West Highland Doxie
About West Highland Doxie
Smart, energetic, and quite the sweetheart, the adorable West Highland Doxie is stealing hearts left and right. In the diverse world of designer dogs, this hybrid stands out for its loving and lively personality, as well as adorable -if completely unpredictable- appearance. These mixed breed dogs have two purebred parents; the Dachshund and the West Highland White Terrier. The combination of these two dogs, which are wildly different at first glance, results in a compact canine companion that has the attitude of a big dog and an outgoing, curious nature.
Owing to his parentage, the West Highland Doxie can be a bit stubborn, so this might not be the best breed for absolute beginners. You’ll have to have some patience to be able to train them, and they must have basic training and socialization to be well-behaved pets.
The looks of these designer dogs completely depend on which parent the puppy favors. The Doxie and the Westie have no similarities in appearance (except small size), so pretty much everything goes when these crossbreeds are in question. Scruffy, long-haired, short-legged, white or tri-colored, you name it- the West Highland Doxie can pull it off. However, even though the unusual combination of parents results in unpredictable looks, there are certain things you can expect with this breed. Read on to find out more about the rare yet popular West Highland Doxie!
Sweet, smart, and loyal to his owners, a West Highland Doxie is a great choice for families of all shapes and sizes.
There’s not much information about how each of the designer dog breeds came to be, West Highland Doxie included. We do know the basics, though, as the phenomenon of hybrid dogs is an extremely popular one- both for good and bad reasons. The majority of dogs we now know as designer breeds had its start sometime in the last 30 years. It all started with the Labradoodle, which was developed by an Australian breeder who wanted to produce a hypoallergenic seeing eye dog by crossing purebreds. When his litter of puppies made a big splash in the world of dogs, a lot of breeders wanted to try out their luck and create a new hybrid dog that would have the same success. The West Highland Doxie probably had the same origin story. Someone wanted a spunky, smart small dog that looks like the combination of a Westie and Wiener Dog, and this adorable designer breed was born.
The West Highland Doxie is the offspring of the Dachshund and the West Highland White Terrier. Even though both of his parents are purebred dogs, this breed is not recognized by the American Kennel Club or any of its international counterparts. After all, in the eyes of big canine organizations, these are still mixed breed dogs- so don’t count on your West Highland Doxie puppy having pedigree papers.
However, even though the West Highland Doxie has no recognition or paperwork to “prove” his worth, his parentage tells you all you need to know. Both the Dachshund and the Westie are breeds with long histories and qualities that have been proven time and time again. The Doxie originates from 16th century Germany, where it was a successful badger hunter before becoming the compact companion and pet we all know and love. Westie, as his full name suggests, had its start in the highlands of Scotland, and this breed also started out as a small game hunter. Even now, when these dogs are bred for the roles of companionship, that tenacity and high prey drive still remain. Naturally, you can expect the mix of these two dogs to inherit those same qualities, too.
Having a healthy, well-balanced diet in place for your pet will help their wellbeing in the long run. Proper nutrition can minimize the risk of many dangerous conditions dogs get with age, such as diabetes, and ensure your pet has a great quality of life. However, there are still some opposing theories as to what constitutes perfect dog food- but the majority of experts agrees that high-quality dry dog food is the best choice.
For your West Highland Doxie, pick a premium brand of kibble that consists from natural, high-quality ingredients that will promote good skin and coat, prevent plaque buildup on teeth and meet all of their nutritional needs. To do so, you must also make sure that the food you’re getting them suits their unique needs, such as age (puppy adult or senior), size, and activity level ( kibble for small breed dogs usually makes an ideal fit).
In addition to choosing a high-grade diet for your pet, you will also have to make sure you are not inadvertently overfeeding them. West Highland Doxie is prone to obesity, as are most small dogs. Even a small weight gain can influence their health, as their petite frames don’t handle extra fluff well. Follow the feeding recommendations from the kibble bag (usually, a cup-cup and a half will do the trick), and don’t free feed them. Split their daily dose of food into two smaller meals- this will also prevent bloating.
With the right approach and a bit of patience, the West Highland Doxie is a highly trainable dog.
These hybrids might be impressively intelligent, but they are still not an ideal match for the dog owner newbie. The reason? All that smarts tend to go to their heads (pun intended) and these designer dogs can develop a stubborn streak that will require an experienced handler. With the right approach and a bit of patience, though, the West Highland Doxie is a highly trainable dog. Once you find their “weak spot” (hint: it’s usually their favorite treat), you’ll have no trouble getting them to become invested in their learning sessions. Rely on positive reinforcement training methods for best results and be consistent with it, and the results will be apparent. However, reward-based training doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be firm and let your pooch who runs the show. West Highland Doxie needs a confident owner who positions himself as a pack leader- otherwise, he’ll go straight to bossy mode.
