Grooming A Border Terrier
Border Terriers are sturdy dogs in all manner of speaking, from health related issues to maintenance. In fact Borders are one of the most intelligent, calm and low-maintenance dog breed – they know they are going to feel and look better after a grooming session, and they face the whole stress-free process with positive attitude. All that Borders need regularly is a good old brushing of their coat every so often – mostly after muddy walks, or every few days in the drier weather.
How often should you bathe your dog?
Border Terriers do not require regular baths, especially as bathing them too often would remove the natural protective oils from their skin. If it happens, however, that during a walk your Border fancies a swim in the ever so fragrant horse manure, or in an even less dramatic mud pool, you may want to wash his coat gently with warm water, and dry him/her thoroughly with a towel or with a hair dryer on low speed and at a distance – you do not want to burn your dog’s skin!
We have found that the easiest way for our Indy to be kept nice and tidy is to take him to the groomer regularly. Given the frequency of the visits – for us it has to be every 12 weeks as Indy gets really hairy, but it doesn’t have to be this often – the expense is not much at all. You do not need fancy saloons, which will charge you an arm and a leg. What however you want to ensure is that your groomer not only will strip your Border, but will also clean their bottom, will clip their claws and will clean their ears.
So, do all Border Terriers need hand stripping?
Since adopting our Indy 6 years ago, we have religiously had him hand stripped every 12 weeks. The frequency depends really on how hairy your dog gets however. But do all Border Terriers need stripping? The answer is yes.
Most dogs can be groomed using simple dog clippers – these will provide a hair shave like with us humans. However Borders’ coat is unlike human hair, as their hair does not grow continuously but, once it has reached a certain length, it will stop growing and be pushed out from the root by a new hair underneath. This excess of dead hair needs to be removed, ensuring however that your Border retains the shiny waterproof undercoat, similar in thickness to the coat of rabbits, which is what keeps him/her warm. By hand stripping your Border, you will make sure that only the topcoat is removed, without damaging the undercoat. Clipping would shave the coat off to the bare skin, hence removing the precious soft under layer that Borders need.
It is very easy to perform hand stripping on your Border. All you need is finger and thumb, and good arm and shoulder strength. We prefer to have a professional groomer do the job, as we also get the added wash, manicure and pedicure and the rest added to the package, but you can certainly give it a go yourself – it will help bond with Border more closely.