The West Highland White terrier, or Westie, is a member of the terrier group recognised by the AKC in 1908. The breed is originally from Poltalloch, Scotland, which is why it was initially known as the Poltalloch terrier. The breed received its current name in 1909 and is best known for the bright-white coat. Regular overall grooming is mandatory if you own a Westie, and you need to pay special attention to the face. Grooming a Westie's face is a delicate task mainly because of the long hair and beard.
Brush your Westie's face with a slicker brush. Check the beard for food, which is likely to stick to this area and form knots. Take your time to carefully disentangle and strip the hair that covers the facial area up to the ears. Switch to a small metal comb and remove all the knots.
Start by trimming the ears. A safe way to do this without injuring your dog is by placing your thumb alongside the ear up to the point where your finger slightly overlaps the skin of the ear. Use pointed scissors to cut the hair as close to the skin as possible. Repeat this move several times until you've achieved the desired result.
Use sharp scissors to trim the hair that covers the area between the ears to obtain an arc. Don't trim the hair too short. Usually the hair on this part should be kept at a length equal to that of the tips of the ears. This underlines the round shape of the Westie's head.
Thin the hair on the sides of the head and the beard before trimming it. Place the thinning shears parallel to the head, pointing in the same direction as the muzzle; then snip and gently pull away the hair without ripping it. Strip the hair on the jowls by gently pulling it with your hand and stripping comb following the hair's growing direction. Use sharp scissors to shorten the hair.
Trim around the eyes using blunt-nosed scissors. First strip the hair between the temples; then strip or thin the hair between the eyes toward the forehead in order to keep it off the eyes.
Trim the hair short in the area beneath the chin using blunt-nosed scissors. This will prevent food from sticking around this area and forming tangles. Perform a general brushing following a circular motion to complete the grooming session.
Don't use electric clippers when grooming the pet's face. This is only suitable to groom the body. Pay attention not to cut the dog's ears, because they have many blood vessels and will bleed.