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Grooming

Hair Growth and Maintaining a Good Coat in a (Jack) Russell Terrier

Scott Wasserman, USA

Before you can begin to learn to hand strip or trim a terrier, it is best to get an understanding of how hair grows and understand its life cycle.

The canine hair follicle is complex, meaning that it supports more than a single hair. The canine hair follicle can contain one to two primary hairs and from 7 to 22 secondary hairs also known as undercoat. (Fig 1)

Canine hair grows in different cycles, Anagen, Catagen and Telogen. Anagen is the active growth stage. A hair in this stage can be growing from a couple of days to more than 25 years. In the Catagen stage, the bulb starts to constrict, and the hair becomes thicker and starts being pushed out of the follicle. This then leads to the Telogen stage where the bulb separates from the follicle and a new hair begins to push up next to the old hair. The old hair is eventually shed or in some instances, must be stripped out. (Fig 2)

 

To maintain a healthy coat, the older hair must be removed to allow for the production of new, healthy hair.  Terriers, specifically wire-coated ones, have thick and coarse primary hairs and softer secondary hairs. Due to the thickness of the hair shaft in terriers, the primary hairs sometimes get stuck because the follicle itself is narrow. When the older hair remains in the follicle while new hair is attempting to grow, the follicle can become irritated and swollen. Often when terriers are clipped and not at least carded, the old hair along with oils and cellular debris can clog the follicle and cause sores and pustules. Only a minimal amount of carding on a clipped terrier, followed by a follicular flushing bath, can help prevent follicular clogging and sores. (Fig 3a-c)

The technique of hand stripping is simply physically removing the hair by pulling it out of the follicle. Pulling the hair triggers a rapid cellular response and a new hair is stimulated to grow, and a coarser and brighter hair is produced. In this process, the new colored hair becomes darker, and the white hair is brighter. The color in the hair shaft is produced as the new hair grows and the pigments are deposited toward the tip of the hair shaft. As it continues to grow, less pigment is deposited along the shaft. (Fig 4a-c) So, when harsh-coated terriers are clipped, the tips of the hair are cut off, removing the pigment, and leaving the base end of the hair shaft with little to no pigment in the follicle, giving the dog’s coat a “faded” appearance. 

The term “hand stripping” refers to removing the hair without cutting or breaking by using your fingers (plucking) or replacing your index finger with a stripping knife or a stripping stone.

Technique:

Every dog’s coat is different in texture and growth rate. Getting a feel for each dog’s coat can take time to learn. 

To prepare the coat for stripping, brush the dog’s coat in the direction you wish the coat to lie. By brushing the dog’s coat through, you will avoid pulling clumps of hair. Hair that is pulled in clumps will grow back in clumps giving the coat a “patchy” appearance.

Always remember to support the skin by stretching the skin in the opposite direction from the way you are pulling.

Then, pulling toward your body, grasp the chosen hair(s) at the tip end of the hair shaft and pull in the direction that you wish for the new hair to grow. (Fig 5a-f) Make sure that you are not bending or snapping your wrist as this may cause breaking or cutting of the hair. 

 

You may use chalk or ear powder on your fingers or on the coat to help absorb excess oil on the coat and help give a better grip on the hair shaft.

So why should you hand strip? To maintain a harsh coat, along with healthy skin, dark rich color and proper texture, the coat must be worked constantly by rolling the coat. When rolling a coat, you are only pulling the dead hair of the outer layer to reveal the idle layer of coat that is at its prime length. (Fig 6)

Staging a terrier coat

Staging a coat is necessary to prepare for rolling a coat. Staging is begun when you are starting from a fully long or old or blown coat. (Fig 7a)

Since hair grows in cycles and because different hairs in an area may be on different cycles and have different growth rates, the hair on different parts of the body will grow faster and have a shorter “life span” than hair on other parts of the body.

Staging a coat is a process in which you first remove the hairs in the areas that you want to be the longest in a finished coat. (Fig 7b)

Stage 1: Strip the areas that you wish to be the longest. This area consists of the back of the neck, down past the withers and into the topline. If your dog has a low tail set, you will want to strip out this area also. (Fig 8).

One to three weeks later…
Stage 2: Because secondary hairs grow faster than the primary hairs so you will need to “de-fuzz” the area from Stage 1. Then, stage 2 involves stripping out the coat that you eventually want to be of medium length in the finished dog. So, you will strip out the sides of the neck, the rest of the body, and the hips. Again, remember to work the furnishings on the legs, face, and underline. (Fig 9)

During all stages, you will want to work the furnishings on the legs, underline, and face, including eyebrows, to always keep several layers going.

One to three weeks later…
Stage 3: De-fuzz the areas from Stages 1 and 2.  At this point you will strip out the areas that you want to be the shortest in the finished dog. These areas include the ears, head, throat, and the area around the anus and genital area and inside the cowlicks on the rear end. Again, remember to work the furnishings on the legs, face, and underline. (Fig 10)

 

Once you have the dog’s coat grown to the ideal length for all the areas to achieve proper breed profile, you will now begin to roll the coat. Rolling the coat is used to maintain the coat in different lengths. First, card the coat to remove excess undercoat and allow the primary hairs to lay flat. Next you will want to remove about one third of the coat remembering to work in an even pattern all over. If you hop around, your new coat will grow in “patchy.”

