Grooming styles for a westie

Updated November 21, 2016

The West Highland White Terrier, or westie, is a small hunting terrier that originated in Scotland. The West Highland name was first adopted by the Scottish Kennel Club in 1904, while the English Kennel Club recognised the breed in 1907. Today, the westie is prized as a friendly companion that still maintains a bit of the hunter. Westies may be groomed in a few different styles.

Westie Cut

The traditional westie grooming style is short on the back with a round head and a lengthy skirt all the way around. The skirt length is roughly three-quarters of the leg length, with a slight angle towards the back legs. The back is normally shaved, using a number five blade and blended into the skirt. The face is full, with the beard beginning right below the eyes. The tail on a proper westie cut is short and should resemble a carrot.

Puppy/Summer Cut

West Highland White Terriers are sometimes groomed in puppy and summer styles. The puppy clip is traditionally a poodle cut, with an even length throughout. This is normally accomplished with a number three blade. Summer clips are similar, but shorter. Most groomers use a number five or number seven blade for summer clips, depending on the desired length. The head on both puppy and summer clips is the same as the traditional westie cut, but is cut shorter.

Schnauzer Cut

The schnauzer cut, although similar to other cuts, has a tighter head, shorter skirt and a smoother back. Although both breeds are terriers, a schnauzer cut does not make the westie look like a schnauzer, as the schnauzer's beard and eyebrows will not be as defined on a westie. The schnauzer cut features a short skirt, which tapers as it reaches the hind legs, the face is clipped close, especially on the top and back of the neck. For the closer shaving on schnauzer cuts, a number seven blade is commonly used.

Hand Stripping

Show grooming on westies is done by hand stripping. This grooming style is done without clippers and reflects a more natural style for the breed. When hand stripping a westie, all of the dead hair is pulled from the dog, which shapes the dog's grooming style in the process. A stripping tool may also be used to groom in this fashion. The result is a stiffer hair style that is not as refined as those done with clippers.

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About the Author

A native of New Haven, Conn., Floyd Drake III began writing in 1984. His work has appeared in the "New Haven Register," Medford's "Mail-Tribune" and the "Ashland Daily Tidings." Drake studied journalism at Southern Connecticut State University. After working as a reporter in Oregon, he is now based back home in New Haven.