West Highland White Terriers, fondly called Westies, are generally low maintenance. Although these cute, small-sized dogs have double coats, they don’t shed much. Still, they need coat brushing/ hand stripping once or twice weekly and a bath three to four times a year.
So, how about coat trimming? How often should you clip their coats?
A Westie’s undercoat is soft and dense, while the outer coat has harsh, wiry hair that grows to about two inches long. It’s crucial to clip the coat every four to eight weeks, depending on your pet’s lifestyle and your ability to maintain longer locks in-between clipping.
Are you eager to chop your Westie’s coat but don’t know where to start? Here is a list of five awesome haircuts to give your furry friend a fresh, neat, and flattering look.
Top 5 Westie Haircuts
1. The Show Dog Cut
Do you have a show-quality West Highland White Terrier, or do you want your pet to look like it’s straight from a show ring? As the name suggests, the Show Dog Cut is the official Westie hairdo approved by the American Kennel Club for professional show dogs.
To get it right, start with the head and trim the fur to give your dog a lovely round-shaped face. You then need to clip the fur on the shoulders and neck short while leaving the hair on the back and sides around two inches long.
Also, the hair on the legs and belly area must measure about four inches. The final step is to hand-strip the coat to keep the long fur straight and free of signs of fluffiness.
Although super cute, the Show Dog Cut is a challenging hairdo to achieve and maintain. Unless you are genuinely good with your clippers and can meet the exact standards prescribed by the AKC, it’s better to rely on the expertise of a professional groomer.
2. The Regular Westie Cut
The Regular Westie Cut almost resembles the Show Dog Cut. However, compared to the Show Dog Cut, the Regular Cut is easier to achieve and requires relatively lower maintenance.
The primary tool you need to achieve this cut is a pair of sharp clippers and a stripping comb. Start by combing out the undercoat to ensure it’s neat and tangle-free. Then, trim short the furs on the back and the shoulder.
You must also chop the fur on the body, legs, and tummy area to a medium, more manageable length. Just ensure it appears considerably longer than the hair on the back and shoulders and showcases your dog’s cute curls. For the head, you only need to do a basic trimming to achieve a round, fluffy look.
3. The Puppy Cut
The Puppy Cut is a medium-trim hairdo. It’s a staple for small dogs and a good choice for pet parents who don’t want to deal with matted fur in between grooms.
To give your dog a Puppy Cut, you must chop the body fur to a uniform length of 1 to 1.5 inches. Also, skillfully use your clippers to give your pet a round-shaped head, but cut the hair shorter around the eyes and muzzle.
Depending on your skill level, getting a little enthusiastic with your trimmers to give your furry friend a personalized look is perfectly okay. For instance, leave the face and legs fuller to give your pet a teddy-bear-inspired look. You can also modify the hairdo into a lamb trim by keeping the fur on the face and body about one inch.
4. The Short Summer Cut
If grooming is not your favorite part of pet ownership, or you don’t find your dog’s mat-loving coat appealing, the Short Summer Cut is an excellent hairdo to consider. It’s perfect for the warmer months when a heavy coat can feel too uncomfortable for your Westie.
This simple haircut involves making your dog’s coat more lightweight by chopping it down to a maximum of half an inch.
There are no hard rules when it comes to the Short Summer Cut. Depending on your preferences or your pet’s personality, you can modify the cut to make it more upscale than a lamb trim. Just leave the fur longer around the ears, tail, or legs.
This cut works on all Westies, irrespective of age. However, beware that it can give older dogs puppy-like aesthetics, especially if you cut all the face fur short.
5. The Natural Style
If you like when your Westies coat has more body and bounce, the Natural Style will entice you. It involves embracing your dog’s natural curls but doing the hard work needed to keep its coat in tip-top shape.
To achieve this style, you must keep things neat around the eyes and muzzle. Trim the fur around these areas short, and voila! The coat-shaving step is done.
Next is to use a pin brush to dig into the undercoat to remove any mats and tangles. The outer coat will also need keen attention to ensure it is flawless. This style requires a lot of maintenance, and brushing your dog’s coat daily is necessary to keep it looking tidy.
The 5 Steps for Giving Your Westie a Haircut at Home
Giving your Westie a cute haircut can seem challenging, especially if you are a first-time pet parent. It is natural to worry about safety and efficiency, especially if you doubt your shaving skills or are giving your pet its first at-home hairdo.
One of the surest tricks to ensure everything goes as planned is to remain calm and relaxed because your doggo will match your energy and remain calm too.
Here are the steps to ensure a safe and smooth grooming session.
1. Gather Your Supplies
To ensure safety and keep your dog still throughout the session, gather all the necessary supplies. Also, it is important to set them in a quiet location away from distractions.
2. Shampoo and Dry the Coat
It is essential to shampoo your dog’s coat before shaving it. Once done, dry the fur completely and dig into it with a comb or brush to remove any tangles and mats. Offer treats, take a potty break, and then restrain your furry friend using a dog collar.
You must not underestimate the need to limit your dog’s movements when clipping its hair. Moving around too much can cause safety concerns, irrespective of the hairdo you intend to achieve. Westies have trouble remaining still for too long, and you cannot rule out the chances of your pet resisting the shave or getting too excited and trying to escape.
3. Careful Choose the Equipment to Use
Most pet parents find clippers easier to use. However, they are not practical for use in all areas of your dog. While you can use them on the body, you must switch to using shears or scissors when trimming fur on the face, feet, and tail.
4. Begin With the Sensitive Spots
Westies are notorious for being impatient. Even a well-trained dog can quickly get distressed if a grooming session lasts more than 20 minutes.
To be safe, start with sensitive spots like the hips, thighs, and underarms. Depending on what works for you, you can then proceed to the face and then the rest of the body or vice versa.
Also, if the Westie haircut you want involves giving your dog a close shave on specific areas, be sure to shave along the grain. This will ensure you achieve clean cuts and leave your pet looking its best.
5. Be Patient
During the grooming session, constantly check on your dog’s body language. You know it best and can tell when it is anxious, irritated, or stressed. Take a short break before proceeding if you see any signs of distress.
Generally, it is vital to know the limits. Continuing to use sharp tools close to your doggo can be potentially hazardous, especially if it is anxious. Sometimes, dogs don’t cooperate despite their owner’s good intentions. Don’t beat yourself over it, even if your furry friend needs a longer break.
Be patient and try again next time.
For dogs like Westies, their coats are among their most prized features that demand substantial care and attention. Although coat trims are a crucial part of proper grooming routines, they also offer a way to keep your doggo looking trendy and comfortable based on the season.
We were keen to cover a mix of Westie haircuts, including short, long, and medium-length hairdos. Still, we highly recommend tinkering around with different cuts to create a unique signature look for your furry companion.
Just ensure you carry a barrel full of confidence before the coat trimming sessions because a new cut has 50/50 chances of being a hit-or-miss!
Featured Image Credit: corners74, Shutterstock