HANDSTRIPPING 1.
no man is born a master of his craft!

Trimming the Irish Terrier
The correct care of an Irish Terrier already starts in his days as a whelp. As soon a young Irish Terrier comes to live with us his breeder should have trimmed his coat for the first time. By this the whelp will be used to the trimming-table already in his first ten weeks of life. Every Irish should be presented in the public well cared; thus each of the dogs will make good publicity for our breed. And this especially applies to dog shows for at those places - beyond other aspects - the Irish should be trimmed according to the Standards.
The trimming of a dog is of great advantage as to fact that by manual moult an extreme loss of hair in the house may be prevented. Trimming should be proceeded two to three time a year at least and by controlled tugging the fully developed coat in the direction of its growth in small tufts and systematically. Please note, the coat of the Irish is not to be cut as by cutting the dark red tops of the hair the coat will loose its intensity of colour and its strength too. Above all, a first class conditioning for a show never has to reveal any use of scissors.
To get a nice and harmonic over-all impression you need a certain skill, the correct trimming tools and a lot of experience. The art of trimming in its perfection cannot be learnt within a short time.
At first the beginner should visit as many shows as possible to get to see the Irish in perfect condition. It will be of help to get information from the top representatives of the breed. Alternatively you may train your eyes by examining and looking at excellent photos. Yet, practice is better than theory. Therefore you should take all occasions to watch an expert at work and to ask him to begin to work at halve of the dog. Then you should try to copy the trim on the second part and to approximate your side to the impression of the first side. Then at the latest, you will find that trimming needs a lot of practice. The experienced usually works with an as much as possible blunt trimming knife and with thumb and fingernails. As condition and growth of the coat may be quite different with the single Irish there unfortunately cannot be given any splendid formula as to the intervals of trimming the coat
In the case of private use a complete trimming down of the dog will be sufficient; but to prepare a dog for a show you will need - as a rule - more than two months. With regard to a perfect condition for a show the main motto should be: "Often not much will be more!" Brought into good condition once, you will not need much work but regular doing to keep the Irish in good show condition. It is advisable to have the Irish on the table every ten days and to always tug out a little bit of the re-growing longer coat. In doing so the hair should be shortened only little by little. Technically looked at the knife is to be held parallel to the coat, and you should not tug strongly but let the hair run constantly through the recesses of the knife. It is important not to work on singles parts but all over the body. A further point in the art of trimming for shows is to model a dog as favourable as possible, e.g. to emphasise his advantages and to cover his disadvantages as far as practicable.
Professional handlers do trim their dogs every ten days, may they be shown or not. Always to the principle "trim not much but regular", for this results in dogs being always in good condition.
It goes without saying that a good trimming result is also based on a good physical condition depending on correct feeding and regular coat care such as daily combing. It is furthermore quite essential for every young Irish getting used to the trimming table already in his early days as a whelp. This is necessary to prevent becoming every trimming procedure a constant wrestling between the trimmer and the dog.
Thus good trimming is an art that can be learnt with patience and by study and experience. If the final result is okay, it will be fascinating to look at a perfectly trimmed Irish Terrier. And take it for sure: Everyone had started to learn the art of trimming once - and in this case too this is valid: No man is born a master of his craft!

Karina Kirch