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In the world of dog grooming, few have carved out a niche quite like Lorraine Rothrock.  Her background as a pre-op surgical nurse has bestowed upon her skills and insights that set her apart in the world of dog grooming. With a gentle touch, lots of compassion, and an unparalleled knowledge of canine coats, she is not just any dog groomer; she is the go-to specialist for one of the most distinct and challenging breeds: the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon.  

The Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, known for its rough and rugged coat, requires a groomer with a unique skill set. Its dense, wiry fur can be a challenge to maintain, but under Lorraine’s expert hands, these dogs not only look their best but also feel their most comfortable. She understands the intricacies of their coat and the importance of maintaining it for both show and field.

Lorraine’s journey with grooming started over 47 years ago.   While she grooms various breeds, the Griffon’s distinctive coat truly piqued her interest. Realizing the scarcity of groomers familiar with the Griffon’s unique needs, she dedicated herself to mastering the art of Griff grooming.  Her ability to quickly adjust to her customer’s needs is essential, and she recognizes when a dog is anxious or scared and adapts her approach to offer comfort, reassurance, praise, and treats to help make it a positive experience for the dog.

When she’s not busy transforming scruffy Griffons into show-ready beauties, Lorraine enjoys sharing her expertise. Lorraine held a grooming seminar at the 2023 National Specialty in Helena, Montana, and transformed Smoke right before our eyes.  GCH CH Cottonwoods Texas Crutch “Smoke”, SHUTIII is an 8-year-old male from Kansas who happily volunteered for the grooming demonstration.  Lorraine demonstrated that with the right tools, owners can establish a grooming routine that will keep their Griffs looking great all year.  She also highlighted the difference between grooming for the show ring, hunt field, or family pet. 

Here are key takeaways from the seminar.

Brushing and Combing

Lorraine starts out with a high-quality detangler spray like Cowboy Magic’s Detangler and Shine. Then, she uses a soft slicker brush.  She finishes with a thorough combing and recommends The Untangler comb. Her pro-tip is to stash combs around the house, so they are handy for combing anytime.  She recommends brushing and combing at least 3 times a week (or daily if hunting).  The dead coat will come out and will prevent mats from getting bad, especially in the beard. 

Stripping

When she strips the coat, she applies ear powder and employs different stripping knives on the back, neck, rear of the head, and ears. The sides typically require hand stripping complemented by a stripping stone. Lorraine showcased the effectiveness of a pumice stone, demonstrating how effortlessly it grabs hair strands.

Trimming

The rough and scruffy appearance of the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon is part of its natural charm. Unlike some breeds, they aren’t meant to have a polished or refined look. While they don’t require extensive trimming, there might be occasions when a little bit of tidying up is needed. This is especially true around the eyes, ears, and paws.  Typically, she trims the edges of the ears. She also shapes the neck ridges using a double-toothed thinning shear to provide the neck with definition. She then tidies up the rear area and ensures the tail is neatly trimmed underneath. For the footpads, she employs a small, curved scissor designed for feet and ears. In cases of dense hunting coats, she opts for Mars Coat King Strippers (10,12,16 blade) on the coat. Since every coat varies, she adjusts her grooming approach based on the dog’s individual needs and activity level.

About Master Groomer Lorraine Rothrock: Star, Idaho

It’s not just about grooming. Lorraine truly loves and understands Griffons – their temperament, their quirks, and what makes them tick. During her groom session with Smoke, she constantly offered kisses, praise, and treats.  This deep understanding and love for WPGs translates into advice that goes beyond just aesthetics, delving into the overall well-being of the dog. Lorraine’s infectious enthusiasm and love for what she does motivates owners to strive for excellence in the care of their Griffons. It’s a ripple effect of passion and knowledge cascading through the Griff community.

We are so lucky to have Lorraine as a member of the AWPGA. Lorraine told me that she feels deeply honored when people approach her at shows seeking grooming advice or assistance with their Griff. Occasionally, an exceptional individual emerges from the community, making a lasting impact with their dedication and expertise, and Lorraine is unquestionably one of these remarkable gems.

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