Grooming by Coat Texture: Wire Coated Dogs
Did you know that there are over 150 types of dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club
Each of these distinctive breeds has a different coat, a different cut and a different look. As a groomer, it’s impossible to be an expert at grooming each and every different dog breed out there.
That’s why most groomers choose to specialize in one or two particular breeds that they either show, or just enjoy grooming.
Understanding coat texture is incredibly important for proper grooming. You can damage the coat if you choose the wrong tools or don’t have the proper understanding of the coat’s needs.
Wire coated dogs, such as Terriers, Otterhounds, Affenpinschers, and Brussels Griffons, are often considered the most difficult dogs to groom. This is due to their complicated coat texture.
Wire coated dogs have a “double coat”, meaning they have an undercoat, which is soft and downy and a top coat, which is long, wiry and harsh. The top coat is typically water repellent.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to grooming wire coated dogs:
The first is that if the dog is a pet, it is OK to machine clip a wire coat every 6–8 weeks.
The second is that these dogs absolutely have to be hand stripped every 3–4 months in order to properly maintain the coat.
It is important to note that clipping wire coated dogs can change the coat’s texture and dilutes the fur color.
Hand stripping can be a little daunting when you’re first starting out, but is not overly difficult. It is important to remember that this process does NOT hurt the dog.
Depending on the age and current length of the coat, you can choose to either take the coat down (ie: plucking the dog’s entire coat at one time) or roll the coat (ie: plucking small amounts of hair at a time).
Rolling the coat is the more popular method for pets since it takes less time and doesn’t drastically alter the look of the coat. The catch is that rolling the coat has to be done more often.
To hand strip a wire coated dog, start by holding the skin of the pet taut using your non-dominant hand.
Clutch a few hairs with your dominant hand and pull them down and straight out. Always pull in the direction of the hair growth.
Some groomers choose to sprinkle some grooming powder on the hairs, while others use stripping knives or gloves to help with the process. Whatever you choose will work out fine. It’s a matter of preference.
Repeat this process across the coat. Sensitive areas like bellies can be clipped, if you choose.
As mentioned above, rolling the coat will need to be done often, while taking the coat down should be every 8–12 weeks, depending on how fast the dog grows hair.
Hand stripping will ensure a healthy coat and better quality of undercoat as well as brighten the colors of the coat.
As a final step, use a pumice stone – it gives the coat a shiny luster and is sure to bring a smile to your customer’s face. Happy grooming!