Airedale Terrier

Airedales are also known as the King of Terriers. Find out all you need to know about this iconic dog in our in-depth breed guide.

Airedale Terrier on a green grass lawn

Height: 21-23 inches
Weight: Male 30-35 kilos, female 25-30 kilos
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Pedigree? (registered with the KC?): Yes, this breed is registered with the Kennel Club.

Positives and Negatives

Find out the pros and cons of the Airedale Terrier below:

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic, great for allergy sufferers
  • Intelligent and easy to train
  • Great for a first-time owner
  • Ideal therapy dog

Cons:

  • High grooming needs
  • Prone to weight gain
  • Nippy and mouthy when growing up
  • Prone to health issues

Overview

The Airedale Terrier aka the ‘King of Terriers’ is the biggest of all the Terrier breeds. They have a short but deep history engrained in Britain. Like most, Terriers this pooch won’t back down, especially if you cross their family! This four-legged friend hates being away from their owner and may develop separation anxiety if this happens regularly.

Unlike other Terriers, the Airedale is easy to train thanks to their high level of intelligence. Whilst they may need help socializing with other dogs, the breed is known to make a fantastic family dog. They’re deeply affectionate, courageous, bold, and stubborn.

Purebred airedale terrier outdoors

Their dense wiry coat and soft undercoat doesn’t shed. Due to this, the dog is a good match for allergy sufferers. Lots of brushing will be needed to keep their fur clean and tidy. The Airedale Terrier’s coat is tan with black markings. They have folded ears, a long head, and an athletic, muscly body.

Although the Airedale will need socialization to get along with other dogs, they’re generally friendlier than other Terriers. A firm and consistent leader will be needed to guide this canine. Provided they receive the proper training, your Airedale will be well-behaved, gentle, friendly, and a great family pet.

Chewing and nipping are commonly seen in an Airedale puppy. When growing up lots of training will be needed to stop this from becoming a habit in adulthood. Digging is another activity the Airedale loves so keep watch when they’re out in the garden!

History

The Airedale Terrier originated in the 19th century from the Aire Valley in Yorkshire. Their parents are the Black and Tan Terrier and the Otterhound. Other unknown breeds are also believed to have contributed to their creation. Other names for the Airedale include the Waterside Terrier and the Bingley Terrier.

This breed was developed to be a working dog covering numerous tasks such as daily farm chores, hunting, therapy, and police assistance. They’re also popular in America mostly for their hunting skills. Presidents Harding, Coolidge, and Roosevelt were all proud owners of the Airedale Terrier.

Near the River Aire, Yorkshire, sporting days would take place where Terriers would hunt and catch the local river rats. Whilst the Airedale Terrier to large to enter the homes of its prey, they still made excellent hunters big enough to hunt larger game.

During World War I the Airedale proved themselves to be exceptional service dogs. One pooch in particular, Jack, a messenger dog, saved the lives of an entire Battalion in 1918. Germans had successfully broken all lines of communications and Jack was the only way to save these men from death.

Jack trekked the distance across the battlefield, facing a broken jaw and shattered paw along the way. Luckily, he made it to his end destination, saving lives. Unfortunately, not long after he delivered his message Jack passed away, but he has always been remembered for his heroic actions.

Another one of their wartime jobs was to track injured soldiers on the battlefield. They were also the police’s first choice as a service dog before being replaced by the German Shepherd.

Recommended: Don’t miss our guide to the infamous Patterdale Terrier next!

Personality

Airedale Terrier Temperament:

Airedales are prized for their hard-working nature. They’re independent, affectionate, loyal, intelligent, and protective of their owners. Whilst they are calmer than other Terrier breeds, they still have the regular bad Terrier habits such as barking, chewing, and digging. Training will be needed to overcome this.

Confidence and bravery are two of the main traits the Airedale showed during their army service. Terriers are known for their fearlessness and the Airedale Terrier proved this on the battlefield.

Airedale terrier running in the outdoors

Are Airedale Terriers Good With Strangers?

