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To strip or not


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We have a 2 1/2 year old cairn. I am trying to decide whether or not to continue to strip him. He still does not have that coarse hair that cairns usually get even though we have never had him clipped. He has been stripped about 3 times and I try to do what I can here and there.

One of our son's allergy test results indicated he was "highly" allergic to dogs, although he showed and continues to show no increase in his allergy symptoms (he has always had significant enviormental allergies, esp in spring) We got Chase (our cairn) before we discovered this. I have always been allergic to dogs, however we all love them so much decided to look for a breed that had less dander and there by less of a chance of allergic symptoms. We all went and spent time with this breed before we decided to "adopt" our Chase. (this was before our son had allergy testing done).

Our questions:

How long does it take for that "cairn coarse hair" to come in?

If it is not in by now, does that mean it will not come in at all? If so is it because I did not have him stripped enough?

If we decided to have him clipped rather than stripped does that mean the coarse hair will never come in?

And finally and most important, if a dog has coarse hair does it have less dander? Is coarse hair less likely to cause allergy??

We greatly appreciate your answers to these questions.

Thank you,


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Can you post a photo?

I find that it's the undercoat that holds the dander... and when you groom the dander is released.

In my personal opinion handstripping is about more than just a wiry coat, it's better for skin health- It's a low cost highly effective way to prevent or minimize skin issues- Just make sure than when they do clip your dog, they use a long enough blade not to cut the new growth coming in. I've had this done before.... You can always opt to just strip the jacket and let the groomer do the rest of the dog.

Tracy, Amos, Walter, Brattwrust & Mettwurst a.k.a The Gremlins

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I have two Cairns, and I strip them both with a Mars Coat King. I've heard too many horror stories about Cairns getting clipped. Sparky has the typical coarse coat and he's a breeze to strip. The hair just wants to be fall out. Scout, on the other hand, does not have the typical coarse coat. From my understanding, some Cairns just have a softer coat. Scout's hair is kind of a nightmare. I usually take the MCK to her much more often than to Sparky. She gets twigs, leaves, dirt, and whatever else caught in her hair, and it's really annoying. Because Sparky's is so coarse, that kind of stuff just slips from this fur.

Sparky Jones & Scout Jones
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I can vouch that even though they are considered a "wire" breed, there are MANY variations of coat. When we got Gretsch from a breeder she noted that if we wanted a nice wire coat to NOT bring him home! He had the fluffiest coat as a puppy and still has it. I have tried stripping several times, not only does the hair REFUSE to be pulled out, he only has a tiny tiny patch of wiry-enough hair that I can tell the difference between the outer hair and the undercoat. Many groomers have seen him and can't believe he's full cairn! haha. There are some times when I wish he had a wire coat but he's so soft to cuddle with. We bought a nice andis clipper to use on him. We keep him very clean and still brush him every day to keep his skin oils right. Surprising enough, he doesn't get many mats and stays very clean! So it is possible to own a Cairn and clip, but if its possible and pretty easy to strip I would recommend that any day. They tend to look much more like a cairn too! : )

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I have hand stripped Nena since a puppy. She does not like it but it works fine, I also use a pumice stone to aid in the stripping and just use sissors around face. She is almost 3 (can't believe it) and she coat is really getting thick so I just order the mars coat king to give it a try and see if I can get her looking better. Hope it works faster as she moves so much trying to get me to stop. But I have no problem hand stripping as long as I do it alittle at a time. She does not smell and no skin problems.

cairn terriers leave pawprints on our lives
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