Friday, February 06, 2009

Phase 3 in Handstripping

This blog entry will be about Phase 3 in Handstripping.

Handstripping is a technique used for grooming hard-coated breeds, like the Airedale Terrier, Wire Fox Terrier, Westie, Irish, Welsh, and so on... Most pet terriers don't need to be stripped since they aren't being shown in the ring, but ALL terriers being shown must be handstripped.
It is the correct method for grooming terriers, but it is time consuming, expensive, and labor intensive. As such, most owners only clip (shave) their pets.

Terriers that need to be shown, must also be trained to endure Handstripping. From a young age, they must be willing to stand, or sit, or lay on top of the grooming table for HOURS for the handstripping process. For the groomer, handstripping is not for the faint of heart. It takes strength, technique, patience and an eye for lines and detail.

The main advantages of handstripping versus pet clipping:
  1. Maintains wiry coat, harsh texture [Correct] - clipping causes woolly soft texture [fault]
  2. Maintains rich deep colors - black and tan [Correct] - clipping changes coat color to beige [fault]
  3. Maintains "water/dirt-resistance" quality - clipping causes soft coats to trap water and dirt easily
Clipping and scissoring a pet takes 2-3 hours, $70 max, but handstripping the same dog takes 12-15 hours and about $500.

There are a few variations to handstripping. Some groomers prefer "Rolling" which is to fold the skin and pull out only the longest hairs, over the entire body. Rolling needs to be done everyday, consistently and hence, very time consuming. The "Reverse Strip" technique which I use, only requires a day or 2 a week, spread out over 6 weeks to attain the desired outcome at the end. It is called the "Reverse Strip" technique because the phases are determined by the length of hair on a particular body part. The longest parts are pulled first, leaving the shortest to the end. The purpose is to create the various lengths required on the show dog to accentuate muscles and other desired qualities, such as a deep chest, square body line and straight back, etc.

The phases are as follows:
  1. Saddle (black section)
  2. Back of Neck, Tail, Thighs, Butt
  3. Shoulders, Head, Ears, Sides of Neck, Chest
  4. Cheeks, Throat, Chin
The last phase is "Finishing" whereby all the furnishings are blended into the body and lines are made to disappear. The leg hair is plucked to make the legs appear like straight poles. The Head is made to look like a rectangular block of brick.

I know Kimi looks like a VERY strange dog at this phase.

There is a seam at the sides of the dog's neck, and another seam on his chest, and the last seam is on his butt. The butt seams look like little spirals, similar to human hair spirals on the head. Seams need extra care in handstripping because the hairs grow in all sorts of directions. Stripping should be done only in the direction of hair growth. Only a little bit of hair should be pulled with one stroke of the hand. Too much hair at a go will cause pain and discomfort for the dog.
Kimi can fall asleep while being stripped, the rhythm lulls him to sleep, and he naps with his head on my lap sometimes. He has been handstripped ever since he was 6 months old.
This is a closer picture showing him and the depicted 4 phases. You will notice that by now, there is a distinct color difference between Phase 1 (saddle), Phase 2 and 3. Phase 1 seems darker, and phase 2 is lighter while phase 3 seems lightest (almost bald). A newly stripped area is practically bald. Only a light coating of undercoat fuzz is left. The apparent change in color is actually the coat growing out at different time lapses, hence different lengths as required for show. I have not groomed him in Phase 4, that is why his face and neck is utterly a curly mess of fur. Phase 4 will be done next week.
Kimi is not shown in the ring, but I take great pride in his beauty and structure, and as a professional groomer, I also take great pride in my grooming abilities. I like Kimi maintained in show dog standards, so I keep him looking his best.

For those of you who enjoy handstripping, I hope you like this little entry on Handstripping.

Kimi's Mum,


At 12:55 AM, Blogger Stanley said...

Mama de Kimi!

I love the way kimi looks like he's all clean. The contrast between the stripped and non-stripped areas is very funky. I've seen photos of Kimi before after he's grown out a bit and he looks GORGEOUS. My girl wished she had the time to handstrip, but she grooms me with the clippers.

I also saw your post, Kimi, about your buddy, Japhy. He looks a very laid back pup. No wonder everyone loves him, what with that stinkin' big smile! Glad you got your mama to finally take some photos of the two of you together. So, did you ever really get your booty up on that sofa?

Goober love,

At 4:30 PM, Blogger Maggie and Mitch said...

We had no idea that handstripping was that expensive! We are both clipped doggies and our mom is our groomer!
You are one gorgeous boy, Kimi! Your mom does an awesome job!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

At 10:13 AM, Blogger cynthia Wright said...

Thanks for this,,,these a great photos of the phases/seams,,,,

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Bogart said...

Looking good Kimi!


At 9:44 PM, Blogger Moco said...

Both of you have great patience. Kimi looks good in all phases to us. Keep up the good work.

At 10:02 AM, Blogger Baby Rocket Dog and Hootie said...

Thank you SO much for the detailed (had to!) explanation of stripping. Our mom had no clue what it actually entailed (had to again!!) though she had heard of it. I'm good at the groomers, but hate it when Dad or Mom brush my hairs. I simply endure it.Hootie is 9 months old now & has been clipped twice & he loves to get his hairs brushed. He's a Welsh Terrier,so Mommy's guessing the cost would be less for stripping? We need to check to see if the groomer in Sandpoint does this. (For Hootie,not me!!) Thanks for this post,love, BabyRocketDog

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Amber-Mae said...

Woah, you're looking good(and kinda bald). Hehehe! That must be alot of hours of pain. I am glad I don't have a wirey coat nor do I have to go into much grooming. Infact, I hardly get groomed! Only Chloe does coz she goes for show. You just have a bit more to do under your neck & then you're done!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Stuffed from eating a BIG feast,
Solid Gold Dancer

At 12:06 PM, Blogger ilester said...

This seems painful, tiring and cruel to the dog...
Just trim him nice and quick and let him go play.


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