Wire haired dogs, like Terriers and some Dachshunds, have special coats that are a little more difficult to groom. But there’s a nice trade-off: their coats stay tidy and they aren’t heavy shedders.
Part of what makes wired hair dogs unique is that their coats act as a weatherproof jacket. Their fur is water-resistant and protects them from harsh weather.
If you plan on grooming your wire haired dog’s coat, there are a few things you should know about their fur. You should also know the proper grooming technique to keep your pup looking his best.
Know the Coat: Wire Haired Dogs
Wire haired dogs have special coats that require a little extra maintenance. Here’s what you need to know:
- Wire haired coats require regular trimming or stripping. This can be a complicated process that is best left to a professional groomer.
- This type of coat requires regular maintenance, particulalry during molting season. If neglected, the coat can become matted and tangled during this season.
- Wire haired dogs’ feet require extra maintenance because they get dirt and mud stuck between their pads. This can cause discomfort and in extreme cases, cysts.
With these special needs in mind, you can move forward with your dog’s grooming routine.
Bathing and Coat Drying
Wire haired dogs should be bathed regularly. How often you bathe your dog will depend on his daily activities. If he spends most of the day outdoors, he may need a bath every week. But if he’s an apartment dog or spends most of his day indoors, he may only need to be bathed once every 12 weeks.
When bathing your dog:
- Use a dog-friendly shampoo that’s gentle on the skin.
- Work the shampoo into a rich lather, and massage it into the entire coat (minus the head).
- Use a tear-free shampoo on the head to prevent irritation.
- Rinse out all of the shampoo before drying.
Towel drying is the best option here. Use an ultra-absorbent towel to cut back on drying time.
Finish up by combing your dog’s coat to remove any additional loose fur.
After combing, take a look at your dog’s behind. Excess hair growth in the tail area can sometimes lead to feces getting stuck in the fur.
If the hair is extra-long in this area, trim away the excess above and below the anus.
Brushing the Proper Way
Wire haired dogs can be a little troublesome to brush, but once you’ve mastered the technique, it will become second nature.
Here’s how to brush a wire haired dog’s coat properly:
- Start at the rear of the dog, and apply an anti-static conditioning spray. The spray will help the brush glide through the coat and detangle the fur.
- Supporting the back leg with one hand, use your other hand to brush down the leg and over the rear quarter with a slicker brush. Move in the direction of the hair growth and up the body.
- Apply some anti-static spray to the tail.
- Using one hand to hold the tail in place, brush out the hair against your supporting fingers.
- Use a wide tooth comb to remove any tangles in the fur.
- Next, work on the chest area with a slicker brush. Go over the area again with a comb.
- Tilt the heat back to brush and comb the hair in this area as well.
- Brush gently around the head.
- Be careful when brushing near the ears, which are prone to tangles.
- Brush and comb the dog’s muzzle.
- Use a fine-tooth comb to work on the eyebrows and whiskers. Be gentle in these sensitive areas.
- Raising one front leg, brush underneath the leg and along the belly (gently).
- Holding onto the back leg, brush the hindquarters and the back.
- Use a comb to go over these final few areas and put the finishing touches on the dog’s look.
Stripping vs Clipping: What’s the Difference?
Wire haired dogs should be stripped or clipped on a regular basis to keep their coats in optimal condition.
Stripping is a process that removes old and faded hairs from the dog’s coat, which leaves room for new hair to grow. A stripping blade can be used to tackle this task, or you can strip using your fingers.
Clipping removes the hard end of the coat so that the softer and faded portion of the coat has the chance to grow further out.
Stripping is necessary for show dogs because it maintains the coat at the breed standard. If your dog isn’t a show dog, clipping is the easier and less-expensive route.
Stripping is a challenging technique and one that’s best left to a professional groomer. Not all groomers offer this service, and you’re better off going to someone who has experience with this process.
Here’s a basic rundown of the process:
- Hold a few of the dog’s hairs between your thumb and index finger.
- Using a gentle but firm motion, pull the hair straight out in the direction of the growth. The hairs should pull out easily.
- Repeat this process across the dog’s entire body.
The entire coat can be stripped in one long session, which can take hours, or the coat can be worked in sections. Working in sections is called “rolling the coat.” Rolling removes the longest hairs and leaves the rest for a few weeks before repeating the process again.
Rolling the coat is often preferred because it ensures there is always a new coat growing.
If you prefer to clip your dog but you still want that wiry coat look, you can do a little stripping before you start clipping.
When using clippers, make sure that you use a clipper coolant to prevent irritation, or clipper burn. Clipper burn occurs when the blades get too hot because of friction.
Clipping and stripping sessions should be followed up with a good brushing session to remove old hairs and help stimulate new growth.
Wire haired dogs may require a little extra grooming maintenance, but their beautiful coats make it well worth the effort. Follow the tips above to keep your dog’s coat in tip-top shape.