Does a West Highland White Terrier shed a lot?

Picture this. You’re in your living room, wearing your coziest pajamas and enjoying a steaming cup of coffee. As you’re reading your favorite book, you suddenly spot something out of the corner of your eye. It’s small, white, and it’s peacefully resting… on your black-colored trousers. What is it? It’s a hair! A hair from your adorable West Highland White Terrier!

What’s that you say? Westies shed hair? Yes, you’re not imaging it. Surprised? Most are! So, let’s dive into the world of fur-raising surprises!

One of the common misconceptions about Westies is that they are hypoallergenic, which means they can’t possibly be shedding, right? Well, hold your brush! The truth is, every dog sheds to some degree, even those labeled “hypoallergenic.” The West Highland White Terriers included. However, these dashing canines have a secret up their furry sleeves. Westies don’t shed heavily like some breeds do. Unlike the Labrador Retrievers or the Siberian Huskies, Westies have a different kind of fur that makes their shedding less noticeable and a lot easier to manage.

Westies have what’s known as a double coat. Now, think of this like your winter clothing. You have your thick, warm coat (the undercoat), and you have your stylish, waterproof layer (the topcoat). The Westie’s undercoat is dense, soft, and provides insulation, while the topcoat is hard, straight, and about 2 inches long, protecting them from weather and environmental elements. The charm of this double coat is that it doesn’t shed everywhere like fur from single-coated breeds. It’s more akin to hair falling out, where it usually stays in the coat until you brush or bathe them next.

But, every dog has its day, and for most Westies, that day is once or twice a year during their “blowing coat” season. Despite the dramatic term, this is merely when your Westie changes out its undercoat. During these periods, you might notice a little more hair around the house than usual. However, compared to heavy shedding breeds, it’s still a walk in the park. Don’t lose heart, though; with some grooming tricks up your sleeve, you can keep your beloved Westie’s coat healthy and your home’s fur level under control.

First off, keep a routine. Regular brushing not only helps reduce the amount of hair found in your home, on your clothes, or worse, in your coffee cup, but it’s also great for your Westie’s skin and coat health. Set aside some quality time at least once a week for a brushing session. Start brushing from the skin out, not on the surface, using a slicker brush or a rake brush designed for dogs with a double coat.

Next, bathing your Westie once a month can help eliminate dead hairs caught in their coat. Mind you, over-bathing isn’t recommended as it can strip their skin and fur of essential oils, leaving their coat dry and lifeless. Always use a gentle shampoo formulated for dogs and rinse thoroughly. After the bath, brush your Westie to get any lingering hairs.

Lastly, while Westies don’t necessarily need professional grooming as often as other breeds such as Poodles or Shih Tzus, scheduling a trim every few months can help maintain their coat and control shedding. Professional groomers have the right tools and techniques to trim your Westie without damaging their double coat structure.

So, to address our original question, ‘Does a West Highland White Terrier shed a lot?’ The answer is, not particularly. They do shed, but it’s more contained than most breeds. With some TLC and regular grooming, you can easily live in harmony with your Westie’s shedding habit. The love, companionship, and daily joy that these little balls of energy bring into your lives make a bit of fur here and there worth it. Dust, after all, settles…but a Westie? They keep life exciting!