Cairn Terriers, just like every terrier, are known to be stubborn and wilful. This means getting your Cairn or Westie used to bathing from an early age is essential, as an adult dog that doesn’t know how to sit still is not going to be easy to groom or bathe, turning what should be a nice bonding experience into a nightmare.
Cairn Terrier grooming does not have to be a struggle and the best way to ensure that it never becomes a chore for owner or dog is to desensitize the dog to grooming early on.
A puppy should be ‘groomed’ once a day while it is young. This involves putting him on the table and in the bath and praising quiet behaviour. Getting a puppy used to products and supplies such as the shower, dog grooming clippers and dog blow dryers means that it will grow comfortable around them very quickly.
How to groom a dog
Cairn Terrier grooming is not much different to other dog grooming. They do not need excess bathing as it can cause fur breakages, and as they are a wiry coated breed their fur responds best to shampoo for ‘hard’ coats.
Lather the shampoo into its coat and then rinse several times to ensure all traces of shampoo are removed.
Cairn Terrier grooming can be done either at a professional salon, or at home with the proper equipment.
First of all use a pin tail comb, perfect for a Cairn terrier’s coat as it brushes the under and outer coats simultaneously, and use firm, but not rough, strokes across the coat. Don’t forget the legs, chest and belly areas.
Stripping the coat is the name given to removing the dead hairs that get caught and tangled in the coat. It is highly advisable as it makes the regular grooming easier and keeps the Cairn terrier looking fresh and presentable.
Strip the coat in small sessions, over the period of a few months if necessary. Use a stripping or shedding knife or blade in the direction of the coat to remove the dead hairs.
Trimming the hair between the pads will stop dirt and debris getting caught there. Use a small pair of grooming scissors and snip away any excess hair.
Clip the nails and clean the ears and use dog grooming clippers to keep the fur around the anus area short.
The importance of Cairn Terrier grooming becomes apparent when an ungroomed Cairn is placed next to a groomed one. An ungroomed Cairn Terrier will be scruffy and straggly and look generally unkempt whilst a groomed terrier will have a luscious and shiny coat without mats.
Dealing with mats
The Cairns live up to their heritage terrier ways by exploring whenever and wherever they can. This means that they are very susceptible to the matting of their fur.
A mat should not be pulled or cut clean off. Instead put the scissors in between the mat and the dog’s skin and make a series of snips moving from the root towards the bottom of the mat. Then take a comb and starting from the tip of the hair comb gently, working your way up to the skin. The mat should comb out without hurting the dog.
Cairn terrier grooming is more than just about appearance, although it does significantly improve it. It is about health and hygiene as well. An ungroomed Cairn will have fur full of mats that may even be pulling on the dog’s skin, as well as being dirty and smelly. Grooming not only creates a bonding experience but an excellent chance to look over the dog’s body and be aware of any unusual rashes, bald patches, sore spots and evidence of fleas.
Stripping should be performed every two weeks and last as long as it takes to complete the entire coat. Bathing should be done less frequently on an as and when needed basis. Grooming should be done regularly, around twice a week.
Cairn terriers are not dogs that need massive coat maintenance, but keeping on top of it means that it is easy and much less time consuming than if it is left for months at a time.
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