West Highland White Terrier Club of America

Quality Westie

I’m pleased and excited to announce a new event and title for Westies. The WHWTCA Board recently approved the Quality Westie (QW) program for implementation in 2015, with the goal that the first live event will be held at Montgomery in 2015.

Quality Westie is meant to provide a new and useful way for Westie breeders and owners to recognize and document Westies that meet the breed standard, and enable breeders to focus on producing Westies with proper type and exhibiting proper temperament and soundness, and maintain and protect the future of Westies.

The keys to the Quality Westie program are:

WHO: Evaluation of whether a Westie meets the breed standard by a panel of 3 experienced and knowledgeable Westie breeders.

WHAT: A written and signed document by the evaluators given to the owner, plus a certificate from the WHWTCA for those Westies who pass.

WHERE: Separate venue and date from any AKC conformation show.

WHY: Simple, useful method to recognize quality Westies for breeders and owners.

NOTE: This entire process is held within the WHWTCA, and no other organization is involved at all. The evaluation is a NON-COMPETITIVE event.

Why is this event created?

There is evidence of growing frustration with the time, cost and complexity of the current competitive process of identifying quality dogs. Many members feel that there is undue emphasis on presentation and showmanship, and a decreasing focus on breeding to the standard.

Several other breeds have developed formal, non-competitive breed standard assessments and titles. Arguably, one of the best and well-documented programs is the Certificate of Conformation Assessment (CCA) program of the Golden Retriever Club of America, which was established in 2004. Approximately 2,265 Goldens achieved the CCA title as of the end of 2013. There is a wealth of information on the CCA program at www.grca.org/events/CCA.

The Quality Westie program is largely based on the Golden CCA program.

Who will be the QW Evaluators?

9 to 12 experienced and knowledgeable Westie breeders will be in the initial group of evaluators.

All evaluators must be members of the WHWTCA for a minimum of 10 years and have bred at least 5 Westie litters.

All evaluators must have finished at least 1 Westie by themselves to an AKC championship.

At least 1 member of every 3 person evaluation panel must also be a current AKC approved Westie breeder-judge.It’s possible that there will be two (or even all three) Westie breeder-judges on the evaluator panel.

After the initial year of QW events, more evaluators could be nominated by club membership. The top 12 vote getters would be selected as the evaluator group for future events.

The WHWTCA Board selects the evaluation panel for Montgomery. Panels for QW events at the Roving and any regional specialties are selected from the approved evaluator group by the hosting clubs.

How does the evaluation process work?

  1. Evaluation event & entry form advertised in Imprint, website, chat room, and social media.
  2. Entry form and fee sent to WHWTCA. At Venue:
  3. 3 tables in evaluation space; 3 dogs evaluated simultaneously by the three evaluators.
  4. Each evaluator examines each dog individually, and records on score sheet while evaluating dog.
  5. After dogs are evaluated for structure, the 3 dogs are gaited individually and together & evaluated for movement and “mingled” for temperament. Movement and structure are very closely related; generally, you don’t have good movement and poor structure and vice versa.
  6. Dogs are excused from evaluation space. Evaluators then sit at a table & write their evaluation of each dog on the score sheets in triplicate, and sign the sheets.
  7. Copy of written & signed evaluations given to owner. Copies also to evaluator and WHWTCA. If dog has passed, QW certificate from WHWTCA mailed later.
  8. Next group of 3 dogs enters evaluation space.
  9. Estimate that evaluation process for each group of 3 dogs will take ~ 45 minutes: - 10 minutes table evaluation for each dog x 3 evaluators. - 5 minutes for gaiting and “mingling”. - 10 minutes for evaluators to complete evaluation sheets.
  10. Estimate that 24 dogs could be evaluated in a one day session (9 am - 12, 1 pm – 4 pm). 3 dogs/session x 8 sessions.

Note: Dogs entered are to be at least 18 months old. Dogs are to be presented neat and clean. No need for show grooming. No foreign material in coat. No professional handlers, unless they are the sole owner of the dog and have been so for at least a year.

How are the dogs scored?

To achieve Quality Westie, dog must obtain a score of 75 or greater from three different evaluators (can be from more than one event). No category can be scored less than a 5 to attain the passing score of 75.

10 categories to be scored; 10 points in each category:

  1. General appearance
  2. Size, proportion, balance, substance (incl. bone)
  3. Head: skull, muzzle, ears, eyes, expression
  4. Bite: 6 incisors upper and lower, level or scissors bite
  5. Neck, topline, ribs, chest, tail and tail set
  6. Forequarters: shoulders, upper arms, elbows, front angulation, front legs and feet
  7. Hindquarters: thighs, hocks, rear angulation, feet
  8. Coat and color
  9. Gait
  10. Temperament

Quality Westie Event Planning:

The goal is to have the first live QW event at Montgomery, 2015. The QW event will be held either on Wednesday of Montgomery week, or on Monday (the day after the Montgomery show).. Much of 2015 will be spent in educating and clarifying the breed standard to the entire club membership, plus evaluator training and consensus-building (to try to reach as much agreement as possible on category weightings and scoring).

Key Benefits of the Quality Westie Program:

  1. Provides an opportunity for a very significant focus, clarification and understanding of the standard of the WHWT for all WHWTCA members as well as owners of Westies.
  2. Provides the opportunity for all participants (especially breeders) to get an in-depth written and signed expert opinion on how their dog measures up to the standard from three very experienced and knowledgeable Westie breeders (including at least one AKC approved Westie breeder-judge among the evaluators).
  3. Provides an excellent opportunity to produce camaraderie among participants and attendees outside of the ring. Meet with fellow breeders and discuss potential breedings, what you need to improve your line, progeny, etc.


The major reason for developing the QW program was to encourage much more emphasis and focus on producing Westies that truly meet the standard. Please note that the QW program is NOT meant to change or replace the AKC conformation shows or the Champion title. People are free to pursue showing in conformation shows the same as always. QW simply provides an additional way to identify quality Westies for those people who prefer the method afforded by the QW program.

The QW program is not perfect, but I hope it’s a positive move towards improving the breed. I hope that future additions/improvements to the program will include health, and a stronger, more explicit measure of good temperament.

Wayne Kompare