Hand Stripping Dog Grooming Near Me (What to Look for)

What is Hand Stripping for Dogs?

Can I get hand stripping dog grooming near me? Hand stripping is a grooming technique that entails plucking or pulling the dog’s hair in the same direction as it grows. A “releasing hair follicle” is present in wire-coated dogs. 

The dog’s work would entangle the coat in weeds and sticks in the wild, and the hair would come out painlessly. This article contains everything you’ll need to understand about hand stripping your dog.

Pet groomer hand stripping a dog

How to Hand Strip a Dog

All coat types require specific maintenance to keep the coat in good shape. Whether a show dog or a couch dog, they all need to be clean, brushed, and well cared for to stay happy and healthy. Read our article and find out How Often to Groom Your Dog.

Show dogs that have to remove the dead coat, produce shape, and maintain the right coat texture/color for each breed. You strip wire coats manually (either with bare fingers or with a stripping knife). Most Terrier breeds and some Sporting, Hound, and Toy breeds require hand stripping for the show ring. 

Before you begin, ensure you understand the breed’s grooming standards and have a solid idea of what the finished result should look like. The Spinone Italiano standard, for example, is quite strict in that grooming is for tidiness, and the dog’s trimming should not follow a “pattern.” Yet, the Airedale Terrier has a very precise shape.

Hand stripping takes time and attention to perfection, so shaving a dog may appear more appealing. Shaving a wire coat, on the other hand, ruins the coat’s proper texture/color and is not permitted in the show ring. The dog breed, the type of coat, and the level of precision you require determine the instruments used for stripping. 

The flatwork (head, cheeks, ears, jawline, and down the neckline) is separate from the jacket (back and sides) in three sections:

  • The flatwork (head, cheeks, ears, jawline, and down the neckline) 
  • The jacket (back and sides)
  • The furnishings (legs, beard, eyebrows)

Hand stripping dog grooming entails grasping and appropriately pulling the hair. Grab each hair securely between the thumb and the side of the forefinger or between the thumb and the blade when gripping the hair. Pull the hair *straight* back in the direction of the growth to pull it properly. 

This is particularly difficult around the bottom and on the sides of the neck, where hair grows in various orientations. Pulling *up* and away from the dog or against the hair’s grain is not a good idea. To avoid breaking the dog’s coat, keep your wrist straight and your hand following the path of the dog’s body. 

If you’re using a stripping knife, make sure you use the blade to improve grip. You’ve done the same thing as shaving the dog if you cut or break the coat. Keep the coat taut by holding the skin in front of where you’re pulling it. 

Another suggestion is to use a tough coat grooming chalk, such as Crown Royale Grooming Powder, to give the hair a firmer grip. Use the R7 Ear Powder, which contains a numbing agent, on dogs with sensitive skin.

Hand Stripping Dog Grooming Near Me

If you need dog grooming services, should you just choose any other dog groomer next door? The answer is no. There are things you must keep in mind before picking a dog groomer. 

Always ensure that the health and safety of your dog are paramount. A grooming appointment can be stressful, but it shouldn’t be traumatic; observe and ensure that your dog is always relatively calm after the appointment. Besides, you should always consider priorities and insist on professionalism from whoever you pick from. 

They should also have extensive dog grooming experience to ensure they will handle your dog with the utmost care it requires. Above all, ensure your handlers’ staff have prerequisite education and certification. This will ensure quality service provision.

Dogs That can be Hand Stripped

Hand stripping isn’t necessary for all dogs; however, any dog with a wiry coat that you can remove easily benefits from it. The type of coat matters more than the dog’s breed. Coat types differ amongst dog breeds; some breeds have coats you may strip. 

A soft, dense undercoat and a long, dense top coat characterize these coats. Here are a few breeds that have a coat that will need hand stripping:

  • Airedale Terrier
  • Affenpinscher
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • German wire-haired Pointer
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Schnauzer
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Wire-haired Pointing Griffon
  • Wire-haired Dachshund

Why Can’t Clippers be Used for Wire–Haired Dogs?

Wiry-haired dogs have naturally built coats to protect them from all-weather and daily activities. Hand stripping their coats and overall health and well-being is the finest way to preserve their coats and overall health and well-being, even if it takes a little longer and costs a little more!

Wire-haired dogs have a coat that is quite distinct from that of most other canines. They have a thick undercoat and wiry, longer hairs that protrude from the undercoat. Although you may believe that shaving these coats will keep your dog cool and avoid odors, this isn’t always the case. 

Hand stripping is best for fostering the growth of a new top coat that is fresh and healthy. This is how the hair comes out naturally. Is it harmful to dogs to strip their hands? It shouldn’t injure your dog, even though it sounds unpleasant. Here are several reasons why you should not shave your wire-haired dog:

Coat Texture

You do not remove the top guard hair when you clip a wiry-coated dog. Instead, you clip it short along with the undercoat. As a result of this procedure, the guard hair can no longer grow back in the same manner as before, which hampers the undercoat’s growth. 

