Airedale terriers have been called the “King of Terriers” and have a very distinctive appearance with a prominent beard and eyebrows. They have a hard, wiry, short-haired double coat which should be stripped on a regular basis. Airedales that are being shown should be hand-stripped, but that is not necessary for companion animals. They should be fully groomed every six to eight weeks and have a general groom weekly. The beard should be sponge cleaned daily as food tends to accumulate there.
Bathe your Airedale in warm water using a dog shampoo. Be careful to protect his ears and eyes from shampoo. Rinse him thoroughly with lukewarm water and dry with a clean towel. Airedale terriers have sensitive skin and do not need regular bathing. Place him on a grooming table and brush him to make sure there are no mats or tangles.
Clip your Airedale to achieve the standard breed look. Clip the torso using a #7 clipper blade and trim with the lay of the hair along the back, sides, belly and neck. Trim the head and muzzle with a #10 blade to achieve the standard breed brick-shaped face form. Start from the top of the head and blend with the back and neck cut, moving down over the brow between the ears, along the muzzle and along the sides of the muzzle. Leave the eyebrows. Hold the head up and clip from the chest toward the jaw to halfway along the muzzle, leaving the beard to be tidied later.
Comb the eyebrows and stand them upright. Hold your hand over the eye and clip eyebrows to around two inches, more if you prefer a bushier look. Comb the beard straight down on both sides of the nose and clip it across the bottom at a length of three to four inches to get a clean, sharp look.
Clip the upper legs quite short to the knee, and cut the hair on the back of the rear legs shorter than the hair on the front to accentuate the leg angulation. Feather the hair on the lower legs using a comb and scissors by combing the long hair out at right angles and cutting to an even length. Trim any excessive hair between the paws and clip the toenails, being careful not to take too much off.
Routinely brush your Airedale at least weekly. Check the ears and clean them gently with a cotton bud, being careful not to get too close to the ear canal. Nails should be clipped about once a month, and beards should be checked daily and cleaned with a damp sponge if necessary. Eyebrows can be given a touch-up with a comb and scissors as required.
The smart, distinctive look of the breed requires careful attention to grooming and is best done by professional groomers with styling training. Do not expect your dog to look like a show animal on your first attempt, but note what looks wrong and you will do better on the next attempt.
Study pictures of well-groomed Airedales before you start.
Items You Will Need
- Dog shampoo
- Grooming table
- Dog brush
- Clipper with different blades
- Nail clippers
- Cotton buds
- stripping comb image by Edsweb from Fotolia.com