Down South Westies
Home Of Beautiful, Loving
West Highland White Terriers


Grooming Westies


We use and recommend
supplies for all your puppy needs!


Original Mars® Coat-King - 12 blade (fine)


 Nature's Miracle® Advanced Stain and Odor Remove


Kalaya Emu Oil Shampoo


Super White™ Coat Brightener Shampoo


Four Paws® Brewers Yeast With Garlic


Animal Ear Cleaning Products


Puritan's Pride Logo
Omega-3 Fish Oil Concentrate Gel Caps 


Do you have your Westie groomed several times a year?  Have you ever considered how much you pay annually?  Over approximately 15 years?  You will want to read this! 

Start early with the grooming!

You should start getting your Westie pup accustomed to all the grooming routines from the day your bring him home.  With puppies, you need to keep the grooming time down to two to three  minutes until he gets accustomed to a grooming session.  You need a lot of patience and must give a lot of praise while being firm.  He should be combed out daily.  There is no need for heavy handling a Westie and never shout when things are going wrong.  Being firm and handling your Westie roughly are too different things!  Give lots of praise and take your time.  You will be amazed at how fast they learn.  With lots of praise they will soon start to enjoy the grooming sessions with you.  It is best if you make it a habit of grooming your Westie at least once a week to clip out of place hair and check his ears, increasing the time each week.  Give him a 2-3 minute brush out daily.  Our dogs will all lay down under the grooming table anxiously waiting their turn for grooming.  They love it,  as well as the attention!

Clippering Or Stripping?

For a pet, this is strictly a matter of preference. Stripping is done on show dogs and can be done on pet dogs, but is not necessary. Stripping will make the coat harder and coarser. Clippering will tend to make the coat softer and on many dogs, wavy. Many pet people clip because it is convenient. Unless you strongly prefer the look of a stripped coat, you are likely to clip or have your dog clipped. You can accomplish a very nice "Westie" look on a clippered dog if you or your groomer know what a Westie should look like and have the information on how to accomplish this look. If you take your Westie to a professional groomer be sure he  knows how to groom a Westie and be sure to ask him to sterilize his tools before grooming!  Clippering is easier, takes less time, and will soften the harsh terrier coat.  You can change your mind and let your dog grow out a bit and then handstrip to get the natural harshness back.   It does take several months to accomplish this!

We clippered our Down South Westies for years until we discovered the Mars Coat King.  You can keep a Westie's coat without extreme cuts by using a Mars Coat King, thinning shears, and scissiors. 

Click to view full size image

 Original Mars® Coat-King - 12 blade (fine)

We use the coat king daily.  Rake the tool over every part of the body, including the face and beard.  The tool is only pulling dead hair and does not hurt your dog.  Just be sure to pull the tool in the direction the hair grows naturally. Since we have clippers, we clipper the top third of the ears on the outside and completely clipper the ears on the inside.  Then we take scissors and trim the ears, being sure not to cut the leather and hurt the dog.  Use hemostats to pull the hair from the ear canal.  This does not hurt your dog.  Scissors will also be used to trim the hair between the eyes and nose, paw pads, and shape the legs.  Thinning shears are used to shape the face and legs.  Then scissor the stray hairs to clean up and shape.  When blow drying, brush the leg hair upwards and blow dry upwards so that the hair becomes poofy.  This makes the legs look fuller when dry.  Always use low heat (fan only in summer) to keep from drying the skin.  It takes longer to dry, but you will be glad you did.  Blow dry the beard outward to accomplish the same effect.  It allows the face to look a little poofy and you can then scissor stray hairs and shape.

See Grooming Chart!

Take a look at these before and after pictures of this pup...a little hand stripping and shaping the head.  Notice the ears.

It's fun and challenging doing the research on learning "how" to do your own grooming.  It won't take you long to learn how.  You'll even be grooming your mother-in-law's dog.  After all, if you goof up, it will grow out!


NOTE:  The number one question we have from Westie owners is related to grooming.  Let me tell you what we do and then you decide if grooming is for you.

Grooming Tools

See Grooming Chart!

We use Andis 2-speed Professional Clipper, Stainless Steel Shears,
and the following clipper blades:

Body, back, and sides #4 or #3-3/4
Head, tail, underbody scissor
Ear tips #10


NOTE: Click HERE to see Andis Blade Usage Chart.

