North of England Airedale Terrier Club
Founded 1922

Shortcut to Clipping Nails Shortcut to Tools Shortcut to Show Trimming

A Guide to Trimming an Airedale Terrier

  1. Trim closely and evenly down into back.
  2. Trim back level but not as closely as the neck.
  3. Front part and brisket to be trimmed very closely with just a shade more hair left on as one works down to where the front legs join the body.
  4. The shoulder to be trimmed evenly and more closely.
  5. The front legs should be merely trimmed to straightness, trim principally from rear line. Take out a few hairs from the front and outside of the front legs where they join the shoulder to give a straight line from the top of the shoulder to the feet and from the brisket to the tip of the toes. Trim superfluous hair from edges of feet and between toes with scissors.
  6. Shape ribs to follow the body conformation, work evenly from a closely trimmed back to a fairly heavy coat on the under part of ribs and chest. On the under part of the chest only, remove those hairs necessary to prevent shagginess. Trim under line of chest to follow the bodyline.
  7. Take out loin closer than chest, but not too fine. The underline is trimmed closely to emphasise tuck up.
  8. Do not take all the hair off the belly, but only those that are snarled or shaggy.
  9. In this area trim from a fine back to a fairly heavily coated thigh.
  10. From middle of thigh to hock, trim only those hairs that are shaggy.
  11. Trim back line of hock straight. Trim superfluous hairs from edges of feet and between toes. Shape to roundness.
  12. Trim inside of back legs clean, take care to give a clean line to the hind legs from rear view.
  13. Trim tail closely to tip towards the head, take out very fine in rear where it joins the stern.
  14. Trim stern very closely where it is joined by tail working it heavier towards the hind legs.
  15. Trim skull very closely. Leave eyebrows fairly heavy over the inside corner of the eye. Leave very little over the outside corner of the eye. Trim eyebrows evenly and closely at the outside corner of the eye, with plenty of length over the inside corner.
  16. Trim cheeks closely from outside of eye to the corner of the month.
  17. Trim very slightly from the inside corner of eye downwards to corner of mouth to give proper expression (do not dish out this part).
  18. Trim hairs on top of muzzle from slightly between eyebrows to nose to give a straight line from top of skull.
  19. Leave chin whiskers, bush forward, but clean under jaw from corner of mouth back to neck.
  20. Clean off ears closely inside and out. Straighten edges with scissors.

Shortcut to Tools Shortcut to Show Trimming Shortcut to Top of Page

Filing and Clipping a Dogs Nails

  1. The average nail before cutting, showing the extension of the nail beyond the quick.
  2. Showing how closely the nail should be cut to the quick. If the nail is left like this it will wear down evenly in a few days.
  3. The nail after filing, with just a thin layer of protecting shell left to shield the tender quick.

Few dogs wear their nails down sufficiently to avoid the necessity of having them cut and filed. The average dog's nails need attention about once a month, for if they are allowed to grow too long they force a dog to walk flat­footed, thereby pushing the weight back over the pastern; also, the pounding of long nails on the hard pavements and roads is extremely painful and one of the most prevalent causes of lameness. Nails that are allowed to grow beyond the point where they are nourished by the quick become dead and brittle and are apt to fracture and tear off. The important point to watch when attending to the dog's nails is not to cut into the quick, which is the live pink flesh within the nail. This is easily seen from any position in white nails, but in those nails which are black or dark in colour it is more easily located from the underneath part of the nail where it has a soft, spongy appearance in contrast to the hard brittleness of the nail matter itself. Thorough and proper nail shorting is accomplished by the use of two instruments, nail clippers and a heavy, fairly coarse file, although the latter, except in the cases of show dogs, is not essential.

N.B. When using a file, it should be drawn only in one direction, i.e. from the top of the nail downward in a round stroke to the end of the nail, or underneath. Considerable pressure is needed for the first few strokes in order to break through the hard polished surface of the nail. After the first few strokes the filing is easily accomplished.

Shortcut to Clipping Nails Shortcut to Show Trimming Shortcut to Top of Page

Necessary Tools and How To Use Them

A comb, a brush, a hand glove or palm pin pad, and a stripping knife are essential in the proper care of a dog's coat. A steel comb is always preferable, but it should not have sharp teeth. Dogs carrying a profuse coat, and those having feathering require a comb with heavy teeth set wide apart (Spratts 20070 for Airedales) while a finer tooth comb is more efficient for dogs having a short coat. Never comb a long­haired dog whilst the hair is wet, as the comb will tear out the live hairs.

The length of bristle on the brush should vary with the length and density of a dog's coat. The long coated dogs naturally require a deeper brush. For those animals carrying a profuse or wire coat, the bristles should be stiff as it is possible to obtain, whilst the short-haired or lightly coated dogs may be advantageously groomed with a brush only slightly stiffer than the ordinal human hair brush. The hand glove gives an incomparable finish where a coat is required to lay flat to the body. It is to be particularly recommended for use on all terriers, setter, spaniels and smooth coated dogs. It not only lays the hair in place, but adds greatly to the lustre of the coat. Some people prefer to use the palm pad, when this is strapped onto the hand it is of great value to get out the 'snarls'. Place the pad over the snarl gently shake from left to right then peel off by turning your palm uppermost. The stripping knife or dog dresser is for removal of the dead hairs, and the trimming of the new ones, to give the finish that conforms with the standard of the breed of dog on which you are working. Hold the handle of the knife in the palm of the hand - the end resting against the heel of the hand, and the first finger wrapped around the shank. The Hair is to be removed should be pressed against the knife with the thumb. A slight upward twist of the wrist brings the stripping edge in contact with the hair. Best results can be obtained by removing only a few hairs at a time. Chalk is advantageously used on any dog having principally a white coat, more especially on the terriers. It should be rubbed in before the dog is stripped, as it prevents the hairs from ripping through the operator's fingers during the stripping. In addition to cleaning and whitening the coat, it improves the texture, particularly on those breeds where a hard coat is required.

