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Do Airedale Terriers Shed? (How Much, Why, & How To Control It)

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Airedale Terriers are minimal shedders. Their shedding level is so low that they are considered hypoallergenic. Airedales are seasonal shedders, as they lose more hair in the spring than at other times of the year. They are double-coated but don’t need extensive grooming. 

Many dog owners hate grooming. These people often look for dogs that don’t shed.

So what about Airedale Terriers? Do they shed?

That’s the topic of this article. We’ll dive into their shedding levels, grooming needs, and more

Do Airedale Terriers Shed a Lot?

No, Airedale Terriers do not shed a lot. As seasonal shedders, they do shed more during spring and autumn but the amount of lost hair is still little. 

Seasonal shedding in Airedales is caused by genetics. Their shedding pattern evolved as a conservation process meant to protect them from danger. 

Double-coated dogs (such as Airedale Terriers) are seasonal shedders. Single-coated dogs shed a low amount of hair at all times of the year. 

This table illustrates the shedding of Airedale Terriers throughout every season.

SeasonHair Growth Cycle
Spring Airedales lose the hair that kept them warm during the winter.
Summer Airedales make new hair to prepare for winter.
AutumnAiredales get rid of their old hair.
Winter Half of Airedales’ hair follicles are in the rest phase to keep their hair on. 
Do Airedale Terriers Shed a Lot

Why Do Airedale Terriers Shed?

Airedale Terriers shed to keep their coats healthy. Their hair has a protective role. It contributes to temperature regulation and protects their skin. When Airedales’ hair deteriorates, it no longer serves its purpose. To survive in harsh environments, dogs renew their hair by shedding.

Airedale Terrier Hair Growth Cycle

Hair grows from tiny openings in the skin that produce hair, called follicles. One follicle can make one or more hairs of different types. 

Airedales’ hair follicles produce multiple hairs that make up the undercoat and the outer coat. Their undercoat is soft and short, while their outer coat is wiry, medium-length, and sometimes curly. 

Airedale Terriers have four hair growth phases[1]. Understanding what happens during each phase will help you understand their shedding process.

This table illustrates the 4 hair-growing phases of Airedale Terriers.

PhaseDescription 
AnagenThis phase is also known as the growth stage in which hair grows at a normal rate. 
CatagenDuring this transitional phase, the hair’s growth rate slows down.
TelogenThe hair stops growing during this phase. 
ExogenDuring this phase the dead hair falls out. 

Causes of Excessive Shedding in Airedale Terriers

Excessive shedding in Airedales is caused by several health issues and parasites. It is also caused by elevated stress levels or poor nutrition. When Airedale terriers are exposed to artificial light, they shed more.

Excessive shedding in Airedale Terriers is obvious as they normally shed little amounts of hair daily. But, it can go unnoticed, especially if their grooming includes daily brushing.

To keep Airedales healthy, it is essential to observe their shedding pattern. Take notice of how much dead hair remains on the brush after each session. 

If you notice more hair than usual, schedule a visit to the vet. 

Health Issues

Excessive Shedding in Airedale Terriers due to Health Issues (1)

Airedales can experience different health conditions which cause hair loss. Some of these health issues cause them to shed more than usual, while others result in entire patched of hair falling off. 

Pregnant, and lactating Airedale females can also experience endocrine disorders that result in excessive shedding. When pregnancy and lactation end, the hair loss process returns to normal. 

Some endocrine disorders cause a complete lack of hair on certain body parts (alopecia) in Airedale Terriers[2]:

  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hypothyroidism 
  • Some hormone imbalance

Here are other diseases that cause excessive shedding in Airedale Terriers:

  • Bacterial or fungal skin infections
  • Immune disorders[3]
  • Follicular dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease

Poor Nutrition

Excessive Shedding in Airedale Terriers due to Poor Nutrition
Image Source

The lack of certain nutrients, such as biotin, is correlated with alopecia (hair loss) in dogs.[4]

Airedales have a predisposition for dermatitis. This skin condition can result in hair loss due to pruritus and inflammation[5]. Dermatitis is sometimes caused by food allergies[6]

Avoid the following ingredients to prevent excessive shedding in Airedale Terriers:

  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Wheat
  • Dairy
  • Fish
  • Beef 

Airedale Terriers need various nutrients to have healthy skin and hair:

  • Biotin 
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A

Parasites

Airedale Terriers can experience hair loss because of parasites, such as flea bites[7]. The French Heartworm can also cause excessive shedding[8].

