West Highland Terriers are spunky, lighthearted, fun-loving members of the Terrier group. They love people and are family-oriented. This fun-loving breed is often also referred to as a “Westie.” They have unique needs when it comes to dog grooming, nutrition, training and care.
Here are some tips and tricks to care for your Westies.
- You should have your him groomed at least once every 6-10 weeks. Look for a professional groomer who has experience grooming West Highland Terriers. Otherwise, your pet could come home looking like a Schnauzer or Poodle.
- It is recommended you have them professionally groomed, but you can also learn how to groom a dog yourself. It is a good idea to have him groomed a couple of times when he is still young. The groomer can work with him and get him used to the grooming routine. You will then be able to see what a Westie should look like. Follow the lines set by your groomer to maintain the look.
- If you decide to groom, here are some basic pet grooming guidelines.
- The back, neck, and sides are stripped or clipped fairly short.
- The fringe around the belly and on the legs is trimmed up, but left long.
- The tail should be held up, and trimmed to a carrot shape, rounded at the tip, and wider at the base.
- When trimming his head, do not clip it short. Simply trim up the long hairs, on the top of the head between the ears. You can accomplish this by combing the hair upward and trimming hairs that stick out longer than the others. You may have to repeat this process a couple times to find all of the longer hairs. Trim and even up any long scraggly hairs on the side of the face and bottom of the beard. Trimming up the long uneven ones will make it look thicker, and give the head a fuller, rounded appearance.
Consult a grooming manual, or seek professional advice for more detailed information on grooming your Westie at home.
- Brush at least once a week, with a short bristled brush. This breed has a double coat, with a soft undercoat and a wiry outer coat. Because the outer coat tends to be dry, do not bathe him more often than once every 6-8 weeks.
- Keep the nails short by trimming them every couple weeks. Trim them by holding the paw gently, but firmly in your hand. If you can see the quick (where nail is pink, or turns darker), trim not quite to the quick. If you cannot see the quick, a professional groomer will definitely be able to help you. If you happen to trim into the quick, the nail will bleed; apply pressure for a few moments to make the bleeding stop.
- Trim the hair around the paws, and clip excess hair from the bottom of the paws.
- Trim the hair around the inside of the ears, and wipe them out regularly. A Westie should also have the long hairs trimmed around the tips of the ears to help them stand erect.
- To maintain and monitor general dog health, you should take him to the veterinarian at least once a year for a checkup, heartworm test, and shot update.
- You should always feed your dog a good quality pet food and consult your veterinarian for any specific dietary needs. Proper dog nutrition depends on you feeding him healthy dog food.
- Westies are friendly and easy to train. As part of your dog training exercises, make sure they are socialized from an early age, and allowed as much interaction with the family as possible. They love people and really want to be with them.
- You should give your dog obedience training. At the very least, teach him to come and to stay. In case of an emergency, you may need your dog to stay or come to you. Training a puppy can be difficult, but teaching him these basic commands could save his life.
- A large part of your dog care checklist should be giving him exercise. West Highland Terriers are high-energy dogs. If they do not get enough mental and physical exercise, they can develop destructive habits such as barking, digging, and chewing. Including your pet in everyday family activities, and taking them for a walk will fulfill most of the exercise requirements for this fun loving breed.
Westies are social creatures and enjoy spending time with the family, and being included in activities. It is not a good idea to have them spend a great amount of time alone and separated from human contact. Give them the best pet care possible. Treat them like another member of the family, and they will reward you with lots of positive energy, love and spunk.