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I am the- principessa!!
Barked: Sat Jul 12, '08 7:52pm PST 
The Cairn terrier coat should be hard and wirey. Bathing the dog will soften the coat. When you strip you are pulling out the dead hair usually from the top coat. A "'blown" coat will have a lot of long soft top coat hair which will tug out quite easily. Sometimes if your dog has a very heavy undercoat it will need stripping. Especially in the summer. If you clip the coat and most groomers do them like Westies, you will usually lose the hardness. Soft coats mat easily and are hard to groom. You can get a stripping knife at a good dog shop or at a dog show. If you start out slow and just do a little each day most dogs get used to it. Stripping does make for a healthier coat.