In dogs, a “broken” coat is simply a rough, or wire haired coat. It’s not supposed to be soft and/or silky, but rather coarse and bristly. Why? Because breeds that require this kind of coat are typically dogs that hunt, go to ground, or go through water, and soft coats that tangle up with bramble or saturate quickly don’t serve the dog well.
To groom a broken coat in a way that fosters this kind of texture, one “rolls” or “hand strips” the coat. This involves plucking out a few dead hairs at a time in the direction of growth that allows a new “harsh” wire coat to grow in. Lest you worry about the comfort of the dog, know that wire hair isn’t attached to a dog like our own hair is to us, and many dogs fall asleep during grooming time.
The Spinone Italiano (or Italian Pointer) Italy’s all-purpose hunting dog, is one such breed whose coat is “stripped.”
Spinone Italiano by LA Shepard/thedoglover