Thursday, October 2, 2008

Grooming a Westie

From time to time, we have been asked how we groom our Westies. The immediate response would be to find a groomer who does show grooming and let him or her strip the coat! That's the easiest way to go. However, if you are like us, you may want to learn to groom your Westie right at home. We have learned, and have in no way perfected our technique, that it is an art to do it right. We are also learning that like art, different people have different styles. The final appearance of the Westie, at a basic level is the same, but the different styles will be exhibited in the different emphasis on certain features - spikey, blended, short short jacket, etc.

Although stripping the coat sounds harsh, it is ultimately better for the Westie. Generally, Westies do not shed and if you want a healthy coat and skin, the old fur has to be pulled so the new fur has room to grown (out of the same follicle). A long time breeder once told us to remember that Westies came from an area in Scotland where the terrain was rough and wild and the dogs were used for hunting. As they ran across the land, their coat would get caught in the bushes and the fur would come off- nature's own way of stripping these dogs!

Here is a grooming chart to help guide those who want to try their hand at it.

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