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Dog Grooming Tips – Guide To Hand Stripping

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What is hand stripping?

Hand stripping is the process of pulling out the dead outer coat of wired-haired breeds by hand rather than cutting the hair. Hand stripping allows a new wire coat to grow in.

Why hand strip instead of clip?

Hand stripping maintains a proper wire coat, while clipping makes it soft and ruins the texture. Without the outer wire coat, the coat colour will change and fade.

Does it hurt the dog?

Not if you do it correctly! When done right, it is a relaxing feeling for a wire-haired dog and feels like a massage. It’s a long process which some might not like, but it is not painful. Wire hair is not attached like our own hair or breeds with other types of coats. Many dogs even enjoy it. We do recommend clipping or scissoring the tender spots so it isn’t uncomfortable for them (eg. armpits, faces, nether regions).

What breeds are usually hand stripped?

Mainly terriers but some other breeds have an appropriate coat for stripping. There are also many mixed breeds that have an appropriate coat for hand stripping, or partial hand stripping to bring out their natural wire coat. Here’s a list of dogs that could benefit from the process:
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Australian Terrier
  • Border Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • Dandie Dinmont
  • Irish Terrier
  • Lakeland Terrier
  • Miniature Schnauzer
  • Norfolk Terrier
  • Parsons Terrier
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Sealyham Terrier
  • Welsh Terrier
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Affenpinscher
  • Brussels Griffon
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Spinone Italiano
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Dachshund (Wirehaired)
  • Ibizan (Wirehaired)
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Otterhound
  • Petite Basset Griffon Vendeen (PBGV)
  • Scottish Deerhound
  • Giant Schnauzer

My dog is just a pet, should s/he be hand stripped like show dogs?

Yes, if it is important to you to maintain the proper breed look. It is very hard to imitate that look on many wire coated breeds if you clip them. However, it will do no real harm for pets to be clipped if you do not care about that look.

How can I tell when the coat is ready?

A groomer who does hand stripping will be able to tell just by looking at the coat and touching it whether it’s time or not. If it is not quite ready, they’ll be able to tell you when to make the appointment to have your dog stripped at the proper time.
Westie at the Dog Groomers

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To start with, here is a video we made with some tips on how to shape a Scottish Terrier’s face. Remember all dog breeds are different and so may require different techniques.

The Paw Pad is an established dog grooming school. For more of your videos check out The Paw Pad Youtube channel.

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