An Introduction to Hand Stripping

wirehaired pointer

An Introduction to Hand Stripping

What is Hand Stripping?

Hand stripping is a grooming process that involves removing dead hairs from the coat by hand instead of clipping to keep the coat tidy and healthy. Usually completed twice a year in spring and autumn, it speeds up the natural process of growth and shedding.

True hand stripping is precisely that – the groomer plucks the outer guard hairs from the coat entirely by hand when the coat is blown. It is common practise however to use tools such as stripping knives and stones to help with the process.

What Dog Breeds Can be Hand Stripped?

Dogs with wiry coats tend to need hand stripping to groom to breed standard. This includes most of the Terrier group. Other breeds that require hand stripping include:

  • Schnauzers
  • Cocker Spaniels
  • Irish Wolf Hounds
  • Wire Fox Terrier
  • Wire-haired Pointers
  • Wire-haired Dachshunds
  • Border Terriers
wire haired dachshund

Methods and Tips

There are a number of methods to employ to make the hand stripping process easier and more effective:

  • Pull in the direction of hair growth
  • Support the skin with gentle pressure
  • Pluck the longer hairs only, usually measuring approximately 2 – 5cm
  • Try finger cots or chalk power to add grip
  • Work with a steady rhythm, removing only a few hairs at a time
  • Do not be too heavy-handed when using a stripping knife – use it to assist with pulling the hair rather than cutting the hair

Hand stripping is not painful if completed properly, and many dogs actually enjoy it.

How does it work?

There are 4 stages to wire hair growth,

  • Anagen Phase: This is when hair follicles move into the GROWTH PHASE.
  • Catagen Phase: This is the TRANSITION PHASE when hair stops growing and the outer root sheath attaches to the hair.
  • Telogen Phase: The RESTING PHASE when the hair is at a standstill and does not grow or shed.
  • Exogen Phase: The FALLOUT PHASE where the hair falls out and a new hair grows

Once the hair is in the Telogen Phase then the dog is ready to be hand stripped, this is as the root follicle detaches from the dermal papilla allowing the hair to be pulled without causing harm or distress to the dog.

Why Hand Strip?

Hand stripping reduces skin issues and promotes the hair beneath the guard hair to start growing a fresh new hair; this will grow back with a nicer texture, a more vibrant colour and maintains a healthy coat/skin.

Hand Stripping from The Pet Retreat

The Pet Retreat offer dog grooming packages for all kinds of dogs no matter what kind of coat they have. Book an appointment with our expert grooming team at one of our salons across Cheshire. Call on 0161 883 1188 for Bowdon or 01565 337 111 for Knutsford.