Airedale Terrier: The Ultimate Breed Guide 2020 (2022)

Airedale breed Information

Airedale Terrier: The Ultimate Breed Guide 2020 (1)

Ever thought of having an airedale terrier as a pet? You are not alone. A lot of pet parents dream of having this kind of breed as a pet at home. Unfortunately, there is little information about this breed on the internet.

Airedale terriers are great dogs that excel in all kinds of sports and family activities. In other words, if you engage in a lot of sports activity and you need a playful dog? The good news is, you can't go wrong with Airedale terrier breed. But that's not all, in this article you learn a lot about Airedale terrier as a breed. Let dive right in.

Airedale Terrier Breed Characteristics

Airedale terriers possess wonderful characteristics that will delight most pet parents. They are intelligent, outgoing, and confident dogs. Best of all, they perform best in agility, obedience, and hunt tests compared to other breeds.

Since they are high energy dogs, you will need to ensure they get plenty of exercise. If you can meet their physical needs and have a lot of space where this breed can run. Then you have a wonderful companion at home who will be playful in the family.

These breeds appreciate having a job to do even if it means entertaining your kids. If you have kids ensure that they get along well with the dogs. Nevertheless, ensure there is a person who is monitoring the kids and the dog when they play together.

Like most terriers, Airedale has the habit of digging, chasing, and barking. It is something you can’t take away. Thanks to his high energy level, this dog will make up an excellent jogging partner. That said, let go deep into the characteristics of the dog:


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Unlike other breeds, Airedale is an independent dog. What that means is, they have an adaptability rating of 2 out 5 and here's why:

  • Adapts well to apartment living: As we have stated before, these are high energy dogs. That said, they don't adapt well to apartment living. You need to have space or a yard where they can run and play freely to exhaust their energy. We give them a rate of 1 out of 5 in this area.
  • Good for novice owners: These are active dogs that need vigorous exercise every day. Best of all, they enjoy strenuous games. These dogs don't make a good companion for novice owners because they are stubborn and headstrong. Sometimes Airedale terrier can be domineering. They enjoy being the head dog and may not feel great if you have another dog that wants to take that position. If you want a biddable dog that will cherish every command, we are sorry to tell you that Airedale terrier is not the dog for you. But if you enjoy the challenge, you can go for it. Overall, this is a friendly dog and playful dog for the family although stubborn. That said, they hold a 2-star rating out of 5
  • Sensitivity level: These dogs are intelligent and love to do things on their own. They are friendly but stubborn and domineering. For that case, they hold a 3 star out of 5.
  • Tolerates being alone: As we have said earlier, this is an active dog and when left alone, they can chew, dig, or bark. Generally, they are stubborn. For that reason, you will need to be around to monitor the dog or keep him company. Supervision is important so that the breed does not land in trouble. In this area, the dog takes 2 out of 5 ratings.
  • Tolerates Cold Weather: These dogs adapt well to cold weather because they have a dense hard coat which makes the perfect pet to survive in cold climates. That said, they take a 3-star rating out of 5.
  • Tolerates Hot Weather: In this area, we give them a rating of 3 out of 5. That means they are suited for warm climates.

All-round Friendliness

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Airedale terriers are known for their intelligence and playfulness. In other words, a well-trained Airedale terrier will get along well with your family including you, your kids, pets, and other dogs. When it comes to friendliness, we can give it a rating of 4 out of 5. Let's break everything down.

  • Affectionate With Family: They are playful and family loving dogs. If you have this breed, trust me, no one will feel bored. That said, they take a rating of 4 out 5.
  • Kid-Friendly: The dogs love playing with kids but you have to be careful when you have a small toddler. Here they hold 4 stars out 5.
  • Dog Friendly: They will relate well with other dogs and they hold 4 stars out 5.
  • Friendly Toward Strangers: These dogs are unforgiving to any person who treats them harshly but they are friendly to only invite guests at home. That explains why they hold a 3-star rating in this category.

Health And Grooming Needs: 3-Star Rating

Let’s face it!!!

Every dog will have potential genetic health problems so does Airedale terrier. On the flipside, Airedale terriers are healthy dogs but they have some problems which can be treated and cared for by a responsible pet parent. Runaway from any breeder who tells you that the breed is 100% healthy and has no potential health issues. A good breeder will tell you the truth about the health status of the Airedale terrier.