This results in a change in coat texture. Most wiry-haired dogs’ coats will regrow wavy and curly. The dog will lose the dense, wiry texture we know the breed for having.

Coat Color

The hair shaft dies and thins down in dogs much as in humans. It’s a normal occurrence in the hair cycle. If you don’t pluck those hairs out and instead clip them, the guard hair grows back as downy as the undercoat in wiry breeds. 

Because the undercoat, which is the first stage of the hair cycle, is fluffy and pale in color (the color develops later in the cycle). If you remove it, the guard hair will result in a faded coat.

Temperature Control

Dogs’ coats are naturally waterproof. This coat acts as an insulator, keeping the dog cool in the summer and warm in the winter. If you shave or clip the coat, the soft undercoat will take over and no longer be able to aerate.

Skin Health

As previously stated, a wiry dog with a trimmed coat loses its capacity to protect itself against the elements and maintain proper temperature and aeration. This means they’re susceptible to skin problems, particularly if moisture gets trapped in their wooly undercoat. Losing the wiry texture makes dogs more susceptible to matting, which can lead to skin sores.

Dog grooming

Why Do Some Dogs Have Wire Hair Coats?

Some breeds have a wire coat to give them weather protection and repel dirt. This allows the dogs to travel through underbrush without snagging their coat. To keep the texture and function of this coat, you must strip or remove the outer coat.

Wire coats come in various textures and lengths. But when comparing them to “regular” coats, they feel stiff, bristly, and coarse. The ends of the hairs are not sharp to touch. Contrary to popular belief, petting a dog with a wiry coat is not uncomfortable. 

A wiry coat naturally repels water, dust, and filth. It also acts as insulation against high temperatures. Briers, thorns, sticks, and other natural detritus are less likely to snag in a wiry coat than in a soft, fluffy coat. Therefore, the wiry coat was ideal for chasing down a game in the fields or woodlands. 

The Cairn Terrier, for example, has a wire coat that sheds relatively little. Others, such as the Jack Russell Terrier, are prone to excessive shedding. When the weather starts to warm up, those with a thick undercoat will shed it. All in all, they’ll probably need some help with regular brushing to get the loose hairs out of the coat.

Dog Hair Growth Stages

Canine hair, like human hair, passes through a cycle of growth and shedding. The hair growth cycle has three stages, starting with vigorous root growth and ending with hair shedding. The Anagen, Catagen, and Telogen phases are the three stages of cell division.

Anagen Stage

The Anagen phase is the time when the body is growing. The hair bulb’s cells divide quickly, resulting in new hair growth. Before hair follicles become inactive, hair develops actively from the roots for an average of 2-7 years. Hair can grow anywhere from 18 to 30 inches (45.72 to 76.2 centimeters) during this time. 

This period lasts as long as your maximum hair length, which varies from person to person due to genetics, age, health, and other factors.

Catagen Stage

Catagen is the second phase of your hair growth cycle. This brief stage lasts about two to three weeks on average. A club hair is a transitional phase in which hair stops growing and detaches itself from the blood supply.

Telogen Stage

Finally, hair enters the telogen phase, the third and final stage. This phase begins with a time of rest, during which club hairs rest in the root as the new hair grows beneath them. This stage lasts about three months. The resting club hairs will fall out after this period, allowing new hair to grow through the hair follicle. 

This is not a cause for concern but a natural occurrence that should go unnoticed. You don’t lose patches of hair all at once since each follicle is independent and goes through the growth cycle at different times, so you only lose 50-100 hairs daily. Meanwhile, the remaining 80-90 percent of your hair will be growing long and strong in the Anagen period!

Which Tools are Used for Canine Hand Stripping?

Stripping dog hair requirements are simple and inexpensive. The tiny amount you spend is likely the best investment you can make. Because of this form of grooming, there is no use of electrical equipment to style the dog. You do everything by hand, with or without the assistance of grooming devices. Your fingers do the majority of the job. 

These are free and widely available, albeit you don’t get a choice of size, and your skin condition affects your work. Groomers with large hands or limited joint mobility may struggle with precise plucking around ears, tops of heads, and hygienic regions. Wire coatings are quite coarse and can cause blisters until your hands’ skin toughens.

Finger Protectors

Rubber thimbles or latex “cots” that attach to the tips of your fingers and thumb to provide more grip. You can buy thimbles with breathing holes on one side and dimples or nipples on the other side. This will assist in grasping and holding the hairs as you pull. The “condoms” (or “cots”) are smooth at first, but as they warm up, they cling onto the hair. 

Groomers sometimes use rubber gloves. However, your hands will grow warm while plucking, and rubber gloves tend to overheat and get slick on the inside, causing blisters.

Stripping Knives

If you look attentively at a stripping knife, you’ll notice that it has a row of teeth, the bases of which, if not used properly, are sharp enough to cut the coat. They’re for stripping or removing the coat easier. 

