Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Grooming... Do I Take the Plunge?

So I have (temporarily?) inherited a Westie (West Highland White Terrier).  Said terrier is an earth dog - prone to dig in the ground and investigate.  Unfortunately said dog has a white coat as the name implies.  Ideally the breed has a double coat - Pete only has a single smooth coat.  He is minus the rough outer coat which would protect the smooth coat hairs.  His smooth coat is a constant tangle of leaves, twigs, and prickly vines trailing behind him.

Sir Peter of Black Hawk

Because Pete is an earth dog his ideal condition is to be covered with dirt - it seems this is not an uncommon condition as show below on another Westie:

In a show coat the Westie is very "styled" and given a very blocky shape:

Pete and I are trying to find the middle ground between the 2 photos above.  The simplest illustration I saw indicates that the red line is FUR and is very bushy all over the dog... that is definitely the case!  Unfortunately this diagram may be accurate but doesn't help our grooming dilemna.  [Note to illustrator - Pete says Wolf should be in larger font!].

So I locate a few grooming diagrams on the web and watch several very informative YouTube videos on Westie grooming.  The diagrams below say it all - there are several steps required when grooming a Westie so when the grooming is completed said dog looks like a Westie.

Because there are several steps to grooming.  The basic grooming equipment list is very long.  Thank goodness I have several of the items.   Basic equipment as noted on Valbriden (with spelling help from Cheryl):  Slicker brush, steel comb, nail clipper, straight and curved scissors, blunt end eye scissors, clipper with #10, #7F, #5F, #7, and #8 1/2 blades, finishing clipper with #40 blade, blade conditioner, and hair dryer.  This list neglects to mention a muzzle for groomer protection during toenail trims!

So if I purchase some heavy duty Westie strength clippers I should be able to trim up the tangle that is Pete coat, but I don't want to get carried away.  If you stroke the clippers down past the shoulder break you end up with naked Westie - not that attractive.

So as I continue to get my nerve up to take a pair of clippers to Pete I will go with some insurance and renew his Kennel Cough shot this week, just in case we need some professional assistance to find Pete's ideal style.  We got close to an idea style when Pete's skirt was trimmed up; however, the hair on Pete's legs is baby fine and very long.  We need to find a way to loose the length but not the fullness - seems this styling action requires lots of scissor work with thinning shears (which I own so maybe we can get started this weekend).  

Postlude:  I found a great name for another Westie if one was to ever come along, Hamish, based on a true character in a blog.