You may have read on some of the “Is This Breed For You” sites that the Border Terrier requires “minimal” grooming.  They lied.  That is, of course, unless you want your dog to look like this.  Please be realistic; this is a “hand-on” breed.  If you don’t want to spend *time* on your dog, this may not be the breed for you.
If you want your Border Terrier to look like the ones you see in the books and on the websites, you’re going to have to devote about 60-90 minutes every 3 weeks or so to grooming.  Hand-stripping is not hard to do, but it is a skill to be learned; your breeder should teach you, and there are booklet and videos to show you how.

This is the same dog as in the photo above, correctly groomed, on the day she finished her championship.  Hard to believe, isn’t it?
Now, you may be thinking, “Arghh, I can’t learn to strip a dog, I’ll just take it to a groomer… or better yet, I’ll just use electric clippers.”
Let’s go back to some of the reasons you were attracted to a Border Terrier in the first place: “Harsh, dirt & water repellent coat that was low-shedding”.  Most groomers don’t know how to hand-strip; it is a skill not often required by petshop groomers — it takes too much time to be profitable, and therefore is a skill usually retained by those who show dogs because of the fine result it leaves on the dog.  Next: when you use electric clippers, you are cutting the hair along the hair shaft, leaving the root-end in the dog’s skin.  This end will continue to grow, until it dies and falls out.  Hair that falls out is called — SHEDDING.  Also, as you may be able to tell from the top photo, the individual hair of a Border Terrier is not the same color throughout the hair shaft; it can be one color at the base, another color in the middle, and tipped with black at the end (grizzle).  When you cut the hair with clippers, you cut off “some” of the color and leave the rest to grow… thereby changing the color of the dog, and the hair that does continue to grow comes in soft and fuzzy.  That new soft growth is not the harsh, dirt and water repellent coat that you were seeking in a BT.
Now, when you hand-strip, what you are doing is using a tool called a stripping knife, that resembles a comb (they come in different sizes: fine, medium and coarse — depending upon how much hair you want to remove at once and what area of the body you are working on), and grasping the hair between the thumb and the stripper and pulling out the loose dead hair.  It is not painful to the dog; in fact, if they are taught to behave correctly for grooming while young, most enjoy the attention quite enthusiasticly.  In removing the loose hair, it is not left on the dog to shed out later.
Some people let their dogs’ coats grow and only strip two or three times a year.  This can work, but the dogs never look totally tidy or “done”, but are always in a state of “growing out”.  To keep a dog tidy, I recommend starting out with a new coat (after letting it grow out, do a complete stripping down to the undercoat); as the new topcoat grows in, just keep stripping off the top 10-15% of the coat with a “fine” stripper.  Doing this every 3 weeks or so is referred to as “rolling” the coat; if you keep up with it and don’t allow the coat to become overgrown, it can be kept up almost indefinitely.  Also, having a small grooming table with an arm/noose makes the job much easier; dogs seem to know when they are on that table, it’s “business” time and they behave like it.
Even if you choose not to roll the coat, you will need to trim the hair in the dog’s ears (to allow for air circulation), trim around the feet (so you can see the nails for clipping), and trim the area under the tail to prevent feces from sticking.  Nails are particularly important in the BT, as they grow very fast.  An electric dremel works well!  You can see the quick before you cut into it, and thereby spare your dog any pain associated with nail trimming.  Spare the dog pain, and he/she won’t come to resent nail trimming!  Remember, this was a breed bred to dig, tunnel, and run after fox, and most everything about it is geared towards that end.

“Stripping the Border Terrier” and “After Stripping — What Next?”
Available from:

Phil Koslinski
2647 Jutland St.
Toledo, OH  43613


$20 ea. + $3.00 S&H

“Grooming Your Border Terrier”
Teri Beverly
151 E. Highbanks Rd.
DeBary, FL    32713

$24.95 + $3.50 S&H
“Grooming the Border Terrier Coat”
Mrs. Laurale Stern
Ph: (920)683-3966 or email:

Ask for current pricing

I recommend the Pearson stripping knives from: Pearson Products;

I also like the Hauptner Real fine stripper from Cherrybrook.

See the Links Page for more supply catalogs and product recommendations!