The answer to “Do Westies shed their fur?” isn’t quite as simple as you might think.
They do shed, the amount they shed is minimum to nothing, particularly when compared to other dogs, so Westie owners shouldn’t need to worry about cleaning their house every five minutes.
That means they are good for allergy sufferers since they don’t leave fur hanging around to irritate those who suffer from pet allergies or asthma, but you have to note that they are not hypoallergenic dogs.
Nonetheless, keeping your pooch well-groomed and exercised can minimize irritation, and you can live with a pup who will offer you unrivaled excitement.
Getting to Know the Westie
West Highland Terriers or “Westies” as they’re more commonly known, were originally bred to help hunters flush out small animals such as foxes, badgers, otters, and vermin in the Highlands of Scotland.
As such, they are excitable animals with huge personalities who love to play and chase.
Their fur is always whiter, and according to breed lore, this is thanks to an unfortunate story involving Colonel Malcolm of Poltalloch and a tragic mistake when he mistook his wheat-colored Cairns for the fox he was hunting.
After this, Colonel Malcolm decreed that only white dogs should be bred so that they can identify them easily.
Westies have double coats to protect them from the cold conditions of hunting in the Highlands of Scotland.
The undercoat is incredibly soft and dense to provide excellent insulation from the elements, while the outer coat is rougher to the touch, straight, and usually around two inches long.
Since Westies’ short fur doesn’t malt very often, it’s essential to groom your Westie regularly to avoid the fur matting.
Matting is due to the dead fur and skin cells not falling out on their own, so you will need to brush your furry friend regularly as a bright shiny coat is a good sign of a healthy pet.
As mentioned, it’s important to regularly brush and groom your Westie to help them get rid of the dead fur and skin cells their body will otherwise hold on to.
If not, you would end up with a pet with dull, matted fur, and these proud pups won’t thank you for that!
It can take some effort to brush away all the matted fur, and we recommend brushing outdoors when the weather allows.
Thankfully, most Westies love a good brush, so you won’t have to argue with the pup to sit still for long enough to get any tangles out, and you can bond over keeping them in tip-top condition.
In addition to regular brushes, you may need to think about clipping your Westie’s fur regularly.
Although you can do this at home, it can be easier to go to a professional pet groomer so that you can have confidence in the right tools and techniques used.
You might also want to hand-strip your Westie occasionally, which involves pulling out the dead parts of your pup’s outer coat by hand rather than by using scissors.
Although this might involve a bit more effort on your part, regular hand stripping is essential to ensuring your puppy is as happy and healthy as possible.
Westie Grooming Tools
Since Westies require quite a lot of regular grooming, you might not want to fork out for a professional pet groomer every time your pup needs some pampering.
Although we recommend seeing a professional pet groomer, preferably one specializing in Westies’ specific double coat, you can do much of the grooming yourself if you have the right tools.
- Bristle Brush
First and foremost, you’ll need a good quality bristle brush. We use it to get through our Westie’s rough outer coat and ensure we can collect all the dead fur.
Think of this in the same way you’d think about brushing your hair, and you’ll have a pleased pup!
- Comb and Slick Brush
In addition to a bristle brush, you want to invest in a strong comb and slick brush to maintain the quality of your Westies’ fur all year round.
Changing seasons will let your Westie shed their fur more often, reminding you that the answer to “Do Westies shed?” is a “Yes.”, so this can be a good prompt for you to give your pup a thorough grooming session in addition to their regular brushes.
- Sheers, Clippers, and Scissors
Depending on how much grooming you want to do yourself, it’s best to invest in sheers, nail clippers, and two sets of scissors (one blunt and one sharp pair).
This lets you give your pup the occasional full haircut and keep them looking spick and span.
That said, you should be careful never to cut your Westie’s fur too short since their fur offers protection for skin conditions that this breed is unfortunately prone to.
Do Westies Shed if You Bathe Them?
Although their skin conditions and requirements for regular grooming might suggest that they need plenty of baths, they actually shouldn’t need a bath very often as long as you keep brushing their lovely white fur often enough.
In fact, too frequent baths can be awful for the dog as it can dehydrate the skin and encourage skin disorders.
So, unless your pooch has been playing in the commonly dubbed “doggies delight”, regular brushing should alienate the need for too many baths.
Apart from that, you should keep an eye on their ears.
Wiping their ears out weekly and checking for dirt, redness, or any bad smells will keep your pup in great condition.
Remember, while Westies don’t tend to shed their fur very often, which means you need to help them get rid of dead fur by grooming regularly.
Thankfully, most Westies love a good brush so you and your pup can both enjoy having a good grooming session and bond while keeping their fur nice, shiny, and healthy.
After all, a healthy pup is a happy pup, and these little white bundles of joy will give back every ounce of happiness you give them tenfold!