West Highland White Terriers Origins and history
Three Pittenweem Terriers, photographed in 1899
Scottish white terriers were recorded as early as during the reign of James VI of Scotland, who reigned between 1567 and 1625. The king ordered that a dozen terriers be procured from Argyll to be presented to the Kingdom of France as a gift. Sandy and brindle coloured dogs were seen as hardier than those of other colours, and white dogs were seen as being weak. At various times during the breed’s existence, it has been considered a white offshoot of both the Scottish Terrier and the Cairn Terrier breeds.
There were also reports of a ship from the Spanish Armada being wrecked on the island of Skye in 1588. This ship carried white Spanish dogs, whose descendants were kept distinct from other breeds by Clan Donald, including the families of the Chiefs. Other families on Skye preserved both white and sandy coloured dogs. One such family was the Clan MacLeod, and it was reported by their descendants that at least two Chiefs kept white terriers, including “The Wicked Man” Norman MacLeod, and his grandson Norman who became Chief after his death.
George Campbell, 8th Duke of Argyll, chief of Clan Campbell, bred a breed of white Scottish terriers known as the “Roseneath Terrier”. Another breed of white Scottish terriers also appeared at this point, with Dr. Americ Edwin Flaxman from Fife developing his line of “Pittenweem Terriers” out of a female Scottish Terrier which produced white offspring. The dog seemed to produce these white puppies regardless of the sire to which it was bred, and after drowning over twenty of these offspring, he came upon the theory that it was an ancient trait of the Scottish Terrier that was trying to re-appear. He rededicated his breeding program to produce white Scottish Terriers with the aim of restoring it to the same stature as the dark coloured breed. Flaxman is credited with classes being added to dog shows for white Scottish Terriers towards the end of the 19th century.
This was quite interesting fact and surprise to us as Darren’s family is the Campbell Clan, so now we know he had something to do with Bella being here! haha no wonder she’s a Daddy’s girl!
A West Highland White Terrier, photographed in 1915
The person most closely associated with developing the modern breed of West Highland White Terrier is Edward Donald Malcolm, 16th Laird of Poltalloch. Malcolm owned terriers used to work game, the story told is that a reddish-brown terrier was mistaken for a fox and shot. Following this Malcolm decided to develop a white terrier breed, which became known as the “Poltalloch Terrier”. The first generation of Poltallochs had sandy coloured coats, and had already developed prick ears which is a trait seen later in the modern breed. It is unknown if the Poltalloch Terriers and Pittenweem Terriers were interbred. In 1903 Malcolm declared that he didn’t want to be known as the creator of the breed and insisted that his breed of white terriers was renamed. The term “West Highland White Terrier” first appears in Otters and Otter Hunting by L.C.R. Cameron, published in 1908.[25
Not your typical travel Blog but we are in Scotland and England tracing our Ancestry.com so we decided to figure out Bella’s as well! Found it interesting to know where she came from. I had always heard the hunting story as the original of White Westies but did not know the other stories that seem to have come before the Malcolm original stories.
The Irish and French love Scotties, closely with English and Scots. You see them all over walking down the street but are more rare in the US. Personally, we of course think they are the best and cutest! But we know those are fighting words so don’t take offense as we are very biased 🙂
The question was: How to get from the Southern most tip of England to Ireland with a dog? The answer was a car ferry, and we wanted the shortest crossing in case Bella wasn’t happy with this decision of transport! The answer to that is high speed ferry and there is only one and that is from Northern Wales across the Irish Sea into Dublin. Off the Isle of Wight, back to the UK mainland of Southampton and up the motorway to North Wales! An all day journey.
We were able to see fantastic Castles in North Wales on our way out to the tiny tip of Holyhead on the island of Anglesey, where the fastest ferry from the UK to Ireland is. Under 2hrs vs almost 4 hrs, at all the other crossings. Irish Ferry is like a giant cruise ship that happens to carry cars underneath. The only bad thing is No dogs allowed on deck; so either they stay in your car or they have kennels on board for them. With Bella having her bed and toys in the car, we chose to leave her for the journey in the bowels of the boat,in our car and leaving me a nervous wreck for 2hrs. All was for naught, as she did Famously and it appeared she slept the entire way and was all groggy as we greeted her on the dock of Ireland. (you are not allowed to stay in the car or go check on your car during the trip)
There’s a huge duty free shopping on the Irish Ferry and lots of good deals so go ahead and shop as we didn’t see that selection for the rest of the trip. Ireland is not big into gift shops and souvenirs.
