The Wire Fox Terrier has a rough coat that has a dense wiry texture. It has the appearance of being broken. They actually have two layers of coat. The top coat is the dense coat with the wiry texture whereas the undercoat is softer and shorter hair. Grooming the Wire Fox Terrier is almost a continuous process. They need to have their coat brushed and combed regularly, but will still need hand stripping several times a year to keep the coat looking and feeling healthy and strong. Although many Wire Fox Terrier owners do this themselves (after lots of practice), you may choose to have a professional groomer do this for you as it can be quite time consuming. If it is not done correctly, the coat could end up looking worse than before you started.
If you have your Wire Fox Terrier from the time he is a puppy, it's a good idea to get him used to this process at a young age. Small dogs are always easier to handle than larger dogs. What hand stripping means is that the hair gets pulled out instead of being cut with scissors or dog clippers. If the hair isn't getting trimmed, it will continue to grow long and not molt like with some breeds. Years ago, when the dog was wild in the woods, the dead hairs would get pulled out just by his running through bushes, etc. Now the Wire Fox Terrier is a domestic dog that doesn't have that opportunity.
If the dog is an adult that has never had this done, they may put up quite a struggle at first, and will require a lot of reassurance. In this situation, you may definitely want to have a professional groomer do this for you as they have all the necessary equipment. Hand stripping the Wire Fox Terrier is recommended over clipping to maintain the coat that is the standard for this dog. Pulling out the dead hairs allows for new hair to grow in the wiry texture desired for this breed. Clipping the hair makes it grow soft, which is not characteristic of the Wire Fox Terrier.
Before you begin, the hair must be thoroughly brushed with a wire slicker brush and then combed. If you come across any snags or matted hair with the comb, the mats must be combed out until the hair is smooth.
Stripping the coat can be done by hand or with the use of a stripping knife. You may hear the term stripping comb, but this is just another word for stripping knife. If you do the stripping by hand it takes much longer as you have to get to the undercoat and pull out all the dead hair. This does not hurt the dog, although some are uncomfortable with the procedure. There are some dogs, however, that enjoy the procedure. If you use the stripping knife, you have to get down below the upper coat to pull or strip the dead hair out. The entire body needs to be stripped. When the dog is first done, they will look very bare, but soon the new healthy hair will start growing back, giving them a healthy look.