Airedale Terrier

  • Overview

    The Airedale is the largest of all terriers. His characteristic terrier build and expression, along with his rambunctious nature and fun-loving spirit make him an eager, clownish playmate. Airedales love participating in high-energy family activities. Their characteristic coloring and oversized terrier personalities make them excellent breeds for owners who want a dog with a noble appearance and a puppy 's personality.

    View Grooming Diagram for airedale terrier
  • Personality

    Airedales are high-energy dogs with plenty of stamina and a seemingly endless appetite for activity. They love romping in large yards and require significant exercise each day to stay entertained. They are serious about play time. The Airedale's goofy personality and his desire for constant activity means that he does best with active owners who let him express his playful spirit.

    Airedales make eager playmates, but they are hardy dogs who can occasionally be accidentally rough with smaller children. Airedale puppies can be rowdy until they are trained, and they sometimes forget their large size. It is important to set clear expectations through firm, consistent training right away, because Airedales do have stubborn, spirited streak. They will refuse to listen to commands that they feel are unfair. They enjoy interesting tasks that keep them occupied. When they feel bored or neglected, they can give in to bad habits, like chewing, barking and destroying. Airedales have a tendency to indulge their undesirable impulses, like dominating, barking and rough-housing. To emphasize their playful, comic traits, owners must be willing to train and socialize their dogs from a young age.

  • Coat Care

    Airedales are characteristically black and tan, with a coat that gives them their traditional terrier shape. The harsh wiry outer coat protects a plush under coat. Their bodies are covered almost equally with fur. The "beard" hair around their muzzles and the hair on their legs grows slightly longer and is occasionally wavy. Their traditional coat pattern makes their tan legs and faces and black bodies an Airedale trademark.

Brushing

If the Airedale is not brushed and groomed frequently, his coat will lose its lustrous appearance and become soft instead of wiry. Daily brushing will remove dead hair and keep the coat from becoming shaggy and dirty.

Bathing

With preparation, perseverance and a positive attitude, bathing can become a fun and fulfilling part of the regular grooming cycle, while helping your dog avoid many diseases and infections.

The general rule of thumb for dog bathing is every three months but wire-coated dogs can be done with greater frequency, often within a four-to-six week range. The coat should end up fresh smelling, shiny, with no loose or shedding hair. First give the dog a good brushing to remove dead hair and mats. Place a rubber mat in the tub to provide secure footing and fill the tub with three to four inches of lukewarm water. Use a spray hose, pitcher or unbreakable cup to wet the dog, taking caution to avoid getting water in the eyes, ears and nose. Massage in pet shampoo, saving the head for last. Immediately rinse thoroughly, starting with the head to prevent soap from dripping into the eyes. Towel dry. The coat should be fresh smelling, with no loose or shedding hair.

Hair Clipping

The Airedale's coat should be trimmed several times a year so it does not become unruly and tangled. The coat can be trimmed with a clipper or thinned and shortened with a stripping knife. Many owners choose to groom their Airedale at home, by consistently maintaining and brushing the coat. Several times a year, when the Airedale sheds its coat, strip the coat by hand or with a stripping knife. Keeping the hair around the Airedale's face neatly trimmed and out of his eyes and ears will help give him his distinct terrier shape.

Nails

Many dog owners are apprehensive about trimming their dog’s nails because they are nervous about cutting into the quick. But with the right conditioning and careful cutting, nail clipping can be a simple, stress-free activity for you and your dog.

Provide your dog with plenty of positive reinforcement and even treats to help associate nail clipping with a positive experience.  As you start to clip, gently press on your dog’s paws to help him become accustomed to the feeling of having his nails clipped. Then, work gradually, shaving down just a thin portion of the nail at first to make sure you don’t reach the quick. Clip one nail, reward your dog with a treat, and stop to give him some positive reinforcement before moving on. Gradually increase the number of nails you clip in one sitting to help your dog get used to the process. Never trim extremely long nails down to a short nail in one sitting, because this is an excellent way to accidently quick the dog’s nail. Instead, work gradually, shaving small portions of your dog’s nails off each time.

You can tell if you’re getting close to the quick by the texture of your dog’s nail. The nail is hard closer to the surface and becomes softer as you get closer to the quick. If your dog’s nail starts to feel softer, that’s a good indication that you’re getting close to the quick.

Eyes / Ears

Keeping the hair around the Airedale's face neatly trimmed and out of his eyes and ears will help give him his distinct terrier shape.

Teeth

Many owners do not realize how important it is to brush your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. Some dogs are prone to dental problems and sensitive teeth, especially small dogs with tiny teeth and dogs with special diets. These problems can be easily combatted with frequent brushing.

Cavities are rare with dogs but gum disease caused by tartar buildup is not, which is why they require regular brushing with toothpaste and a toothbrush formulated specifically for dogs. While daily brushing is ideal, doing so on a weekly basis will be a big help in avoiding the need to bring your dog to a veterinarian for a cleaning, which usually has to be done under sedation.