Creative Style with ‘Pluck’

Grooming Matters

By Daryl Conner

It has been said that there is nothing new under the sun, but when groomers see stylist Remy Viens with his dog Case, they can be heard to say, “I’ve never seen anything like that!”

“It began when I saw my friend Patrick Lakosh Marceau creating designs on both people and dogs with a clipper. He is an amazing artist and can cut any design into hair. I wanted to try it on my own dog, but he is hand-stripped so I could not.”

Remy’s dog, Case, is a handsome five-year-old retired American and Canadian Champion Miniature Schnauzer. Remy keeps him looking his best by hand-stripping his coat to retain the correct texture, but the idea of having Case sport an intricate pattern kept niggling at him. Then it occurred to him that by using the technique of hand-stripping, he actually could create designs. He could mimic the work his friend was doing with a clipper by pulling his dog’s dead coat in specific areas, creating areas of shorter and longer hair to design shapes and patterns.

He created a template on paper and then turned that into a stencil. “I had to measure every part of the dog and then work pulling only three to four hairs at a time from his coat. I could only use my fingers, but if someone were working on a larger dog with a lot of flat area, they could use tools.”

Remy knew that no one had ever stripped a creative design into a dog’s coat because the process is incredibly time consuming. “Timing is important,” he said, “You have to plan it so the coat will look its best when you want to show it. It looks best six to eight weeks after you set the pattern. After that, you have to strip all the rest to make the design reappear. It looks really good in the winter, because the skin is very light since it is not exposed to much sun. There is a big contrast between the design and the skin.”

The first time he attempted this, he spent time every day over a two-week span. “Probably 15 to 20 hours all together. It was a big project, but it takes me less time after a while.” Remy is a very creative man, and he is forever on the lookout for something new and unique to try. “I am always waiting for Case’s coat to grow so I can do something different. I am constantly making corrections and creating new designs.”

Remy has been grooming dogs and cats for 30 years. “I worked with my father when I was 12 years old. I groomed for him in the summertime.” Remy now owns and operates the well-known Poil Luxe grooming and boarding facility in Quebec City and employs seven other talented, pet-loving people. He often puts on training seminars to bring new information to groomers in his area.

Remy debuted Case and his hand-stripped creative design at Groom Expo 2013. “People really like it; he attracts so much attention.” Groomers constantly want to take photos of Case, to touch him, and ask questions about how the design is created. Remy says, “I would like more groomers to do this. It is really fun. Someone who has a real talent in drawing could do a lot, really make art. I think my work is only the beginning; someone with big talent in drawing could really do something incredible. I just play. I have really good ideas, but I have to create hair by hair.” To this talented groomer, bringing new ideas and skills to other groomers matters!

Side bar suggestion: Hand-stripping is a grooming technique that involves pulling (or plucking) the dead outer coat of wire or rough-coated breeds by hand or with a specialized tool instead of cutting the hair with scissors or clippers. This encourages new, crisp coat to grow in. The process maintains proper coat texture and color in the breeds where it is employed.


  1. M ona says:

    This is the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. So disrespectful to take a beautiful Champion of Record and make him look ridiculous. An insult to his Breed!!!

  2. Robyn Michaels says:

    I have to agree. Not sure what the point is. it’s 1 thing to take out a blown coat for ‘show’, and time the coat. Quite another for a style that will last MAYBE a month—& in fact end up looking shaggy & like the dog has a skin disease. another thing: if I had that amount of time, I’d be doing something fun with my dog—that my dog also found fun. Just because it is possible to do something doesn’t mean it is an accomplishment,.

    • Tina says:

      I totally agree- we all know the dog would much rather be running/playing/sleeping/eating or just watching a movie with you- Its easy for me not to do this to my dog…all I need to do is ask myself how’d he feel through this process?? I got into grooming for the love of animals- maybe more time could be spent on volunteering- theirs lots of dogs in need of groomers :)

      • chris says:

        Easy on this dog should look this way or that way. What happen to creative. For ya’ll to be so against it say a lot about you not wanting to try new things. So if a customer came in and ask you to do something like this you would do what. Put you nose in the air and say I just couldn’t do that to that dog. Come have fun it’s loving on dogs it’s not hurting anyone. I say go for being creative and not so nose in the air. Chris

  3. Madttawa says:

    Disrespectful. Ugly. Hideous.
    Neither owner and groomer should be allowed to be near dogs until they learn to love them and appreciate them for what they are, and not creatures for their entertainment -and vanity, should I add.

  4. Dawn says:

    Hope this is one trend that does not catch on.
    Groomer and owner should have this done to them. dont punk up your Schnauzer please

  5. Aida says:

    Is not according to breed standard but, it looks beautiful. I personally will not trim a dog’s coat like that but I will “paint” the pattern on a coat with chalk or glitter for dogs. So, it can be remove easily without compromising the breed standard trim or the skin of the pet.

  6. Remy Viens says:

    I CAN understand that some people does not like it but some of you are simply mean and have no education .

  7. Kay Ervine says:

    Nothing at all wrong with creativity. It isn’t hurting the dog, he is use to it for shows, and probably enjoys the time of bonding.
    People clip their breeds in all sorts of ways, ie Poodles. People dye their dogs hair, paint pictures on their pets, color their nails, etc. This is art, freedom of expression. :-)

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