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This page is to address terrier owners who want to follow their breeder's advice to have the dog's coat hand stripped rather than clipped. Hand stripping is a very different process and it is important to have realistic expectations. Breeds that are typically better off being hand stripped are: Airedale, Wire Fox, Irish, Norwich, Norfolk, Cairn, West Highland (Westie), Scottish, and Welsh Terriers

The reasons for hand stripping harsh coated terriers. Each hair follicle supports a single hard outer hair and several soft finer hairs that form the supportive undercoat. The characteristic rich color and hard texture is formed by the outer hairs. As these hairs grow out and become old, they become thin, soft and faded at the roots. More of the softer hairs push their way out of the hair follicle. The purpose of hand stripping is to remove the old faded hairs so that new growth can occur, and to prevent that excess fuzzy undergrowth that may be clogging the hair follicle.

If the coat is not refreshed by stripping out the old, the coat can lose color and become faded, the ratio of fuzzy coat to hard coat can be altered so that texture is lost, and the hair follicles can become plugged up with fine hairs and oily serum. This can even lead to skin problems, such as the pimples or "acne" that is sometimes found on Miniature Schnauzers. If the hair is clipped or cut rather than pulled out, the growth of harsh new coat is inhibited, and the entire coat can become faded and soft. In some breeds, such as Airedales, the once black jacket becomes gray in color, the red brown becomes light brown and the leg furnishings become straw colored.


  • Hand stripping requires considerably more time than grooming with clippers. This means it will cost a lot more to have it done professionally. This is also a reason that many professional groomers decline to offer the service. Hand stripping is a very specialized service that does not fit well with a high volume grooming operation. My home grooming operation fits well with this specialized service.
  • The end result of hand stripping requires hair growth. Although a hand stripped grooming can include considerable "tidying up" of the overall appearance, when major work is done on any area, it may look thin until the new growth comes in. Clipped and scissor grooming can deliver a consistent finished result; hand stripping is a work in progress.
  • Results of hand stripping can vary from groom to groom. If your dog is being worked on regularly, I will be prioritizing different areas on different visits. In my work, sometimes I am focusing on the jacket, other times the head needs a lot of my time, and I cannot always do everything on every visit as I can with clip/scissor work.
  • Full stripping, "staging" the coat, and "rolling" the coat. A "full strip" is generally when the coat has completely grown out and the groomer takes it all off, down to the fuzzy stuff. Some groomers call this "stripping to the underwear." If the dog does not have much underwear, it can be rather bald. In 10-12 weeks the dog will look great. Staging" the coat is often done in preparation for a presentation on a certain date, such as a dog show or grooming competition. If you are looking for a pet trim this will not be necessary to keep your pet looking natural with deep rich color.

You can also choose to have parts of your pet hand striped to give it a more natural appearance. (Tails, Face and furnishings)

Hand stripping has been a dying technique but thanks to the new interest and education of clients its becoming a everyday practice of independent groomers. It is a lot like weeding your garden, taking the old, dead faded coat out making room for the more vibrant healthy color coat to grow in.The natural oils are released to condition the coat when the old coat is stripped out. Hand stripping has been around for a very long time and still used for the show ring and grooming competitions.Having a hand-stripped pet is an ongoing process and takes commitment...

Procedures for hand stripping

At 6 months if you are going to have your pet hand-stripped that is a good age to start. What I will do during the first appointment is a 1 hour of stripping and a bath. During this first groom I will start the jacket (back) and try to do a little on the face and tail. This is to get her used to the stripping slowly along with preparing her skin for the process. This first appointment should take about 2 hours and will cost around $75.00.

About six weeks after the first groom you will need to bring her back and I will do another 1 to 1 ½ hour stripping depending on her. A bath after that will cost about the same as the first time.

Around 8 to 10 weeks after the second stripping I should be able to do a full groom. That would be a 2 hour stripping with a bath and will take about 2 ½ to 3 hours and the cost about $120.

You will need to bring them in about every 10 weeks for a full groom. This is providing that you keep up on brushing and combing on regular bases. This will cost about $120 as well.

The brushing and combing in-between grooms will help get them used to being groomed and handled this will make the hand-stripping process a bit easier on them and less costly on you. Having a hand-stripped pet is an ongoing process and takes commitment...Brushing is a BIG part of that commitment. It is much better for the dogs coat and skin and we need to work together to accomplish this.

I would be happy to work with you and your pet’s needs. If you have any further question please feel free to ask.