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West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland Terrier was originally known as the Roseneath Terrier from Poltalloch Scotland, until first exhibited at Crufts in 1907 and AKC registration in 1908.  The ‘Westie’ was around for at least 100 years before that. “A spunky little Terrier and all determination in one small body.

His coat is required to be a hard outercoat, plenty of soft undercoat and with hand stripping being key for its presentation. The head should have considerable hair left to frame the face to present a round appearance as viewed from the front.

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The West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland Terrier was originally known as the Roseneath Terrier from Poltalloch Scotland, until first exhibited at Crufts in 1907 and AKC registration in 1908.  The ‘Westie’ was around for at least 100 years before that. “A spunky little Terrier and all determination in one small body.

His coat is required to be a hard outercoat, plenty of soft undercoat and with hand stripping being key for its presentation. The head should have considerable hair left to frame the face to present a round appearance as viewed from the front.

Best to start at the head as this is such a breed hallmark and eyes and expression are so very important. Use Plush Puppy Let’s Face It. This is a hypoallergenic sulfate free low foaming shampoo designed just for faces. It’s no tear formula features the highest quality Blue Cypress Extracts, Panthenol with Pro Vitamin B and SugaNate. These special ingredients clean, soothe, add moisture, aid healing and have anti-inflammatory benefits. A small golf ball sized amounts directly to the face and eye area allows you to thoroughly clean without causing irritation. It can also be used in and around the ears with the same benefits. Its low foaming design allows ease of rinsing, yet complete cleaning.

Now to concentrate on making sure your dog is white. The name says it all West Highland “White” terrier.  Use Plush Puppy Herbal Whitening Shampoo diluted 1:5 (1 part shampoo to 5 parts water).  This is a toning shampoo and reduces any warm/red/yellow tones. It works brilliantly in whitening and brightening without bleaching or lightening. Herbal Whitening Shampoo is primarily derived from organic sources with Ginseng extracts, protein, and violet tone combined in a concentrated and rich formula.

For reducing stronger stained areas use Plush Puppy Wonder Blok. It helps to maintain a white stain free coat. It is not a bleach and contains no harmful chemicals but high amounts of naturally sourced vegetable surfactants and glycerin. This product is designed to remove gently unwanted warm or red tones to the coat. Best used on a damp or wet coat. Gently rub into the areas required allowing 5-10 minutes and rinse. For maximum effects repeat or allow a longer time for this amazing product to work. As with all products take care around eyes.

After you are happy your dog is white as possible, lets move onto texture.

The West Highland Terrier requires texture and many shampoos will soften and fluffy the coat, leaving it too soft and an open coat. For this reason Plush Puppy developed Plush Puppy Texture + Shampoo. This is formulated to retain and improve coat texture. This shampoo thoroughly yet gently cleanses and deodorises the coat of Terriers and other wire, harsh or coarse coated breeds without softening or compromising texture. It’s ideal for boosting body and coarseness in coats of all colours and coat types. Formulated to be pH controlled, it can create or maintain texture, is low irritant with a subtle apple fragrance and is easy to rinse out. It is full of beneficial and powerful extracts from the Gentian Root, Juniper Fruit, St John’s Wart Leaf, Hay Flower, Lemon Balm Leaf and Arnica Flower that combine to nourish and vitalise the skin. Use diluted up to 1:10 or apply undiluted directly to areas requiring intensive cleansing. Rinse thoroughly.

For those who wish to dry clean/quick clean or simply add even more texture then use Plush Puppy Powder Puff Terrier is a great naturally sourced powder cleanser and deodoriser with a soft mandarin and ginger fragrance that is not overly fragrant! Just a clean, fresh smell. This product is perfect for achieving hard texture too. Simply lightly sprinkle through the coat either by hand or work through by dipping the brush into the powder and brushing through the coat after each coating of the bristles and work well into the coat. Keep brushing to start to assist removal of the powder and leaving a clean and textured coat. Leaving a clean and deodorised coat with a texture as harsh as barbed wire. Great to use before hand-stripping and carding undercoat.

Use Plush Puppy Seabreeze Oil to hydrate the coat.  It is a truly beneficial blend of using extracts of Calendula oil, Wheat germ oil, and Evening Primrose. Add 1 teaspoon to 2 Litres of water, then either sponge on or sluice well through the coat and LEAVE IN. DO NOT RINSE. This is quite a unique product in that it is not greasy and totally water-soluble. It gives an outstanding healthy vigour to the skin and coat.  It will maintain the texture and moisture in the coat and help protect from the elements. You will get a nice healthy sheen on the coat with this routine. A healthy coat can’t grow with a dehydrated coat and skin.

Another great texturiser is Plush Puppy Ruffy Tuffy Coat Spray which can be applied onto wet or dry coat. I prefer to apply this after the bath and once the coat is dry.  Apply layer upon layer – spray, allow a few seconds and then spray again and keep repeating the ‘spray and wait’ technique until you achieve the level of harshness required.

To groom that nice rounded head that is a hallmark of the West Highland Terrier, use Plush Puppy Sit N Stay.  This is a shaping product best applied by working a small amount onto the fingers and rubbed together until the product crosses over from wet sticky to dry sticky and then apply to the head and sides of the face. Make sure you are getting this down to the root area too for lift and to hold the shape. This product dries and creates lift to the head coat to sculpt the head on the desired shape.

