Airedale Terrier - Breed and Grooming Tips

The undisputed "King of Terriers," the Airedale Terrier is the largest and hardiest of the terriers, and an all-around useful dog. The breed’s coat is hard, dense and wiry, with a softer undercoat, and comes in both tan and black and tan and grizzle. This breed was one of the first used for police duty in Germany and Great Britain and has also been popular with Presidents, including Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge

Right Breed for You?

The Airedale has a sweet disposition, but when challenged, is not afraid to stand up for himself. Obedience training is important for these quick learners, but make sure to keep it interesting – they can get bored easily! They also thrive with daily exercise. Although relatively easy to maintain, the Airedale coat needs regular brushing and stripping.

Source:  American Kennel Club -


Bathing and General Grooming

The Airedale Terrier has a hard, wiry coat which serves as a protective barrier to enable the dog to do the job for which he was bred.  Regular stripping strengthens the quality and texture of the coat, which, in turn, further improves the utilitarian purpose of the dog.  Whether your Airedale is hand-stripped and on a proper coat rotation or in a pet trim wielding the artful use of clippers and scissors, all terriers benefit from regular grooming rather than allowing them to regress to a state of scraggly disarray.  If the Airedale is hand-stripped, it is done before the furnishings are bathed then touched up afterward.  The outer layer of coat is hand-stripped, while the undercoat is systematically raked to reach optimal results.  If you are artfully clipping the Airedale, brush and comb the coat to remove dead coat and stimulate surface circulation to encourage new, fresh coat growth.  Frequent brushing and rubbing the jacket down with a towel to remove dirt and excessive oils makes regular bathing unnecessary. When it is time to do a full bath on the Airedale, wash the jacket gently in the direction the hair grows, and rinse the same way.  Pin a towel around the jacket to help it lay flat and allow it to air dry. Despite the fact that the jacket does not need regular washing, it does not mean that the routine maintenance can be overlooked.  Weekly brushing for 20-30 minutes and a rubdown with a towel each week is necessary.  The leg furnishings and facial furnishings should be bathed monthly depending on the Airedale’s lifestyle.

Recommended Products:

Energee Plus “Dirty Dog” Shampoo:  Go ahead and let them be terriers! This natural degreaser and deodorizer gets even the filthiest dog clean.  It brings the coat back to its neutral state.

Flea & Tick Shampoo:  Kills fleas and ticks while cleaning and conditioning your pet’s skin and coat.  Leaves a fresh and clean fragrance.  Safe for puppies over 12 weeks.  Keep out of eyes.

Luxury Remoisturizer:  This remoisturizer will leave the wiry coat texture intact, while conditioning the face and leg furnishings. This remoisturizer should not be used on the jacket.

Dead Sea Mineral Mudbath:  This product is used to recondition the skin and repair the coat.  Great for dogs with clipped jackets.  The mudbath helps to clean the skin and coat while simultaneously redistributing healthy oils naturally.


Finishing the Dog: Tools and Finish Grooming

This spirited terrier should be groomed on a regular schedule. The Airedale Terrier has a harsh, double coat with a wiry topcoat and a soft, dense undercoat. In order to keep the harsh texture and vibrant color, the topcoat is maintained by hand stripping and rolling the coat weekly. It is necessary for a dog to be hand stripped to enter the show ring.  It is a difficult dog to properly groom since most of the work is done by hand.  A pet trim follows the same pattern and outline, but the coat is clipped rather than hand stripped.  The wiry texture will eventually disappear, but if the dog is carded with appropriate carding tools and a stone, the color should not fade as much.  This is the easiest way to maintain a great looking dog without the time commitment and expense of hand stripping the coat. 

Recommended Products:

Aloe Hydrating Spray:  Hydrate the skin and coat with nourishing Aloe Vera for a vibrant coat. Great to use before brushing the furnishings to provide necessary moisture while preventing breakage.

High Sheen Finishing Spray:  Great for that show-stopping luster while having the added benefit of a touch of sunscreen.

Boost Volumizing Spray:  A dry particle spray to use on leg furnishings if in need of a little extra volume.


