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Part 5 of 6: Grooming a Pet Westie with a Show Dog Comparison: How to Set the Shape of the Head & Ears

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Video DescriptionAbout Kamoko "Koko" Tanaka


15 minutes, 21 seconds



Koko opens the lesson by showing you an example of an AKC Champion West Highland White Terrier. This AKC Champion is a beautiful specimen of the breed. By putting the dogs side-by-side, Koko shows you the difference between a hand-stripped coat and a clipped coat.

Even though the techniques to trim a pet dog are different than a show dog, the pattern remains the same. Koko shows you how to clipper cut a pet West Highland White Terrier. As she styles the dog, she’s very careful to retain the essence of its breed profile. She demonstrates how to set the pattern using a slightly different clipper technique. The end result is very natural looking. It mimics the look of hand-stripping. Once the clipper work is complete, she switches to blenders. By working with blenders, she keeps a natural look while minimizing scissor marks on the white coat.

One of the most unique characteristics of a West Highland White Terrier is its round head. Koko does a beautiful job explaining how to get the overall shape of the head. She shares products that work well to get the coat to stand up. She also demonstrates grooming tricks from the conformation show ring that you can easily apply to a pet to get the correct look.

Koko has not been in the United States all that long. English is not her native language yet her understanding of grooming and breed profile trimming is clear.

This is a highly detailed lesson on grooming the pet Westie that adheres closely to the proper breed profile look of a confirmation champion.

In this video you will learn:

• What blades to use to get a hand-stripped look.

• Where to set the pattern lines.

• What length to leave the furnishings.

• How to trim the ears.

• How to get a full, round shaped head.

Kamoko "Koko" Tanaka

Certifications: NCMG, CMG

Kamoko (Koko) Tanaka was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. She studied ballet in Japan. She came to the USA as a professional dancer at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center. When Koko’s dancing career ended due to an injury, she began searching for another career. After researching several choices, she tried dog grooming. She quickly discovered this was her niche.

Koko began competing in 2003. Three years later she won the Rising Star of the Year award. Since then, she has become well respected in the contest area, winning multiple Best in Shows and Best All Round Groomer awards.

Koko earned her place on GroomTeam USA in 2007 and 2008. In 2009 she had the privilege of representing the United States in the World Team Grooming Championship in Germany. By winning the bronze medal in the hand stripping class, Koko helped her team bring home the Gold for the United States.

She was nominated for the Cardinal Crystal Achievement Award for American Groomer of the Year in 2008.

Koko has retired from the competition ring. Today, you will find her focused on her mobile grooming business. She also enjoys mentoring advanced grooming students from the United States and Japan. Koko is an industry speaker and judge in the USA and in her homeland of Japan.

Koko currently lives in Tennessee. She owns her own mobile grooming business called Koko’s Paws.

Koko's Paws
Ms. Koko Tanaka



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