West Highland White Terrier Grooming

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Grooming Your Westie

By Colleen Riley

West Highland White Terrier
Curaga/iStock

Springtime is the right time to groom your West Highland White Terrier, 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. Professional dog groomers typically do hand stripping for show dogs. However, experienced owners can opt to do it too. With that said, most people prefer to have their Westies clipped.

Different Hairstyles for Westie Terriers

There are several popular Westie hairstyles to choose from. You can opt for the iconic Westie cut: a full round face, 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. With the puppy cut, the hair is shorter and the same length all over the head and body. There are also less common styles, such as the 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.

How to Choose the Right Haircut

Here are a few things to consider before choosing a specific cut. Before you decide to clip or strip your Westie, look closely at her 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 of time to brush their hair out afterwards.

RELATED: Clipping Your Dog's Nails

Nail Trimming

Regardless of the hairstyle, it’s very important to keep your dog’s nails trimmed nice and short. West Highland White Terriers 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. With these grooming tips, you and your dog should be able to enjoy the good weather together.

You may also like: How to Groom a Poodle

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