Why Do Westies Have Black Skin

Why do Westies have black skin? When too many pigment-producing cells start producing intense dark pigment, you get black spots. This is commonly seen in Westies, particularly in Black Skin Disease, or Alopecia X, which is a hereditary condition that affects these dogs.

It’s been found to be caused by hormone imbalance and is most common in male dogs. Despite this, skin problems are the most common health issue in Westies.

This content should take around 4 mins to read. However, if you are in a hurry we have included a table of contents to let you see at a glance what the content is.

Skin Problems In Westies:


Westies are tough dogs, but they have one weakness; allergies. Allergies can lead to skin irritation and in severe cases, sores or contact dermatitis. Extremely itchy skin leads to the dog scratching and chewing until it is red and raw, making the situation worse.

It may be hard to tell which dog allergies are due to the environment and which are not. Food allergies typically happen all year long but environmental ones will only happen seasonally. It can depend on the specific situation.

Unfortunately, food allergies can cause skin lesions all over their body and may lead to vomiting, diarrhea, or paw chewing lesions on the belly. Environmental allergies can also cause skin lesions on your dog’s back.

Yeast Infections:

Westies are naturally more susceptible to Yeast infections. This can happen if the animal’s skin is damaged by scratching, for instance from allergies or a minor wound.

Malassezia, a yeast found in the Western regions, is a common complication of skin conditions. It can cause hair loss, intense itching, and crusty oily skin. The majority of dogs have it, but in many cases, it does not result in any symptoms or infection.

This health issue usually progresses over time and can be managed with topical hydrocortisone cream and ear medication such as gentamicin.

Hot Spots:

Hot spots are small round red patches on the skin that can occur after a dog has scratched an area of skin. They are associated with bacterial infections in the skin and some dogs will pull their fur out around these areas as they become agitated.

If a hot spot is caused by an infection, your dog may need to be given oral antibiotic treatments to clear the infection and aid in healing. Some cases of hot spots take a while to fully heal.

why do westies have black skin

Dry Skin:

Westies experience problems with dry skin since they are a breed with a unique type of coat. Solutions can be difficult and time-consuming to pursue so it’s important to take preventative measures.

Dry skin can be easily solved. Your vet will prescribe a medicated shampoo with intensive moisturizing and suggest supplements to improve your pet’s general skin health.

Hyperplastic Dermatosis:

Hyperplastic dermatosis is a condition that only occurs in Westies. It isn’t very common but can be a severe and debilitating condition.

It is inherited as a predisposition but needs to be triggered by allergies or yeast for it to start.

Symptoms can vary significantly, but they typically start off as just mild and then gradually worsen. The skin becomes bumpy and scaly, very dry, and loses fur


Your dog might have black spots which could be due to aging. This is the same problem humans experience, but over time you may notice that these marks are becoming more noticeable and darker in color

As your pet gets older, the number of spots and their extent will grow. It’s important to groom them regularly to rule out any signs of illness.

Typical age spots for Westies won’t have a scaly appearance, or an odor. They will only appear on the skin and not in other places.


The West Highland Terrier:

why do westies skin turn black

Westies are a Scottish breed of dog that has been popularized in the United States. West Highland White Terriers, as they are called in Scotland, were originally bred to hunt and kill rats in the textile mills.

They are now popular pets for people who live in apartments or homes with little outdoor space.

Westies are known for their white coat, which is usually either rough or smooth-coated. They have a small head, prick ears and a long tail that curls up over their back. They also have a large chest and muscular legs.

The westie was developed from terriers that were brought to Scotland by English settlers during the 18th century. It is descended from the same lines as the Skye terrier and Cairn terrier breeds of dogs



There are various reasons for allergies and black skin and one can be a yeast infection, which typically requires oral medication. Another is aging, where the pigment cells in their eyes naturally die and release pigment onto the retina resulting in small colored specks.

Finally, the allergy could be a food allergy to something in their food that triggers an overreaction from their immune system.

Once you have identified the cause of your West Highland Terrier’s symptoms, then knowing the best treatment is easier. Above all, knowing how to properly care for your dog will ensure that it can live a long and healthy life.

Westies are generally tough and healthy, but some exceptions may apply. As explained, they can be more prone to skin conditions or disorders.


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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