A finishing spray of Plush Puppy HOLD is a strong sculpting spray scientifically formulated for shaping of coats on Show Dogs. The quick drying formulation won’t become sticky and will not build-up. HOLD can be removed with ease by simply shampooing the coat. Contains Pro Vitamin B5 to improve elasticity, moisture retention and flexibility in their coat hair. We recommend using and storing at normal room temperature for a perfect mist spray. Optimum spray distance is approximately 30cm (12 inches).

Don’t forget that a good coat is not made the night before a show. It begins weeks and months ahead. Keeping good texture and preventing stains is not an art, it is just plain hard work and attention. Spray with a diluted mix of Seabreeze Oil (1 teaspoon into 1 cup of warm water) the under carriage of the male dogs particularly to prevent pee staining during the week. Mix a good runny slurry of Plush Puppy Coat Rescue with water and slop onto the lengths of the coat mid-week for 10 minutes or so and rinse off. Good for adding protein to the coat and ensuring the coat does not become brittle. These little outdoorsy types do play hard!

Getting the shape right for your dog as opposed to someone else’s dog is the key. Be critical and evaluate your dog honestly and the ideal shape will present itself to you. Once you understand the ideal shape of your standard, it is up to you to breed and present, and that means shape your dog, and, show to absolute perfection. That perfect silhouette is there and available to us all. You just have to know what it looks like and then go for it. The products will help get you there.

Watch the experts as they shape and trim their dogs and borrow the procedures, but, bear in mind, your dog is not their dog and where they take off coat you may need to keep coat on yours. Just steal their ideas and not their dog!

A further tip is to use Plush Puppy Reviva Coat on the legs. It’s a great leave-in moisturiser that won’t overly soften the coat and it is darned hard to find things that do just that. It is the perfect product for after show bathing when you remove all those powder hardeners from the furnishings. It will protect and moisturise. Easy and quick to apply. Just work a golf ball sized amount onto your hands and apply. Simple!

Plush Puppy Wonder Wash is a vital part of the kit for any Westie exhibitor for that quick cleanse to the legs and feet. They seem to get into everything and anything and this no rinse shampoo is a Godsend on show morning. Just spray and work lightly into the coat with your fingers and then towel off. The legs will be pristine once more.

Well why not go the whole hog and apply some Plush Puppy Cover-up Cream which is ostensibly white makeup for dogs. A consistency of a paste, it is applied with a barely damp sponge lightly with just a dab at a time and not blobbed on. Good for any stained area around the eyes or feet.

For areas where you need a base to all your chalk, use Plush Puppy Chalkestral. Either put a small amount into your hands and rub together to “warm up” and then rub into the area.  Apply then your chalk or white powder with brush immediately. Chalkestral is a unique product that conditions the coat to minimise chalk dry out plus adheres chalk to coat. Totally water soluble and then a good generous application of loose chalk or better yet Plush Puppy Fairy Frost Regular powder to completely and quickly dry it. Fairy Frost is the whitest of whites and is formulated to cling to the coat.

Is your West Highland Terrier beginning to look glam or not? A touch of Plush Puppy Pixie Dust applied either on its own or mixed into the Fairy Frost powder, just a tiny bit, will add some glints of light and shimmer. The trouble with any chalks or powders is that they tend to be a flat white and it’s nice to be able to add just a hint of sparkle or shimmer to pick up pinpricks of light either under spotlights or out in the sun. The trick with all these things is to do them sensibly and not overdo it. Everything should appear effortless and never contrived.

Brushing is important and using the right brush is key, Plush Puppy Ultimate Slicker Brush and the Plush Puppy Ultimate Anti Static Porcupine Brush are the best available. Both are exclusive to Plush Puppy and built to last.

Finish with a Plush Puppy Professional Grooming Comb built for absolute ergonomic comfort in various sizes. The lightweight oval shaped spine combining fine and coarse pins made of hardened stainless steel with anodic oxide finish that reduces drag and static to the coat. Perfect for use for this breed of dog.

Mid-week brushing is important, for this use Plush Puppy OMG is a revolutionary grooming spray that lives up to its name. OMG is the perfect product for this coat type when used correctly. A light spray of OMG and brushing in allows this product to refresh the coat leaving it feeling wonderful it separates the coat and leaves the most amazing finish.

OMG is available in a Concentrate that you can dilute to your individual requirements or a  Ready-To-Use Formula. Use the concentrate form at 1:30-40 (1 part OMG to 30-40 parts water). The stronger the mix the stronger their effects.

OMG and as its active ingredients smooth the cuticle and protect the coat. For this coat type that you still wish to retain the texture at a higher breakdown will still allow you to brush the dog and refresh to coat without over softening. OMG never builds up, never goes stringy.

On show day, Plush Puppy Odour Muncher is a wonderful product for literally munching odours away – leaves a light fragrance that is not too much, nor too little.

The The West Highland Terrier on any day and especially show day should be full of self-esteem and showmanship. His combination of strength and activity with that alertness and great intelligence, is so Terrier, and so typical of a Westie. He is not a pampered dog but a hardy and cunning little dog and easy to show and handle. His distinctive free and easy gait with good reach from the shoulder and balanced drive is a pleasure to watch as he works that ring and the audience. This little dog is quite the head turner and as long as you are as well prepared as he, then the combination ought to be unbeatable!

Recommended Products

Bathing Alternatives

Wonder Wash


Styling & Finishing

Odour Muncher


Styling & Finishing

HOLD Coat Shaper


Styling & Finishing

Pixie Dust Powder


Styling & Finishing

Ruffy Tuffy Coat Spray


Styling & Finishing

Seabreeze Oil


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