Airedale terriers can develop hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin infections. When it comes to their overall health, they have a score of 3 stars out of 5. Let’s break down the details:

  • Amount of Shedding: These dogs have dense hairy coats and they shed a lot. They are rated 3 out of 5 because of the shedding.
  • Drooling Potential: Airedale terriers have a low drooling potential, which means they will leave fewer spots on the furniture and clothes. That is the reason we give them a 1-star rating out of 5.
  • Easy To Groom: Honestly, these are not easy dogs to groom because of their hairy dense coats. You may need to groom 2 to three times a week. In this area, we awarded them 2-star ratings out of 5.
  • General Health: When it comes to health they hold a 3-star rating. Most Airedale terrier suffers from hip dysplasia, a hip genetic deformity that may need you to do a costly surgery on the dog.
  • Potential For Weight Gain: These dogs can gain weight very fast. Make sure they receive lots of exercise. When it comes to this area, we give them a 4-star rating.
  • Size: Airedale terrier has a moderate body size and we give it a rating of 3 stars out 5.

Trainability: 4-Star Rating

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Airedale terriers are intelligent dogs. What that means is, they are fast to learn when trained well. We can give them a 5-star rating out of 5. This is how it measures up in different areas:

  • Easy To Train: They will learn fast unlike other breeds. Since they are intelligent and playful, you may need to get them to a puppy school. You won't have a difficult time training them. Here they will hold 4 stars out 5 ratings.
  • Intelligence: Without a doubt, Airedale terrier are intelligent dogs and they have a score of 5 stars out 5. These are dogs that can think for themselves and need little babysitting.
  • Prey Drive: They have strong prey drive which can be difficult to handle sometimes. There's a saying that states that Airedale terriers never start a fight but they win the battle. That said, you need to start socializing them early. That way, they won't be destructive and stubborn. We can give them a 5 star out of 5 ratings.
  • Tendency To Bark Or Howl: Barking and howling is a habit that comes naturally to any terrier breeds. They are vocal and hold a 4 star out 5 rating.
  • Wanderlust Potential: Airedale terrier is known for his hunting instinct and they will chase animals or anything they perceive as prey. For this reason, they have a 4-star rating.

The Airedale Terrier Physical Needs

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If you want to live well with this breed you must be ready to meet their physical needs and give them ample space to run. In other words, you need a big yard with a secure fence where the dog will enjoy its playful time. That said, Airedale terrier has a high physical needs pet parents must be willing to fulfill. Enough space is ideal for playing and exercising every day. For that reason, this breed holds a 5 star out of 5 ratings. Here's the breakdown:

  • Energy Level: This is a high energy working dog that will remain active for the rest of his life. They do have a 5 star out of 5. Keeping them indoors will just make them destructive.
  • Intensity: They have a high-intensity level with a rating of 5 out 5. That's because they are destructive in nature. Ensure you have lots of dog toys for them to play.
  • Exercise Needs: They need regular exercise because they are high-energy dogs. Here they take a 5 star out 5 rating.
  • Potential For Playfulness: They are playful dogs with a 5-star rating.

Vital Stats About Airedale Terrier Dogs



Dog Breed Group/Purpose

Terrier Dogs


Friendly, intelligent, stubborn, and playful

Coat Length

hard, wiry, topcoat, and a softer undercoat.

Average Height

53 to 58 meters

Weight Range

40 to 70 kilograms

Energy Level


Social/Attention Needs


Life Expectancy

11-13 Years

Exercise Requirements

Three walks per day

Grooming Requirements

Twice a week

History Of The Airedale Terrier Dog Breed

Airedale terrier came into existence when farmers wanted a multipurpose working dog that can curb vermin and guard their home. The breed was developed in the English’s valley of Aire. The early breeds killed badgers, water rates, hunted small games, maintained livestock tracks, and kept homes safe.

Hunters loved this breed and used them as bird finders and retrievers. That said, the breed's speed, stamina, intelligence, and agility equipped him to perform these tasks well. Despite the breed's stubbornness and hardiness, they were bred to be gentle so they can live well with the family.

The first crossbreeding resembled the terrier and could swim and scent the game. These crosses were known as Waterside or Bingley Terrier. After 12 years of first crossbreeding the dog became a sporting terrier. Author Hugh Dalziel after observing the dog he described it as "par exceedingly good one." His comment made people develop an interest in the breed.

At this time, a group of fanciers met, came together and decided to rename the waterside or Bingley terrier to the Airedale terrier. History states that the name came from Dr. Gordon Stables before Dalziel. It took a long time for the name Airedale terrier to be accepted which brought lots of confusion. In 1886, the Kennel Club in England brought an end to the confusion by accepting Airedale Terrier as the official name.

Given the breed’s courage and athleticism, they were the first British police dogs. In the 20th Century, Col. Edwin Richardson trained these dogs to do military tasks like searching and carrying messages tins. The training became successful and this moved Richardson to create the first British War Dogs Training School at Shoeburyness, Essex.

During World War 1 and World War ll, Richardson’s airedale dogs were known for performing their job well even when wounded.

