Airedale Terrier Dog Breed

  • The Airedale Terrier is a large and very lively terrier that is often known as the "king of terriers". They are excellent companion dogs as well as hunting, agility, obedience and even police and military dogs. They can be very playful and attentive to their owners but can also be serious workers, an excellent combination for a great all-round dog. The Airedale Terrier should have a smooth yet jaunty kind of gait that shows good power and athletic ability. The overall impression should be one of excellent conformation and straight and parallel legs with no turning in or out of the hocks, elbows or feet.

    Rattings :

    Ease of Training








    Guard Dog








    Good with Kids



    Life Expectancy

    10-13 years

    Litter Size

    8-12 with an average of 9 puppies per litter




    black body with tan markings on the legs, head, chest and tail. A small white patch on the chest is acceptable as is a slight amount of red in the black parts of the body.

    Hair Length

    Medium, Short


    Moderate Shed, Heavy Shed


    Male Height: 22-24 inches (56-61 cm) - Male Weight: 50-65 pounds (23-29 kg) - Female Height: 22-23 inches (56-58 cm) - Female Weight: 40-45 pounds (18-20 kg) -

    Required Living Area

    Since the Airedale Terrier is a very active dog and will be active indoors they are not recommended for small spaces and apartment life. They do need a yard and a fenced area for exercise on a frequent and regular basis throughout the day.

    Breed Details


    The Airedale Terrier is a large and very lively terrier that is often known as the "king of terriers". They are excellent companion dogs as well as hunting, agility, obedience and even police and military dogs. They can be very playful and attentive to their owners but can also be serious workers, an excellent combination for a great all-round dog. The Airedale Terrier should have a smooth yet jaunty kind of gait that shows good power and athletic ability. The overall impression should be one of excellent conformation and straight and parallel legs with no turning in or out of the hocks, elbows or feet. The body should be short and compact with very little space between the final rib and the hip joint. The loins and hind legs should be muscular and strong with good driving ability. The top line or line along the back should be straight from the withers to the rather high set tail with no slope or drop of the hindquarters. The tail should taper from the base to the tip and should be carried pointed straight up and slightly forward but not curled or touching the back. The front quarters and the chest should be well developed with the chest deep but not broad. The brisket should extend down to the level of the elbows. The shoulders should be clean and tight to the body, sloping and muscular and blending well into the chest and back. The neck is placed high in the shoulders and moderately long, wider at the shoulders and tapering slightly to the base of the throat. The skin on the neck should not be loose or folded but should be tight the muscles. The head is carried very high, proud and erect on the neck. The foreface and the skull should be approximately the same length giving a balanced appearance. The profile is almost rectangular in shape without a noticeable or pronounced stop. There should be no wrinkling on the skin of the head and the cheeks should be noticeable but not heavy or pronounced. The ears are triangular in shape and proportional to the head, folded over about at the top of the skull. The ears are actually positioned to the side of the head, as are the small, dark and very lively and alert looking eyes. The eyes should be typical of a terrier, full of fearlessness and intelligence. The mouth and lips are fine in feature and the lips are close to the teeth. The muzzle tapers very slightly to the dark and well developed nose. The breed has a noticeable beard and moustache giving the muzzle a very angular appearance. They also have bushy eyebrows that add to the expressiveness of the face. The coat is wavy or crinkly in appearance and comes in various shades of black and tan with a black saddle and tan points.


    The Airedale was born in the region Airedale of West Riding of Yorkshire. The breed was created in the middle of the 19th century by the working class that crossed the old English black and tan terrier with the Otterhound. The Kennel Club of England recognized the Airedale Terrier breed in 1886. The Airedale was known as the multi-purpose terrier able to scent game, be broken to gun, and retrieve the game. He was also an excellent guard for the home and farm. In some cases, he was used in poaching game from the large estates. The Airedale could be taught not only to fetch game, but to pursue game, kill it, and bring it back to their masters. The Airedale was a major part of World War II in which their duty was to carry messages to soldiers behind enemy lines and transport mail. The Red Cross even used Airedales to aid in finding wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Three US presidents owned Airedales, which include Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding.


    The Airedale Terrier is a very lively and energetic terrier that does have the tendency to be the dominant dog as well as the leader in the family if not properly trained and socialized. They are extremely intelligent and will quickly learn both commands and how to get out following commands so firm and consistent training is a must. The Airedale Terrier is a good family dog and will interact well with children of all ages. Since they are a large terrier they do need to be taught not to be overly possessive of toys or food as well as to avoid snapping when teased or irritated. Teaching children to respect this dog and to watch when the dog has simply had enough is very important. As with all terriers the Airedale Terrier has an independent and rather headstrong streak that can become a problem during training. Typically this is worse in intact males that have not been obedience trained and have had little socialization as a puppy. It is important to purchase an Airedale Terrier from a breeder that starts early socialization and can provide information on the tendencies of the breed. While an excellent obedience dog when trained, they are not always a good choice for a first time dog owner that wishes to raise a dog from a puppy. An Airedale Terrier from a rescue that is already trained and has learned the basics may be a better choice. The Airedale Terrier can learn to get along with other pets although some simply have difficulty living in the same house with other non-canine pets. Puppies are generally more accepting of cats than mature dogs that have not had cats in the house. The Airedale Terrier will be a good companion dog to a non-dominant breed but two dominant type breeds will fight. Spaying and neutering and choosing a companion dog of the opposite gender that is also spayed or neutered is the best possible option.

