Tip of the Month

3/11/2013 Grooming Your Westie

Thinking of clipping your Westie?

If you answered yes, springtime is the right time to do so, as it will give her a comfortable amount of hair in the warm days ahead. West Highland terriers can get two different types of haircuts. You can hand strip them or use clippers. Professionals typically do hand stripping for show dogs; however, experienced owners can opt to do it, too. That said, most people prefer to have their Westies clipped.

Cut Style Options

There are several popular styles to choose from. You can opt for the iconic “Westie” cut: a full round face and a long skirt and carrot-shaped tail. However, if you have a busy Westie, it can be a good idea to try a different style such as a puppy cut. The hair is shorter and the same length all over the head and body. There are also less common styles, such as a Scottie or Schnauzer look, particularly around the face.

As mentioned, experienced owners can do hand stripping, which is done without clippers. The dead hair is pulled from the dog’s coat, usually with a special stripping tool. Hand stripping tends to leave the hair feeling stiffer than if clippers were used.

Here are a few things to consider before choosing a specific cut. First, before you decide to clip or strip your Westie look closely at the hair. Does she have sensitive skin or thin hair? If so, you may want your Westie’s coat left a little longer on the top. Does your Westie like to romp and play in the mud? Then you may want her skirt left shorter. This is a practical style for Westies who really like to dig in the dirt and get into mud, since it can take a lot time to brush their hair out afterwards.

Nail Trimming

Regardless of the style, it’s very important to keep the nails trimmed nice and short. Westies have short legs for their stocky bodies. Untrimmed nails can cause them to slip on tile and laminated flooring, and have back problems.

Don’t forget; once your Westie has an appropriate style for warmer weather, an occasional brush or trim may still be necessary. Either way, you and your pet should enjoy the good weather.

By Colleen Riley

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