Airedale Terrier Size (For Both Male And Female)

The male Airedale terrier has an average height of 53 to 58 meters while the female has an average height of 56 to 58 meters. Airedale terrier has a dense heavy coat. They weigh between 40 to 65 kilograms for males while females weigh between 40 to 47 kilograms.

Personality (The Airedale Terrier’s Temperament)

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This is a hard-working, intelligent, and athletic breed with lots of energy drive. The breed loves to dig, chase, and bark, which are common behaviors among all the terrier breeds.

If you have never stayed with a breed of similar character or you are unfamiliar, it can be frustrating for you. The question you need to ask yourself is whether you can keep up with his inclination to chase, dig, and bark.

Since they are an energetic breed, you have to provide lots of exercises. Be ready to jog with him for two to three days to keep up with his energy level. The breed is naught and destructive in nature. That said, you are not supposed to leave him alone without any supervision because he is likely to get bored or find something to destroy.

You can rely on this dog as a watchdog at home. The breed will protect the family and keep them safe from intruders. One thing you will love about the dog is the unquestionable loyalty because the dog takes pride in providing protection. Despite the fact that it's fierce, the dog is friendly, but the friendliness won’t extend to other animals or pets who don’t live with you. Since this breed is aggressive, it may not be a good idea if you have cats around at home.

It's advisable to start puppy training from the day you bring him home. That's when the dog is 8 weeks old and he is capable of learning everything you teach him. Don't wait until the puppy is 6 months old because you will have a stubborn and a headstrong dog to contend with. Getting the dog to a puppy kindergarten class and teaching him to socialize will be ideal.

One thing you need to be aware of is some puppy classes may need you to have certain vaccines such as kennel cough and veterinarians recommendation for the exposure of other dogs. Besides that, you can always start puppy training at home and allow him to socialize with the members of the family.

There are several things that affect the temperament of an Airedale terrier. We have heredity, training, and socialization. Puppies who have excellent temperaments will be curious and playful and willing to associate with people. That said if you want your Airedale terrier to have a nice temperament start the training and socialization early.

If you want to ensure that the Airedale terrier you want to buy has a nice temperament, ensure you meet the mother. If you are comfortable with their temperament, chances are your pup will turn out well.

The Airedale Terrier Health

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Airedale is healthy breeds but they do have their own unique health conditions you need to be aware of. Keep in mind that not all Airedale breeds will have these medical conditions. They are some who will be healthy throughout their lives.

If you decide to get a puppy ensure you are buying from a good breeder who has health clearance certificates of both the puppy's parents. Without a health clearance, you won't know if the dog has been tested or cleared for certain conditions.

When it comes to the Airedale breed, ensure you have a health clearance certificate from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia having a fair score or better. The report will also show an analysis of elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease. Ensure the puppy also has clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) for eye analysis. You can always visit the OFA website (

While getting the puppy from an excellent breeder with a health clearance certificate can reduce some of these conditions, there are no guarantees.

  • Hip Dysplasia: It is a condition that some Airedale inherits from their parents. When an Airedale has this condition it will have some form of pain and lameness on both legs. Some Airedales will have this condition while others won't have. But those that have will develop arthritis in the future as the dog ages. Dogs that have this condition should never be bred. That's why it is vital to ask for the proof of the parents and know if they have undergone hip dysplasia.
  • Allergies: Nearly all dogs have allergies as a common ailment, so does Airedale. Dogs experience three kinds of allergies. We have food allergies which can be corrected when you remove certain food from a dog’s diet. Second, we have contact allergies which come as a result of reactions coming from bedding, flea powders, and other substances. Third, we have inhalant allergies that come from things such as pollen, dust, and mildew. The treatment for these allergies will vary from dietary restrictions, medications, and surrounding changes.
  • Hypothyroidism: It is a condition that affects the dog’s thyroid gland and it causes other conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia, obesity, and other skin conditions. Proper medication and diet are essential in the treatment of this condition.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): This is an eye disease that involves the deterioration of the retina. The dogs develop night-blindness as they lose sight during the day. Lots of dogs will adapt well to their limited vision as long their environment remains the same.
  • Von Willebrand's Disease: This is a disease found in both dogs and humans which involves a disorder of the blood. Symptoms of this disease including nose bleeding, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding from a surgery, bleeding during the heat cycles, and whelping. Von Willebrand's diseases can't be cured but you can manage it with treatments.
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: This disorder is characterized by vomiting and diarrhea with digested blood. The cause of this disorder is unknown. Diagnosis involves the elimination of symptoms. An Airedale dog that has this condition will need immediate medical attention. The dog will require intravenous fluids to keep it hydrated. The moment the dogs become dehydrated, the red blood cells increase until the blood becomes thick and moves slow. That said, this causes disseminated intravascular coagulation which can cause death in dogs. When your dog has this condition, it is advisable to treat with antibiotics and anti-ulcer medications.
  • Cancer: Dogs experience cancer like humans. Cancer in dogs comes in many forms. Some start as tumors which can be removed by surgery. For other forms of dog cancer, you may need chemotherapy to treat the dog.