Our return trip from Ireland To Scotland, was also from a tiny upper North Ireland tip called Larne, 30 min from Belfast and also under 2 hrs. A much bigger, slower, as we covered less ground and not as nice. But, It landed us right on the shores of Scotland at Cairnryan which is a gorgeous West shore of Scotland in the Galloway Park district and just gorgeous country and seashore.
Getting off a ferry and arriving into the gorgeous countryside, with no noise and chaos of an airport or train station and all your stuff and car right with you, is just the most exciting wonderful way to travel we have discovered. The cross over of less than 2 hrs is so relaxing, gorgeous views and no complaints. The arrival into Scotland was much better than Dublin which was commercial and a bit chaotic but not too bad.
We highly recommend it, its not cheap but you have ALL your luggage, your dog, there is NO security which was astounding, they don’t even check passports. Walk all around a huge ship so no cramped spaces, comfy seats with tables, Restaurant and bar (we didn’t partake and it looked like airplane food only a bit better) but all very easy and no cramped leg space. Next time you travel, check it out, we think it is the only way to “fly” now and will always search it as the best solution for future travels.
If you don’t have a car and want to travel on a ferry, you can also be a walk on passenger to the ferry. Unsure how the luggage works but they bring you on via an airport style shuttle and then return you to shore the same way. You don’t have to have a car to travel via ferry.
Bella is surrounded by all kinds of wildlife, not just the ones coming for the Isle of wight Festival!
(think of a modern day Woodstock) Fleetwood Mac be darned she says.
She much prefers the company of pheasants and grouse and badgers and flocks of sheep and rabbits, oh the rabbits, heh heh. Even blind she knows they are here and loves to get excited and riled up!
She is doing really well and loves to roll down the grass hills. She loves to roll into pubs in her Royal Pram and join us for a pint!
Cat’s aren’t the only ones with 9 lives, as Bellas has proven over and over, she too has them.
Bella was the healthiest, fastest dog on the beach, great White Hunter until tragedy struck and she was picked up in our backyard, in suburbia San Diego, by an owl. It lacerated her shoulders down to the muscle and emergency surgery was required at 4am. She survived the attack with the torn shoulders and recovered nicely Until…..5 months later when she started losing weight, not eating, having major health issues that went on for 45 days. MULTIPLE trips to 5 different vets trying to find out what was wrong with her and No vet could figure it out. We kept asking about the owl attack and they all said no way. Additionally, we had just given her a chicken jerky treats from Costco that said it was Made in the USA but when we looked super closely at the bag, in the back lable tiny tiny print, Made in China DISTRIBUTED in America!
The only two new things in her life was the owl attack and these jerky treats so we will never know if they contributed or caused her health decline but we think they did. Long story, shorter, Bella pretty much died several times in the course of our discovering what was wrong with her, but managed to survive numerous times. We spent well over $18,000 in the next 3yrs stabilizing her and learning thru trial and error what works for her. Final diagnoses was: Addisons disease (body makes no cortisol), Pancreatitis, Diabetes and later, Anemia and Septic arthritis.
MOST dogs with pancreatitis and Anemia die within 90 – 180 days! Bella has completely beat both those diseases and no longer has them. She still has Addisons which we give daily pill and 1x per month shot. Diabetes is 2x per day insulin shots and it did make her go blind with sugar cataracts. Diabetes also gave her a UTI (urinary tract infection) that led her to have septic arthritis which has made her partially crippled.
And yet, Bella is going strong, loving life and loving us and has now become a World Traveler with her very own Blog to chronicle her journey. We had planned our move to Europe for 3yrs and part of what kept us not leaving, was Bella and her health as we didn’t want to bring her with us. And in fact, our trial move over, we made the heart wrenching decision to leave her with best friends. She did great with them, but we suffered tremendously. Returning to California to sell a house, we decided we were going to bring her with us (see posts about bringing a dog to Europe) and she is actually THRIVING in Europe. In fact, we just came from a new English vet and her diabetes blood insulin levels are the BEST they have ever been in 5yrs. So low in fact, we had to reduce her insulin by 3 units as her body is doing so much better with a wonderful organic food we found here, Lily’s Kitchen. Evidently the ingredients are even better than the wild game meats we cooked for her, each meal.
She loves traveling in the car (her rolling condo) and in her new Range Rover buggy; experiencing all our new adventures. We are so excited to go to Scotland to let this little Highland Terrier return to her family roots, as we return to ours!
