The active and adventurous Airedale terrier is the largest breed of terrier in the world standing at 23 inches tall. Their origins trace back to England, Yorkshire where they were originally bred for working purposes. Nowadays, Airedale terriers are kept as companion animals that excel at various sports.
Airedale terriers are not hard to miss with their wiry coat, pronounced facial hair, and medium-sized, and elongated snouts. However, the Airedale terrier’s long and textured coat is one of their most distinctive features. While you might assume that makes them heavy shedders, the opposite is true.
About the Airedale Terrier’s Coat
Airedale terriers have a similar coat to many other terriers, which is dense, stiff, and wiry. Their double coat is wavy in certain places and lies close to their bodies. The undercoat is shorter and softer than the surrounding stiff hairs. Wavy fur frames their legs, snout, and chest, and usually straightens out along their backs and flanks with proper grooming. It is not uncommon for some Airedale terriers to have a shorter coat, but it must still fall within the necessary criteria for them to be formally registered.
Since Airedale terriers were developed from Otterhounds, their coat is water resistant thanks to oils that help repel water. A combination of tan and black markings is a breed standard color for Airedale terriers, but a bit of white on their chest is permissible.
One of the pros of the Airedale terrier’s coat is that it sheds minimally. Airedale terriers are considered low-shedding dogs that are sometimes deemed hypoallergenic. However, their coat still requires a moderate amount of grooming compared to short-haired dog breeds.
How Often Do Airedale Terriers Shed?
While Airedale terriers do shed, they do not shed often or much fur at all. The amount of fur they shed throughout the day is fairly unnoticeable. However, you might notice a build-up of shed fur around the house over time. These dogs shed year-round, but more so during seasonal changes from winter to spring, and summer to fall. Their seasonal shedding can be managed by regular grooming and brushing to help prevent the loose fur from building up.
Are Airedale Terriers Hypoallergenic?
When we describe a dog as hypoallergenic, we do not refer to one that does not cause allergies at all. This is because the prefix “hypo” means under or less than normal. Therefore, the term “hypoallergenic” simply refers to dogs that are less likely to trigger allergies in people than other breeds.
Dogs that are considered hypoallergenic generally shed minimally and produce less saliva. Most allergy sufferers are not allergic to the dog’s coat itself, but rather to the protein found in the saliva and dander that is on the fur.
Airedale terriers do not shed much, so less allergen-containing fur is transferred around your home or clothes. Furthermore, Airedale terriers are less likely to drool and spread their saliva around like Bulldogs or Mastiffs. However, this doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to not trigger your allergies.
Some people are more sensitive to dog allergens than others. This makes it important to be sure you or members of your family are not allergic to Airedale terriers before getting one.
How to Minimize an Airedale Terrier’s Shedding
Although Airedale terriers are not heavy shedders, there are still ways you can further reduce the amount of fur they shed.
1. Feed them a healthy and balanced diet.
The key to an Airedale terrier’s coat health starts from the inside. If your Airedale terrier is fed a poor diet with ingredients that do not support their full body health, their coat may suffer. Dry and itchy skin with weak hair follicles could be the reason your Airedale terrier is shedding more than usual. Airedale terriers need a high-quality diet made with wholesome and digestible ingredients to support their coat health.
A diet rich in digestible proteins, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins can help nourish your Airedale terrier’s coat. Dietary supplements like flaxseed or fish oils can be included for additional coat and skin nourishment.
2. Stick to a regular grooming and cleaning schedule.
By keeping your Airedale terrier’s fur brushed, washed, and in good shape, you can help minimize the amount of fur they shed. Thoroughly vacuuming and removing shed fur from your furniture and clothing can help keep your home fur-free.
3. Use a de-shedding tool.
De-shedding tools can make grooming your Airedale terrier a breeze and help remove excess fur that would otherwise fall out. However, most regular brushes for wiry-haired dog breeds will work because they do not shed much.
4. Be on the lookout for allergies.
Any dog breed can develop allergies, including the Airedale terrier. One of the most common signs your Airedale terrier might be suffering from food, seasonal, or environmental allergies is itchy skin. Excessive itching and inflammation can be damaging to your Airedale terrier’s coat and skin health, causing more shedding than usual.
It is important to take your Airedale terrier to a veterinarian if you suspect they might be suffering from allergies. Once their allergies are controlled, you can work on getting their coat and skin in better shape.
Grooming Airedale Terriers
Airedale terriers are relatively low maintenance when it comes to grooming. Regular grooming helps to keep their coat in good shape and manageable. Airedale terriers should be brushed one to three times a week to remove loose fur and prevent matting. Their nails should be trimmed every 4 to 6 weeks, and their fur clipped when it appears overgrown. You can either take your Airedale terrier to be professionally groomed or do it yourself. Excessive bathing isn’t necessary for Airedale terriers.
Most owners will bathe their Airedale terrier every few months or when the coat shows signs of dirt buildup. A mild shampoo is recommended to keep their wiry coat vibrant and clean. Avoid harsh shampoos that strip away the natural oils of your Airedale terrier’s coat since that can dry it out.
The Airedale terrier is a low-shedding dog breed with hypoallergenic qualities which makes them ideal for people with mild allergies. Although Airedale terriers shed throughout the year, they shed the most during major seasonal changes. Regular brushing, a healthy diet, and de-shedding tools can help reduce the amount of hair an Airedale terrier sheds.
Despite being low-shedding, Airedale terriers need to be groomed a few times a month to keep their long coat manageable.