Pet care tips

Home / Dogs Care / Airedale Terrier - Dog Breeds

Airedale Terrier - Dog Breeds

2021-08-29  PetsCareTip

Known as the “King of Terriers,” the Airedale is indeed the largest of all terriers. The dog breed originated in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire and was created to catch otters and rats in the region between the Aire and Wharfe Rivers. An able sporting dog, they became an ideal working dog as well, proving their worth during World War I.

Although these are purebred dogs, you may find them in the care of rescue groups or shelters. Opt to adopt if you need to bring one of these pups home!

Intelligent, outgoing, and confident, the Airedale Terrier possesses a wonderful playful streak that delights their humans. Novice pet parents and apartment dwellers should beware, though. These dogs have high energy and need plenty of exercise, and their intensity might be a little much for first-time dog trainers. But if you can meet the breed’s physical needs and provide them with space to run, preferably in the form of a big yard with a tall, secure fence, then you’ll be rewarded with a playful, loving companion for the whole family-even kids!

PetsCareTip recommends this dog bed to give a good night’s sleep to your medium-sized Airedale Terrier. Not all Airedales will get any or all of these diseases, but it is important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.

Airedale Terrier Dog Breed Pictures


Vital Stats:

Dog Breed Group: Terrier Dogs

Height: 21 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder

Weight: 40 to 65 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 13 years

More About This Breed

During World War I, a hardy Airedale Terrier named Jack braved the battlefields to deliver a message to British headquarters. Running through a half-mile of swamp, artillery raining down on him, Jack suffered a shattered leg and broken jaw. Sadly, he passed away soon after he'd completed his mission. Incredibly, the message he was carrying saved his battalion and he has been posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "Gallantry in the Field." The bravery and courage exhibited by Jack holds true for today's Airedales.

Dogs like Jack were bred as a multi-purpose dog who had the keenness of a terrier, but could swim and smell prey. Airedale Terriers have the distinction of being both a sporting and working dog, and today compete in agility, obedience, and hunt tests.

They enjoy life the most when there is a job to be done, even if it is simply entertaining children, with whom he gets along splendidly. (Nevertheless, an adult should always supervise interactions between kids and dogs.)

Like all terriers, the Airedale has a penchant for digging, chasing, and barking. He is full of energy and makes an excellent jogging companion. Daily walks and romps in the yard are among his favorite activities.

You can't talk about the Airedale without mentioning his independent streak. This is an intelligent dog who thinks for himself and does not always wait for direction from hcan be owner. If you want a highly biddable dog that awaits your every command, the Airedale Terrier is not the breed for you. However, if you are stimulated by challenge, living with an Airedale may suit you.

It's worth mentioning that the Airedale Terrier is unforgiving of any harsh treatment and will hold a grudge against the aggressor. He can be aggressive to other dogs and animals, and has a strong prey drive, which makes him difficult to handle at times. It is said that the Airedale doesn't start fights - he finishes them.

In 1949, the Airedale Terrier was ranked 20th in popularity by the American Kennel Club, but has since dropped in rank.

Not surprisingly, the Airedale is a great watchdog. He will protect his family from intruders with fierce and brave loyalty. However, he is friendly to invited guests in his home.

Make no mistake: The Airedale isn't all business - his flipside is comical and playful. He enjoys the company of his family, and he loves romping and playing, tossing toys, stealing dirty socks, grabbing food off the kitchen counter, and just generally creating mischief. He matures slowly, and is often puppyish well into old age.

The Airedale is a fascinating breed. He's courageous and athletic, stylish and silly. Many owners say that the only thing better than one Airedale Terrier is two.


  • Like all Terriers, Airedales have a natural inclination for digging (usually in the middle of a beautiful flower garden), chasing small animals, and barking. So, if you're not experienced trimming dog nails, ask a vet or groomer for pointers. He will pick up just about anything (socks, underwear, children's toys) to add to his stash of treasures.
  • Being a high-energy working dog, the Airedale Terrier needs daily exercise. In general, the he remains active and full of energy throughout his life. He's not suited to apartment life, and needs a home with a large, fenced yard.
  • Chewing is another favorite Airedale habit. He will chew anything, and should be left in a crate or secure kennel with sturdy toys when you are away from home.
  • The Airedale is an independent dog, but he enjoys being a member of a family. He is happiest when inside with his owners, and is not meant to be a backyard canine.
  • Airedale Terriers are very good with children and are fondly called reliable babysitters. However, children and dogs should never be left unsupervised.
  • Grooming is necessary, so plan on paying a professional groomer or learn to groom your Airedale yourself.
  • Training and socialization is essential to teach the Airedale proper canine manners. If he isn't used to other dogs and people, he can be quarrelsome.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.


The Airedale has the distinction of being the largest of the Terriers. The first attempt at creating the Airedale Terrier, although no-one had a blueprint in mind at that time, was in 1853. A Rough-Coated Black and Tan Terrier had been bred with an Otterhound in hopes of producing a well-rounded sporting dog that could hunt otters in the rivers and rats on land.

