Grooming Irish Terrier Show Dogs

Irish Terriers -- Redloch Kennel

Irish Terrier Champion - Redloch's Gabby

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Grooming Your Irish Terrier for Show

Books have been written on Irish Terrier grooming. Suffice it to say the Irish Terrier you see in most photographs are show dogs who have had a lot of time and effort spent on grooming.

The process that produces these results is called plucking or stripping, literally pulling the dog's hair out by the roots until only the under coat remains. Doing this on certain parts of the dog over an extended period of time (called stage stripping -- removing the hair in stages) produces the well groomed results seen in the show photos as new hair grows back.

The reason for stripping is because terrier hair (not fur) grows in such fashion that the maximum color and texture is found at the very tip of a hair shaft as it emerges from its follicle. The base of the shaft is thin, soft and less color saturated. So if the dog is clipped, all that is ever seen is the relatively thin, colorless hair shaft. The result is texture like seal fur and very muted color.

For those Irish Terrier owners who don't want to or don't have the time to groom their pet (the vast majority of owners), there are professional pet groomers who will clipper Irish to look more or less like the photo that first stole your heart. However, the process makes both the dog's coat texture and color suffer due to the nature of the dog's hair (described above).

Whether groomed by the owner or a groomer, periodic vigorous brushing and combing should be done and the dogs nails should be trimmed. Frequent baths are not necessary. The harsh wiry coat naturally repels dirt and debris and is not prone to tangle or mat. Irish Terriers shed very little, which is a big bonus for people with allergies. Usually, brushing removes the dirt and dead hair while distributing natural skin oils and virtually eliminating the need for bathing.

About twice a year, the Irish Terrier should have its outer jacket completely stripped off to its under coat. It will look as though its in a form fitted union suit for a while but, not to worry, in three months it will be ready to show and at six months it will be time to repeat the stripping. Facial and leg furnishings take some skill to sculpt and should be maintained on a more regular basis -- say every month or so. They should never be completely stripped off.


Pearson Products, Wewoka, OK.
Stripping knives for Irish Terrier grooming.


Information on clipping your dog's nails. New products such as PediPaws may be useful in that task.


Additional Information on Caring for your Irish Terrier can be found at


 Zee at Trenton Springs in 2007

Redloch's Glitzy Ditz, a.k.a. Zee


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Buster, Best of Breed, Tyler Texas Kennel Club

Ch. Redloch's Twisted Mister, aka Buster


Redlock's Texas Twister Showing Off

Ch. Redloch's Texas Twister, a.k.a Rowan


Redloch's Peach, Best of Breed

Ch. Redloch's Tout de Suite, a.k.a. Peach


Donder at MCKD in 2007

Ch. Redloch's Dazzle Fire, a.k.a. Donder


Redloch's Willie

Ch. Leahy's Lad of Redlock, a.k.a. Willie


Redloch's Tilly

Ch. Redloch's Glitter Gal, a.k.a. Tilly


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Page Updated: 05/16/10 by Texas Web Houston.