The Airedale Terrier is a strong but loving breed.
These athletic yet elegant dogs are very energetic and have a lot of personality to match.
They’re excellent watchdogs and are highly independent.
But, they are also fun, loving, and playful, especially with their family.
What’s In This Guide
- Airedale Terrier At A Glance
- In-depth Breed Review
- Airedale Terrier Training And Care
- Pros And Cons Of Getting an Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terrier FAQs
Take a look at our readers’ most popular and frequently asked questions about the Airedale Terrier.
- Are they good family dogs?
- Are Airedale Terriers aggressive?
- How long do Airedale Terriers live?
- Are they easy to train?
Breed At A Glance
- Popularity: 60 out of 195 breeds on AKC
- Purpose: Terrier group
- Weight: 50 – 70 pounds
- Temperament: Energetic, intelligent, idependent.
Airedale Terrier Breed Review: Contents
- History and original purpose
- Fun facts about Airedale Terriers
- Airedale Terrier appearance
- Airedale temperament
- Training and exercising
- Health and care
- Do Airedales make good family pets?
- Rescuing an Airedale Terrier
- Finding an Airedale Terrier puppy
- Raising an Airedale Terrier puppy
- Popular Airedale breed mixes
- Airedale Terrier products and accessories
History and Original Purpose
This breed originated from Airedale, based in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.
It was created in the mid-19th century by crossing the English Terrier with the Otterhound.
The Kennel Club of England recognized the Airedale Terrier as a breed in 1886. And the American Kennel Club recognized it in 1888.
They were used around this time in sporting competitions. These competitions involved hunting otters and other small animals. Airedales were very good at it!
Aside from that, they made excellent watchdogs for the average person back in the day.
Fun Facts About Airedale Terriers
We’ve looked briefly at the history of this breed.
But, the breed was also used during World War I to find wounded soldiers and deliver messages to the backlines.
Airedale Terrier Appearance
Of all the Terriers, the Airedale is the largest and is known as the King of Terriers.
They’re often 23 inches tall, although the females are sometimes a bit smaller. These dogs weigh between 50 and 70 pounds on average.
While this is the average, larger Airedales up to 121 pounds can be found.
They’re a big dog, so they aren’t recommended for apartment living in most situations.
The Airedale has a long skull that’s flat but not overly broad.
This feature gives him a distinct look that separates him from other breeds of Terriers.
Because he’s a hunter, his back legs are quite strong and muscular. In fact, his overall appearance should be square and muscular.
Coat Type and Colors
With a medium-length black and tan coat, Airedale Terriers are quite unique looking.
According to the AKC, Airedales are mostly tan, with black or grizzle on the back and upper sides.
They have two coats. The topcoat is rough, being dense and wiry, while the undercoat is softer.
Airedale Terrier Temperament
Having been used as a hunter and working dog back in the day, they continue to be very athletic.
And like other Terriers, the Airedale can act as a herding dog.
They are very independent dogs, and they often think and act for themselves.
Like any terrier, they love to dig, chase, and are known to be quite vocal. It’s recommended to give them the opportunity to exercise a lot.
Can They Be Aggressive?
This breed is often quite stubborn. When they’re trained well, they can get along well with other dogs, small children, and even cats.
But, they aren’t the type to let themselves be poked at. Which is why small children need to know how to interact with them.
Make sure to socialize them from a young age, especially with children and other animals. A well socialized Airedale will be happy in new situations, with any new people.
Training and Exercising your Airedale
Airedale Terriers, because of their athletic hunting nature, require a lot of exercise.
They aren’t the best dogs for small-apartment living, and they need to be walked multiple times a day to get out their pent-up energy.
They’re prone to digging and chewing to get out their energy.
So if you aren’t able to let them be active multiple times a day, they may not be the best breed for you.
The breed is very loyal and loving, but they can be tough to train at first.
This is because of their tendency to be independent and strong-willed, as well as their hunting instincts.
To make training easier, the Terrier needs to be given opportunities to use up his energy.
And of course, it depends on the personality of your individual dog as well as your ability as a trainer.
Airedale Terrier Health and Care
As with any breed, the Airedale is prone to certain health problems. Learning about these can help your Terrier live a longer, happier life.
Let’s take a look at the main problems this breed experiences.
Canine hip dysplasia is a condition commonly found in large dogs, and unfortunately, the Airedale Terrier is known to be affected by it.
In these cases, the hip joint rubs and grinds on the socket rather than smoothly gliding over it.
Some of the most common symptoms of hip dysplasia include:
- Decreased range of motion
- Decreased activity, stiffness
- Loss of thigh muscle mass.
Can it be Fixed?
While it can be inherited, there are other factors that come into play.
Environmental factors, like a dog’s diet and exercise habits, can increase their risk of developing hip dysplasia.
In fact, one study found that free-feeding led to more instances of hip dysplasia diagnoses.
Like other Terrier breeds, the Airedale is prone to skin conditions, namely atopic dermatitis.
However, due to their wiry coats, this will often go unnoticed unless it’s very severe.
Dermatitis can make an appearance in the form of acral lick dermatitis, which is when the skin becomes inflamed due to excessive licking.
Hand stripping the coat could also contribute to some forms of dermatitis, albeit rare.
