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August 2009

Overview for Rolling A Coat

Equipment needed:

Rubber fingers to fit thumb and index fingers

                 (instead of bare fingers)

Grooming stone


Coarse stripping knife

Fine stripping knife

Flat, natural bristle brush

Witch hazel in spray bottle



Schnauzer head

Britmor's "Witch"- clippered coat

Two things to remember before you begin rolling the coat: number one- know your pattern well before you begin, and number two- it could look worse during this process before it starts to look much better and you may feed pretty discouraged.  A nicely rolled coat does not happen overnight and may take several months to get all those hairs rolling in the right cycle.  Start rolling the coat when they are puppies maintaining it will be easier.


There are some rules when working on a rolled coat, they are:

#1.  Never, ever cut the coat with shears, thinning or otherwise.  Put them away to avoid the temptation when getting ready for a show.  No thinning and cutting a coat only defeats the purpose and it will be regretted for months to come.

#2. The coat must be worked religiously at least once a week.  Set a specific day aside to work the coat.  Nothing else matters that day but getting your dog’s coat worked. Not working it once a week will only prolong the process and could have to start again.


Wirhaired Pointer

Devata's "Chelsea"

Here is the general procedure for working a rolled coat (keep in mind that others have their own techniques … once again, there is no right or wrong way…  the end result is the only thing that matters):

 First:  Rake over the entire dog using both the coarse and fine stripping tool.  This pulls out some of the undercoat and also some of the longer top coat that are blown.  Do this until you're not getting any coat to come out.  Some groomers calls this “mucking”.

Second:  The next step is to go through the longer parts of the coat using only your fingers.  Have you ever watched how a beautician cuts hair?  This is basically the same procedure.  Catch up a small amount of hair between the index and middle finger of your hand (you will be able to see the layers in a properly rolled coat) and pull out only the longest hairs. You can use a comb to comb the hair up off the body.  Always try to work from the front of the dog back towards the rear and work your way down the dog’s spine first.  Whenever working on the dog’s sides, you'll find it easier to have the dog lying down on his side so that I can do a more thorough job.

~When you feel that your finger work is complete, work on all the shorter areas that you pulled with the stripping knives, never pulling more than two times in the same area.

Third:  Take a grooming stone and go over the entire dog.  This removes some of the longer hairs that may have been missed and a bit more undercoat.  Be very careful not to injure the dog’s skin while stoning in the areas where the coat is short or might be thinned out.  Very light pressure is used.

Fourth:  Then comb through the entire coat looking for bumps in the coat.  These bumps are areas where the hair is longer than the hair surrounding it.   Attend to any areas you may have missed.

Fifth:  Spray down the coat with witch hazel and brush it through it by using either a hound glove or a flat, natural bristle brush.  This helps remove debris and stimulates growth and skin regeneration.

 *overview crossposted as full excerpt from Karen Brittan of Britmor Schnauzers*

Thank you Karen for all of your work and the help it has given to us groomers!