    Health Care

    The hair of this breed is hard and crisp making it rather hard to groom. Dead hair should be plucked at least twice a year. The Airedale Terrier can shed heavily or not at all depending on the cut of the coat. Washing the beard regularly is a must to keep it free from caking.


    Despite the short, wiry wavy and dense outer coat and the thick, wooly undercoat shedding can be minimized with the Airedale Terrier with regular stripping, a process of plucking the long, dead hairs from the coat. Without stripping and regular, three to four times weekly brushing the Airedale Terrier is a moderate to heavy shedder and the coat may be prone to matting and tangling. Airedale Terriers that are not being used in the show ring are often professionally clipped or clipped by owners to prevent shedding and upkeep of the coat. A uniformly short clip known as a puppy clip is typically the choice of most owners. The hair on the beard and on the eyebrows is left long and natural to allow the distinctive appearance of the Airedale Terrier to show through, but the coat on the body is short. Grooming the Airedale Terrier usually requires a grooming rake or pin bristle brush followed by a stiff bristle brush. It is important to brush the undercoat, not just the wiry overcoat as the undercoat is where the mats are most likely to be found. Check between the pads of the feet, behind the front legs and around the rump area to remove any mats or debris that can lead to the formation of mats. It is also important to wipe and wash the beard after eating as the longer, stiff hairs will trap food and this can lead to discoloration as well as a bad odor. Check the ears, eyes and teeth at every grooming and use a good quality dog toothpaste and finger sleeve to gently brush the teeth. The nails will also need regular maintenance and clipping if the dog is not exercised on a hard surface that will keep them naturally worn down.


    The Airedale Terrier is a strong, intelligent and very alert dog that is capable of becoming an excellent dog for obedience and agility training provided they are treated fairly and consistently and have an owner that understands how to work with a dominant type of dog. They are not always easy to train often going through a period in the "teen years" of being very headstrong and willful, although they are not aggressive towards people they can become standoffish if treated harshly during training. Positive, consistent training is key with this breed as well as keeping them challenged both physically and mentally. The Airedale Terrier has a huge exercise requirement especially in their first two to three years. Training must follow a lengthy, intensive exercise time or the young dog or puppy will simply be too distracted to follow commands and will simply want to play. They are naturally very engaging dogs so it is important to not allow their clown-like behavior and enthusiasm for play detract from the training program. Often an obedience class is recommended by breeders to help the owners and dog learn to work together. The Airedale Terrier will learn good habits as well as bad and this can sometimes be challenging to correct. Training right the first way is much easier than retraining for a bad habit. The Airedale Terrier is a dominant breed of dog and can become dog aggressive if not socialized from a very early age. They also are a hunting dog and need early, supervised socialization with other types of pets if the owner is wanting a cat or bird in the house. Once socialized with non-canine pets they are playful and typically will do very well, however they will chase cats that aren't family pets at almost every opportunity.

    Activity and Exercise

    The Airedale Terrier requires a lot of space for exercise, however they will self-exercise like most terriers. They will run and explore the yard as well as patrol the perimeter as a watchdog. The Airedale Terrier loves to run and romp with the family and they enjoy games and just being involved in what is going on. Airedale Terriers typically enjoy games such as fetch, tag and even tug of war. Care needs to be taken to avoid engaging the dominant or independent Airedale Terrier in games of strength such as tug of war as this may reinforce the dog's dominance or willingness to compete with the owner. Consider playing games such as fetch, hide and seek or even jogging or running with the dog to give it exercise as well as avoid any dominance building activities with the dog. Using the Airedale Terrier in competitions such as agility and obedience is a great way to provide both exercise as well as mental stimulation. Airedale Terriers that don't have enough challenge mentally and physically in their lives have a tendency to become destructive. This is often displayed by chewing, digging and barking, including tearing things apart inside the house and even outside in the yard. With proper exercise and training the Airedale Terrier will be well behaved and well mannered in the house and can tolerate some time alone provided exercise is provided before they are left. Since the Airedale Terrier may be somewhat dog aggressive and may also have a tendency to chase other dogs, cats or animals it is essential to keep them on a leash when outside of the fenced yard. As a hunting dog they may tend to get so involved in the hunt they simply don't respond when called to return.
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