How-to: Hand-Stripping and Dog Grooming for a Wirehaired Terrier

While some owners go for the clipped look, hand-stripping your wire haired terrier helps maintain his natural “scruffy” look. Grooming him often keeps your four-legged friend looking and feeling like a show dog.

Brush your wirehaired terrier’s entire coat with a wire slicker brush. Locate any mats or tangles and work them out with a metal comb by holding the hair away from the skin and working from the end of the hair toward the skin. Brush the hair of the legs in the opposite direction from that of growth, to make the hair stand up.

Strip the terrier’s coat by hand-pulling the long, wiry hairs. Keep your wrist locked and pull the hairs out gently in the direction of the hair growth. While stripping doesn’t hurt your terrier, pull out a few hairs at a time to prevent over-stripping.

Maintain an even coat while stripping, leaving the medium-length undercoat intact. Go over and over the coat, pulling the long hairs. Where the hair meets in a circle, generally under the neck and on the rump of the terrier, make sure you pull hair in the direction of growth.

Angle the scissors or shears downward and trim the hair down each front leg. Remove about half an inch on each leg, keeping the hair the same length from his shoulders to his toes. The legs should look like pillars, according to the Fox Terrier Club of Maryland website. Trim the hair on the hind legs and hocks the same way, keeping it uniform.

Trim the hair on the bottom of each foot between the pads with a pair of blunt-end scissors. Comb his face, ears and beard to remove any dirt or debris.

Add a small amount of ear powder to each ear and pull out the long hairs with your fingers. Put a cotton ball in each ear to keep water out.

Wet your terrier’s coat with warm water. Apply a shampoo specifically formulated for dogs with coarse hair. Rinse him completely and pat him dry with clean towels. Don’t rub, since this may cause his hair to tangle. Finish drying his coat with a hair dryer on the low or medium setting.

Items you will need

  • Slicker brush
  • Metal comb
  • Shears or scissors
  • Blunt-ended scissors
  • Ear powder
  • Cotton balls
  • Towels
  • Hair dryer


  • Have someone help hold your pup as you groom him if he becomes antsy.


  • If you see any discharge or smell a foul odor coming from your dog's ears, contact the veterinarian immediately.

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Amanda Maddox began writing professionally in 2007. Her work appears on various websites focusing on topics about medical billing, coding, real estate, insurance, accounting and business. Maddox has her insurance and real estate licenses and holds an Associate of Applied Science in accounting and business administration from Wallace State Community College.