How to Care for An Airedale Terrier

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First thing first, Airedale terrier won’t be the ideal dog for the novice dog owner. That’s because the dog will have a wonderful time with the household that has ample time and energy to provide them lots of exercises to quench their athletic and high-spirited nature.

When these dogs don't have enough stimulation, they will find a way to entertain themselves. Second, you have to ensure you have interactive and tough chew toys. Best of all, you have enough time to perform the short, fun training sessions and other mental train games which would limit the dog's chance of having destructive behavior.

If you are a pet parent looking for a lapdog, we have bad news for you. Airedale won’t suit you. Although the dogs are exceptionally loyal and affectionate to the family, they like to do things on their own terms.

Since they are playful, it means they will get along with your children. But their size and boisterous nature, make them ideal dogs that will get along well with older children and not little toddlers. The fact that they are loyal and affectionate to the family, they don’t extend the same courtesy with strangers. If you don’t keep them under control, they will become serious barkers and may even annoy approaching strangers.

When you carefully introduce the dog to the people and members of the family, they form strong bonds with anyone in your home. One thing you need to be careful about is that they are not friendly with dogs of the same gender.

The key to living well with this breed is having ongoing socialization. As a new owner, you will need to understand the dog's behavior and be prepared to learn. That is because they are stubborn, headstrong, and strong-willed, sometimes they may want to put your patience to test.

What's more, you can't force this dog to do something they don't want otherwise they will challenge you if you push them. When you are training them, it is much better to encourage them to make excellent choices and you reward their behavior.

If you have the time for their fierce intelligence and natural athleticism, the dog will excel in sports and canicross. Doing so is a great way to strengthen the bond you have with them. Airedale terrier has a high prey drive. That said, you will have to ensure they are on a leash and you have an excellent recall with them. When it comes to maintenance, there's not much you will do because they don't shed much. Brushing them once or twice a week will ensure they are in great health conditions.

Feeding Airedale Terrier Dogs

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Airedale terrier needs 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality dry food per day. Their feeding needs will depend on their size, age, metabolism, and activity level.

It's worth mentioning that the quality of dog food you feed them will make a huge difference. Excellent dog food will contribute to their overall health and nourishment. Ensure your Airedale terrier is fed twice. If the dog is overweight, you will need to give him an eye or hands-on test to find out.

Coat Color And Grooming Needs

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An Airedale terrier comes with two layers: a topcoat and an undercoat. The upper coat is dense and wiry while the undercoat is short and soft. Most Airedale terriers will have a tan on the ear, legs, head, and the underbelly.

Their back and upper sides can be black or mixed of black with gray. You will also notice others have a small white star on their chest. Like we have stated earlier, this dog does not shed but you will need to brush it once or twice a week to soften its coarse terrier coat.

You also don't have to trim him most of the time but if you want him to have a neat appearance you may need a professional groom for the job. The groomer can trim the coat with clippers three to four times a year. Bear in mind that working with a professional groomer will be costly.

The Airedale's teeth need to be brushed two or three times a week to prevent the buildup of tartar and bacteria inside. Although daily brushing is challenging with this breed, it is the best way of keeping gum diseases and bad breath at bay.

Her nails can be trimmed once or twice a month if she doesn’t wear them naturally. The right time to trim the nail is when you hear them making noise on the floor. When trimming the dog’s nail be careful so that you don’t cut too far to cause bleeding. Instead of trimming your dog’s nail, you can also ask a vet or a groomer to help you.

When you groom this breed, check for the sores, rashes in the body, and any signs of redness, tenderness, and inflammation on their skin. Their eyes should be clear without any discharge. Examining this breed on a weekly basis will help you know any health potential problem the dog is having.

Airedale Terrier Breeders & Rescue Groups

If you are interested in having an Airedale terrier at home, they are several breeders who can help you in Australia. Contact them for any help you may need in buying or adopting the breed.

Airewood - Airedale and Welsh Terrier Breeder - Victoria

Ingalou Airedale Terrier Breeder - Melbourne, Victoria

York park - Airedale & Welsh Terrier Breeders - Melbourne, Vic

Airedale Terrier Club of Victoria Inc

Airedale Terrier Rescue & Adoption Network

Putting It All Together

A lot of pet parents decide to have an Airedale terrier as a breed without having information. Don't be that pet parent. This information you have read will help learn more about this breed. Most importantly, you will know how to care for and live with him with your family. Reading this comprehensive guide is just the beginning, the real work starts when you have your breed at home and get to know each other. We wish you happy parenting.

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