The first crossbreeding produced a dog that possessed the keenness of a terrier and was able to swim and scent game. The crosses were called Waterside or Bingley Terriers and within 12 years of the first crossbreeding, the canine had become a popular sporting terrier.

In 1864, the first dog show in the Aire Valley was held and the Waterside Terrier competed under the Broken-Haired Terriers class (the Waterside or Bingley Terrier name was not mentioned until 1879). Author Hugh Dalziel, after judging the dog at a show, went on to describe the Bingley Terrier as "par excellence... an exceedingly good one." His comments brought immediate interest in the breed and a cry of protest from its fans who decried the fact that Dalziel pinpointed Bingley as the breed's birthplace.

At this time, a group of fanciers joined together and decided that the Waterside or Bingley Terrier should be renamed the Airedale Terrier. It is believed that the actual name was first suggested by Dr. Gordon Stables, who had judged the dogs a year before Dalziel, but that fact is difficult to validate. In 1880, Dalziel again had the opportunity to judge the Airedale Terrier and referred to the dog as such in his report.

The name Airedale Terrier was not accepted or commonly used at first, which generated much confusion. At various shows, classes were made for either one or all three names for the breed and it wasn't until 1886, that the Kennel Club in England accepted Airedale Terrier because the official name of the breed.

The Airedale Terrier Club of America was founded in 1900 and, in 1910, the club started a perpetual trophy that is offered at parent club shows. This trophy is known as the Airedale Bowl and has the names of winners' engraved on the bowl and pedestal.

Airedale Terriers were used throughout World War I as messengers, sentries, carriers of food and ammunition, scouts, ambulance dogs, ratters, Red Cross casualty dogs, sled dogs, and guard dogs. The war brought stories of the Airedale Terrier's bravery and loyalty and sparked popularity in the breed. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge were among the many people who owned and fancied the breed. Consistent, positive obecomedience training is a must, as is a securely fenced yard. Part of this decline is due to the increased use of German Shepards in roles traditionally filled by Airedales.


Males stand 23 inches tall, and weigh about 50 to 65 pounds. Females are slightly shorter, and weigh 40 to 55 pounds.


The Airedale is really a hard-working, independent, and athletic dog with a lot of drive, energy, and stamina. He is prone to digging, chasing, and barking - behaviors that come naturally to terrier breeds. These traits can be frustrating to owners unfamiliar with the Airedale personality.

If you are thinking about an Airedale, consider whether you are willing to live along with his propensity toward potentially undesirable behaviors - and whether you need to take on the challenges that go along with his independent nature. If you decide you are, you will end up delighted with the Airedale's active, fun-loving, even comical attitude.

The Airedale is a lively breed, and he needs a lot of activity. Don't leave him alone for long periods of time, or he is likely to become bored, which leads to the aforementioned destructive behaviors. Keep training interesting and fresh - repetitive exercises will become a bore to the Airedale. He is best motivated by treats and other positive reinforcement methods; drill-and-jerk teaching methods should be avoided.

A reliable watchdog, the Airedale takes pride in protecting his family. He can be a fierce guardian, but is friendly with hwill be family and friends.

Ultimately, temperament is affected by several factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies with nice temperaments are curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. Choose the middle-of-the-road puppy, not the one who's end up beingating up his littermates or the main one who's hiding in the corner.

Always meet at least one of the parents - usually the mother is the one who's available - to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you're comfortable with. Meeting siblings or other relatives of the parents is also helpful for evaluating what a puppy will be like when he grows up.

Like every dog, the Airedale needs early socialization - exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences - when they're young. Sometimes there is a speckling of red in the black and a small whitened star on the chest.

Enrolling him in a puppy kindergtherten class is a good start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.


Airedales are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. You should also pick up this dog fetch toy to help burn off your pup’s high energy!

If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

In Airedales, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Base (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is an inherited condition in which the thighbone doesn't fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness on one or both rear legs, but others don't display outward signs of discomfort. (X-ray screening is the most certain way to diagnose the problem.) Either way, arthritwill be can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred - so if you're buying a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and are free of problems.
  • Allergies: Allergies are a common ailment in dogs, and the Airdale is no exception. There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are usually treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog's diet; contact allergy symptoms, which are caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies, which are caused by airborne allergens such as for example pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies according to the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.
  • Hypothyroidism: This is a disorder of the thyroid gland. It's thought to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): It is a family of eye diseases that involves the gradual deterioration of the retina. Early in the disease, affected dogs become night-blind; they lose sight during the day as the disease progresses. Many affected dogs adapt well to their limited or lost vision, so long as their surroundings remain the same.
  • Umbilica Hernia: Present at birth, this is an affliction in which abdomwithinal fat or internal organs protrude against the abdominal wall near the umbilicus. If the hernia is small, it can be left untreated. Some small hernias spontaneously close by the time the puppy is 6 months old and some dogs live with small hernias their entire lives without difficulty. Large hernias require surgery, which is often done while the dog is spayed or neutered. Surgery will be used to prevent a more serious condition in which an intestine loop drops into the hernia causing life threatening strangulation of the intestine.
  • Von Willebrand's Disease: Found in both dogs and humans, this is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from surgery, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles or after whelping, and occasionally blood in the stool. This condition is usually diagnosed between three and five years of age, and it can't be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cauterizing or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: This disorder causes vomiting and diarrhea with either fresh or digested blood. This disorder comes on very quickly, and the cause is unknown. Eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis needs prompt medical treatment. Although it run its course within a few days, the dog needs treatment of intravenous fluids to keep hydrated. If the dog becomes dehydrated, his red blood count will continue to rise until the blood becomes thick and slow moving. This can cause another disorder, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and will result in death. The problem is also treated with antibiotics and anti-ulcer medications.
  • Cancer: Like humans, dogs can develop cancer. There are many different types of cancers, and the success of treatment differs for each individual case. For some forms of cancer, tumors are surgically removed, others are treated with chemotherapy, plus some are treated both surgically and medically.


