Airedale Terrier

Country of origin:
Height (cm):
Weight (kg):
Life span (years):
saddle black or grizzle with tan
Hair length:
Recognized by:
FCI code:
Good with kids:
Pros Cons
• supreme endurance
• fabulous guard- and watchdog
• excellent companion for a hunter
• very playful and outgoing
    • isn’t well-suited for a family with small kids
    • demands a sizeable amount of both mental and physical exercise
    • tends to be very noisy
    • can be very animal-aggressive


      The Airedale Terrier is the biggest of all terrier-type dogs and often referred as the «King of Terriers». The breed was developed in the Aire Valley Of Yorkshire in order to hunt otters and rats in this area since XIX century. It stands out for its incredible intelligence, strong work ethic and sociable disposition so it can thrive in multiple roles including a companion and versatile working dog.

      The credit of creating the Airedale Terrier has been claimed for English working class. In the XIX century breeders from Northern England started crossbreeding the Otterhound, Irish Terrier and now-extinct Old English Rough Coated Black-and-Tan Terrier in order to get multifunctional, tenacious dog with docile demeanour. It’s highly likely that various types of Setters and Retrievers, the Yorkshire Collie, Bedlington Terrier were also added to the mix. The Airedale Terrier as we know it today initially appeared around 1840 and was used to quarry such game as fox, otter, duck, weasel, badger, water rat and other small creatures.

      The breed’s quick-wittedness, swiftness, power and unbelievable hardiness soon deserved its wide acknowledgment as a versatile working dog in its native land. Apart from being an accomplished hunter, the Airedale Terrier proved to be suitable for an army and police service. For example, it was often made responsible for finding the wounded, delivering messages and medical instrumentation in both World Wars. This dog was also considered as an excellent personal companion and highly effective guardian.

      The first canine show with the participation of the Airdale Terriers was held in 1876, in the Aire River Valley and soon afterwards it was granted with the status of a pedigreed dog. The breed was brought to North America in the early 80s of the XIX century. In this country it rapidly deserved the reputation of an all-around gun dog since it could hunt feathered game on both land and water as well as track four-legged animals. In the United States it was especially appreciated by western ranchers and farmers and its population continuously grew throughout the first half of XX century.

      The Airdale Terrier was formally accepted by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888. Today the breed is still used by innumerable fans to quarry all sorts of game. Its various talents were also applied practically in therapy and assistance canine work, search-and-rescue work, and carting. Furthermore the combination of muscular physique, agility and intelligence make this dog a very successful contestant at different canine sports.

      The Airedale Terrier is an industrious, exuberant and attentive dog with highly staunch personality. Being the typical specimen of a terrier family it’s endowed with virtually inexhaustible supplies of energy and will tirelessly pursue the prey for several hours on end. With its incredible playfulness it can become a wonderful pet for families with older children. Be mindful though that this dog tends to be quick-tempered and possessive and shouldn’t be left with toddlers without supervision of their parents.

      Although the Airedale Terrier readily accepts petting of familiar people it displays wariness towards strangers. Many owners of this dog are often displeased with its excessive barking since it’s prone to voice out its concern every time it spots something unusual or suspicious. This means that it can be trusted with the duties of a watch dog and usually excels in this role. It also makes a very reasonable guardian, which will defend its territory and human family with all its might.

      The average level of the canine aggressiveness is common for the Airedale Terrier. This dog doesn’t like sharing whatever it perceives its own (including territory, food, toys, attention of its master, etc.) with other dogs. The other reason of serious confrontations with strange dogs may be the breeds’ authoritative character and its desire to claim the status of a pack leader. Hunting drive is in the blood of the Airedale Terrier so it’s dangerous for all non-canine stray animals. However early exposure to individual cats (and other non-canine pets) will make your dog to tolerate them.
      Health Problems

      The most common problems for the breed include:

      • cancer;
      • canine hip dysplasia;
      • hypothyroidism;
      • skin problems;
      • urologic disorders.

      The proper maintenance of the Airedale Terrier requires both time and certain skills. Its beautiful coat consists of two layers: a topcoat, which is tight and coarse, and an undercoat, which is short and delicate. However this dog can get by with brushing twice a week, which will keep its hair in a neat condition. Occasional bathing may also become essential especially if the dog is regularly taken to hunt.

      Without periodic trimming the breeds’ coat grows unmanageable, dense and curly so most owners of the Airedale prefer to have their pets groomed professionally. It’s permissible to shorten the dog’s hair either by trimming with clippers, or by striping.

      Other than that it needs such basic care as systematic teeth brushing and monthly nail trimming. Examine the ears of your pet for the signs of infection or built-up wax and clean them as necessary. The Airedale Terrier sheds averagely.

      The training of the Airedale Terrier is connected with moderate amount of difficulties. This dog has tendency to independent thinking and won’t follow commands, which it deems to be unsuitable in a certain situation. It also means that it’s better to entrust the breeds’ training to an experienced person who knows how to establish a proper canine-man communication.

      The Airedale Terrier should never be treated with a rough hand otherwise it can become extremely stubborn, unruly and even hostile. Plan to reward your dogs’ efforts with plentiful of verbal encouragement and occasional food incentives. If you stick to above-mentioned recommendations, your Airedale Terrier will perform with flying colours in agility and obedience trials as long as in all kinds of canine sports.

      The Airedale Terrier is a lively, hard-working breed with high exercise requirements. It won’t be completely pleased with an apartment living and needs a roomy yard to move and play on a daily basis. This dog is fond of all types of vigorous games especially fetching and hide-and-seek. Of course regular hunting experience is a preferable way for this breed to expend its boundless energy.

      Make sure to challenge the busy brain of your Airedale Terrier with some kind of mental exercise as well. If the dog has to spend all its days confined within four walls it will most likely demonstrate such serious behavioural problems as hyper activity, nervousness, on-going barking and unmotivated aggressiveness.