Hand Stripping-the Do's and Dont's

Updated: Jul 18

Hand stripping is becoming less and less popular, mainly because when your dog goes to a professional dog groomer its quicker to take the coat off with a clipper, and shaped with thinning scissors, than for the groomer to stand for several hours hand stripping the coat.


However, due to the reluctance of the dog owner to pay for the time required to do a thorough job this may also be responsible for hand stripping's decline.


If you every watch Crufts and admire the beautiful elegant breeds, such as the English or Irish Setter they should never be clipped all over their body, or it will encourage the hair to curl into a mass and destroy the wonderful sleek, silky appearance of the coat.


The required natural looking coat, such as that of the Border Terrier would be ruined by clipping because the softer undercoat takes over from the more coarser topcoat. It is essential to strip out this type of coat by hand twice a year. If he doesn't he will start to feel hot, uncomfortable and itchy. It is much better if the dog is hand stripped every six to eight weeks. This way, there is less hair loss and the dog remains smart.


How to Hand Strip 1. Lift a small section at a time, grasp a small amount of hair between the thumb and finger, and extract the loose hairs from each part with a quick, jerking movement.

2. Be sure only to take a few hairs out at a time, as pulling large clumps will cause pain and distress.

3. Always follow the direction in which the hair grows.

4. Keep the skin taut as the hair is stripped out.


To make it easier, many people find using a stripping knife, rather than the finger and thumb a better option. The knife used is a blunt one rather than a blade that could cut the coat. It is advisable to use a serrated-edged knife.

Note: the knife and hair need to be pulled straight back and not flipped at the wrist


Hand stripped breeds will need attention to their coats from the age of three months, when the coat begins to stand off in a fizz. This fluff can be removed easily by hand, using the finger and thumb. Underneath the fizz there will be a new hair, which will look tidy and which will last the pup until he is about seven months old. When the long hairs starts to form a natural parting and fall into clumps, the dog is ready for stripping.


Adult Strips

In the adult dog, where the hand stripping is required, this is best done at natural shedding time. Before stripping the coat, the dog should be thoroughly brushed, and combed with a fine tooth comb. Start the stripping from the head and work downwards, being careful not to strip out the soft undercoat. After stripping, the knife can be run through the coat to remove the loose undercoat.


Hand Strip Breeds Fox Terrier Airedale Terrier

Cairn Terrier Schnauzer Scottish Terrier Irish Wolfhound Airedale Terrier Dandie Dinmont Terrier German Wirehaired Pointer Wirehaired Dachshund


Some dogs hate being hand stripped, especially on their tails.They can get distressed enough to misbehave or even snap. The dog is hand stripped to retain its natural coat, but how important is this? Certainly not enough to stress the dog unduly. If a dog is stressed because of hand stripping, it is best not to do it. Often parts of the dog, such as the back, can be hand stripped while the tail is blended in with thinners or scissors, and maybe even clippers!




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