How to Hand Strip a Cairn Terrier

(Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The Cairn terrier is an active, hardy dog equipped with a weather-resistant double coat characterized by a harsh, wiry outer coat and a soft and furry inner coat. Keeping the coat in top shape is a must whether you are in the show dog business or just a dedicated owner. The purpose of grooming is to promote health, good hygiene and to ''preserve type'' for those in the show dog business. Hand stripping is a process where the Cairn terrier owner will pluck out the dead and dying hair for a shinier and healthier coat.

Things You'll Need

  • Grooming table
  • Dog comb
  • Dog brush
  • Grooming chalk
  • Stripping knife
  • Treats

Place your Cairn terrier on the grooming table. Groom your Cairn terrier's coat with the brush and comb. Focus on removing mats. Make sure the coat is clear of any tangles before going to the next step.

Place your dog on the grooming table for easier access.
Place your dog on the grooming table for easier access. (Image: Apple Tree House/Lifesize/Getty Images)

Apply some grooming chalk on your hands to give you a better grip. Grasp a few strands of hair between your fingers or between your thumb and the teeth of a stripping knife, and pull steadily in the direction of growth.

Pluck the hair smoothly and with a steady rhythm, using a gentle touch. Work the coat a few hairs at a time, keeping the wrist locked while pulling in the direction in which the coat grows, explains certified master groomer Kathy Salzberg. This way, the weakly rooted dead hair is easily removed.

Praise and reward your Cairn terrier for cooperating. Your Cairn terrier will appreciate it and will learn to enjoy any future grooming sessions.

Reward your Cairn terrier with treats for complying.
Reward your Cairn terrier with treats for complying. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • Leashing your Cairn terrier to an overhead ring will make the grooming session easier.
  • If your terrier's coat is overgrown, you may need to get it stripped down to the undercoat layer.
  • Make sure you use an arm and shoulder pulling movement, not a wrist action.
  • Stripping knives come in left and right-handed models.
  • Many groomers do not hand strip because it is time-consuming, but most will show you how to do it at home.
  • Be kinder and more careful in hand stripping older Cairn terriers: their skin tends to be more sensitive.
  • Consider that Cairns are more sensitive lower on the sides and on the belly.
  • Pulling live, healthy hair can cause the dog pain and discomfort.
  • Never ask a groomer to ''strip" your dog. To groomers, stripping means shaving the dog down to the skin. Be specific and ask for ''hand stripping."

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