A West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is a popular dog breed for many people. Westies are a smart, confident and courageous breed with a double coat of coarse, thick pure white fur, grooming (which includes brushing and clipping your Westie’s nails) is an integral part of keeping a Westie happy and healthy.
In this video, our expert groomer, along with model Alfie, will show you how to properly maintain the hair on your Westies head, which will prevent matting, allow them to see better, and make them stand out from the crowd!
As you can see, Alfie is a typical Westie, with a rather unimpressive trim up top, an elongated nose, and angular head. In this video, you’ll see a regular pet trim, combined with a little bit of spray to give his coat a little bit of extra texture.
The first thing we are going to do, which is a standard for all Westies, is pop a number 10 on and trim the tips of the ears on both sides of the ear. We only considered the tip to be the top third of the ear. Once cut with the Clippers grab a set of scissors to trip the section we just clipped to give it a more natural look.
Use a wide-toothed comb to brush out the fur around the head, pull the hair out, away from the body. Then with a set of scissors trim the ears so that the surrounding hair widens out, curving around the face. Leave about an inch of fur at the base of the ear for a nice rounded look. Don’t forget to trim both sides!
Next, lift the ear up and fold it in half. Use texturizing scissors to get rid of the excess hair that sticks out of line. This way when you lift the ear up you will see hair that comes across the ear. If too much hair remains on the inside of the ear repeat the first step by clipping some more back a little lower this time.
Once you’re happy with the trim on the ears we can begin the fringe! Westies traditionally have some hairs that fan out over the eyes. This hair protects them when they dig. But, as a pet Westie, we can clear that away so you get a better look at their eyes. Use texturizing scissors to give a soft blend, and trim away some of the long hairs around the eyes giving them a clear line of sight. Once happy with the hair around the eyes pull the fringe forward again with the comb.
With a dog that has a short nose comb the fringe down and trim to about halfway along the nose. However, if we did that with Alfie it would still be too long, so, we will trim it a little shorter than halfway. Be sure to leave some length in the fringe, but trim it so that you can see their eyes!
Now that the fringe is complete we can work on the sides of the head. Turn the head to the side. Comb the hair flat. When trimming the side of you westie, you want to work in a semi-circle, with the longest point being in line with the eyes. Start at the jaw, following a curve down to the longest point, then curve back up again to join up with the fur along the ear we trimmed earlier. After trimming be sure to comb down and out, to see if there are any long sections of hair that are hanging down, which will need to be removed. Then comb the fur backwards, and then forwards, being sure to trim any stray hairs that have been missed into shape. This is also the perfect opportunity to give the chin a little tidy.
Check over the sides by fluffing up the fur. I do this by combing the head outwards and up, trimming excess as I go. We want the head to appear almost round, so trim any stray sections. Once I am happy with the look of the sides I may go back and give the top a little shape, but since Alfie hasn’t got much hair we’ll be leaving that as it is today.
Once I am happy with the shape achieved through cutting, I will “chalk-in” the head, we use the chalk to give the coat, thickness and texture. I personally prefer a chalk block as it has a nice surface area. Work the chalk into the coat in a circular motion to prevent matting and discomfort. Then fluff up the hair with a comb, by brushing upwards and out. To keep the shape I’ll give the coat a spray with “super hold spray”. Start at the back of the head, spray a line and then comb upwards. Work section by section repeating the steps, to give the hair volume. Throughout this step, we use positive reinforcement, and a calming tone, as the spray of the bottle may startle some dogs, especially those that aren’t used to it! The chalk and spray that we use during grooming will fall out in a couple of hours, so there is no need to worry.
Now that we have all of the hair standing on end, we are just going to have another look over the shape, aiming for a circle at every angle. Using texturising scissors mould the fur by scissoring around in a circle. Bring the circle up in front of the ears. During this step, you can either hold the ears up or make noises to encourage them to pop their ears up naturally, which works far better. Once happy with the shape, comb the hair forward and spray some final lines of “super hold spray”.
And here we have it, a beautiful textured Westie head! Thank you for looking, and a huge thank you to Alfie!
At Dogs Delight we have lots of experience in grooming Westies, we are a team of highly qualified groomers and we are true dog lovers so your pet will always be treated as one of the family.