Grooming Basics: All About Hand Stripping

When it comes to keeping your dog’s skin and coat healthy the best thing you can do is groom him on a regular basis. For some dogs, regular grooming means nothing more than brushing a few times a week. For other dogs, however, grooming is a little more complicated. Some dogs have a coat that requires a specific grooming method called hand stripping. But what is hand stripping? Can you do it yourself if your dog needs it?

Related: Why You Should Start Grooming Your Puppy From An Early Age

What is Hand Stripping?

Hand-stripping is a type of grooming method that dog owners use to remove excess hair from their dog’s coat. The most common method of dog grooming is clipping – this method involves the use of a pair of electric clippers which cut or shave the top layer of hair on a dog’s coat. The difference between clipping and hand-stripping is that not only is hand-stripping done by hand, but it removes coat from the root (not just the top layer) so a new coat is able to grow in. Each time you clip a dog’s coat instead of hand stripping, you are just taking off the top layer of dead fur rather than removing it from the roots – as a result, the coat may become duller in texture and color with each clipping.

What Breeds Require Hand-Stripping?

When it comes to hand stripping, it is more about the type of coat than the breed of dog. Of course, certain dog breeds have certain types of coats, so you can identify some breeds that require hand stripping based on this fact alone. The type of coat that requires hand stripping produces two types of hair – the undercoat is soft and dense while the top coat is longer and wiry in texture. The process of hand-stripping involves removing the dead hairs from the top coat by pulling them out from the roots rather than simply trimming them down. By removing the hairs entirely you will be creating room for the new coat to grow in. Dogs with wiry coats go through a specific growing cycle in which the hair becomes thicker and darker as it grows – if you do not remove the dead hair from the top coat it will have a negative impact on the overall appearance of the coat.

Related: Understanding Your Dog’s Special Grooming Needs

Some of the breeds that have a coat that requires hand-stripping include:

Tips for Hand Stripping Your Dog’s Coat

Hand stripping a dog’s coat can be tricky if you don’t know how to do it so, before you try it for yourself, it is recommended that you have a professional groomer show you the proper method. To hand-strip your dog’s coat you should place him on a stable surface like a counter or grooming table – it may also help if you have someone to hold your dog in place if he is nervous about being up high. Take a few strands of hair and grip it between your thumb and forefinger then pull gently in the direction of hair growth to remove the hair. If your dog’s coat is ready to be stripped the hair will come out easily and it will not cause your dog any pain. You may need to strip your dog’s coat more frequently in the summer than in the winter and it may be best to strip it in sections over a period of several weeks rather than doing it all at once.

Grooming is an essential part of being a dog owner and it is a task that can be challenging with certain breeds. With a little training, you can take care of most of your dog’s hand stripping needs yourself to keep him looking and feeling his best.

kate-Bio_PicKate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor’s degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.


  • Santiago Couso

    If you clip dead fur instead of hand stripping, why this dead fur grow again and again after clipping all the time? Maybe its not dead fur but old fur? Help please

    • Only certain breeds need to have their fur hand stripped. Most dogs can be clipped. What kind of dog do you have?

      • Santiago Couso

        I have a westie. Thats why i strip him to roll the coat every 4 weeks but i was thinking that these hairs i pull were not exactly dead but old and thats why they were not falling with a simple brushing. Thank you in advance. Santi (Spain)

  • iClean Dogwash

    Informative blog. thank you for sharing with us..