A Westie-Inspired Mixed Breed

Thinking out of the box when grooming mixed breeds—as demonstrated here on Shay, a Poodle-Pomeranian mix—can be a great alternative to cookie-cutter puppy cuts.


This is my dog Shay. Some readers may recognize her from the rescue competition where she and I took first place. The best guess is Shay is a Poodle-Pomeranian mix. I featured her in a previous edition of the Grooming Table, where I demonstrated a short, tidy, low-maintenance haircut. 

This time, I decided to try something different by grooming her in a Westie-inspired trim. I urge groomers to think outside the box from the cookie cutter “puppy cut.” Depending on your preference and style of grooming, this dog could be pre-clipped before bathing, as well as having its ears cleaned and nails clipped beforehand. However, I chose to go straight to the bathtub with her.




Step 1: Bathe
I bathe Shay with a deep-cleaning shampoo and use a light conditioner


Step 2: Force Dry
Force dry as much water out of the coat as the dog will allow. I was able to get Shay about 99 percent dry.


Step 3: Finish Drying, Remove Knots
Using a stand dryer or hand held dryer and slicker brush, methodically move through the whole coat, drying, straightening and removing any knots. I then check my work with a steel comb.


Step 4: Trim & File Nails
Trim the nails to the quick and file if desired.


Step 5: Clean Ears
Clean the ear canal of any debris.


Step 6: Clip Pads
Clip the pads of the feet using a #30 blade.


Step 7: Sanitary Trim
Clip the sanitary areas using a #10 blade.


Step 8: Clip Body
Using a #2 snap-on comb, start two fingers behind the back of the skull and clip down the back to the tail. Clip from the neck down the shoulders to the elbow, creating a V shape. Clip from the back down the side, letting the comb come off the body to make the “line” from the elbow to the tuck up. This line should be at a slight slant. 

Clip the hip, making a V shape to expose the muscle of the rear leg. The chest should be clipped from the jaw line, almost clipping straight down and falling off just above the breastbone. I use the snap-on comb into the top of the front legs. When you think of the pattern you are creating, think of a W shape; the chest should be the highest point, in the middle of the W, and the elbows should be the lowest points in the W.


Step 9: Trim Rear Feet 
With the dog standing naturally on the table, start with the rear legs and round each foot. Then pick up each foot, comb all the hair toward the pad, and trim any hairs hanging over the circle pattern made while trimming the foot on the table.


Step 10: Blend Rear Legs
I choose to use thinning shears for Shay’s haircut, as she has a very soft, straight coat that shows scissor marks very easily. Blend the lines on the top of the rear leg to the back of the leg. I leave the hair below long, as Shay’s needs a bit more growth. Using thinning shears, show angulation from the of the rear leg. The hock should be parallel when looking from behind.


Step 11: Trim & Blend Skirt 
Use the thinning shears to blend the clipper line into the skirt. I also trim the length of the skirt to the desired length—some pet owners prefer a shorter length underneath.


Step 12: Trim Front Feet & Legs
Start the front feet the same way you did the rear—trimming the foot round, picking it up, and trimming any stray hairs underneath. Then comb the hair up and out and, using a thinning shear, neaten the leg into a cylinder.  


Step 13: Blend Chest & Front Legs
Blend the clipper lines in the chest and thin the hair left between the front legs so it lays flat. You don’t want a bib or big tuft of hair here.


Step 14: Trim Tail 
Trim the hair on the tail into a carrot shape.


Step 15: Trim Head
Clip the top third of the ears with a #10 blade. Using straight shears, edge the top clipped part of the ear, making the tips into sharp points. 
Trim the inner corners of the eyes with thinning shears. Gather the hair from the outer corner of the eyes to the top of the head and hold the hair between your fingers, stretching the hair straight up. Trim the hair level with the clipper line on the ear. This may take a few times to get all the hair even.

Trim the visor to the desired length. Comb the hair on the cheeks out and follow the line from the edged ear down into the cheek. Turn the head sideways and continue trimming the hair into the jaw, creating a round head. Then comb the hair on the muzzle forward and take the corners round. This is a perfectly cute head, but the next few steps will put some pizazz into the head and take the haircut to the next level.


Step 16: Finish Head
I use a bit of cholesterol or chalk helper rubbed into the head hair. I then apply a bit of chalk—gray to match Shay’s hair. I have also used a tiny amount of cornstarch in the past. Apply with a brush. Start with the back of the head. Take a line of hair and tease the hair back, then spray that section with hairspray. Repeat this step forward and on the sides of the head until the whole head is teased and sprayed. Then take a slicker brush and brush the top part of the hair and watch the head transform. 







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