How To Hand Strip A Spinone Italiano: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Written by Mark Dalley

We have been proud Spinone owners for over ten years. From puppies to adults, we've learned a lot about this wonderful breed. They just might be the best-kept secret in the dog world. Whether you already own a Spinone or are thinking of getting one, we're happy to share what we've learned about this amazing dog and hope you find it useful. It's all part of Spinone Life!

Welcome to this step-by-step guide to hand strip a Spinone Italiano!  For those who aren’t familiar, hand-stripping is a grooming technique used on wire-haired breeds of dogs, such as the Spinone. It is a way of removing the dead hair from the coat, which is important for the health and appearance of the dog. When done correctly, hand-stripping can result in a beautiful coat that maintains and highlights the breed’s unique characteristics.

The process of hand-stripping a Spinone can be intimidating at first, but with a little practice, you can be a master at hand-stripping. This guide will take you through each step of the process, from prepping the coat to the final touches, so you can give your Spinone a beautiful coat. Now, let’s get started!

What is the Hand Stripping Grooming Method

Groom your pup like a pro with hand stripping – it’s the perfect way to keep their coat healthy and looking its best! Hand stripping is a grooming process that involves removing dead hairs from the coat by hand instead of clipping to keep the coat tidy and healthy.

This method is usually completed twice a year in spring and autumn, speeding up the natural process of growth and shedding for Spinoni. True hand stripping requires plucking the outer guard hairs entirely by hand when the coat is blown. But not all dogs need this treatment; wiry coats tend to require it more than others such as Spinone, Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, Irish Wolf Hounds, Wire Fox Terriers, Wire-haired Pointers, Wire-haired Dachshunds and Border Terriers.

When you’re ready to begin hand stripping your Spinone’s harsh coat, there are some tricks that can make it easier like pulling in the direction of hair growth, supporting the skin with gentle pressure, and working with a steady rhythm while only removing a few hairs at a time.

Also, it’s important not to bathe them too often as this can dry out their wiry coats – opt for using shampoo specifically formulated for wiry breeds instead. A detangling comb and slicker brush are also essential home maintenance items if you have a pooch with longer hair that needs extra care.

Hand stripping targets those older dull hairs which are easy to pull out as they’re in the exogen phase of growth – leaving plenty of space for new thicker hairs to take their place. Clipping or scissor cutting doesn’t remove these old ones so fresh new hair won’t be able to grow through properly causing any number of issues including matting or thinning patches on your pup’s fur.

Why should you Hand Strip A Spinone Italiano?

The Spinone Italiano is a versatile hunting breed with a distinctive coat that sets it apart from other breeds. The coat is thick, dense, and water-repellent, which allows the dog to work in wet conditions without becoming uncomfortable.

Hand Strip A Spinone

The Spinone Italiano also has a distinctive beard and eyebrows that are longer and thicker than the rest of the coat, thought to help protect the dog’s face when hunting in brush and brambles.

However, to keep the coat looking and feeling its best, regular hand stripping is required. This involves plucking out old hairs by hand to encourage the growth of new, healthy hair. The Spinone Italiano coat is a unique and important characteristic of the breed that provides protection and insulation for the dog when hunting.

Hand stripping the Spinone is essential to keep their coat looking and feeling its best, as it removes up to 80% of dead hairs from the coat. This method of grooming is superior to using a clipper or scissors for a few key reasons:

  • It helps to keep the dog’s coat in line with breed standards by maintaining its texture and color.
  • Hand stripping allows the dog’s skin to breathe more easily than clipping, which can cause tightness and discomfort.
  • It encourages new hair growth since it targets older hairs that are ready to be shed.
  • Removing dead hairs prevents matting while allowing your Spinone to regulate body temperature better.
  • Regular hand stripping also ensures that your Spinone’s coat looks healthier and shiny all year round.
Hand Strip A Spinone

Photo by Helen found on Facebook at:

Maintaining your Spinone’s coat doesn’t have to be a daunting process – with proper preparation and technique, hand stripping will help make sure they look their best at all times!

Preparing for Hand Stripping

If you want your Spinone’s coat to look its best, hand stripping is the way to go – and with a few simple steps of preparation, it doesn’t have to be difficult.  And, you can save on visits to the groomer by doing it yourself at home. 

