This section is from the book "Sporting Dogs. Their Points And Management In Health, And Disease", by Frank Townend Barton. Also available from Amazon: Sporting Dogs; Their Points and Management in Health and Disease.
To Colonel Malcolm, C.B., the author is, through the kindness of Our Dogs' Gazette, indebted for the following description of the breed (see Appendix).
" The White West Highland or Poltalloch Terriers are a very old breed of dog in the West Highlands of Scotland, with traditions of two hundred years, and they are known to have existed for at least eighty years certain at Poltalloch, in Argyllshire. It is only of late years that any of them have been publicly exhibited, and this because Colonel Malcolm, C.B., of Poltalloch, felt that it was not just to the West Highlands, and I think, of Scotland, that this ancient breed of handsome hard - bitten dogs should be absolutely ignored by the canine world.
" The Western Highlands of Scotland are not overrun with railways and other means of rapid communication, so showing is both difficult and extra expensive, and the possessors of good dogs of the breed have not hitherto come forward in numbers to show what they have. And this is a breed which must be carefully handled by bench judges, for they are actual working dogs, and it will be a thousand pities if they get spoiled, or, in Mr G. T. Teasdale-Buckell's words, become defiled by scales of points, or degraded by the hunting of the tin-pot at dog shows.
Brace or White West Highland Terriers (Property of Colonel Malcolm, C.B.).
" Colonel Malcolm's views are much as follows:— Dogs should not exceed 18 lbs., nor bitches 16 lbs., in weight. They should be very active, for in power to spring considerable heights they may at times owe their lives in a fox cairn. Heads should be broad, and eyes not closely set. The latter point gives room for the brain pan, and without brains there cannot be much intelligence. The former point provides for the very powerful muscles which enable his dogs to cope successfully with badgers, foxes, otters, etc., in their native fastnesses. He strives also for as light a jaw as may be, contending that the fox is as good a model as can be followed, and against the craze for heavy, or as they are called, 'strong' jaws, that the heads of the cat and otter, both of which animals have a bite of extraordinary power, might almost be called round, so short and so wide are their jaws.
" Another point, practically as yet never looked at by the show-bench judges, is the working coat. Now it is no matter whether the outer coat be hard or soft. It should be long enough first to throw off water with a good shake of the body, and to act as a good thatch to a thick undergrowth of finest down, which will enable the wearer to stand the worst of weather, and for perfection the coat should be strongest on the sit-down portions of the body. Eyes must be dark and nose jet black, and also a good deal of the mouth inside. This dog is as good underground as he is on the show bench. How many champions, I wonder, of other Terrier breeds have killed underground ?"