The Airedale Terrier is the largest of all Terrier breeds and given their courageous nature and unmatched versatility, it’s no wonder they are known as the “King of Terriers.”
And thankfully, they don’t shed lots of hair.
Airedale Terriers have a dense, wiry outer coat and a soft, thick undercoat that doesn’t shed very much and that normally only needs brushing two or three times a week. However, they do need to be clipped or hand stripped every 3-4 months, so they aren’t the lowest maintenance dog either.
In this article, we’ll be exploring how much Airedales normally molt and what sort of effort it takes to maintain his coat, so you know what to expect.
Airedale Terrier Shedding – What to Expect
Overall, Airedale Terriers are a low shedding breed.
You may notice some hair floating around the home, especially during certain times of the year like spring and fall. Because, as with most double-coated dogs, they tend to shed their undercoat as the seasons change.
However, as long as you keep him well brushed, overall it shouldn’t be very noticeable. At least, nowhere near as noticeable as it is with heavy shedding breeds like the Newfoundland.
Note: Sometimes shedding can be caused by factors like poor diet, stress, allergies and other underlying issues. So if you’re noticing excessive amounts of shedding, or have any concerns at all, contact your veterinarian.
Another good thing about the Airedales coat is that it is (generally) considered to be more suitable for people with allergies. This isn’t just because it sheds so little, it has a lot to do with how much dander their coat produces.
Some sites even say they are “hypoallergenic” but there are a couple of points worth making with respect to this. Firstly, the American Kennel Club doesn’t list the Airedale Terrier as hypoallergenic. And second, even hypoallergenic dogs can cause allergies. Because all dogs produce at least some dander and saliva, which is what actually triggers the allergies.
However, overall he’s considered to be more suitable than most dogs for people who suffer from dog related allergies. So if you’re looking for a low shedding, low allergen dog, the Airedale Terrier fits that description.
Grooming Your Airedale Terrier
Grooming an Airedale Terrier isn’t difficult, but they’re not as low maintenance as some dogs, and maintaining their coat can be time consuming depending on how you keep it.
Airedales have a harsh, dense, wiry outer coat that comes in either black or grizzle, and tan. They also have a soft, thick undercoat that keeps them warmer in winter and cooler in summer.
The reason he can be a little higher maintenance than the average dog is that he has a wiry coat that, if left unchecked, can grow and become quite scruffy. And there are basically two main ways you can groom this type of coat – by clipping it or hand stripping it every 3-4 months.
Trimming is what most people do. This is not particularly difficult, because it’s a simple matter of trimming his coat down to a reasonable length. But most people prefer to use a professional groomer as it can be time consuming, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The plus side of trimming, instead of hand stripping, is that it’s simpler to do and makes brushing easier, given his coat is shorter. The downside to clipping is that it can cause skin irritation and dilute the beautiful colors of his coat.
Not to mention, the shorter the hair, the less the dead hairs are trapped within it. So you may notice more hairs on your floor between brushes if you go this route.
Tip: Do not remove the undercoat while trimming him with clippers, unless your vet specifically recommends doing so. Like all double-coated dogs, they need their undercoat to help insulate them and protect them from things like sunburn.
What about hand stripping?
Hand stripping is a tedious, time consuming process of removing the old hairs by hand, or with a stripping tool. The idea is to literally pluck the old hairs out instead of shaving his coat. Not many people do this though. It’s typically something only professional groomers do for people who want to show their Airedale in the show ring.
The most common method is definitely clipping. And if you want to learn how to do this yourself, here’s a helpful video I found showing you how it’s done:
What sort of brush should you use?
It does depend on your own personal preference as to which brush you use on your Airedale Terrier, but a slicker brush or pin brush, and metal comb tend to work well together. The slicker does a good job at removing the old hairs and keeping his coat in good shape. And they normally only need to be brushed a few times a week (at most).
Aside from brushing, bathing occasionally can also help to maintain his coat and remove any loose hairs. However, as with any dog, it’s important to use a good quality, preferably moisturizing, dog shampoo that doesn’t dry out his coat. And it’s important not to over bathe. As either of these things can dry out his coat and increase shedding.
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Airedale Terriers are one of the most versatile breeds out there.
They were originally bred in Britain to hunt ducks and rats, but are known to excel at hunting and retrieving virtually any kind prey, whether it has feathers or fur. And aside from hunting, Airedales make excellent companions and love playing outdoors given how athletic they are.
So, if you’re looking for a dog that’s built for just about anything, that sheds very little hair, and that is less likely to cause allergies, then the Airedale may be just what you’ve been looking for.
Keep in mind, however, that they are a bit higher maintenance than some dogs. So if you’re looking for a low shedding terrier, that’s also super easy to groom, the Boston Terrier is a worthy alternative.