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5 Adorable Westie Haircuts You Can Try At Home (With Pictures)

Kathryn Copeland

By Kathryn Copeland

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, is one of the most charming, adorable, and affectionate little dogs out there. They are a joy to spend time with and care for, but when it comes to grooming, a bit of work is involved. They have the typical terrier coat of relatively tough and wiry hair that requires frequent brushing.

For this reason, many Westie owners opt to have their dogs groomed regularly, choosing from five popular styles for these dogs.

Here, we give you an overview of each of these cuts and how to go about keeping their coat healthy and looking great.

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The 5 West Highland White Terrier Haircuts

1. The Show Cut

west highland white terrier dog standing outdoors
Image Credit: YAN WEN, Shutterstock

This haircut is the quintessential cut for Westies competing in the ring. The AKC standard states that a Westie’s coat must be 2 inches but a little shorter on the neck and shoulders and slightly longer on the stomach and legs.

The hair on the head is hand-stripped (plucked) to give it a round appearance. The overall coat is wiry and not soft but kept straight and hard. This cut is high maintenance and requires frequent trims and attention.


2. The Westie Cut

west highland white terrier dog
Image Credit: rebeccaashworth, Shutterstock

This cut is similar to the show cut but somewhat shorter and easier to maintain. It is also accepted by the AKC for showing.

The hair on the legs, stomach, and sides is left longer but cut to the same length, and the back and shoulders are cut shorter. The head just receives basic trimming for a round and fluffy style.


3. The Puppy Cut

west highland white terrier
Image Credit: anetapics, Shutterstock

This is a popular cut for many small breeds, partly because it’s cute, but it’s also easier to maintain. The entire coat is cut to 1 to 1.5 inches in length, and you can choose almost any style for the head: Keep it long and fluffy or trimmed closer to the skull.

It is generally a good idea to keep the hair around your Westie’s mouth trimmed to help avoid the staining that most white dogs are prone to.


4. The Summer Cut

west highland white terrier dog sitting on metal bench at the vet clinic
Image Credit: Atip Kantajai, Shutterstock

This easy-to-maintain haircut that is quite common among Westies. The hair is clipped 0.25 to 0.5 inches over the entire body. The head can be trimmed in any way that you prefer.

With this cut, you won’t have to worry about the whole hand-stripping process and won’t have to brush them all that much. Just do a quick rubdown with a towel or grooming wipes when necessary.


5. The Natural Cut

west highland white terrier dog standing on grass
Image Credit: Nixx Photography, Shutterstock

This isn’t much of a cut, as it’s essentially just leaving your Westie’s coat alone and letting it do its thing. This means no clipping or hand stripping, but it will need a great deal of brushing!

Westies have an undercoat that can quickly become tangled and matted if you don’t brush it often. Their coats will also trap a large amount of debris and dirt when left to grow long, so you should be prepared to groom your Westie every day.

Additionally, if their coat becomes muddy, you’ll have to wait for it to dry and brush it out. Westies do not need frequent baths (every 6 weeks is best), as these will strip their skin of its natural oils, which can lead to skin and coat problems.

Beyond the brushing, this is most definitely the easiest coat to maintain, though you will need to trim the hair from around their eyes from time to time.

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What Is Hand-Stripping?

The Westie has a double coat, with a soft, downy undercoat and a tougher, wiry outer coat. This helps keep them warm and dry when working outside.

Stripping is usually done twice a year, which entails plucking out some of the wiry hair using a tool or just your hands. This helps remove dead hair and encourages the regrowth of a coarser coat.

This process doesn’t hurt the dog, but it should still be done by someone who knows how to do it. Take your Westie to a groomer who is experienced in hand stripping or have someone teach you the right way to do it.

West Highland White Terrier dog on grass
Image Credit: BIGANDT.COM, Shutterstock

Grooming Your Westie

Regardless of how you keep your Westie’s hair, they still need to have their coats looked after. You should invest in a good pin brush and brush them regularly to avoid mats and remove debris. The longer the coat, the more frequently you’ll need to brush them.

These dogs only need baths occasionally, as necessary. Only use a dog shampoo; never use human shampoos, as a dog’s skin has a different pH than ours, and these can irritate their skin.

You can opt for a whitening shampoo for your Westie’s coat to keep it at its brightest. Just ensure that it has moisturizing properties, as their skin tends to dry out easily.

Finding the Right Groomer

If you want to use a groomer rather than do the work yourself, you should ensure that your Westie goes through the grooming process starting from an early age.

If you opt for the natural look, you won’t really need a groomer. However, most other haircuts should be done by someone with experience working with the terrier coat. You can bring pictures of the cut that you’re interested in, so they know exactly what you want. Also, check the groomer’s reviews online. Experienced groomers should have an online presence with reviews from dog owners and photos of their work. Be sure to interview them, as you need to feel comfortable with and confident in your groomer’s skills.

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Conclusion

Maintaining your Westie’s coat is an essential aspect of dog ownership. A dog whose coat isn’t brushed or bathed will become severely matted, which is quite painful.

The Westie’s natural look is adorable and definitely the least expensive option. But the puppy cut and the summer cut are both extremely easy to take care of overall.

Also, brushing your dog’s coat can actually be a bonding experience between you. So, enjoy your time spent with your Westie, as they are an amazing little companion!


Featured Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

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