How to Hand Strip a Border Terrier?

Hey, fellow pet lovers! 👋

Today’s post is how to hand strip a Border Terrier? My girl Lily gets stripped about twice a year and it is quite a challenge as she really hates it! Thankfully there are certain things you can do to make it easier for yourself and also your furry friend.

Let’s jump straight in and learn how to hand strip a border terrier or terrorist as us owners of the breed sometimes say!

How To Hand Strip a Border Terrier?


Here is a photo of my girl Lily when she had super long hair, and I think she looks adorable! Little Lily is the first Border Terrier I have ever had; in fact, I hadn’t been around the breed until we got her. They are a very odd and unique breed to own, and even though she is tiny, her character makes up for her size!

One of the weirdest things about having a Border Terrier is having to hand-strip them twice a year; you have to pull out their old coat when it has become blown, which simply means it has become overgrown and is dead. By doing this, you can get to their lovely soft undercoat. The first time my partner and I stripped Lily it was an uncomfortable situation, and she hated every second of it, but thankfully as the years have gone on we have managed to work out what tools we can use to make stripping her that little bit easier.

Step One, Get your Stripping Tools Ready

The first step is to make sure you have all the tools you will need to make stripping your BT that little bit easier. There are a few different brushes and stripping knives to get if you haven’t already, as they make everything so much simpler.

This is a professional coarse stripping knife, , and it makes such a difference when grooming your Border Terrier. The first time we used one of these, w,e managed to strip Lily a lot quicker, an,d it was an even tidy strip. You use a coarse stripping knife once you have pulled out as much of your pet’s dead coat with your index finger and thumb, then use your stripping knife for the more delicate areas such as your pet’s backend, chest and legs.

To order yours simple follow the link below, Groom Professional Coarse Stripping Knife

There is also another stripping knife that you should order which will help that it is slightly different from the coarse stripping knife above. This knife is a lot finer and should be used on your BT’s face, around the eyes and ears, where the hair is short.

To order yours follow the link below, Groom Professional Fine Stripping Knife

The last thing to order for your furry friend it is a KONG ZoomGroom Brush. This is an excellent brush for everyday use and not just when stripping your pet. This KONG ZoomGroom brush is perfect for getting any dead hairs out and provides a clean finish after stripping. Something else I love about this brush is that you can use it when you are bathing your pet.

To order yours follow the link below. KONG ZoomGroom Boysenberry

Step Two, Tire The Pooch Out! 🎾

Lily having fun

So now that we have got all our stripping knives and our KONG ZoomGroom brush ready, then the next thing to do is to let Lily have a decent half an hour of chasing after her ball. There is no doubt that this is Lily’s favourite thing to do in the whole world, and, it chills her out beforehand, which makes the entire process just that little bit easier. Take your pet on a little walk or to the park for a quick chase after the ball to tire them out and ensure they are a bit more relaxed before starting the stripping process. 

Step Three, Start The Stripping Process

Lily on the stripping table
Lily on the stripping table.

Now that you have all your stripping knives and brushes ready and have tired your furry friend out, it is time to start stripping them.

  1. To start the stripping process simply use your index finger and thumb to grab a small amount of your pet’s hair and pull the hair with a firm and quick motion, always in the direction of the coat.
  2. Keep a good grip on the skin of your pet around the area of coat you are pulling out, as this will make it easier. 
  3. Start at one area and move down from there, we start at the base of Lily’s neck then move down her tail. 
  4. Pull out as much of the dead hair with your index finger and thumb, then move onto your stripping knife for the harder parts such as the neck, tail, side and legs. 

We use a stripping table and it makes a hell of a difference when it comes to getting a great strip. The first few times we stripped Lily, we just put her on a regular table, and it was so much harder!

However, stripping tables can be a bit pricey so you can make do without; it will just be a little bit harder. The best thing about the stripping table, to be honest, is the waist strap, by not allowing Lily to be able to move around or run away, you can get an even beautiful strip. Be prepared to take a good few hours out of your day as stripping Lily is usually a two or three-hour job, with a few loo breaks in between for her.

The easiest thing to do when stripping is to start at the neck or one part of your pooch then go down from there, don’t just randomly do odd bits here and there. Otherwise, you will most likely end up with an uneven strip. We usually start from the back of the neck and then slowly move down to the base of the tail. When stripping your BT always do as much as you can with your finger and thumb then move onto your stripping knives when you get to the problematic parts such as your pooches tail, legs, neck and sides.

Step Four, Finishing Touches

Now that we have almost finished stripping Lily, it is time to do the finishing touches, and this is when you will want to use that professional fine grooming knife that we mention in step one; to get the dead hair from around her eyes, ears and face.

Step Five, Lily Looking Lovely & Smart!

Now that we are almost all finished and you have a very smart-looking Border Terrier, it is time to give your pooch a quick going over with the KONG ZoomGroom brush that we mentioned in step one. Once you have got all the loose hair outs, you can let your pooch free.

We let Lily have another little run around to say well done for putting up with that, she is a little star sometimes!! Another handy thing to note is to have plenty of treats on hand at all times as this will make doing the hard parts like your BT’s tail or backend a bit easier. These are places Lily doesn’t like getting stripped, so having some tasty treats on hand makes a massive difference.

Check out a few of Lily’s favourite treats recipes to ensure you have enough for your furry friend.

Another great post to check out is our Tropiclean, luxury 2 in 1, Pet Shampoo and Conditioner review. I love Tropiclean’s grooming products and if you haven’t checked them out it is worth ordering some of their luxury 2 in 1 shampoo and conditioner, as it will keep your pets newly stripped undercoat clean and fresh.

Things To Note when Stripping A Border Terrier

There are certain things to note and a few rules to follow when stripping your Border Terrier that I’ve listed below.

  • Place your pet on a non-slip surface that is at a convenient height, as this makes the stripping process a lot easier.
  • When hand-stripping use your thumb and index finger to pull out your pet’s hair with a firm and quick motion, always in the direction of the coat.
  • Keep the skin around the area of the dead hair you are pulling out tight as this will make it easier.
  • If your pet’s coat is a little bit dirty, it makes the stripping process easier.
  • Lastly, always work from one area as you won’t get an even strip if you just strip individual patches. We start from the back of the neck and work our way down to the base of the tail.

Tips when using a Stripping Knife

A stripping knife is super handy for making the whole stripping process easier and quicker, and it’s used simply to improve your grip on the hairs you are stripping. 

  • A stripping knife makes the whole process easier and acts like an extension of the fingers using the knife to grip not to cut.
  • When using a stripping knife trap a little bit of hair between your thumb and the underside of the stripping knife and then again simply pull out your pooches hair in a firm and quick motion, always in the direction of the coat.
  • You have to be careful when using a stripping knife as you can cut your pooches hair, to ensure you do not do this try holding the stripping knife more parallel to the coat and closer to your BT’s body.
  • Pull out as much of the dead hair with your index finger and thumb, then move onto your stripping knife for the harder parts such as the neck, tail and legs.

I found this video pretty useful when writing this blog post, so head over there to watch how to strip your BT, Grooming Guide – Border Terrier Handstrip – Pro Groomer.

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