You should start with basic training and socialization as soon as your new pet arrives home. Regardless of their age, you should start with the basic stuff: walking on a leash, going potty outside, and basic commands such as sit, stay or drop it. If you West Highland Doxie shows promise and likes his training, you can move on to tricks or even train them for some of the dog sports- they sure have the energy and the brain for it!
The West Highland Doxie is a small breed dog. On average, thus hybrid weighs between 12 to 25 pounds.
Since this is a mixed breed dog, a lot about their personality traits will depend on the parents directly. West Highland Doxie can inherit more traits from the Doxie parent or favor the Westie mom or dad more, but he can also end up being a perfect blend of both. Ideally, you would get the chance to meet the parents of the puppy to see what to expect, but if that’s not possible, don’t fret. Even though it might not be apparent at first glance, his two parental breeds share a lot in common, so there are some behaviors and traits you can expect for sure.
Sweet, smart, and devoted to his family, the West Highland Doxie has a friendly, positive attitude when brought up in a healthy environment. Training and socialization directly contribute to their level of openness to strangers or friendliness with kids, for instance. They are a better fit for families with older children as they usually don’t have the patience for toddlers trying to pinch them or pick them up. There are lively, curious dogs, and will love to explore and play around before curling up with you for a session of cuddles before bed.
Coming from breeds who were initially hunters, the West Highland Doxie will have a high prey drive. Sometimes, early socialization with small animals can curb this, but more often than not, these designer dogs will always chase critters who are smaller than them. This is also one of the reasons why you shouldn’t let them off leash in unsecured areas- they would bolt after the first squirrel or bird they see!
Common Health Problems
As it is usually the case with all mixed breed dogs, their health will largely depend on their parents. If the puppy comes from a reputable breeder and had healthy parents, it’s likely there won’t be any major issues to worry about. However, you still need to consider the possibility that your West Highland Doxie could be at risk for two sets of breed-specific issues, owing to his ancestry.
Some of the common health problems that affect the Doxie and the Westie and that could, in turn, affect their offspring, include Krabbe’s disease, craniomandibular osteopathy, canine disk disease, epilepsy, Legg-Calve-Perthes, and eye issues.
The life expectancy for an average West Highland Doxie is between 12 and 14 years.
Even though West Highland Doxie is an energetic, lively dog, he is still not high-maintenance when it comes to his activity needs. After all, how hard can it be for a 20-pound pooch to tire himself out? Of course, even with the fact that most of them can burn off extra energy simply by playing with toys inside the apartment or by having a tug of war with a willing owner, it doesn’t mean they won’t need any exercise at all. On average, 30 to 60 minutes of deliberate exercise will do your West Highland Doxie good. Take them on a few brisk walks or to the doggie park for a healthy dose of zoomies with friends. Either way, you will have to afford them a bit of time outside on a daily basis.
In case you live in a house with a yard where a West Highland Doxie could happily play, make sure everything is securely fenced. Double-check, in fact. These pooches are very smart and tend to be escape artists who find the smallest hole (or make their own) in order to go out to explore on their own.
On average, these dogs need 30 to 60 minutes of daily exercise.
The AKC doesn’t recognize West Highland Doxie as an actual breed. There are some smaller clubs that do recognize this crossbreed, though- including American Canine Hybrid Club, Designer Breed Registry, Dog Registry of America, and International Designer Canine Registry.
There really is no way to predict how a West Highland Doxie puppy will look like. Visually, the Doxie and the Westie are so different that it opens up a world of possibilities for their mixed breed babies, Even across one litter, some puppies could look more like one of the breeds and other could be something in between. Their coats can range between pure white to merle, and their hair can be short, medium, wiry or long- depending on which of the 3 Dachshund types is your puppy’s parent.
Usually, West Highland Doxie has medium long hair and sheds moderately. Grooming is not high maintenance unless the Westie parent prevails- then the white fur requires a bit more upkeep to look its best at all time.
A litter of West Highland Doxie puppies usually has 3 to 5 siblings. Even though it’s highly likely that they’ll all look different from each other, one thing is for certain: you’ll think they’re the cutest thing you’ve seen in your life. To make sure that good behavior and wonderful temperament join their charming appearance on the list of qualities, start with training and socialization as early as possible.
Photo credit: Jana Behr/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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