the dog is prone to ear issues.

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