Today is the 2nd day of handstripping. Since I am not a show dog, Mum cheats a little. She does not handstrip 100% of my body. She shaves a few places, but these places are not often seen, hence her rationale that they can be shaved. The reasons for handstripping an Airedale terrier like me are because
- it retains the correct texture of coat - harsh and wiry. (After multiple clippings/shavings, an Airedale's coat becomes soft and cottony like a poodle, which is wrong for my breed)
- it retains the rich and deep colors of tan and black. (A clipped coat fades into a grey and beige color. Faded and old looking.)
- it retains the slight water-resistant characteristics of my harsh outer coat.
The areas that my Mum shaves includes,
- butt, very sensitive skin area (as shown above)
- groin, also very sensitive skin area (as shown below)
- and a small triangle, right beneath the chin
If anyone wants to be totally hardcore and handstrip 100%, just like the show dogs, these sensitive areas should be plucked with fingers only, not with any stripping knives. And only a few hairs to be plucked at a time.
Mum uses a mini shaver, called the Moser Mini Arco to shave the above 3 areas of my body. She also uses this to shave between my paw pads to remove fur from there, to give a clean shave.
Taking a break, but taking big strides in being stripped on the left back.
Mum didn't strip my flanks (inside blue dotted line) where the stripped area and furnishings meet, because this area needs to be blended. Mum can either do the blending by plucking hairs out, or by using the thinning scissors. She also leaves this to the last day of handstripping. The Fine tuning is left to the end. Also for me, my flanks are quite short now, so not much length needs to come off.
On the thighs, look at my big hairy puffy thighs (inside red dotted line). It looks dis-proportionate to my body. The area inside the blue triangle also needs to be stripped. But this is left to 3rd day of handstripping. However, Mum prepares by carding the area.
Carding is a technique used to thin out, or rake out undercoat. The stripping knife is used, and placed on the body at an angle, almost laying flat to the skin, and the direction has to be in the direction of growth. After repeated strokes, undercoat will come out (as shown below).
Fluffy grey undercoat.
This is all my hair after 2 days of handstripping. So far, the first day took 6 hours, today we took 5 hours. Mum recommends that anyone who wants to strip should prepare a bin to collect fur.
Mum's arm is sore after 5 hours of hard labor. Her fingers are all hurting too.
I gave mummy kisses and licks on her blistery hand. I love my mummy.
Yay, after the 2nd day, I look worse than the first. When will it be over?
Day 3 and possibly Day 4 to be continued...