Grooming an Airedale

The Airedale has what is called a "double coat" - meaning that he has a harsh, wiry top coat and a woolly undercoat. They do not shed nearly as much as smooth coated breeds.

Regular grooming

Airedale showing faded coat colourAiredale showing faded coat colour

If left untouched, the coat grows to between 6-8cm long and your Airedale will begin to look like a wooly teddy bear (see left).

Regular brushing is required to keep the coat from becoming matted and looking unkempt.

A 'Mars' comb or rake is a useful tool for removing the undercoat and dead hair This will help the topcoat to lie flat.

If you are not interested in showing your dog, he can be clipped using electric clippers and this will keep him cooler in the summer months.

But because clipping leaves the roots of the old dead hair behind, the coat colour can fade to beige. This does depend somewhat on the dog, as some do retain their rich colour and wiry texture even when clipped.

Stripping the coat

groomed for showingGroomed for showing

The traditional way of keeping an Airedale looking trim is to strip or pluck the old hairs out of the coat. If you want to show your dog, then he will need to be hand stripped.

Hand stripping a dog is time consuming, but it will result in a classic, hard wiry coat and rich colour.

Stripping is done in sections, starting with the black saddle area and moving on to the hindquarters, shoulders, neck and head over the course of several weeks.

The coat is plucked out a few hairs at a time and is not painful to the dog.

When the new hair grows back in, it is a rich colour and harsh texture. It can take a while to perfect the technique of hand stripping, but practice does make perfect.

If you are interested in learning how to strip your Airedale, ask a Club Committee member to arrange a time to show you how.

Jane Harvey has produced a very good instructional DVD on how to groom an Airedale that you might find helpful.