You might not have heard about this rare and recent designer dog breed, but the Weshi is only growing more and more popular. And once you get to know more about these mixes, the reason for their popularity becomes crystal clear. The Weshi is a cute, feisty dog with a friendly attitude and playful nature. These small, fluffy dogs are usually very cheerful and affectionate, and they make perfect companions.
As a designer dog, the Weshi is a mix of two purebred parents- the Shih Tzu and the West Highland White Terrier. Since this makes him a crossbreed, you can expect a certain degree of variability within the breed. Some Weshis will resemble their Shih Tzu parent more, both in appearance and behavior, whereas others can inherit more from the West Highland White Terrier. In general, though, these mixed breed dogs tend to have traits from both mom and dad, making them truly unique. Owing to the name of the parents, the breed is also known as Westie Tzu or West Highland Tzu.
While their lovely personality and charming looks have definitely won over many pet owners all over the world, it doesn’t mean that the Weshi is a dog that would do well in any family. The terrier genes in the mix can be hard to deal with if you’re a newbie and they don’t always make the pooch easy-going around other dogs and kids. If you’ve set your heart on the Weshi- make sure to read on before making a final decision.
The Weshi is a cute, feisty dog with a friendly attitude and playful nature.
Mixed breed dogs have been around for ages. In fact, there have probably been countless Westie and Shih Tzu mixes throughout history. However, it’s not the occasional accidental mix that interests people enthusiastic about this breed. The history of the Weshi starts from the moment someone intentionally bred them, but that’s where the “problems” start. As a rare and relatively recent designer dog breed, the Westie and Shih Tzu mix doesn’t have a clear origin.
Most hybrids have a “murky past” as it’s often impossible to discern when these dogs stopped being a result of unplanned mating between two purebreds and when breeders started developing them as designer dogs. For now, no breeder has claimed that they’re responsible for the creation of the Weshi, so there’s no way to know with certainty what their history is. However, based on what we know about designer dogs in general, it’s highly likely that the breed got its start sometime in the last 20 years, somewhere in the United States.
The Weshi is not a purebred dog. These adorable pooches are the result of crossing a West Highland White Terrier (Westie) to a Shih Tzu. Usually, the mix between the two parental breeds is an equal 50-50 percent, as there’s no further crossbreeding. These types of hybrids are called first generation mixes, and most Weshis belong to this group. Some breeders claim that direct crossbreeding of two purebreds produces healthier offspring, with fewer health issues, but the jury is still out on this. What is certain, though, is that the first generation mixes vary greatly in looks and temperament. You can never guarantee which of the parents will be the more dominant one in the mix!
Multigenerational crossings are rare, but they do exist. In these cases, Wesh is further bred with another Weshi or with an unrelated Shih Tzu or a Westie. This is done to create a more uniform appearance of the breed- but the Weshi is still far away from having a breed standard. For that reason (among others) designer dog breeds are not eligible for registration with the American Kennel Club and their puppies can’t have official pedigree papers.
Like all dogs, the Weshi needs a well-balanced diet to stay healthy and have a long, happy life. Dogs are omnivores and as such require a varied diet: meat-based protein, healthy fats, complex carbs, fiber… These are all essential ingredients for a healthy meal plan. However, it’s not always easy determining the right ratio of nutrients your pet needs, which is why the safest bet is to go for high-quality dry food. Kibble is formulated to meet the dietary needs of dogs and it’s the most convenient way to feed your pet, to boot.
The most important thing is to choose premium dry food that uses high-grade natural ingredients, to make sure you’re not feeding your pooch fillers and artificial substances. Additionally, you should see to it that the kibble you chose is a fit for your pet’s individual traits, such as age group, size, and activity level. Weshis usually do well on small-breed formula as it is tailored to their needs.
When it comes to Weshi diet, it’s important to note that these dogs can develop food allergies or simply have a sensitive stomach. This is in part for their West Highland White Terrier genes, as this breed is known for their digestive issues. In addition, these compact canines are also prone to diabetes, so make sure they don’t gain excess weight. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on serving sizes and split their daily dose into two smaller meals.
Owing to the one-of-a-kind combination of the parental breeds, Weshi is ideal for the role of a companion and a family pet.
The Weshi is a smart, curious dog that likes to explore everything around him. Unfortunately, their intelligence is not a guarantee of trainability. In fact, it can even give them a bit of a stubborn, willful streak. Sometimes, the terrier genes in this mix do their thing and make Weshi tenacious and bullheaded and this can require a bit more effort from the owner. Of course, this is not a rule but rather the exception; usually, the Shih Tzu genes mellow the terrier tenacity and make Weshi eager to please. In any case, with the right approach, you shouldn’t have a problem teaching your pooch how to behave.