The Airedale Terrier is really a working dog, and has the energy and stamina that goes with it. He needs regular exercise - at least one walk a day, although two is preferable, coupled with a good romp in the backyard. The Airedale loves to retrieve, play, swim, and goof around. He is a great jogging companion, and in many cases, will tire out his owner.

Training and socialization (the process by which puppies or adults dogs figure out how to be friendly and get along with other canines and people) are essential for the Airedale, beginning with puppy classes. Incorporate socialization with training by taking your Airedale with you to many different places - the pet supply store, outdoor events, long walks in busy parks. (Even if you don't imagine several children will be visiting your home, it is important to expose him early to kids of most ages.) Anywhere there are a lot of individuals to meet and sights to see is a good place to take an Airedale.

Crate training is also strongly recommended with the Airedale Terrier. Not only does it aid in housetraining, it also provides him a safe den in which to settle down and relax. In general, Airedales do very well with most training as long as you remember that they have a mind of their own. Ask him to sit or stay in full sunlight in the middle of the summer and it's very likely he'll decide he'd prefer to do so in the shade.

Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach an Airedale. If you approach training with a positive, fun attitude, and you have a lot of patience and flexibility, there's a fantastic chance you will have got freethinking Airedale who will be also well trained.


Recommended daily amount: 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.

NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog. The quality of canine food you buy also makes a difference - the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.

Keep your Airedale in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day rather than leaving food out constantly. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.

First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread lowerward. You ought to be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.

For more on feeding your Airedale, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.

Coat Color And Grooming

The handsome coat of the Airedale Terrier has two layers: a topcoat, which is dense and wiry, and an undercoat, that is short and soft. Most Airedales Terriers have a specific coat combination: the majority of the dog is tan (ears, legs, head, underbelly, and occasionally the shoulders) and the back and upper sides are either black or grizzled (black mixed with gray and white). Socialization helps ensure that your Airedale puppy matures to be a well-rounded dog.

The Airedale Terrier is not known for extreme shedding, but he does shed certain times of the year.

His ears should be checked weekly for redness or a bad odor, which can indicate an infection.

The family Airedale doesn't have to be trimmed, but most owners do have him groomed by a professional groomer three to four times a year to give him a neat appearance (an untrimmed coat is thick, curly, and unruly). The coat is either trimmed with clippers, by stripping (a process by which the coating is thinned and shortened with a sharp, comb-like tool called a stripping knife), or perhaps a combination of both.

Paying a professional groomer to groom your Airedale is costly, and should be taken into consideration when selecting this breed. Highly motivated owners can learn how to trim their own dogs, but it's not easy and is time consuming.

Brush your Airedale's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better in order to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trim his nails once or twice a month if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally to prevent painful tears and other problems. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Dog toenails have blood vessels in them, and if you cut too far you can cause bleeding - and your dog may not cooperate the next time he sees the nail clippers come out.
The Airedale Terrier is an active collector of human memorabilia. Regular brushing keeps the coat in good condition (once or twice a week), and periodic bathing as needed (over-bathing is not recommended, as this softens the coarse terrier coat). When you check your dog's ears, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to greatly help prevent infections. Don't insert anything in to the ear canal; just clean the outer ear.

Begin accustoming your Airedale to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently - dogs are touchy about their feet - and look inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams along with other handling when he's a grown-up.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Diagnosing is certainly a process of elimination because many other diseases cause similar symptoms. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

Children And Other Pets

The fun-loving Airedale makes a good family pet. In some cases, he may even become protective of the children in the home, but his large size and high activity level may prove too intense for extremely young kids.

As with every breed, you should always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or sleeping or to try to take the canine's food away. No dog, no matter how friendly, should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

The Airedale gets along well with other dogs in his household, provided that he is properly socialized and trained. He can be aggressive, however, with strange dogs that he perceives as threatening. And given the Airedale's reputation as a hunter, he's more than likely to chase animals he perceives as prey, including cats, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters.

Rescue Groups

Airedales are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are several Airedales in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don't see a rescue listed for your are usuallya, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward an Airedale rescue.

Airedale Club of America Rescue and Adoption Committee
Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption

Breed Organizations

Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Airedale Terrier.

Airedale Terrier Club of America

By PetsCareTip.Com

2021-08-29  PetsCareTip