Handstripping Tools and Tips: A Quick Guide for Dog Groomers

Handstripping Tools and Tips: A Quick Guide for Dog Groomers

For many dog groomers, the art of handstripping is an essential technique for maintaining the natural texture and health of a dog’s coat, especially for those dogs which have the genetically determined coat to be stripped.

Did you know that every bred group includes handstripped breeds? Yes, from Hounds to Toy, and it is not limited to pedigree dogs. But, as with any craft, having the right tools is crucial. Today, I want to discuss some key considerations when choosing the right handstripping tools and share insights on a reputable brand that stands out in the grooming world.

Understanding Handstripping Tools

Handstripping involves completely removing dead hair from the follicle of mainly wire-haired dogs to promote new, healthy fur growth. This technique uses specialized tools like rakes and stripping knives.

However, a common concern among groomers is the sharpness of these tools; overly sharp instruments can inadvertently rip or cut the hair or, worse, harm the dog’s skin, especially when the technique is not mastered.Then you can even hurt yourself, especially if you do it regularly and over hours.

The Importance of Bluntness

The market floods with countless brands of rakes and stripping knives, varying from inexpensive to high-end; many claim to be “blunt” or “hand-dulled.” Yet, it's crucial to proceed with caution. The infamous “thumb test” has led many to discover that some tools, despite their hefty price tags, are perilously sharp.

This is where the brand groomer.dk distinguishes itself. Unlike others, groomer.dk doesn’t leave the dulling process to the customers; instead, each tool undergoes a hand-dulling procedure during manufacturing, ensuring safety and efficiency. This method, perfected and kept secret by an award-winning industrial designer, solidifies groomer.dk's commitment to quality. This finish is done by hand in Denmark.

To the best of my knowledge the only brand that doesn’t delegate the act of dulling the tools to their customers, is groomer.dk.

If you have bought sharp tools you could try to dull them at home using various methods which you can read about on the internet, but this will leave you with a random result. The best thing is to buy blunt tools going forward so there’s never any doubt about you damaging a dog’s coat by accident.

The Pitfalls of Cheap and Imitation Tools

Imitations of groomer.dk’s products are rampant, even mimicking the original's color and design. These counterfeit tools often come with vague or absurd explanations regarding their dulling process.

More concerning, the inferior metal quality used by these knock-offs means that even attempted dulling could lead to the blade breaking. It's a stark reminder of the adage "you get what you pay for."

Tools produced by groomer.dk are in the middle price range and are only available at official distributors. In case you see knives looking “just like originals,” listed on any of the usual online sales platforms for a “good price”, you can be sure it’s an unauthorised, sharp and cheap copy.

The difference between cut and stripped hair:

Hair shredded by a sharp tool:

Tips for Using Rakes in the Handstripping process

Rakes are meant to remove mostly undercoat. They are predominantly used on breeds with lots of undercoat such as e.g. Schnauzers, Airedales Wire Fox Terriers, or Spaniels but you can also use them on breeds with flat and tight hair like Border Terriers.

A valuable tip for using rakes, particularly for dealing with short, fine undercoat like the Parson Russell Terrier in the picture, involves threading a rubber band through the rake’s teeth.

This technique, like banding a comb, can significantly enhance the tool's efficiency. You can even adopt a zig-zag motion for an even better hair removal experience, making these tools versatile across different dog breeds and fur types.

Navigating the World of Handstripping Tools

Navigating the sea of handstripping tools can be daunting. Yet, understanding the paramount importance of tool quality, safety, and the technique itself goes a long way. With brands like groomer.dk leading by example, groomers are empowered to choose wisely, ensuring the wellbeing of our furry clients and maintaining the integrity of their beautiful coats.

Selecting Durable Handstripping Tools

The longevity and performance of handstripping tools are paramount, notably demonstrated by the Shorty Xtreme and Mini Eco Shorty from the Diamond edition. These versions benefit from the integration of nanotechnology in their coating process, significantly extending their usable life to an estimated eight years.

This advanced treatment justifies a slightly higher price but ensures an investment in quality and durability. The Shorty has also the invaluable advantage that it is “neutral”, so you can use it regardless if you are left or right-handed.

 However, Sharperedges together with me consciously decided only to stock the Shorty for now. You can always extend your collection if you feel the need for it.

At Pluck and Shine we carry the whole range of stripping tools from groomer.dk, including specialist knives which I mention it for completeness, ready to discuss should curiosity arise.

About the author: Carola Copland is a seasoned dog groomer and the visionary behind Pluck & Shine, also serving as the exclusive distributor for groomer.dk in the UK. Her expertise in the pet grooming industry, particularly in handstripping techniques, has established her as a trusted authority among professionals and enthusiasts alike. Carola is the revered author of "Handstripping - What You Need to Know," a comprehensive guide aimed at demystifying the handstripping process for groomers of all skill levels. Her passion for animal care and grooming proficiency shines through her work, making her a respected voice in the grooming community.

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