If you are planning on adopting an Airedale Terrier, make sure you count the cost of grooming. These are very high-maintenance dogs whose coats require a great amount of grooming. Brushing is just one small part of what is needed to keep these beautiful Terriers' coats looking great. This page will help you understand some of those grooming requirements.
The heart of Airedale Terrier grooming is plucking, or hand-stripping. This should be done at least twice a year, or even daily brushing will not help to prevent piles of hair from filling your house. While there may be a lot of fur found on the ground, there will also be a lot of dead hair and debris caught in the rough-haired outer coat. This can cause significant skin conditions and other health problems. If that happens, you should not cut the dog's coat as this will leave dead hair follicles in the skin and create issues as well. Also, special attention should be paid to Airedale face grooming as these dogs have a beard of longer hair wherein food tends to get caught. It's best to get a guide so you can learn how to groom an Airedale properly and with the right tools.
While you need not go down the arduous path of actual hand-stripping, you do need to pluck your Airedale Terrier. If you prefer hand-stripping, however, it's best to learn from a pro so you don't pull too little or too much hair. It typically needs to be done a few times annually depending on your climate and whether you have a show or companion dog. A hotter climate means more stripping times. Many groomers recommend a few weeks of each session to ensure the plucking gets done properly.
If you don't want to actually hand-strip the hair — which is to literally pull it out in measured segments using your forefinger and thumb — you can use a stripping knife or stone. Some people might use a rake to "card" the coat, but this may cut the hair when what you want is to literally pull it from the skin.
Hand-stripping is all about getting the undercoat out to make room for the new one. Unlike carding or even cutting — which is looked down upon in the Airedale community — plucking helps keep the dog's colors lush and the coat strong underneath and soft on top.
Airedale Terrier teeth are the largest teeth of the Terrier breeds, and these are somewhat large dogs. Getting close enough on a frequent basis to clean your Airedale's teeth may seem scary — but it must be done, and it can be done safely.
It's recommended to start when they are puppies and to have a calm place and time to do the at-home dental hygiene. There are many meat-flavored kinds of toothpaste for dogs, so find one your Airedale loves. Put a small dab of the toothpaste on your finger and pretend to "brush" just a few teeth the first few times. Eventually, you can gently clean all the teeth. You can also graduate to a brush. Always inspect the gums, smell if there are unusual or bad odors, and be sure to have a treat ready for afterward!
There is basically one Airedale haircut style, and that one tends to have some stylings done on the head and maybe the legs. You've no doubt seen that classic Airedale cut: the boxy snout, significant beard, and a soft-looking coat of slightly wavy fur that looks like the silkiest teddy bear.
Some people will add a moderate amount of detail to the top of the head to make it look even bigger, or perhaps make the snout pop out around the mouth in a nearly cylindrical fashion. The leg fur may be bushy, and the ears may be cut short yet extremely detailed. It's best to get an Airedale clipping guide first before you start getting too fancy.
Some people like to go hog wild and go all out by making their Airedale's hair blowout like a lion's coat replete with a mane. This requires a lot of grooming, however, so it may be best to just buy your Airedale Terrier a doggy lion costume!