Why Do Westies Dig? | ( Infographic Included)

Why do westies dig? They were originally bred for hunting, which is why they instinctively dig up the burrows of their prey.

Westie terriers are natural diggers and it can be hard to train them out of this behavior. However, it’s possible to redirect this instinctive behavior by training them to “dig for finds.”

This content takes around 4 minutes to read, but if you are in a hurry, we have included a table of contents to let you see, at a glance, what the content contains.

Please read on to discover the common reasons why west highland terriers dig.

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Why Do Westies Dig Infographic

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West Highland white terriers are high-energy and intelligent dogs. It’s important to provide enough exercise, and mental stimulation and keep them occupied so they don’t develop behavior problems such as digging.

To Hide Food:

If a Westie has a tasty bone, it might try to hide it. This is a common canine instinctive behavior because dogs have been known to bury their food.

One of the reasons dogs bury their food is because they want to protect it from other animals, such as coyotes and other predators, who might try to steal the food. This instinctive behavior helps dogs ensure that they can come back later to complete their meal.

why do westies dig

To Escape:

If your dog is digging under the fence, it’s likely that they are traveling to explore some new territory. This may be because they’re bored and looking for less confined spaces, there is a female dog getting ready to have a heat cycle, or they’re coming over to see if you want to play.

Soil Smells Good:

Some smells in the ground, like fresh earth or mulch, can really appeal to Westie’s sense of smell. This might encourage them to start digging.

Hunt Prey:

This is what Westies were bred to do. If they smell a rat or other vermin underground they will dig to get to it. It’s instinctive to them.

The West Highland White Terrier originated in Scotland and was bred to kill foxes, badgers, otters, and other vermin such as rats.

Preventive Measures:

Dogs naturally like to dig, especially Westies. It is especially true for ratting breeds that like to dig rodents out of the ground. However, if their digging is becoming destructive, you need to redirect that behavior

Providing your pet with their own digging area (e.g. a sandpit or dirt paddock) and toys aimed at their natural urges is an excellent way to keep them entertained and release some of the pent-up energy they accumulate during the day.

If you’re going to plant flowers, vegetables, or other plants always put up a fence first so that your Westie can’t get to them.




Westies are very skilled at digging and it’s a natural, instinctive behavior for them. Digging is often a sign they’re bored or frustrated.

If it becomes destructive, then it’s important to give your dog some toys to chew on or a designated space they can dig in. This will allow them to relieve boredom and work on those natural instincts.


Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only. It may not be construed as medical advice. No action or inaction should be taken based solely on the contents of this information. Instead, readers should consult appropriate health professionals or veterinarians on any matter relating to their pet’s health and well-being. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.

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