Whether you are grooming your Airedale terrier for a show or for your own purpose, you will want to do this on a regular basis and learn as much as you can on how to do as much as you possibly can yourself. Many Airedale terrier owners choose to take their dog to a professional groomer. This is fine too – but just make sure they trim your Airedale the way you want and not the way they want. Too many “professional” groomers tend to groom all breeds of dogs in almost the same fashion. Because the owner’s dog now has shorter hair and a much neater appearance, they don’t tend to speak up about how they want the trim to be done. An Airedale terrier has a specific haircut made just for them and this is how it should be done.
There are a few tips if you plan to do the grooming yourself on your Airedale. There are certain grooming supplies you will want to have on hand such as a stripping knife, bristle brush, slicker brush, latex finger gloves or cots and comb. Do not bathe your dog before you begin stripping him. Otherwise, you won’t be able to easily grab hold of it. Some choose to strip using a stripper while others pluck the hair out. If you use a stripping tool, make sure it is not too sharp. The Airedale terrier has two coats of hair: the wire hair and the under coat.
The wire hair grows pointed on both ends with the end point being dark in color. As it grows longer, it gets thicker and darker in color. When it is ready and in need of being cut, it begins to lighten in color or get very thin near the roots. This is not only telling you it’s time for a haircut, but it also makes it easy to pull them out. This hair texture makes the Airedale terrier look very different after a fresh haircut.
Grab the hair and hold it between your thumb and the stripping knife. Hold the hair as close to the roots as you can and with a perpendicular motion, pull the stripper through the hair in the same direction that the hair lays. Make sure you use more of a plucking motion instead of cutting. Cutting will make the hair the same length, whereas plucking will make it different lengths. Continue this same way until the entire outer coat (wire hair) is removed. All that will be left is the fuzz that blends in with the under coat. The under coat is hair that is short and soft, rather than bristly like the wire coat and it doesn’t grow as long as the wire coat. The under coat dries faster than the wire coat and is the reason why the wire coat will start lying in different directions. So it is important to maintain the under coat as well.
If you choose to use clippers, you need to move the clippers around in the same direction so you don’t have clipper marks on his body. Keep in mind that the large clipper size you use, the closer you will get to the body. You will have longer hair left with a smaller size. When using clippers, you should wash and dry their hair before you clip so you don’t have to be clipping through dirt as well. A lot of it will be trial and error for you. When you’re all done, gently comb through his hair and brush the outer coat. While trimming and bathing only needs to be done every couple of months, brushing your Airedale should be done a few times a week. They love the extra attention.
Another part of grooming is gently cleaning the ears, being careful to not get too close in towards the ear canal. Always make sure they are protected during bathing and always dried thoroughly.
Clip the Airedale terrier’s nails very carefully so as not to clip too short and cause bleeding. Most dogs should have this done at least once a month.