West Highland white terriers, or Westies, have a distinctive white coat that has two layers. The outer coat is hard and wiry while the undercoat is soft and dense. They do not shed much hair, but they need regular brushing to keep the coat free of debris and to prevent matting. If you are going to show your Westie, it must have a standard show cut. If it is a pet, you have a choice of haircut styles.
The American Kennel Club only approves one type of cut for showing. Any loose undercoat should be stripped, and the groomer should do this by hand. The outercoat should be 2 inches long on the back and sides and blended into a shorter coat on the neck and shoulders. The hair on the stomach and legs is kept as a longer skirt of about 4 inches. The head is plucked to a round shape.
There is a pet trim known as the Westie haircut that is similar in appearance to a show cut but has a shorter skirt area and does not require hand-stripping. The hair on the back and shoulders is trimmed quite short but left longer on the legs stomach and body, where it is trimmed to a universal length that is short enough to keep clean easily. The head is trimmed minimally to keep the fluffy round face.
Puppy cuts are used on many small dogs and are well suited to Westies. The coat will be trimmed to between 1 and 1½ inches long to reduce the amount of grooming required, and to reduce the amount of leaves and twigs picked up while out playing. You can ask for the face to be left alone if you want, although it is recommended to trim around the mouth to prevent cleaning stains from food on the white fur.
A summer cut is a short cut that will keep your dog cool during the warmer months. The coat is trimmed to between ¼ and ½ inch long on the body, legs, feet and chest. The face can be trimmed less, depending on your preference. This style is low maintenance and popular during summer as it keeps the dog looking neat but requires almost no time to groom.