West Highland White Terriers (Westies) are some of the most popular dog breeds out there which comes as no surprise given their out of this world cuteness. One of the best things about Westies is that grooming them is basically the grown-up version of playing dress-up with your dolls. This breed has a unique complex coat that’s hard and wiry on the outside but is soft and dense underneath which is why they require regular brushing and grooming.
Their distinguished coats make them well suited for a variety of hairstyles and we’ve gathered some of the most common ones for you to choose from. If you think it’s time to pamper your dog after a long day of chasing squirrels, take your pick from the following list and head to the groomer.
The Puppy-Style Cut
Puppy-style cuts are intended for little Westies but who’s to say you can’t make your grown Westie look younger. Lifelong Westie lovers at WestieVibes believes that the puppy cut is one of the easiest options when it comes to grooming your Westie. This cut mimics the more uniform, short coat of a Westie puppy which reduces the amount of time it takes to groom and strip your Westie’s coat.
For the puppy cut, the hair on the body, legs, and chest is trimmed to around 1-1.5 inches in length, keeping the hair tangle and mat-free. Your Westie’s face can be left as it is or it can be slightly trimmed to a round, even shape to match their short body. Trimming the hair around the mouth can prevent eating stains that usually stand out on the Westie’s super white coat.
The Show Cut
This is the go-to style for those fancy Westies competing in professional showings. For the official show cut, the American Kennel Club requires the coat to be hand-stripped for a straight, neat appearance to around 2 inches long on the back and sides and a little shorter on the neck and shoulders while the legs and stomach are left longer to (around 4 inches). The style of the face in this cut really stands out since it’s stripped by hand to an adorable round shape.
If you are considering this style for your Westie, keep in mind that it’s a high-maintenance cut that requires extra care and grooming.
The Standard Westie Cut
The standard Westie cut is probably the most popular for West Highland white terriers, it’s even accepted by the American Kennel Club for appropriate professional showing. This cut is similar to the show cut but it’s slightly shorter which makes it easier to maintain.
For the standard Westie cut, the undercoat is cleaned using a stripping comb or stripping knife to remove any loose parts and the hair on the back and shoulders is clipped with scissors to a short length (around 2 inches) to blend into the fur on the dog’s legs, sides, and stomach that’s trimmed to a longer standard length, usually around 4 inches long.
As for the face, it’s trimmed into a fluffy round shape by stripping any stray hairs while the rest of the coat is cut to follow the natural lines of the body. The hair around the tail and above the eyes is sometimes trimmed for neatness.
The Shaved Summer Cut
In warmer climates or during summer seasons, the shaved cut is often used to keep Westies cool during hot weather and eliminate the need for brushing, at least for a few weeks. The cut is also used to remove knots and tangles without causing the Westie distress in cases where the Westie’s coat becomes extremely tangled and matted.
The coat is shaved to half an inch or less all over the body, legs, chest, and feet while the face can be trimmed to your preference, most dog owners prefer to trim the face to the cute round shape that Westies are known for.
After shaving your Westie’s coat, keep in mind that dirt is likely to cling more to their skin which will require bathing more frequently than normal. Because bathing too often can strip your dog’s essential oils and dry out their sensitive skin, we recommend using a dry dog shampoo to remove stains and odors without water.
Additionally, Westies with a shaved coat may require protection from the elements, you can use sunscreen or clothing to protect their sensitive exposed skin. Consult with your vet if you feel the need to bathe them frequently or if you are unsure about which protective products to use.
The Natural Cut
If you love your Westie’s natural coat just the way it is and are prepared to brush them daily, then there’s no need to have their coat clipped, shaved, or stripped. However, the hair around the eyes will still need to be trimmed so as not to get in the way.
To prevent the fine undercoat from tangling and matting and avoid possible skin problems, daily thorough brushing is a must. If your pup gets dirty or muddy, it’s better to let the mud dry before you brush it out, bathing your dog too often can strip away the essential protective oils in their skin which is likely to cause skin and hair problems.
An added bonus to this cut is that it’s the easiest to care for and maintain at home, considering that all you’ll have to do is keep the coat neatly brushed.
It’s no wonder that Westies are so popular considering how charming, adorable, and fun they are, but while they’re a joy to be around, they do require a bit of work, especially when it comes to their grooming. While this breed doesn’t shed often, they do require regular brushing and stripping to prevent their coats from matting up.
If you think it’s time for your Westie to get a haircut, use this guide for inspiration and enjoy gawking at your incredibly cute pup in their fresh cut. Remember to choose the cut that really showcases your pup’s personality.