At Bella Vista, we are very serious about the breeding and the raising of our West Highland White Terrier puppies. Each time a litter is planned, thought and consideration are given to how the puppies will better the breed.
While we strive for correct conformation, all of our Westies must be companions first.
This means that they must have the temperament that allows them to go everywhere and to do everything. Health concerns are also an important consideration since a dog must be healthly to have an active lifestyle, which is a must for our dogs.
Each time we breed a litter, we are looking to keep a puppy. The puppy may live in our home or may be placed with a caretaker to be used in our breeding program.
Bella Vista Westies are born in our bedroom and raised in our home. Puppies are socialized to multiple breeds of dogs and to a wide variety of people. Currently, we own two border collies, a Cesky Terrier and a Sealyham Terrier, in addtion to the Westies. Over the years our Westie shared their home with a variety of breeds including a Scottish Terrier, a Portuguese Water Dog, a Yorkshire Terrier and two Shelties.
Our dogs compete in a wide variety of dog sports, including agility, obedience, rally obedience, tracking, earthdog, barn hunt, tricks, lure coursing, and conformation.
By purchasing a Bella Vista Westie, you have access to our help and assistance with any issue or concern that arises during the life of your Westie.
We strongly encourage you to call or email us with any question you have about training, health, behavior, nutrition or any other issue related to the care of your Westie!
Click each of the headers below to learn more about Bella Vista Westies!
What is a Westie?
The West Highland White Terrier originates from the high country of Scotland. Bred to hunt fox, rats and vermin, this hardy, energetic terrier is highly intelligent and active.
The American Kennel Club describes the breed as: “The West Highland White Terrier is a small, game, well-balanced hardy looking terrier, exhibiting good showmanship, possessed with no small amount of self-esteem, strongly built, deep in chest and back ribs, with a straight back and powerful hindquarters on muscular legs, and exhibiting in marked degree a great combination of strength and activity. The coat is about two inches long, white in color, hard, with plenty of soft undercoat.”
Each year, the Westminster Kennel Club notes: “Possessed with no small amount of self-esteem, the West Highland White of Scotland for the hard and dangerous work of destroying vermin. Though independent in nature, they enjoy participating in Conformation, Agility, Obedience, Rally Obedience, Freestyle, Flyball and Tracking, but their favorite activities are Barn Hunt Trials and Earthdog Tests – designed to test their natural instincts. Life with one of the ‘little white dogs’ is never dull and can be a challenge to the unsuspecting first-time owner.”
To those of us who love this breed, we just revel in their spunkiness and ability to always make us smile.
They are more than dogs, they are a part of our family.
How our Westies are Raised
Although we own a boarding kennel, our Westies and all of our other dogs live in our house — sitting on the sofa, taking turns sleeping in bed and patrolling the yard for vermin. Bella Vista Westies have a strong natural hunting instinct. They excel at both barn hunt and earth dog and need fencing or a leash to keep them out of trouble; since if it is a choice between chasing a squirrel or rabbit or listening to a human, the squirrel/rabbit option will win out every time!
We begin crate-training the puppies at 6 weeks old. The first stage is to have the puppies sleep in the crate with one or more of their litter mates. Eventually, the puppies are separated and place in their individual crates. In the beginning of this process, the puppies are all crated in the same room. By the time the puppies are ready to leave our home and move into their new families, the puppies are used to sleeping alone in their crates. Our dogs see their crates as their special space. We strongly encourage the use of a crate for house training and travel.
At 7 weeks old, the puppies are temperament-tested. The testing is done by an individual that has not had any contact with the puppies prior to the evaluation to remove any possible bias. The puppies are tested for noise sensitivity, social attraction, touch sensitivity and social dominance. This evaluation helps us to place each puppy into an appropriate home.
At 8½ to 9 weeks old, our puppies receive their first health screening by a licensed veternarian. This includes testing for parasites and the administration of the first vaccine. The protocol we follow for vaccinations has been developed by Dr. Jean Dodd and accepted at 27 schools of veterinary medicine. We share this detailed information with all individuals who purchase a puppy. It is our goal to keep our puppies healthy and to avoid any possible auto-immune disorders related to the over-administration of vaccines. Once the puppies have had their first vaccine at 8½ to 9 weeks, they are taken to dog training classes, dog shows and other public locations. We make sure the puppies are handled by as many people as possible and are exposed to many different indoor and outdoor environments.