If you ever want to clipper your Westie, you will need to purchase a #3 3/4 or #4 blade for the back and sides.  Some use a #5, but that is a little short for us.  The #10 is used for the ears. You will need a hair dryer, but be sure to use warm, not hot.

Body, back, and sides (#3 & 3/4 blade)                  

Head, tail, paw pads, and underbody (Scissor)

Ear tips (#10 blade)

Some like the coat even shorter and will use a #4 or #5.  Remember, if you clipper your Westie, the coat may become wavy and soft.  It is just a matter of what you want.

(2)Stainless Steel Shears    You will want to buy the scissors that feel good to you.  I use this style.  They usually cost around $15-20.  Of course, you can spend $150 or more.  You can buy this pair at JeffersPet or go to some place like Sally Beauty Supply and buy a pair for $15-20.  They will last a long time.  Do not use them for anything else and do not drop them on the floor.  You will use scissors to shape the face, ears, tail, and trim the skirt. Remember to trim the paw pads on the bottom.          

(3)  Thinning Shear    You will use the thinning shears to thin the hair on the face, top of the head, beard, neck, and tail.  The cost is comparable to scissors.           

(4) Grooming Combs  

These combs with metal teeth are easy to hold on to and are easy on your hand.  They are inexpensive.

(5)  Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush   This brush is good for brushing the leg hair up and blow drying at the same time.  To brush up while drying allows the leg to have that full look after drying and combing/brushing out.  Never use the heat setting on the dryer.  Always dry with cool or "very low" heat to keep from drying out the skin.  I personally like the small brush.    

Hint:  You should brush you Westie daily.  It only takes 2-3 minutes and you never have to worry about the coat matting.  Shame on you if you let that happen!  Grooming your dog daily will teach him to be patient while you brush him out.  Our dogs love to be brushed out.  They lay under the grooming table awaiting their turn.  You don't even need a grooming table.  Put a large towel on the washer or dryer, and get going! 

(6)  Grooming Table       If you have a lot of money, go for it!  There is nothing like having a place to groom your dog and be first class in the process.    

Hint:  At least once a week, be sure to clean their ears.  Use a good ear cleaner and Q-tips or cotton balls.  It is best to use a cleaner with a drying agent that keeps down moisture in the ears.  Remember, never poke into the ear canal.  Only clean around the ear.  You can also use gauze.  Squirt some cleaner on it, wrap around your finger, and clean the ear canal.  That way, there is no danger of hurting your dog. You can squirt the ear cleaner into the ear canal, and then massage the ear canal on the outside of the ear.  When you get finished massaging (most dogs love this), he will shake his head.  This is very important.  Skin problems can be caused because of ear mites.  If your dog scratches, shakes his head, check him out.  If in question, take him to the vet.  Ear mites turn into infections.  Many times, when that happens, ear infections become chronic for years to come.  Heed this hint!

(7)  Nail Care    I use a Dremel tool for nail care.  It is important to do it lightly every couple weeks to keep the nails short. Walking your Westie down the street helps help nails short as well. If you ever cut a nail to the quick, your Westie will run when they see the nail clippers.

(8) Nail Scissors     Click to view full size imageThe scissor type clippers work well with puppies.  You will want to get the guillotine type for your adult dog.  Be sure they are sharp and never cut too close and get into the "quick".  If you do, the next time you want to trim nails, your dog will run! 

(9) Clipper / Blades / Dryers  with Heat Control   You will want to be sure to use very little or no heat to keep from drying out your Westie's skin.  

(10)  Original Mars® Coat-King - 12 blade (fine)   Click to view full size image  We use the #12 Mars Coat King.  It is the next best thing to hand stripping.  It is best to use it several times weekly.  To begin, you will want to use it daily, then every other day.  You will soon determine how often to use it to maintain the coat.  It simply pulls out dead hair and does not hurt the dog.  Use the Coat King on all body parts, including face and beard.  They enjoy the grooming session.  It trims out the undercoat and dead hair while unraveling and de-matting the coat.  Directions:  Place the Coat King on the coat with light pressure and comb out in the direction of hair growth.     



Soft Puppia Mesh Harness