Basics of Hand Stripping for Dogs
©istockphoto/Ryhor Bruyeu

Basics of Hand Stripping for Dogs

Have you heard of the grooming process called Hand Stripping? For most of us, washing, brushing, and the occasional trim are all we need to do to keep our dog’s coat in tip-top shape. Regular grooming also helps keep our pooch’s skin and coat healthy. But there are some dogs that need to be groomed by hand stripping. It can be done by a dog owner or groomer, as long as they know what they are doing. Here’s what you need to know about hand stripping.

What is Hand Stripping?

When most dogs have too much fur or hair, they go off to the groomers for a little snip-snip. With a pair of clippers or scissors, groomers cut off the top layer of hair on a dog’s coat. But with hand stripping, the groomer needs to remove fur by hand; pulling it out by the root (not just the top layer) so a new coat is able to grow in. By clipping a coat, you’re just taking off the top layer of dead fur, so the dog’s coat can look duller in texture and color. Wiry coated dogs have a specific growth cycle where the hair becomes thicker and darker as it grows. You need to remove the dead hair from the top coat by the root; if you don’t, the coat won’t look as bright and vibrant, which is especially important when your dog is in the show ring.

What Breeds Can Be Hand Stripped?

Not all dogs need to be hand stripped—it’s all about the type of coat rather than the breed of dog. Dog breeds have coat types, and certain breeds come with the coats that can be stripped. These coats have two types of hair—a soft and dense undercoat and a long and dense top coat. Here are a few breeds that have a coat need hand-stripping:
  • Airedale Terrier
  • Affenpinscher
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier
  • Cairn Terrier
  • German Wirehaired Pointer
  • Irish Wolfhound
  • Schnauzer
  • Scottish Terrier
  • Wirehaired Pointing Griffon
  • Wirehaired Dachshund

Hand Stripping Tips for Dog Owners

Before you try it for yourself, you need to have a professional groomer show you the proper method—it’s a tricky process and needs practice so you don’t pull out too little or too much. When you start, you’ll need someone to help you out—they can hold your dog while you strip. Start by placing your dog on a stable surface like a counter or grooming table. Using your thumb and forefinger, grasp a few strands and pull gently to remove. If it’s ready to be stripped, the hair will come out easily and won’t cause your dog any pain. Some dog coats need to stripped more frequently than seasonally. Also, don’t feel like you need to do it all at once—break it down into sections and strip it over a period of several weeks. You can get a good visual of how this process works with this video. Don’t let hand stripping deter you from settling on a certain breed—all it takes is a little training and practice, and you’ll be able to care your dog’s coat on your own.

Amy Tokic

Amy Tokic is the Editor of, the flagship site to over 70 different pet communities, which offers pet parents a one-stop-info-shop for all things dog and cat related. Amy's been with PetGuide since the beginning, guided by the wisdom of her Shih Tzu mix and furry roommate, Oscar. Together, this pet power couple has their paw on the pulse of the pet industry, sniffing out trends, advice, news, tasty treat recipes and other tail-wagging stories.
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