While we are always excited to place a puppy into a show or a performance home, we understand that not everyone is interested in dog sports — although we are not sure why! If you think you might be interested in learning more about any dog sport, please let us know. If you live in the area, we would be happy to mentor you and your Westie. If you live outside of our area, we can help connect you to other Westie owners.
Bella Vista West Highland White Terriers History
Bella Vista was established in 1984 with the breeding of our first litter of West Highland White Terriers.
As of Jan. 1, 2016 these limited breedings had produced Westies that have earned:
As of October 1, 2019 these limited breedings have produced Westies that have earned:
12 AKC Championships (3 owner-handler finished)
3 United Kennel Club Championships
2 Canadian Kennel Club Championships
3 AKC Versatile Companion Dog Level 1 Titles
1 AKC Versatile Companion Dog Level 2 Title
25 Versatile Dog Awards from the West Highland White Terrier Club of America
4 Versatile Dog Excellent Awards from the West Highland White Terrier Club of America
2 Master of Versatility Dog Awards from the West Highland White Terrier Club of America
Multiple titles in performance and companion dog activities including Barn Hunt, Earth Dog, Agility, Tracking, Freestyle, Obedience and Rally Obedience
Westie Purchase Forms
These are copies of the forms you will sign on-site when you purchase a Westie from Bella Vista. They are for reference only; you do not need to print them or fill them out in advance.
Bella Vista’s Rainbow Bridge: Beloved Westies of the Past
Time with our dogs is too short…
Here are the ones that have left us; they may be gone, but they will never be forgotten. They have helped make Bella Vista what it is today and we are very grateful for having the opportunity to share our lives with them.
Alexis of Daisy Valley CG, JE
Alexis was our first Westie and will always hold a special place in our hearts. Because of her, we fell in love with the breed and all things terrier!
Bella Vista’s Flying Solo VCD-1, SE, AX, OA, AXP, AJP, NAC, NJ-V
Amelia (a.k.a. Critter) was the Westie that introduced us to the sport of agility. Because of her, our lives will never be the same! She was the Westie behind the Bella Vista Training Center.
CH Bella Vista’s Avalanche Lily JE, CDX, NA, UCD, RL-1
Ava taught us that it is OK to be both smart and pretty. People will love you for who you are – not who you think you should be! She was the first AKC Champion bred by Bella Vista.
CH Dawn’s Sabella Vanilla CG, CD, JE
Bella was our first show dog and AKC Champion. She opened the door to the sports of conformation, earthdog and obedience. Her Certificate of Gameness was the first title earned at Bella Vista.
CH Bella Vista’s Oh Yes He Does CD, JE, RAE, AX, OAJ, MXP, MJP, UACHX, RL1-X2, RL2-X2, RL-3, ARCHX, RL-V, OAC, NJC, NGC, O-TN-N, S-TG-N, NAC-V, FDX-MF, SSFDX-MF
No words can express the joy that we received as a result of sharing our life with this wacky boy. He taught us to laugh at life and to enjoy each minute. As you can see from his extensive list of titles, he was the best! His freestyle, agility and obedience antics will live in our hearts forever. He was the heartbeat at my feet and he is missed every single day.
CH Dawn’s Hole N’ One ME, NA
Chrissy was our first Master Earthdog. She loved everyone and everyone loved her.
CH Bella Vista’s Expletive! ME, RE, NAP, NJP
In addition to these AKC Titles, Cuss earned a variety of agility titles in TDAA and NADAC agility, Musical Freestyle, WCRL Rally Obedience and at age 12 earned his Instinct and Novice Barn Hunt Titles. Cuss lived up to his name since he always had an opinion and needed to express it. Our home is sadly a little quieter since he passed in September of 2015. Boys are the best!
Bella Vista’s Animaniac SE, RN
Dot was the mother of Cuss and was one of the sweetest girlies ever! A wonderful hunter and a perfect companion. Our 14+ years with her were just not long enough.
Bella Vista’s Indyan Summer SE, CDX, NA
Indy was our independent little girlie. She knew what she wanted and was not afraid to try to get it – whether it was a rat, a cookie or a scratch.
PACH2 Bella Vista’s Erin Go Braghlass CD, RAE, AX, AXJ,MXP12, MXPC,MXJ11,MXJC,PAX3,XF, MXPB, TQXP,T2BP2, ME
Joyce was a once in a lifetime dog. An excellent hunter, a great agility partner, and a very best friend who always wanted to play the game! Her influence remains in our current breeding program.
CH Bella Vista’s Traveling Man
Although Otis left this world way too soon, his genetic makeup continues to have a positive influence in our breeding program.