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How to Strip a Jack Russell Terrier's Coat

| Updated September 26, 2017

Things You'll Need

  • Striping Knife (optional)

  • Patience

The name of Jack Russell Terrier was recently officially changed to Parson Russell Terrier by the American Kennel Club. There are three coat varieties in a Parson Russell Terrier; smooth, semi-rough and rough coated. To be shown, the semi-rough and rough coated varieties need to have their hair shortened. To do this with a wire coated dog such as the Parson Russell is to 'strip' the coat. This is basically pulling the longer coarser hairs out. Done properly, this causes the dog no pain.

Study some photos of parson/jack russell terriers who are being shown. Semi-rough and rough coated terriers will have some facial fringe left on them. This is where you need to really study.

Choose your striping knife carefully. There are different varieties depending on the coarseness of your dog's coat. If you are unsure, ask your dog's breeder or someone experienced who has seen your dog. I prefer having two striping knives on hand. One for more rough coats and one for finer coats. Even different parts of a terriers body may require a different type striping knife.

Devote an entire day or maybe a few days where you can work patiently on stripping your parson/jack russell's coat. Some terriers are easier to strip than others. I have one that takes me three days and another I can strip down in a matter of two hours.

Prepare your parson/jack russell terrier by having them exercise and run off some energy. Don't begin this job until the dog is relaxed and ready for a rest.

Begin at the back bone. This seems to be the easiest point to begin for me with my dogs. Using a striping knife, this job is made much easier but you can use your hands or even a dull serrated knife.

To use a striping knife, hold the striping end of the grooming tool with your index finger behind, comb up a small portion of long, coarse dog hair and use your thumb to hold it in place as you gently pull out the hair.

To use your bare hands, use one hand to hold the dog's skin firmly down while you gently pull a very small section of hair out with the other hand. This hair should come free fairly easy on the torso area. It will be a bit tougher to remove on the legs and feet.

Using your photo references, trim up the face area. Be extra careful to only pull a few hairs at a time. This is where the patience comes in. The fringe is important to the overall look. Many judges seem to prefer the semi-rough or rough coated parson/jack russell terriers because of this fringe.


  • Prepare to repeat this striping every couple of months. The more often you strip your parson/jack russell's coat, the nicer it will come in. A show dog should have a couple stripings under their belt before being shown. Do not condition or over wash your terrier's coat. This will ruin it. Wash with plain water mixed with a dab of vinegar for most baths and with terrier appropriate dog shampoo every 6 months or so.