Hamish is clipped about two or three times a year. I like to keep it longer in the winter as he has no fat on him and I'd think it would keep him warmer.
I take him to the groomers to have his hair cut. I tried it once but he was wiggly and I was afraid of burning him. I would like to get a table and noose one day and do it myself as I have gotten some pretty shocking haircuts. The last one was really short and he nearly looked like a whippet
Hamish hates having his feet touched so I just remove all the burrs and buds by hand. As much as I love the traditional Airedale look I like to keep the hair on his legs shorter in the summer just because they attract so much leaves and buds and burrs! (next time we move - no trees!)
I think that even if you do have an Airedale cut it is easy enough to check for ticks. You can always go shorter if you don't think so.
Hamish hates being brushed too! I just have to keep distracting him with treats when I do so. I find a slicker brush is best for getting at the undercoat.
Hamish loves the water and goes in the pool and the water at the beach. He didn't like it when he was little though. We had taken him in the pool to teach him how to swim just in case through the pool fence and he hated it. So Geoff may change his mind later.