Keep in touch to witness the Miracle Dog, Bella’s Travels. We are Blessed to have her with us, and know every day is a gift and we intend for her and us to live it to the Max!
Not Easily, that’s how, but it obviously can be done! First of all it depends on where you are coming from? and where you are headed to? in this case of course, From the USA to the UK. The UK has the strictest rules vs Europe, so it would be actually easier to go to France than London. We decided that the best thing to do was go for the hardest that way, we had more than enough credentials when we do go to Europe
NO there is no quarantine any longer or we would have never brought Bella along. Simply in your home before you leave, is the required quarantine period. Dogs are required to have a Rabies shot, Tape worm shot and be approved by a Vet certified to do so, as healthy. Then, with all that documentation you get to drive to your local USDA office, in our case, Los Angeles and wait in line for 2hrs to have a girl in the window look over all your documents and decide if you have done it all right, and if not they send you away! If you are good, then they stamp your papers to authorize that they have approved all and you can leave the country and fly on an airplane within 5 days. They DO NOT guarantee you will get into the country you are flying to, that’s your responsibility. Whew, its hard work and we paid extra to have the vet do ALL the paperwork so we knew it was done right.
Then you have to decide on the best/right crate for your dog because NEVER ever let your dog fly in cargo, you have to get an Airline that allows dogs in cabin in a crate. Norwegian is the new kid on the block in Airlines and the one with best- cheapest dog friendly rules and Bella could fly in the cabin. We decided to bump to first class Just in Case there were any issues, we figured we might be treated better if we were in first class and it did make it much smoother. Norwegian doesn’t have Real First Class its really like Business class but two big wide seats so the under storage was quite wide as you can see here.
Make sure you have dog bowls/water/toys (trusty best friend Pony was there to help with nerves) dog food,treats and weewee pads just in case. (these are puppy training pads that look like a human diaper bigger)
We did a trial run at LAX taking Bella all thru the airport in her cargo crate to get used to the smells/noises and to meet the airline employees to ensure we were doing everything right a week before we flew. I’m a freak for details I know; but I didn’t want anything to go wrong and wanted to ensure we had it all right. I think it really helped and I highly recommend it. We met with the Manager before we flew and when we arrived, luck has it that it was his day off but we had his name to drop and a desk agent remembered us.
Without the long details and delays, because nothing goes that easy right(we did have small hiccups but all resolved out), We made it to the first class lounge in time for a relaxing glass of champagne and time to take Bella to the doggy outdoor pee areas. Note: do NOT bring canned dog food sealed, this was the hiccup at security, they freaked out over a sealed wet dog food canned because it was bigger than the 3 ounces! stick to dried food and maybe put wet food in a baggy Not in a sealed canned, who knew? I thought the sealed canned proved it was nothing security risks but NO not the case!
The big moment arrived and onto the plane we went. Secured Bella under the seat in her crate with her crate shut for takeoffs. Mid flight we were able to let her out at our feet at first and then on our laps after everyone was settled in. We also recommend, and we took, the red eye over night flight so she would just sleep anyway and not have to go to the bathroom; but just in case, we were prepared with weewee pads for dogs and luckily didn’t need them until we got to the airport the next morning. We had an 11 hr flight and she slept/held it the whole way 🙂 LOVE this dog.
Her first steps and pee on British soil!
This is the crate we chose as it rolls just like luggage but lay it down and its a bed. I didn’t want a crate you have to carry them vs wheel them. it was a bit too narrow in width but overall worked out well and now we use it as her car crate flat in the backseat and she likes her little house. so it was money well spent.
We also rented an Air BnB house for 3 weeks to allow for plenty of detox time and getting used to everything for Bella. We brought 2 weeks of food (dog food is really heavy) to ensure no change over food right away. Had already researched similar foods offered as American dog food is not plentiful, so we knew which brand we were looking for soon as we arrived. Bella has special needs and eats only the very best organic,non corn, non chicken food so we were extra prepared. All went well and in fact, we swear, she is doing BETTER here than in California. Pretty sure this Scottish Highland dog loves being in her mother land!
Bella has decided to get her passport and travel with us. This creates an entirely different set of circumstances that allow us to learn a plethora of new things. We tried coming alone in October and we missed her terribly, so this time we made the HUGE decision to go thru all the STUFF you have to do for legally bringing a dog not only on an airplane but into the UK and EU. We will do the best we can to document our adventures, so if any of you chose to travel with your animals, you can share in our insight and attained knowledge. Wish us the best of luck!