Stress

Excessive Shedding in Airedale Terriers due to Stress

Elevated stress levels for long periods can disrupt the hair growth cycle of Airedale Terriers. When this happens, their hair follicles enter the rest phase earlier than normal.

During a shock, it is possible for all the hair follicles of a dog to enter the telogen phase. This means their hair stops growing and falls out all at once.  

Exposure to Artificial Light

Seasonal shedding in Airedales is influenced by the amount of light they are exposed to.

During the winter, dogs also shed less because they are exposed to less natural light.

Airedale Terriers who spend a lot of time indoors under artificial light shed more. 

Are Airedale Terriers Hypoallergenic?

Yes, Airedales Terriers are hypoallergenic. They can cause allergic reactions, but it happens significantly less than with other dogs. There are no 100% hypoallergenic dogs breeds.

Airedales are minimal shedders. Even though this is an indicator that a dog is hypoallergenic, people are not actually allergic to dog hair. We are allergic to the dander stuck to it.

The proteins that cause allergic reactions to dogs can be found in[9]:

  • Dander
  • Saliva
  • Other bodily fluids
Are Airedale Terriers Hypoallergenic

When dander attaches to Airedales’ hair and it falls out, the dander becomes airborne and infiltrates the human body through their nostrils. The immune system of people allergic to dogs perceives the dander particles as dangerous and attacks them. 

During this process, people experience various symptoms which are called allergic reactions.

Saliva can have the same effect. Dogs often lick various surfaces. When the saliva dries, it becomes airborne due to air circulation.

Some people are only allergic to dander or saliva. Others are allergic to both dander and saliva.

Grooming an Airedale

Airedales don’t need extensive grooming. They need weekly brushing and regular bathing. It is best to take them to a professional groomer every three months for a procedure called “stripping”. 

Stripping is a grooming procedure used for dogs with wiry hair. It consists of hand-pulling the last layer of Airedales’ undercoats. Sometimes a stripping tool is used to reduce the time of the procedure.

To avoid dry skin which causes more shedding, certain substances in shampoos and conditioners should be avoided.

Grooming an Airedale

Dry Skin & Shedding

Airedales have a predisposition for skin problems that can cause excessive shedding. Dry skin is one of them. 

To prevent skin dryness, reduce the bathing frequency of your Airedale. Using Grooming products with fewer chemicals has the same result. 

Reduce Bathing Frequency

Some Airedale owners prefer to bathe their dogs frequently, even daily, to keep their skin healthy. 

Still, research in the field[10] concluded that dogs’ skin oil barrier rebuilds only after 72 hours after bathing. During this time, dogs can suffer from various issues such as itching. The amount of hair they shed is higher in these 72 hours.

Use Hypoallergenic Shampoos and Conditioners

Hypoallergenic products don’t contain ingredients that cause skin issues to Airedales.

Moisturizing products that contain calming ingredients are best for dogs predisposed to skin conditions, such as Airedales.

Here are 4 ingredients you should avoid when choosing grooming products for Airedale Terriers:

  1. Sulfates: Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Ammonium Laureth Sulfate (ALES), Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate (ALS).
  2. Perfume
  3. Formaldehyde[11]: Imidazolidinyl urea, Diazolidinyl urea, Bronopol, Sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, DMDN Hydantoin.
  4. Parabens[12]: Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Isobutylparaben.
dog grooming tools

Should Airedales Be Shaved?

No, Airedale Terriers should not be shaved. Their coat has a protective role. This includes protection from UV rays, injuries, and insect bites. Shaves Airedales are exposed to various issues, including sunburns and skin cancer. 

The misconception that shaving leads to less shedding causes many owners to shave their furry friends. 

Unbeknownst to them, shaving their dogs lead to more health issues. And it has no impact on shedding.

Keep in mind that Airedale Terriers are double-coated and their coats are dense. They developed their current coat because they need their hair for protection. 

Some people think of shaving their dogs to reduce heat during the summer. Contrary to popular belief, the outer layer of Airedales’ coats keeps them cool during the summer. It prevents UV rays from getting to their undercoat. 

Conclusion

Airedale Terriers shed low amounts of hair, mostly during spring and autumn. They are hypoallergenic and have special grooming needs, but nothing complicated. Their coats have a protective role. As a result, Airedales shouldn’t be completely shaved unless they need it for medical procedures. Shaving Airedales does not reduce shedding.

About Ioana Moldovan

Ioana is a Misfit Animals staff writer and psychology student interested in animal behavior. She likes to dive deep into the newest scientific studies to find out the latest discoveries in the field.

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