Dull pointed scissors are of great assistance in trimming and straightening the lines of the ears, the legs, and the belly, also for trimming the feet, and between the toes.

Shortcut to Clipping Nails Shortcut to Tools Shortcut to Top of Page

Preparing an Airedale Terrier for Show

Stripping and trimming an Airedale for show is possibly the most difficult problem facing the novice owner who enters his dog for competition at championship and other shows. Whereas the owner with confidence in himself can fairly quickly pick up the rudiments of ring procedure, and handling from careful observation at the ringside. Learning to prepare a dog for show is a lengthy business, as it is so much a matter of trial and error spread over the period it takes for the coat to grow again. In order that the lessons learnt at the first attempt might be incorporated in the second and so on more or less ad infinitum.

Bearing that in mind, this article is not intended to make the novice reader a first class preparer of dogs immediately, its purpose being to give a step by step picture of the procedure. The reason for this lie in the fact that preparing a dog successfully is a matter of doing the right things at the right stage in a methodical manner. If the novice owner will remember this right at the outset and is prepared for some slight disappointment when he compares his finished dog with others prepared by more experienced owners, he will learn the job all the sooner.

An appreciation of correct form and outline gives the owner a good start, and the photographs of winning dogs in doggy Christmas Annuals well repay careful study. It must be understood also that a dog's coat and general appearance only reflects his state of health. Therefore it is essential that your dog is well fed, free from worms and is well exercised.

To proceed, stand the dog on a low table, and after combing him out, take a coarse-toothed stripping knife and by gripping the hair between the ball of the thumb and the teeth of the knife and always pulling in the direction the hair grows, remove the dead loose outer coat in the area shaded solid in the diagram. This stripping should be done systematically, commenc­ing on the head and working backwards to the tip of the tail.

This sounds easy, but there are several points, which need some elaboration. These are the ears, neck and throat, together with the area lightly shaded on Diagram (A), and one or two other areas which I shall deal with.

Commencing with the lightly shaded areas, in order to avoid a “step" where the stripped portion abuts the unstripped, i.e., the furnishings on the muzzle and legs, the hair must be graded in length to obtain a merging from short to long. It is usual to merely tidy up muzzle and leg furnishings and not to strip these out. Sometimes, however, more particularly on soft-coated dogs, the hair is so dead and scraggy that it is advisable to strip whiskers and leg hair also. If this is so, it must be done about four months before the general stripping described above, which is best-done two months before the show.

The hair inside the ears, on the belly, inside the thighs and round the anus should be removed by means of a pair of round pointed scissors. The rules are against the use of any cutting implement, but I have found that pulling in these tender parts causes unnecessary pain to the dog, and as this hair plays no part in the judge's examination for texture, I can see no objection to the practice.

This completes the stripping stage, and the dog should now be devoid of outer coat. I usually go over the entire area again with a fine trimming knife about two weeks later, because about this time any unevenness in the first stripping makes itself apparent. Thereafter the dog should be brushed and groomed daily for about half an hour.

About six weeks from the first stripping, or three weeks before the show. The back of the neck, shoulders and hindquarters should be trimmed down again with the fine trimming knife (see Diagram B area shaded solid), and about ten to fourteen days later the head, ears, throat and front of neck (Diagram B area lightly shaded) need attention. Remember to grade the hair as before.

In the daily grooming remove by hand all long, loose hairs spoiling the lay of the coat on the body and clean up untidy hairs on the legs and around the feet with the fine trimming knife. Long hair between the toes and pads should be removed with the round pointed scissors.

Generally speaking, this completes the routine and only practice and keen observation will perfect its application. If the owner has two dogs, it helps to experiment with the finer details on the dog, which is not being exhibited before committing oneself to removing hair on the other.

Finally, here are a few common mistakes made by some novices. It is said that the real art in trimming lies in the ability of the trimmer to conceal faults. Possibly there might be something in this, but the novice should concern himself firstly with making every effort to avoid his dog appearing faulty where it is not.

Leaving profuse hair on his feet will, for instance, make the dog look loose in pads, rabbit-footed or even down on pasterns. Failing to clean away the hair under the tail and behind the hindquarters will tend to make it appear long in back. Whilst a similar growth of hair left around the neck will completely camouflage what might possibly be a very good feature.

Many novices and even experienced fanciers leave masses of hair on the hindquarters and brisket, in the mistaken belief that the judge will be impressed by what are seemingly extra-powerful hindquarters and extra deep brisket. If a dog happens to be a shade faulty in these respects, well, there is no harm in trying to fool the judge. but so often one sees a dog with profuse hair on quarters that are well developed and briskets that are deep anyway. The usual result of this is that the dog looks out of balance and untidy, and any judge seeing such profuse furnishing would be pardoned if his immediate reaction was that the dog was a soft-coated one, never mind how his body coat was trimmed for the day.

It is a good point to remember that a well-prepared Airedale should be neat and tidy, with every hair in its right place. Whiskers and leg hairs make a good dog more attractive, but tidiness must never be sacrificed for exaggerated profuseness.

Shortcut to Clipping Nails Shortcut to Tools Shortcut to Show Trimming

Shortcut to Top of Page

© 2016 North of England Airedale Terrier Club

© 2016 North of England Airedale Terrier Club - Website design and maintenance by Ron Punter