This pooch tends to be reserved and aloof with strangers but won’t be aggressive. With socialization, the Airedale will be fine with strangers, as long as they don’t pose a threat. These dogs make excellent guard and watchdogs and won’t hesitate to protect their family.

Are Airedale Terriers Good With Children?

Yes, this breed is great with children. Supervise play around smaller children as their large size could accidentally injure them. The Airedale is known to be more protective over younger kids in the family so do be aware of this.

Playful and energetic, the Airedale Terrier will tire out any child whilst keeping themselves exercised at the same time. The breed is known to be called a ‘reliable babysitter’, but even so, children still shouldn’t be left alone with them.

Are Airedale Terriers Ok With Other Dogs?

Airedales can live with other pets in the household, provided they grow up together. The breed is friendlier towards dogs than other Terriers but still needs socialization to ensure this. Unknown dogs that are perceived as threatening could result in aggression from the Airedale.

Recommended: Our guide to the Irish Water Spaniel is out now!

Exercise

Ideally, this breed will need 2 hours’ worth of exercise each day. They’re extremely active and were bred to work, so mental stimulation will also need to be factored into their daily routine. Airedales will become frustrated and badly behaved if their activity requirements aren’t met.

Airedale runs and jumps in the Park

This canine might not be the best swimmer, but it’s still an activity they enjoy. Other games such as fetch, frisbee, and agility are all ways to strenuously exercise your dog. To keep your pooches mind active play some games that require them to think.

Health

Below are the breed-related health issues of the Airedale Terrier:

  • Hip Dysplasia- A painful condition caused by the poor development of either one or both of the hip joints. Pain, swelling, inflammation, and lameness will affect the dog. It will eventually cause arthritis.
  • Gastric Torsion- Also known as bloat, this condition is caused by the dilation and twisting of the stomach. Food and gas become trapped inside and it could be fatal. Immediate veterinary attention is required.
  • Colonic Disease- This bowel disease will thicken the lining of the colon. Once this becomes inflamed, frequent diarrhea will occur with mucus and possible blood in the stools.
  • Hypothyroidism- An underactive thyroid will cause tiredness, dull fur, excessive shedding, weight gain, and a lack of tolerance for the cold.
  • Cataracts- A cloudiness will appear due to a change of lens. If it is small your dog won’t face any issues, if it is large this will affect your dog’s sight, causing eventual blindness.
  • Dermatitis- Common amongst most Terrier breeds, this skin condition causes weeping patches and itchiness. The affected dog may excessively lick their skin.

Intelligence & Training

Naturally, the Airedale Terrier is incredibly intelligent. After all, just take a look at all the work this breed has done over the last couple hundred years. Their intelligence makes training so much simpler and despite the Terrier background, training is relatively easy.

With any Terrier, you must be firm all the time! Any bad behaviors you let slide could become habits, which will be much harder to stop. Respect in the home, walking on the leash, and behaving in public all need to be taught immediately.

Airedales will at some stage show you their headstrong nature whilst training. This may come as a shock but it can easily be handled. Training sessions need to be kept short and fun. Your pooch should always be rewarded with love or food every time they get something right.

It’s important you know exactly when to praise good behavior. It makes a huge difference in whether your dog knows what they’re being rewarded for. Terriers are dominant and want to be the boss, you must establish your leadership for a smoother training journey.

Recommended: Are you a first-time dog owner planning to get a Briard? You might want to check our guide to see if this breed is the right one for you.

Grooming

Good news! This dog barely sheds so you won’t be hoovering all the time trying to clean away the fur. The downside is that they will need consistent brushing throughout the week to prevent mats and tangles from the loose fur. Professional help is sometimes needed occasionally in the year.

Airedale runs and jumps in the Park

Baths will be needed once every 8 weeks depending on how messy your dog gets over this time. A full groom of the coat will be needed at least four times a year. Hand stripping is another technique used to keep the Airedales fur looking fresh and healthy.

Nails should be filed every 4-8 weeks. It is recommended you introduce this to your dog as early as possible. Ears will need to be cleaned weekly and teeth daily. Grooming is a great way to bond with your pooch, so make it as relaxing as possible.

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