Once you have the dog’s coat grown to the ideal length for all the areas to achieve proper breed profile, you will now begin to roll the coat. Rolling the coat is used to maintain the coat in different lengths. First, card the coat to remove excess undercoat and allow the primary hairs to lay flat. Next you will want to remove about one third of the coat remembering to work in an even pattern all over. If you hop around, your new coat will grow in “patchy.”

Thank you to Irina Moskaleva, Cathy Denman, and Candace Lundin for contributing additional photos and illustrations.

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Handstripping Groomers Directory

The list below contains names of persons who have indicated that they have experience in hand-stripping a terrier coat. Experience and expertise can vary greatly, however, and so it is important that the reader asks lots of questions and requests references, especially if needing a show quality condition coat.
 

If there is no contact information listed, search on the person’s name or business on Facebook and Instagram.

Hope this helps…

Groomers Directory

California

Knightsen, CA

Christina Wagner

 

Fallbrook, CA

Ellie Wilson

Pet & Show

703-505-9831

elliewilson@protonmail.com

 

Central Valley, CA

Christine PiersonCG Pet Styles

Pet

Colorado

Louisville, CO

Emily Brunn, The Little Groomer

Pet & Show

303-666-0545

 

Florida

Hernando, FL
Angelia Bergener Hall
Pet & Show
707-624-5134

 

Palm Beach Co., FL
Melanie Charland, Elite Paw Mobile Grooming
Pet
516-668-9132
www.elitepawmobile.com

 

Kissimmee, FL
Manessa Donovan
Pet & Show
insta: Manessa_Donovan

 

Crystal River, FL

Roxanne Sutton

Pet & Show
(215) 919-2099

 

Plantation, FL

Mayra Grajales, Almana Dog Stylz
Pet & Show
https://linktr.ee/almanadogstylz


Idaho
Eagle, ID
Suzanne Pierce, The Dog Lady
Pet & Show

www.facebook.com/idahodoglady

Illinois
Waukegan, IL

April Conway
224-577-8598

Wheaton, IL
Nicole Hillison-Hernandez, Dognormous
Pet & Show

Glencoe, IL
Love Fur Dogs
www.lovefurdogs.com

 

Waukegan, IL
April Conway
Pet
224-577-8598

 

Iowa
Emmetsburg, IA

Sierra Elbert, Glamorous Paws
712-922-9035

Massachusetts
Whitinsville, MA

Karen Elizabeth Osper, The Perfect Paw
Pet & Show

 

West Springfield, MA

Roslyn Mintz-Fosco
Pet & Show

 

Marblehead, MA
Kate Peever, All Paws on Deck
Pet
781-631-2275
www.Allpawsmarblehead.com

 

Danvers, MA
Katherine Roldan, The Royal Four-Legged Spa
Pet
https://www.theroyalfourleggedspa.com/

Boston, MA
Kelly Marsh

 

Michigan

Port Huron, MI
Michelle Dixon, Michelle’s Elite Pet Styling
Pet & Show

 

 

Nevada

Las Vegas, NV
Star Whipkey Ott
Pet & Show
ott_to_be@hotmail.com

New York
Hicksville, NY
Roslyn Mintz-Fosco

Pet & Show

 

 

New Hampshire
Dover, NH
Diana Samaras-Fincher


Oregon

Portland, OR
Amanda Thomas, East Wind’s Dog Grooming (mobile)

Pet & Show

 

 

Pennsylvania
Maple Glen, Montgomery County, PA
Liz Sines

 

Claridge, PA
Stephanie Stempfer, Pampered Paws-N-Claws
Pet & Show
724-744-0200
www.pamperedpawsnclaws.com

 

Lancaster, PA

Vesta Rash, Center Stage Grooming
Pet & Show
717-728-8964

Tennessee
Puryear, TN
Jeanine Rogers, Nean’s Pampered Paws
Pet & Show

 

Nolensville, TN
Paul Johnson, Haute Dogge

Franklin, TN
Peggy Browne

770-655-5757
Pet and Show

   


Texas         

Willow Park, TX
Kelsey Jesseph
Pet & Show

817-771-1393

 

Fort Worth, TX
Jana Blake
Pet & Show

 

Fort Worth, TX

Wendi Napieraj
Pet & Show

Wendi.napieraj@icloud.com

586-344-5214

 

Austin, TX
Christie Henriksen, As The Fur Flies South
Pet & Show
https://www.asthefurfliesaustin.com/

Wylie, TX

Ginnie Raye Potts, Jinx Merlot Pet Grooming

Pet only


Utah

American Fork UT
Jessica Glenn, Furry Tail Transformations
Pet & Show
801-885-1962

 

Sandy, UT
Kahlia Castle, Doggie Castle
801-674-8486
www.doggiecastle.us

 

Utah County
Mary Nauta, Salon Woof
801-995-9835

 

Provo, UT
Kirsten Roberts Real, Kirstylou’s Doggie Doos
801-854-0370

 

Virginia
Manassas, VA
Guzal Adekoje, VIP Pet Elite
Pet & Show

 

Amissville, VA
Joe Metheney-Mills
Pet & Show

Alexandria, VA

Katie Cecilio
Contoured Canine

703-705-2176

Pet and Show

 

CANADA
Toronto, Canada
Erin Dietrich, The Animal Clinic
Pet

 

Calgary Alberta, Canada
Katlin Primrose, Primpaws Pet Grooming


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