  • Before starting the process, it’s important that you gather the necessary tools: a stripping knife or stone, slicker brush, comb, and possibly scissors. Make sure all tools are clean and sharp. Then choose a comfortable area for your dog such as a grooming table or raised surface – this will make it easier for you to reach their coat.
  • It is generally not recommended to give your dog a bath before hand stripping their coat. This is because bathing can soften the hair, making it more difficult to grip and remove during the hand stripping process. Additionally, bathing can strip the coat of its natural oils, which can make the hair more prone to breakage and damage. If your dog’s coat is particularly dirty or oily, you may consider using a degreasing shampoo or dry shampoo to help remove any excess dirt or oil. However, you should avoid using regular shampoo or bathing your dog too frequently, as this can interfere with the hand stripping process and may cause damage to the coat.
  • Use a slicker brush and comb to thoroughly brush and comb your dog’s coat, removing any tangles or mats. This will make the hand stripping process easier and more comfortable for your dog.
  • Inspect your dog’s skin for any signs of irritation, redness, or infection. If you notice any issues, you should consult with a veterinarian before proceeding with hand stripping.
  • It’s also important to keep them relaxed during the process by speaking in calm tones and offering treats or toys if necessary.

By taking these steps of preparation before beginning the hand stripping process you can ensure that it goes smoothly and safely for both you and your pooch! With these preparations, complete room has been made for new coat growth while simultaneously creating an opportunity for old dull hairs to be removed – allowing fresh new hairs time and space to grow through evenly.

Step By Step Hand Stripping Techniques

You can help your pup’s coat stay healthy and look its best with the proper hand stripping techniques.  Hand stripping is a grooming process that involves removing dead hairs from a dog’s coat, typically done twice a year in spring and autumn. It takes patience and technique to do it properly, and here are some steps you can take:

  1. Pull the hair in the direction of its growth:

When hand stripping a dog’s coat, it is important to pull the hair in the direction of its growth. This is because pulling the hair against its natural growth direction can cause discomfort, skin irritation, or even injury to the dog’s skin. By pulling the hair in the natural direction, you can ensure that the hair is removed effectively without causing any unnecessary pain or discomfort to the dog.

  1. Use gentle pressure to support the skin:

Supporting the skin with gentle pressure can help to reduce the risk of injury or discomfort to the dog when hand stripping its coat. This is because the skin can be quite delicate, and without proper support, the hair can be pulled too hard or unevenly, causing pain or irritation. By using gentle pressure to support the skin, you can ensure that the hair is removed cleanly and without causing any unnecessary discomfort to the dog.

  1. Pluck hairs that are approximately 2-5 cm long:

Ideally, you should aim to pluck hairs that are approximately 2-5 cm long. This length of hair is usually easier to grasp and remove cleanly and effectively, without causing too much discomfort to the dog. Hairs that are too short or too long can be more difficult to remove, which can cause unnecessary pain or discomfort to the dog.

  1. Consider using finger cots or chalk powder to improve your grip:

Finger cots or chalk powder can be helpful tools when hand stripping a dog’s coat, especially when working with longer or thicker hair. Finger cots are small rubber sleeves that fit over your fingertips and provide a better grip on the hair, while chalk powder can help to absorb any moisture and improve your grip. This can make the hand stripping process easier and more comfortable for both you and the dog.

  1. Work at a steady pace, removing only a few hairs at a time:

Hand stripping a dog’s coat can be a time-consuming process, so it is important to work at a steady pace and remove only a few hairs at a time. This allows you to work carefully and methodically, ensuring that the dog is comfortable throughout the process and that the hair is removed effectively. Working too quickly or aggressively can cause unnecessary pain or discomfort to the dog.

  1. Use a stripping knife to assist with pulling the hair, not cutting it:

A stripping knife can be a useful tool when hand stripping a dog’s coat, but it should only be used to assist with pulling the hair, not to cut it. Use a striping knife to grip only a few hairs at once, keeping your wrist immobile in a straight line from your arm while rotating your wrist to 90 degrees when pulling to shape the coat. Using a stripping knife to cut the hair can be painful and uncomfortable for the dog and can damage the coat. Instead, use the stripping knife to help grip and pull the hair in the direction of its growth.

  1. When done properly, hand stripping should not be painful for the dog and may even be enjoyable:

Hand stripping a dog’s coat can be a pleasant experience for the dog when done properly. By removing the hair cleanly and effectively, you can stimulate blood flow and promote healthy skin and coat growth. This can make the dog feel more comfortable and can even be a relaxing experience for them. However, if done improperly or aggressively, hand stripping can be painful and uncomfortable for the dog.

By hand stripping these breeds regularly you’ll be able to target the older duller hairs which will leave room for fresh new hairs to grow through! With proper care and technique, you’ll be able to keep your pup looking their best!

In this video, Jason Hofmann demonstrates how to hand strip a Spinone’s face, focusing on the eyebrows, fan, ears, and beard. He shares valuable tips on how to make the ears lay flat and the eyebrows look neat. He also mentions some common problems that Spinone owners may face while grooming their pets and provides some useful solutions.

