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Hand Stripping Your Dog

By: Elaine Everest - Updated: 4 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Certain breeds of dog require their coat to be stripped by hand at least twice each year. Once taught an owner should be able to carry out this procedure for themselves.


Hand stripping a dog’s coat means that you are removing the dead hairs. Some breeds need to have their coats stripped as part of their regular grooming routine. Most coats have two types of hair, the softer hair and the harsh longer guard hairs. It is these guard hairs that die and shed and need to be removed with the fingers. Many terrier breeds traditionally have their coats hand stripped. A dog’s will shed his coat approximately every six months and it is then that the hand stripping should be done. The longer hairs are plucked from the coat leaving an even coloured, even textured coat that will take around ten days to settle down. If you are preparing a dog for a show it is advisable to strip the coat at least a fortnight before the event for the dog to look its best.

Clipping Versus Stripping

Many people prefer to clip as it is quick and less time consuming. However, if the dog is shown or if you want a more traditional looking coat then hand stripping is the way to do it. If you send your dog to a grooming parlour it will cost more for hand stripping as it takes longer and is more labour intensive. When clipping a coat the groomer will normally use an electric clipper and cut the coat evenly all over. Cutting with a clipper can cause clipper burns and irritation to the dog’s skin.


Start stripping a dog’s coat when it is around six months of age. In order that it is comfortable with this procedure groom the puppy regularly so that he is used to being handled and will not wriggle and protest while you are stripping out the coat. It is advisable to train the puppy to lie on a table whilst this is being done as it is easier for the groomer to work at this level rather than on the floor. A striping session can take three hours or more so both dog and groomer should be comfortable. Always brush the dogs coat through thoroughly before starting to hand strip. A rubber based brush will remove many of the loose dead hairs.


  • A grooming table is a good investment. They can be purchased from many sources that advertised in weekly and monthly canine publications. The table come in various sizes depending on the breed of dog; they are topped with non slip rubber and are collapsible. Some have wheels fitted which turn them into a handy trolley which is ideal for transporting items into a dog show.
  • Brush and comb. Make sure the dog is brushed through and the coat is not knotted or matted before bathing him as the dog will rightly protest when you tackle the neglected coat. If you exhibit a dog do not attempt to remove the knots from the coat with scissors as it can easily be ruined, alter the outline of the dog and affect his chances in the ring until the coat has grown again.
  • A stripping knife can be used but the handler should ensure that they are trained in its use before attempting to groom and prepare a dog for the show ring. By using latex gloves or finger cots you will be able to remove the hairs fairly easily. Allow enough time for this as it is not a quick job

Breeds differ in the way that their coats are stripped and when purchasing a puppy ask the breeder to show you how to tackle the coat. Most breeders will be happy to show an owner how to care for the new puppy and will be available to give advice during its lifetime.

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