Canine Coat Care – Wire Coats

Many dog owners, especially new dog owners, feel slightly lost in the world of grooming. With so many coat types and breeds, along with the huge number of grooming tools available, it can be difficult to know which tools and techniques are suitable for your dog. Grooming is a very important element of dog ownership, however. It is important for skin and coat health, and also helps you bond with your pet. We at Groomers have therefore compiled a guide to the typical grooming tools and techniques needed for popular breeds by coat type. Today we will look at the needs of a wire coat. 

Qualities of a Wire Coat

Wire coats feature a combination of soft dense undercoat hair with a layer of longer wiry guard hairs on top. This coarse, wiry coat is water resistant, but it can get dirty and matted. Terrier dogs typically have wire coats, including popular breeds such as Fox Terriers, Jack Russell Terriers, Cairn Terriers and West Highland White Terriers. Wire coats need regular brushing. They also shed very little, and often need to be hand stripped.

Tools You Will Need for Grooming a Wire Coat

  • Slicker brush. This is the ideal brush for a wire coat. You should groom the coat weekly with this brush.
  • Medium comb. After you have brushed your dog with a slicker, you should follow by grooming with a medium comb to gently remove any matts and tangles.
  • Detangling products. Wire coats occasionally become matted, especially around areas such as the armpits. Use a detangling tool such as a matt breaker, along with some Groomers Groom and Detangle to loosen any knots.
  • Shampoo. You should not bathe a wiry coat too often as this can dry it out. Only bathe the coat if it becomes soiled, and ensure you use an appropriate shampoo, such as Groomers Performance Degreasing Shampoo. You should not need to use conditioning products on wire coats.
  • Stripping knife. Most wire coated breeds need hand stripping to keep their coat healthy. This can be completed by you at home or by a professional groomer. Most wire coated breeds need hand stripping every three to four months.

How to Hand Strip a Wire Coat

Hand stripping means that the dead hair is pulled out of the coat either by hand or by a stripping tool, instead of being trimmed by clippers or scissors. Wire coats will continue to grow if they are not stripped or clipped. It is important to hand strip wire coats if possible, as stripping allows the healthy growth of new hair. Stripping is not painful or even uncomfortable for the dog. Some dogs actually enjoy being hand stripped, but others do find the process disconcerting.

Hand stripping can be completed literally by hand (by pulling out the dead hairs in clumps with your fingers) but this is very time consuming. A stripping knife is a more standard approach to hand stripping. Use the knife to pull hair from below the undercoat and away. You must do this throughout the entire coat, including the face and feet. Once you have stripped your dog, he might look a little bare at first, but do not worry – healthy new hair will soon grow once again.

With hand stripping, it is a good idea in the first instance to seek the advice of a professional dog groomer. Hand stripping takes practise, and it can be very time consuming. A professional groomer will be able to advise you on the right techniques for your dog. They will also be able to help if you are experiencing problems with hand stripping. It should also be noted that some dogs cannot be hand stripped. This is can be because of the dog’s age, hormones or individual coat health. Again, your groomer will be able to advise and help you with this.

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