The key is to balance between a firm, confident attitude and a reward-based routine. Be consistent with your training sessions and don’t let your stubborn puppy walk all over you. This doesn’t mean you should be harsh, though- yelling and punishments will only make matters worse. Positive reinforcement training is the most efficient with Weshis and it will both motivate them to learn and deepen the bond they have with you.
On average, an adult Weshi will weigh between 11 and 18 pounds. If the Westie genes are more dominant or the puppy is a male, it’s likelier for him to be larger- and vice versa.
With mixed breed dogs such as Weshi, you can never tell in advance which of the two parents is going to be more dominant. Each dog has his own personality and a lot about their behavior depends on how well you train and socialize them, so there are only basics you can determine before meeting your new puppy.
Owing to the one-of-a-kind combination of the parental breeds, Weshi is ideal for the role of a companion and a family pet. These dogs are sweet, affectionate and people-oriented. They will spend most of their time trailing after you and they’ll want to be a part of every family activity- preferably at the center of it. Weshi is an attention seeker and will want to be showered with love and praise.
However, while they are undeniably friendly and loving dogs, without proper socialization, Weshi can be a bad fit for families with young children and multi-pet household. Terrier genetics make them a bit snappy with kids that pay rough and a high prey drive and bossy attitude that come from lack of socialization don’t make them a favorite with other dogs or cats.
Common Health Problems
Some people naively believe that every crossbreed is inherently healthier than a purebred, all because of the concept of hybrid vigor. This concept proposes that hybrid offspring is more resilient and healthier than its parents. Unfortunately, the idea that designer dogs are true hybrids is not accurate, as it’s not a cross between species but breeds. The key, then, to a healthy designer dog lies in good breeding. A reputable breeder will produce healthy Weshi puppies, but there are still risks that they’ll be prone to health problems that affect their parents.
If the puppy inherits the build or the flat face of the Shih Tzu parent, brachycephalic syndrome and canine disk disease could be potential issues. On the other hand, West Highland White Terrier is prone to diabetes, allergies, Krabbe’s disease, Craniomandibular Osteopathy, and Legg-Calve Perthes disease.
The average life expectancy for the Weshi is between 12 and 15 years.
The Weshi might be small, but he has a lot of energy! These dogs are active, lively, and very curious. They love to sniff around and chase after tiny critters- a remnant of their vermin-hunting roots. Naturally, owing to their compact size, the Weshis are not high-maintenance dogs when it comes to their activity needs. On average, 40 to 60 minutes of deliberate exercise will be more than enough to keep them fit and content.
Daily walks and engaging playtime are the best combination for the Weshi. This way, you keep their mind and body occupied. You see, while the physical exercise is an important part of Weshi’s daily routine, so is mental stimulation. These dogs can quickly get bored and destructive, so make sure you put their smart little brains to work when they’re alone. Puzzle toys are a great way to “work out” your dog’s brain and keep them entertained at the same time.
Weshis are not high-maintenance dogs when it comes to their activity needs.
The American Kennel Club and other major canine organizations don’t recognize designer dogs, including the Weshi. This hybrid is recognized by American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Dogs Kennel Club, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry.
The Weshi is a mixed breed dog and his appearance is the most unpredictable thing about him. Some puppies in the litter could look exactly like one of the parental breeds, and others could boast a little bit of both. In terms of their coat, there won’t be guarantees- but it’s highly likely that your Weshi puppy will have a medium-long hair that sheds moderately. The quality of the coat will depend on the parents- West Highland White Terrier has coarser hair and the Shih Tzu flaunts soft long locks. When it comes to the coloring, the most common are white and cream, although bi-color coats are also possible, with combinations of black, brown, or grey to contrast the white base.
As for Weshi’s grooming requirements, they are not demanding. Brush them a few times a week to keep their hair tangle free and shiny, and bathe only when they need it.
The mom of the mix is always the West Highland White Terrier, as they’re the bigger breed, so litter size for the Weshi is between 3 and 5 puppies. There will be differences between littermates, but not in one thing: cuteness. Weshi puppies are insanely adorable, but mischievous, as well, so you should start training and socialization as early as possible. This way, you ensure your adorable little pup grows up into a well-behaved, friendly pet.
Photo credit: dirke3/Shutterstock; Single/Shutterstock; W_NAMKET/Shutterstock
A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.
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