Insight by Lesley Roberts

A correct Jack Russell Terrier coat is hard, dense and lies close to the body, whether it’s rough, broken or smooth. In order to bring a terrier coat into good condition with the exception of the smooth, the coat should be plucked or stripped it will then take six to eight weeks to regrow. When grooming a pet dog this can be done 2 or 3 times a year when the coat is shedding the coat comes out very easily and quickly. Plucking involves using your fingers or a stripping knife, a course knife for the body, medium knife for the neck and shoulders, and a fine blade for head and ears. (Most pet supply shops carry stripping knives). If at all possible use your fingers as this does not cut the coat in any way, use a little chalk on your fingers or through the coat to get a better grip pulling a few hairs at a time. If using a knife for the stripping process, the knife is grasped in the hand, taking a few hairs between the thumb and knife blade, and giving a sharp pull. Dogs that have never been stripped before will take a little getting used to the process, so it’s best to do a little each day instead of covering the whole dog in a short time. The knife should be parallel to the dog’s body to avoid leaving chop marks in the coat.

Showing Considerations

 Timing and preplanning need to be considered in preparing a terrier coat for showing. Give the dog adequate time to regrow the coat before he is shown. Depending on how much the coat has been plucked out, it could take nearly three months to re-establish a good thick coat. Keep in mind when plucking a rough coated dog that he should be exhibited as a rough coat, and not a broken coated dog. The same for a broken coated terrier… he should not be stripped down and shown as a smooth coated dog. Repeated stripping of a terrier’s coat has its advantages. The main benefit is an improvement in coat texture and lie of the hair. It may take two or three complete strippings, but the new coat will come in harsher in texture than the original coat, and it will lay tighter to the body, giving a clean, smooth appearance.    


After the coat has been stripped, the terrier can be bathed if his skin and remaining coat are dirty. Never bathe the terrier before stripping, as shampoo and water soften the coat and will sometimes become more difficult to strip. If you do bathe the terrier, do so far enough in advance of the show so as to allow the normal hardness of the coat to return. The coat will usually return to its normal texture in about 7 days.

Trimming Toe Nails

 Toe nails may need to be trimmed back, being careful not to cut through the nail quick. By removing small amounts of nail, you will see a small white dot in the centre of the nail. If you remove more nail, you’ll see a red dot that is the beginning of the quick, which is the blood supply to the nail. Stop at this point. If you accidentally cut the quick the bleeding can be stopped with nail clotting powder (available from your veterinarian) some cotton applied with pressure to the end of the nail. After the toe nails have been trimmed, use a small sharp scissor to round off the hair of the feet and trim the long hairs between the undersides of the pads and feet.

It's important to brush your dog's teeth regularly too!

It's important to brush your dog's teeth regularly too!