How to hand strip a Spinone Italiano

Hand stripping tools for Spinone Italiano dog grooming

Hand Strip A Spinone

Photo by Morgan Elyse found at

To hand strip the coat of a wiry coat of a Spinone, you will need several tools to help you effectively and comfortably remove the dog’s hair. Here is a detailed list of tools you may need:

  • Stripping knife: A stripping knife is a specialized tool designed to help remove the wire hair of a dog. It usually has a handle and a blade with a serrated edge that can grip the hair and pull it out.
  • Finger cots and chalk powder: As mentioned earlier, finger cots or chalk powder can help improve your grip and control when hand stripping a dog’s coat. They can be particularly useful when working with longer or thicker hair.
  • Grooming table or mat: A grooming table or mat can help provide a stable and comfortable surface for the dog to stand on during the hand stripping process. It can also make it easier for you to access and work on different areas of the dog’s body.
  • Brushes and combs: Before starting the hand stripping process, it is important to brush and comb the dog’s coat to remove any tangles or mats. This can help make the hand stripping process easier and more comfortable for the dog.
  • Scissors or clippers: While hand stripping is typically done without using scissors or clippers, there may be some areas of the dog’s coat that are difficult to hand strip. In these cases, you may need to use scissors or clippers to trim the hair.
  • Towels or blankets: Towels or blankets can be useful for providing a comfortable surface for the dog to lay on during the hand stripping process. They can also help protect your clothes and furniture from loose hair.
  • Styptic powder: In the event that you accidentally nick the dog’s skin during the hand stripping process, styptic powder can help to stop any bleeding. It is a specialized powder that can be applied to the affected area to help clot the blood and prevent further bleeding.
  • Treats: Hand stripping can be a lengthy process, and it is important to keep the dog calm and relaxed throughout. Treats can be a helpful tool for keeping the dog happy and distracted during the process.

These are some of the basic tools you may need to hand strip the coat of your Spinone. Depending on your dog’s specific needs and the complexity of the coat, you may need additional tools or equipment to help you achieve the desired results.

When it comes to hand stripping your pup, having the right tools for the job can make all the difference.

With all of these tools at hand, you’re now ready to start giving your pup an amazing grooming session.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of hand stripping over clipping or scissor cutting?

Hand stripping is a much better option than clipping or scissor cutting when it comes to grooming certain breeds, such as Spinone Italiano, Schnauzers, Cocker Spaniels, and others. The reason is that it removes the old guard hairs while leaving room for new ones to grow and flourish. This ultimately helps keep the coat healthy and strong.

Additionally, hand stripping also helps keep the coat looking groomed according to breed standards. So if you have a wiry-haired breed of dog, hand stripping is definitely something you should consider.

How often should I hand strip my Spinone?

Generally speaking, hand stripping should be done twice a year in spring and autumn to keep their coat tidy and healthy. Doing this will help ensure that new hairs have room to grow in between stripping sessions and that the coat maintains its wiry texture.

How long should I expect the hand stripping process to take?

Hand stripping a Spinone can be a time-consuming process, so it’s important to plan ahead. On average, the entire hand stripping process can take anywhere from one to two hours depending on how much hair needs to be removed.

Are there any risks associated with hand stripping?

While it’s generally considered safe, there are some risks associated with hand stripping that should be taken into consideration before beginning.

It’s always best to do your research beforehand and make sure you’re comfortable with the process before taking any risks. Be aware that if done incorrectly, hand stripping can cause irritation or skin abrasions.

So, it’s important to take your time, be gentle, and use proper techniques during the process.

What other grooming does a Spinone need besides hand stripping?

In addition to hand stripping, the breed also requires regular maintenance to keep its coat clean and healthy. This includes regular brushing to remove any tangles or mats and to distribute natural oils throughout the coat.

The Spinone should also have their ears checked and cleaned regularly to prevent infection, and their nails should be trimmed to prevent overgrowth and discomfort.

Bathing should be done sparingly to avoid stripping the natural oils from the coat, but when necessary, a gentle, dog-specific shampoo should be used.

Additionally, dental care is important to prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and regular visits to the vet are necessary to ensure overall health and well-being.

Check out Spinone Italiano Grooming Needs: What Are They? to learn more.

Conclusion: How To Hand Strip A Spinone Italiano

Hand stripping may seem intimidating at first but it’s really not that hard once you get the hang of it. With practice, you’ll soon be able to provide an excellent groomed look for your Spinone Italiano without having to bring them to a professional groomer every time.

Remember to always work at a steady pace, use gentle pressure, and pluck the hair in the direction of its growth. With practice and patience, you and your Spinone can enjoy the hand stripping process and the benefits it brings to their overall health and appearance.

Hand Strip A Spinone

Photo by Helen found on Facebook at:

Hand stripping a Spinone’s coat can be a time-consuming process, but it is an essential part of maintaining their wiry and weather-resistant coat. With the right tools, some practice, and a little patience, you can give your pup the perfect grooming experience and ensure their coat stays healthy and tidy. Hand stripping is part of Spinone Life!