General Health Care:

Prep work is the foundation of all grooming. Prep work includes ear cleaning, nail trimming, trimming the pads, and proper dental hygiene. Mastering these skills sets the professional stylist apart from the rest. Prep work should be done before every grooming and bathing appointment.   All dogs need to have their ears checked and cleaned. Some need to have the hair pulled from the ear canal. This allows the ear to have proper air circulation, which helps prevent bacteria and moisture in the ear canal.  It is not necessary to remove all of the hair in the ear, as some serves as a barrier to foreign debris. It is imperative that you are properly trained to pull ear hair before attempting this endeavor. Proper nail care is important.  Long, unsightly nails present potential health issues as well as make it more difficult to trim a neat and tidy foot.  Trimming the pads of the foot helps give a pet good traction on different surfaces, and can minimize the amount of dirt the dog tracks into the house.  It also affords the opportunity to treat and condition the paws from cracks and abrasions.  Good dental hygiene is the essential for a healthy pet, too.

Recommended Products:

Ear Care: This ear cleaner has a blend of natural oils to remove dirt, debris, and wax.

Ear Powder:  A must for removing the hair from the ear canal.  It will reduce slippage, while reducing odor, and contributing to drying out the ear canal.

Paw Balm: Use weekly to keep paws pliable and soft.  Paw Balm will aid in the prevention of pads to dry out and crack.

Natural Bandage:  To use as a protective cover, to stop bleeding, ease pain, promote healing, and provide coverage to help keep germs away.

3 in 1 Healing Cream:  If your pet gets a wound, this cream promotes cell regeneration and healing.  It is formulated with Bitrex to discourage licking and chewing.

Nutritional Care

In order to maintain healthy skin and coat as well as overall health, it is important to provide good nutrition to your dog through diet, vitamins, and healthy treats. 

Recommended Products:

Icelandic Salmon Oil:  Enhances the skin and coat while simultaneously supporting the immune system and joint health.


Frequently Asked Questions

1/ What products do I need if I just purchased an Airedale puppy?

Puppy Shampoo

Puppy Waterless Bath

Optisoothe Eye Wash

Aloe Hydrating Spray

Paw Balm

Ear Care Aloe Wipes

Puppy Aloe Wipes

2/ Do they require a lot of grooming?

Airedale’s do require routine grooming.  If the dog is hand-stripped, keeping the dog in proper coat rotation is extremely time consuming as well as expensive. Several hours a week are spent keeping an Airedale in proper coat rotation.  If you have chosen to keep your Airedale in a clipped trim, plan on spending 20 – 30 minutes per week for brushing to keep the undercoat at bay and to remove dead coat.

3/ What is a common problem in Airedale Terriers?

Airedale’s are hardy dogs with relatively minimal health problems. 

4/ Does the Airedale Terrier shed or cause allergies?

Airedale’s are considered a non-shedding breed since the coat does not drop out without provocation.  The coat is either stripped or clipped.  If it is clipped, the coat becomes soft with loose curls rather than falling out, hence the shedding is minimal.  This is a suitable breed for someone who cannot handle the dander as long as routine maintenance is done.  However, before bringing an Airedale Terrier into your home if you have allergies, you should spend some time around the breed to make sure you do not have a reaction.

5/ Are Airedale’s good with children?

Airedale do well with children who are respectful.  When properly socialized, they will tolerate light tugging, as well as investigation of beards, ears, and toes.  However, they will stick up for themselves if the child or anyone becomes too rough or abusive in nature to the dog.

6/ What if I have a show dog?

Whether you have a show dog or a companion quality dog, similar care is given in regard to socialization, nutrition, and hygiene.  The difference is the method of grooming and the conditioning of the dog in order to get it ready to debut in the show ring.   The Airedale is one of the most difficult dogs to groom since most of the work is done by hand.  The grooming and presentation of the Airedale affords the stylist a great since of accomplishment and satisfaction for its achievement as it is not easily attained.  It is always quite helpful if your breeder can help mentor you to lead you in the right direction upon entering the wonderful world of showing dogs.  A great place to start is with the Airedale  Terrier Club of America,

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