How to Groom a Rough-Coated Terrier

Border terriers look great after they're hand stripped.

Border terriers look great after they're hand stripped.

No matter which breed a rough-coated terrier is, these guys have a look all their own. Regular grooming of your rough-coated pal isn't difficult, but hand stripping keeps the hair more rough and wiry. Hand stripping is labor-intensive, so many owners skip it or have a groomer do it.

Brush your pal a couple of times per week with a regular pin brush or a slicker brush. These brushes work well for daily grooming. They remove dirt and some loose fur that's ready to come out.

Use a mat-breaker to help remove any mats in your buddy's fur. Fur texture makes mats somewhat common in rough-coated breeds. The weird-looking mat-breaker isn't as dangerous as scissors, and it breaks mats up to make them manageable. Scissors may be needed if the mats are severe.

Check with an experienced groomer or your local breed club to learn how to groom your dog to his specific breed standard, if you're interested. If it's not too important, just hand strip or brush him.

Brush small sections of hair against the natural direction of growth. This will let you see where the hairs are so you can pull them.

Gently, yet firmly, pull out a few wire hairs at a time. The ones that are ready to come out will come naturally. You can use either your hands or a stripping knife to pull the hairs. Sometimes all the wiry hairs are removed, leaving only the fine, soft undercoat. Don't worry; the coat will grow back nice and wiry.

Use scissors to cut away urine-soaked hair, a common problem on wiry-coated breeds.

Items you will need

  • Pin or slicker brush
  • Mat-breaker
  • Stripping knife


  • Hand stripping doesn't hurt your dog when you do it correctly, but it does take a lot of time to accomplish. You -- and your pooch -- may want to break grooming into several sessions instead of doing it all in one long one. If you're uncomfortable with the idea of hand stripping your pooch, consult an experienced groomer.

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About the Author

With a professional background in gardening, landscapes, pests and natural ecosystems, Jasey Kelly has been sharing her knowledge through writing since 2009 and has served as an expert writer in these fields. Kelly's background also includes childcare, and animal rescue and care.

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