Monday, 3 September 2018

What Is Hand-Stripping?

Sunday is usually a day when most of us look forward to putting our feet up and doing something relaxing. For groomers it is a day when we can get together to connect, share, compare and pass on technical skills (Continued Professional Development in corporate speak!) So I jumped at the opportunity to attend a seminar on hand-stripping and hand-strip breeds, hosted by one of UK's premier groomers, Sue Pratt.
What is hand-stripping?
Before electric clippers became the one size fits all method of grooming, many dog breeds were Hand-stripped, where the coat is literally pulled out by hand. This sounds painful but done properly only the old, dead hair is being removed and should not be any more uncomfortable than tweezering our eyebrows. The two main coat types it is used for are wire haired and silky coats.
Wire Haired Fox Terrier

Any C&G trained groomer will have covered hand-stripping in their training. Unfortunately for many of us opportunities to use this knowledge are few and far between. It is time consuming and therefore prohibitively expensive for many customers. Also hormonal changes as a result of neutering render many coats unsuitable for stripping, meaning it is inappropriate for many of our pet customers.

So Sunday was a fantastic opportunity for us to extend our knowledge. Sue advised on: the best grooming programme for a hand-stripped pet dog; recovering a coat; how stripping can be blended with clipping & scissoring on pet dogs to attain the best of all worlds; the nuances of stripping a wire haired v a silky coat & what is involved in developing and maintaining a full show coat on a silky breed.

American Cocker Spaniel- Before
Two valuable pieces of advice I learned were:
  • It is sometimes possible to continue hand-stripping a dog after neutering provided the dog was stripped regularly before and provided the dog is not neutered too young.
  • To keep a hand-stripped wire haired dog looking sharp with their coat in top condition they should be stripped out at regular 6 weekly intervals NOT left until the coat is blowing before seeing a groomer again.
Which Breeds are Traditionally Hand Stripped?
Wire coated breeds include many of the terrier family: Fox, Irish, Borders, Jack Russels, Cairns & Westies are among the most popular. The coat should feel harsh and wiry to the touch and this texture is practical for these outdoor working breeds because it is to an extent water & weather proof. A hand stripped coat will maintain a vibrant colour and pattern and is normally less prone to matts and tangles.

Silky coated breeds which are hand-stripped mainly belong to the gun dog family, including spaniels & setters. Their coats were also initially designed for work & weather proofing in the field, however these days have become exaggerated to a degree that has rendered them somewhat impractical. However hand-stripping is still the best way to stunning results if you can spare the time and the money.

If you want to discuss having your dog groomed to breed standards call Babs at Southend Scalliwags on 07555207128

A.C.S.-Bathed, Brushed Out, Stripped & Scissored to Perfection by Sue Pratt

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