Those are the two most common issues. But there are others to watch out for:
- Eye problems
- Colonic disease
Because the Airedale Terrier is a tough breed, noticing injuries can be difficult.
It’s important to know your dog’s behaviors, and when something seems off, do a full inspection just to be safe.
A healthy Airedale Terrier can live from 10 – 13 years. But looking after your dog can help to extend this even further.
General Care and Grooming
This breed aren’t known to shed a lot. But you may see some very minimal shedding at certain times of the year.
To keep their coats clean and fresh, frequent brushing is required. The undercoats are often hand stripped, seeing as Airedale Terrier shedding is very minimal.
Stripping them removes dead hair and is required a couple of times a year, as it improves the quality of their coat.
Most people use a professional to do this, because it can be hard to perform yourself for the first time.
If you frequently brush your Airedale Terrier, you won’t need to give them many baths. Brushing in combination with a wet towel wipe-down is enough to remove dirt and oils.
Do Airedale Terriers Make Good Family Pets?
The Airedale Terrier’s size is perfect for most families. He’s small enough to fit into smaller homes while being big enough to fight off intruders.
He’s a natural watchdog, so families looking for a sense of security would be wise to get an Airedale. They can be vocal, they aren’t known to bark too much compared to other Terriers.
Airedales are natural hunters, so introducing a full-grown Airedale to a small animal or cat is unwise. They’re also known to sometimes be aggressive toward same-sex dogs. That’s why it can be difficult to introduce an adult Airedale into a home with pets.
However, Airedale Terrier puppies can be trained to get along with small animals and cats.
The perfect home is also one where the Airedale gets the chance to exercise often. A backyard is recommended but not needed if you’re available to give him plenty of walks throughout the day.
Rescuing an Airedale Terrier
If you aren’t fussed about getting a puppy, you might want to look at rescuing an Airedale Terrier.
This can be a great way to give an older job a second chance at a loving home. Plus, it is often cheaper than buying a puppy.
Sometimes, rescues also know a little bit more about the dog’s personality. So, you can know exactly what you’re buying.
Finding an Airedale Puppy
Like other dogs, the most important thing to consider when choosing your Airedale Terrier puppy is whether they were raised in a loving home.
Puppies raised in healthy environments turn into well-adjusted, healthy adult dogs.
If at all possible, visit the breeder yourself to check out the premises. Ask them any questions you might have about taking care of Airedales.
A good breeder will ask you questions as well, as they likely want to make sure you’re a good fit for their puppy.
If the puppy’s parents are available, meet them. Check to see if they are well-adjusted and healthy, and ask whether they’ve recently seen a vet.
It’s important to find out whether the parents have any health issues that could be passed down to the litter.
With that said, you should also take a look at the rest of the litter.
Raising an Airedale Puppy
Caring for a vulnerable Airedale Terrier puppy is a big responsibility.
There are some great guides to help you with all aspects of puppy care and training. Take a look at them here.
Training should start from a young age. You can also find out about our training courses here.
Popular Airedale Terrier Breed Mixes
Perhaps the purebred Airedale isn’t exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily, mixes are getting more and more popular these days.
If you’re interested to see what happens when you combine an Airedale Terrier with another breed, take a look at some of the following articles:
Comparing the Airedale Terrier with Other Breeds
Pros And Cons of Getting an Airedale
Let’s recap some of the pros and cons of this breed, so you can make sure it fits your lifestyle.
- Needs a lot of exercise
- Can be quite vocal dogs
- Prone to some serious health problems
- Not the best with small animals due to hunting instincts
- Can be stubborn during training
- Great for active families
- Low maintenance coat with little shedding
- Can make a great watchdog and companion
- Very intelligent breed
Airedale Terrier Products and Accessories
Looking after any new dog is tough if you don’t have the right equipment. Here are some guides that can help you prepare:
Airedale Terrier Breed Rescues
Here are some rescue centers that would take in an Airedale Terrier.
If you know of any others we should add to this list, let us know in the comments.
- Planet Airedale
- South of England Airedale Terrier Club
- Airedale Terrier Club of Scotland
- Terrier Rescue
References And Resources
- Gough A, Thomas A, O’Neill D. 2018 Breed Predispositions to Disease In Dogs and Cats. Wiley Blackwell
- O’Neill et al. 2013. Longevity and Mortality of Dogs Owned In England. The Veterinary Journal
- Schalamon et al. 2006. Analysis of Dog Bites In Children Who Are Younger Than 17 Years. Pediatrics
- Duffy D et al. Breed differences in canine aggression. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2008
- Strain G. Deafness prevalence and pigmentation and gender associations in dog breeds at risk. The Veterinary Journal 2004
- Adams VJ, et al. 2010. Results of a Survey of UK Purebred Dogs. Journal of Small Animal Practice.
- Kealy, R. D. et al. Effects of limited food consumption on the incidence of hip dysplasia in growing dogs. Report of Original Studies, 1992.
- Roque B. Joana et al. Atopic dermatitis in West Highland white terriers is associated with a 1.3-Mb region on CFA 17. Immunogenetics, 2011.
- Bell, J. Inherited and Predisposing Factors in the Development of Gastric Dilatation Volvulus in Dogs. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 2014.
- Simpson, J. Approach to the Investigation of Gastrointestinal Diseases. Manual of Canine and Feline Gastroenterology, 2005.