The key is to keep your wrist firm while drawing the hair out of the follicle, rather than flicking the hair off anywhere along the hair shaft. Both left- and right-handed groomers can use stripping knives. When buying knives, left-handed groomers should ensure the beveled side of the blade is towards them when holding the tool with their left hand.

Stripping knives are available with extremely fine, medium, and coarse blades. However, you are unlikely to require all of them unless you specialize in stripping, which is the majority of your work. A stripping knife with a medium and coarse blade will generally suffice when you first start out or if you’re trimming your pets. 

The most important thing is to pick a grip that feels well in your hand. Plastic handles might make your palm sweat, making it difficult to operate the knife. Some wooden handles are too bulky for tiny hands, while slender handles are too small for larger hands.

Before deciding, ensure you have the handle in your hand and are gripping the tool appropriately. Hold the handle in the palm, with the index finger bent and resting on one side of the blade. The thumb rests in the groove, on the cutting blade, or against the cutting blade’s side. 

After each usage, clean strip knives in warm soapy water, dry well and disinfect with UV light or a liquid sterilizing solution. Store in a place where there will be no harm to the teeth. You can divide Knives into four categories:

  • Extra fine (or detail) – For the brain, ears, and the truth.
  • Fine – Head, neck, and all areas
  • Medium – Body, legs, and all locations
  • Coarse – Large breeds, coarse body

Each blade is a comb with varying densities of teeth. A coarse comb leaves more hair undisturbed, but an ‘ultra fine’ comb removes most of the hair. Use finer blades for finer detail work (such as the face), whereas rougher blades are for the body or huge breeds. 

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” solution; a full groom will necessitate the use of all four blades. There is, however, an alternative procedure involving using a stripping stone.

Stripping Stones

Synthetic pumice stones come in two colors. Black for deeper coatings and white for lighter coats. You can drag the stone through the coat in the direction of hair growth to remove short fine hairs. You can also rub in the opposite direction to leave a residue on the coat. This gives the hair greater traction and makes tugging simpler.

Fuller’s Earth and Chalk

To impart grip to the coat, utilize chalk. Dip your fingertips into the chalk to coat them, then go on. You can’t use chalk if you’re using finger condoms or thimbles. Because it is white, it has an evident disadvantage; hence fuller’s earth is sometimes favored for darker coats. The amount of product left in the coat and on the skin is a downside of using either of them. 

You must ensure that the entire product has come from the skin. Especially if the dog is a pet and you will not see it for a long time. The main benefit of chalk on show dogs (especially West Highland Terriers) is that it improves the color and texture of the coat. 

It is also in the show dog owner’s best interest to ensure that tin is unhurt. Ensure that you remove the chalk after the show.

Lava Block

As the name implies, lava blocks with a coarse-grained surface can help traction. Grab the coat between your thumb and the block while holding the block in your palm. The hair should come away if you pull lightly toward coat growth. 

Lava blocks can leave a residue on the coat, which may need cleaning after you’ve completed showering. Because lava blocks will disintegrate if washed, sterilize them with ultraviolet light.

Canine Hand Stripping Techniques

If how to hand strip a dog is one of your concerns, worry no more. Here are several techniques on how you can hand strip your dog.


This is usually the very first stage in the procedure (if necessary). It refers to the undercoat removal with a knife, pumice stone, or undercoat rake as carding or raking. This makes the coat flat, making hand stripping easier in the next phase. It’s important to remember that the use of a carding knife doesn’t mean you’re carding. 

It refers to removing the undercoat as carding (with whichever tool we deem necessary at the time.)


Plucking is similar to stripping your skin with your hands. Groomers will pinch the skin and pull a few hairs at a time with their fingertips. This deliberate and slow process necessitates a high level of expertise.


Using a tool to strip by hand is what we call stripping. For different regions of the body, we employ a variety of hand stripping knives. Always pull in the grain’s direction. Stripping knives aren’t for cutting; they’re used to establish a good grip.


Rolling is a method of removing an undercoat that involves rolling the skin to reveal lengthy undercoat hairs. The long hairs are then stripped or plucked away.

Dog Hand Stripping Styles and Patterns

Consider hand stripping as a method and shaping and style as the desired outcome. The majority of breeds have their grooming style. This is vital if you’re hand stripping for the show ring.

Wire Haired Dachshunds, for example, should have a sleek physique and resemble a smooth-coated dachshund with a noticeable beard and eyebrows. The Irish Wolfhound has a ‘rustic’ appearance that is nearly unkempt. It’s crucial to research each breed and its specific grooming requirements before starting this process.

Hand stripping

The Final Bark

It takes years of experience and years of refinement to master the art of hand stripping a coat properly. Finding a breeder or handler of wire-coated dogs ready to teach you with hands-on supervision and direction is my greatest tip for success. This article has all the information you’ll need to succeed in your dog stripping and grooming pursuits. Best of luck!!