When to Book Your Dogs for a Handstrip

Knowing when to book a dog in for a handstrip is hugely important because it helps to maintain the coat condition, look after the dog’s skin health and also make the experience pleasurable for everyone involved. 

You may wonder what is the point in handstripping, it takes longer, is more expensive and clipping seems like a much easier option. Handstripping is not a skill that everyone has and certainly not many can do it to a high standard, but the benefits to your dog are huge:

  • Coat texture and condition is maintained to it’s normal thick and wiry feel, this protects the dog’s skin from their usual active lifestyle. 
  • The coat maintains the natural structure, which allows the dog to regulate their temperature a lot easier.
  • When a wire hair is clipped, the coat texture and colour can change, because hair follicles no longer grow in the same pattern. Less protein is given to the skin, and the skin will naturally produce more oil to protect it from the outside elements, which can lead to an increase in skin conditions.


So when do I book my dog in?

One simple hair cycle is split into four stages:

  • Stage 1: the hair has a fresh blood supply and the hair is growing more and more out of of the skin. I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t like having this hair pulled out from me. At this stage, the hair is not ready.
  • Stage 2: the hair is continuing to grow, climbing to the length that you see but still has a blood supply to maintain the hair health and grow. Once again, the hair is not ready.
  • Stage 3: the hair has reached the maximum length it can grow to and it has lost the blood supply. It is now at the surface of the skin and is ready to moult or be handstripped.
  • Stage 4: the beginning of the next cycle is starting to happen and the hair is ready to fall out.


What does it look like when the hair is ready?

  • When the hair is pushed up, it is at a different length to the younger hair

  • When the harsh, wire hairs are grabbed, it will easily fall out within your fingers

  • The hair may start to naturally part in places

This point is different for different breeds, but you should start checking after two months and then every two weeks up to three months. By the time it gets to 12 to 14 weeks, the coat should really now be stripped although there are variations from breed to breed, so knowing what to look for is essential. For more detail and even better insight, see our expert advice in our support section.

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