If you have a Westie of your own, you should know that these dogs need to be groomed and clipped often to ensure that their hair does not grow over their eyes or paws too much and get caught on everything!
As you can guess, Westies are our favorite dog breed! They are friendly, happy, and lively little dogs with an endearing personality and kind nature. Despite their small size, they were initially bred in Scotland as hunting dogs, who would hunt rats and other small creatures.
As a result, these dogs are very active and fun-loving, which is why we enjoy them so much. What makes the Westie stand out is its distinctive white, raggy coat with a soft undercoat. Their fur can grow quite long, making it easier for dirt and debris to get caught and trapped in it.
In this guide, we’ll go over all you need to know about grooming your West Highland Terrier, including when to cut their hair, when to clip their nails and more.
How Often Should A Westie Be Clipped?
Many dogs don’t require much grooming at all, but Westies are not one of those breeds! They require regular grooming and clipping to prevent the overgrowth of hair.
A West Highland Terrier will need clipping every four to eight weeks, depending on how long you like to keep the coat and how well you groom and maintain the coat in between cuttings.
When Is The Right Time To Cut A Westie’s Hair?
You should be trimming and cutting your Westie’s hair often. It is recommended that you begin grooming your dog from a young age so that they get used to it, and don’t kick up too much of a fuss whenever that time comes around!
Westies need to be brushed and groomed around once a week, so if you start as you mean to go on, you should be able to groom them with no issues, and they won’t be fearful if they have to go for a full groom at a dog grooming salon.
Be sure to use a professional brush or comb often to get out any dirt that has accumulated in the fur. You can use a detangling spray to get out any knots from the fur. It is recommended that you have your Westie’s hair cut every four to eight weeks.
That being said, you should start getting your Westie’s hair trimmed from about 12 weeks of age. This can help get them accustomed to grooming. If you are unsure when the right time is to cut your Westie’s hair, there are some signs you can look out for.
- if the hair has grown so long that it is falling into your Westie’s eyes and affecting their vision
- if it has grown over the paws too much
- if it is dirty, matted, or too thick over the rear end and covering their private parts.
If the hair has grown too long in their sensitive areas, particularly with male dogs, it can become matted and stuck, causing pain and irritation.
Do Westies Need A Lot Of Grooming?
Yes, Westies will need a lot of grooming. It is recommended that you bath your West Highland Terrier anywhere from every four to six weeks to as often as once a fortnight, or even weekly, depending on how dirty they get, or where you walk them. It is important not to overwash your Westie, as they can be prone to skin allergies and sensitivity.
So, if you can spot-clean or rinse instead to avoid frequent bathing, that is even better. Most owners will bathe and fully groom their Westie every two months, but you can, of course, spot clean the coat where needed if you have returned from a particularly muddy or messy walk!
Their ears are not prone to infections like breeds with folded-over ears, but they will need to be checked and cleaned regularly, about once a month, to remove dirt and debris or build up.
How To Groom A Westie?
If you’re ready to groom your Westie yourself, we have a few tips for you. Firstly, keep brushing your Westie every day if possible. Their thick, double coats can quickly become matted, and brushing removes any dirt and allergens that could be present.
You will also need to clip or strip your Westie’s coat regularly. Clipping and stripping are two different things. Clipping is when electric clippers are used to trim the whole coat for a soft, short coat, whereas stripping is when the fingers are used to remove dead hairs from the coat for a coarser, more wavy coat.
Show dog owners prefer stripping, but clipping is far easier to maintain if your Westie is not a show dog. If you want to clip your own dog, then you will need to purchase electric clippers.
Do not use human clippers, and avoid blades with wider teeth as these can be difficult to use on hard to reach areas and can cut your dog when trying to get into delicate areas to trim them. With the clippers, apply a small amount of pressure to get into the fur, but don’t press down hard.
Pay extra attention and be delicate around the ears, face, legs, underbelly and genitals. Go against the growth of the coat for the best results, and follow the direction of the hair. You can use a brush to smooth it out as you go and ensure that you are trimming evenly.
Start with the body, and trim all over, before moving on to the face. When you get to the face, it is best to use dog grooming scissors around the head, ears, jaws, and eyes. Be careful here, and ensure your dog is calm before going in with the scissors.
Then, bathe your Westie to remove any excess fur and dry them. You may need to go over again with the clippers to ensure it is even and smooth. Finally, brush the hair again to remove any excess fur, and you’re all done!
How Often Should You Cut A Westie’s Nails?
Most dogs will not require nail trimmings often. This is because the nails can naturally wear down when walking on harder surfaces such as patios and stone. However, if your dog tends to walk on soft surfaces such as grass, mud, and sand, then you may need to cut their nails from time to time.
The recommended schedule for trimming a Westie’s nails is around every six weeks or so, depending on the dog. Be sure to check the nails often to see if they require trimming. You can trim them yourself with nail clippers, but be careful not to cut too far into the quick of the nail, as this can cause bleeding and sensitivity.
Alternatively, you can use dog nail grinders that can wear down the nail if you are nervous using clippers. If unsure, opt for a professional dog groomer to clip the nails for you! Trimming your Westie’s nails is typically a very cheap service and can be done in a matter of seconds, so if in doubt, go to a professional.
To summarize, Westies need a moderate level of maintenance. Their thick fur means that they need to be clipped around every 4-8 weeks and will need regular brushing and bathing to keep their coats clean and in the best condition.