Airedales Need Grooming

Anyone who has owned an Airedale knows that they need to be groomed on a regular basis. This should include brushing several times a week to remove dead hair and undercoat and a haircut or stripping at least four times a year or more. Most people use their favorite groomer to handle haircuts. However, if you are interested in grooming yourself, we have put together some notes from a grooming seminar given by an ATRA supporter. Remember this is only one way to do it and there may be variations from groomer to groomer.

Grooming Tips

Following are notes taken from an Airedale grooming seminar given on behalf of ATRA. They provide great suggestions for anyone who wants to learn to groom their Airedale at home.

Equipment for the home groomer

24” X 36” with 48” arm and noose or purchase a non-slip vinyl or rubber mat to place onto a sturdy home table

Recommended: Oster A2 or A5

#10 - used on face, ears, rear, front neck, chest
#7F or #7- used on saddle/body and for blending back legs
Additional blades: #5 if you like the hair on the saddle left longer
Note: the higher the number on the blade the closer the cut

Kool Lube – a spray to keep clippers from running too hot
Blade Wash – a cleaning solution that removes hair from the blades to keep them running sharp.
Disinfectant – spray or soak combs and blades between use.

7” OR 8” straight scissors of good quality
Smaller scissors for hair between paws and other tricky areas

Metal “Greyhound” or rattail comb for use on furnishings, beards, etc. Takes out mats and is also used when scissoring to blend.

Straight wire pin brush – palm style or with handle
Wire slicker brush with bent wires

Warner stripper to keep coat in shape between groomings, and bring out curl
Rake stripper over saddle area weekly to keep coat color from graying and to reduce ‘shedding’

Any style tool you prefer is fine
Electric sanders or file for rounding sharp edges
Quik Stop or other styptic powder in case of bleeding

Use a premium brand sold at vets or groomers like:
Harsh Coat (Airedale on the label)
NOTE: If your dog has skin allergies try frequent bathing with non-soap shampoo such as
Sebalux or other sulphur/salycilic acid formula
Vets carry therapeutic peroxide enhanced shampoos also.

Oti-Clens, Pro Ear, or other ear wash
Flush ears and then swab gently with cotton balls or Q-tips.
If there is paste or brown debris inside the ear have vet check for ear infection.

Should be expressed by professionals – either the vet or groomer
Some dogs need to have these glands evacuated at time of grooming.

Instructions for the home groomer

ALWAYS bathe and thoroughly dry your Airedale before you begin clipping. This will save wear and tear on your blades and clipper motor. It will also yield an even cut with each clipper stroke. If your dog is really shaggy and/or matted you may need to use a #4F or #5 blade to rough cut before bathing. If your dog is matted you should trim with scissors and comb out as many mats as possible before bathing.

Subsequent groomings, performed on a schedule of anywhere from two to eight weeks, will keep your Airedale Terrier looking tip-top and greatly reduce the time required on future grooming sessions.

BODY: Trim the body with #7 or #7F blade with the lay of the coat. A #8-1/2 or #10 blade can be used if the coat will not lay down or if you desire a closer cut.

FRONT: Clip the sides of the neck and front with a #10 blade, with the lay of the coat. Be sure to go down to the elbows on the front legs. Clip the tail with #10 with the lay of the coat.

HEAD: Clip the head with a #10 blade against the lay of the hair from the corner of the eye to the corner of the mouth. Clip the top of head (skull) the same way.

EARS: Clip the ears, inside and out, with a #10 blade with the lay of the hair.

TUCK-UP: Clip the tuck-up (under the groin) with a #10 blade carefully!

REAR: With a #10 blade, clip the inside of the back legs down to the second thigh. Clip up the rear to the anus (as in against the lay of the coat)

SCISSORING: Blend the coat on the rear legs into the clipped area. There should NOT be “chaps.” All lines should be smoothly blended.

Blend hair on the chest into the side coat, and up underneath to give a smooth line from the chest to the tuck-up. Brush the hair under the chest downward and scissor diagonally up toward the tuck-up.

Blend the hair on the front legs into the clipped area.

Scissor off “tuft” at back of elbows.

Scissor around the feet so they look neat. Do NOT cut like a Poodle. The front legs should be cut to look cylindrical from all sides down to the ground.

Scissor the hair between the pads. Be sure to take out any mats between the toes.

Scissor the back legs to show angulation. Hair should be shorter on the backs of the legs than on the fronts. No “fluff” or “poof” should remain along the back leg lines.

Scissor the face whiskers to blend with the sides of the head. Thinning shears work best here. Do NOT hollow out under the eyes, nor take too much off the bridge of the nose.

Eyebrows should be semi-divided, rounded off and not too long. They should NEVER be as long or pointed as a Schnauzer. Be careful not to leave a “gorilla brow.” Taper between the brows to the bridge of the nose.

The finished Airedale should look neat, with all lines blended in. If you can tell where you stopped clipping and started scissoring, go back in a day or so. Take a long look from different angles and do some more blending.

Catalog supply sources

Care-A-Lot 1-800-343-7680
Dr’s Foster & Smith 1-800-826-7206
Pet Edge 1-800-738-3343
Pet USA 1-800-473-8872
Home Pet Shop 1-800-346-0749
In The Company of Dogs 1-800-924-5050

Canine magazines – health/advice

Whole Dog Journal 1-800-829-9165


…a clean, groomed Airedale is happier, healthier and a more welcome family member!!!

Click on the "Grooming Pamphlet" below to get a pdf file of the discussion above on suggestions for grooming an Airedale in a tri-fold format.