How-to: Hand Stripping and Dog Grooming for a Wire Haired Terrier

by Judith Willson

Hand stripping outside prevents mess.

Wire haired terriers, including the Airedale, the wire fox terrier, the Scottie and several others, along with a few other breeds such as the Irish wolfhound and schnauzers, sport two separate coats: a soft undercoat and the eponymous wire coat. The wiry outer coat consists of long hairs only loosely anchored in the follicles. When clipped, the wire coat stays put, not regrowing, which leads to a softer but less colorful coat. To encourage a fresh, shiny new outer coat to grow, hand stripping is required, which means nothing more than pulling out the old hairs. Painful as this might sound, it shouldn’t hurt your dog, although some dogs don’t entirely enjoy the experience.

Step 1

Brush and comb your dog daily or every couple of days, observing the color and condition of his coat. When it blows -- i.e. when the outer coat starts to grow out -- you can commence hand stripping.

Step 2

Position your dog somewhere you can reach easily, such as a grooming table or sofa. Bending down to hand strip won’t do your back any favors -- this task can take some time.

Step 3

Ask your dog to sit or lie down. Pet him if he’s never been hand stripped before -- the experience might be slightly disconcerting to a dog the first time, so provide reassurance.

Step 4

Pinch a few of the longer hairs, the outer coat, between thumb and forefinger and pull gently in the direction the hair is growing. The hairs should come away easily -- this is nothing like plucking eyebrows. Repeat until you have covered his entire coat, or as much as you’re prepared to do that day.

Video of the Day