Airedale Terrier – Full Dog Breed Information

airedale terrier

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Airedale Terriers are the largest of all the terrier breed. They are also know as “King of Terriers”. Airedales are confident, lively, outgoing and intelligent, they are also able sporting dogs.

They are a perfect fit for the whole household including children. Airedale Terriers are a fascinating breed, they are courageous , stylish, athletic and silly.

History of the Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers originated in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire and got their name after this valley, they were created to hunt rats and otters in the regions between the Aire valley and Wharfe Rivers.

They are known to be the largest of the Terrier breed thus earning them the name “King of Terriers”. The first trial at creating an Airedale Terrier was in 1853, a rough-coated Black and Tan Twrriee was bred with an Otterhound with the hope of creating a well-rounded sporting dog that could also hunt rats on land and otters in the rivers.

The first crossbreeding created a dog that had a terrier’s keenness and was still able to swim and smell game, these crosses were called Bingley or Waterside Terriers and in the 12 years that followed the first crossbreed games, they had become a popular sporting terrier.

After judging the dog at a dog show, author Hugh Dalziel described the Bingley Terrier as “par excellence, an exceedingly good one.” His comment resulted in an immediate interest in the dog and a protest from fans who disagreed with Dalziel pointing to Bingley as the birthplace of this breed.

In 1864, Aire Valley had its first dog show in which the Waterside Terrier competed under the Broken haired terrier class— although the Bingley or Waterside Terrier name was not mentioned until 1879.

It was at this time that a group of fanciers came together and decided that the Bingley or Waterside Terrier should be renamed “the Airedale Terrier.”

It is believed that this name was suggested by Dr. Gordon Stables, Dr Gordon Stables had judged the dogs a year before Dalziel did, although this fact still remains uncertain.

In 1880, Dalziel was given another opportunity to judge the Airedale Terrier and this time he referred to the dog as an Airedale Terrier in his report.

At first, the new name “Airedale Terrier” was not common or generally accepted, it led to a lot confusion, at dog shows, classes were made for either one or three names for the breed, it wasn’t until 1885 that the Kennel Club in England accepted the “Airedale Terrier” to be the official name of this breed.

The Airedale Terrier Club of America was created in 1900, in 1910, the club started a trophy that is given an parent club shows. The trophy is called “the Airedale Bowl”, it has the names of winners’ 9or recipients of this trophy engraved on the bowl and pedestal.

Dogs of this breed are able sporting dog but proved their worth by becoming an ideal sporting dog as well during World War I. During World War I, Airedales were used as messengers, sentries, carried of food, scouts, carries of ammunition, tatters, ambulance dogs, Red Cross casualty dogs, guard dogs and sled dogs.

During the war, an Airedale by the name of Jack was courageous on the battlefield. He ran through half a mile of swamp, he had the artillery raining down on him but that didn’t stop him, he ran to deliver a message to the British headquarters.

Jack suffered a shattered leg and a broken jaw due to his sacrifice and sadly, he passed away not long he completed his mission. Amazingly, the message Jack was carrying saved his battalion and Jack was awarded the Victoria Cross for “Gallantry in the Field” after his death.

Stories of the bravery and loyalty of this dog during the war led to growing popularity for this breed. The courage and bravery showed by Jack in World War I is still very much true to today’s Airedales.

Dogs like Jack were bred to be multi-purpose dogs that possessed the keenness of a Terrier and could also smell prey and swim.

President Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Warren Harding were among the many people who owned and adored the breed. In 1949, the Airedale Terrier ranked 20th in popularity by the AKC.

Appearance and size

Male Airedales stand 23 inches tall while the females are slightly shorter. Make Airedales withhold 50 – 65 pounds while females weigh 40 – 55 pounds.

The Airedales coat has two layers: a topcoat that is wiry and dense, and an undercoat that is soft and short. Airedale Terriers have a particular coat combination, the majority of the dogs in this breed are Tan— ears, legs, head, underbelly and the shoulders; the back and upper sides are either grizzled or black— black mixed with white and gray.

In some cases, there is a bit of red in the black and a small white star on the chest. They have long muscular legs that give them a real lift. They have a long head with a sporty beard and mustache, dark eyes and neatly folded ears.


Grooming is very necessary with this breed, they are not extreme speeder, they shed at certain times of the year. Regular brushing helps keep their coat in good condition, it helps to eliminate dead hair and remove mats and tangles.

Brush their coat once or twice a week. Over bathing is not advised as it’ll soften the coarse coat of the terrier, bathe them once a month. Brush their teeth at least 3 times a week to get rid of bacteria, gum disease, bad breath and tartar build-up, you could also brush their teeth daily.

Trim his once or twice a month, check his ears weekly for redness and odor which are signs of an infection. While you check your dog’s ears, clean their ears with a cotton ball and a gentle pH-balanced ear cleaner to aid in the prevention of infection, clean only the outer ear, do not insert anything into the ear canal.

Check your pup often for rashes, sores, tenderness, redness, inflammation on the nose, mouth, eyes and skin. Their eyes should be clear with no discharge or redness.

Make grooming an experience your pup looks forward to by filling it with rewards and praises by so doing, you make it easy for them to have veterinary exams as well.


Dogs of this breed are outgoing, intelligent and confident, they are very playful and spend most of their time entertaining their owners. Airedales are courageous, brave and fiercely loyal to their family.

They have high energy and need to stay active and exercised. When you shower Airedales with love, attention, care, affection and exercise, you will be rewarded with a playful and loving companion for the whole household.

Airedales have the distinct personalities of a working dog and a sporting dog. These dogs don’t like being idle, they are at their happiest when they have a job to do, they enjoy playing with and entertaining children as they get along with children smoothly nevertheless their interaction with children should never be left unsupervised by an adult.

True to their nature as Terriers, Airedales enjoy barking, digging (sometimes they dig in the middle of flower gardens or in the middle of the yard) and chasing small animals, this breed is known to have an independent streak but he also enjoys being a member of the family and being included in the day to day activities of the family, they are happy when they are with their owners and are not meant to be backyard dogs.

Airedales are dogs that can think for himself and doesn’t wait for directions, commands and orders from his owner. If you desire a dog that awaits your every command, an Airedale is not the dog for you.

Airedales are rather unforgiving of harsh treatment and will most definitely hold a grudge against an aggressor, his strong prey drive makes him a lot to handle sometimes and he can be aggressive towards other dogs and other animals.

Not surprisingly, Airedales are excellent watchdogs and will do anything to protect his family from intruders and strangers as they are extremely brave but they become friendly to invited guests in the home.

Behind all the tough dog attitude, they are comical and playful, they adore the company of family as well as playing, grabbing food and tossing toys, they are generally mischievous.

They enjoy picking up and collecting souvenirs to remind them of their human owners and families, items such as socks, children’s toys, underwear, shoes and add them to their stash. They mature slowly but still remain puppies at heart well into their old age.

Being high energy dogs, they are better suited to a home with a large fenced yard so he can exercise daily to remain active and full of energy. It’s worth noting that Airedales enjoy chewing and will chew anything.


Dogs of the Airedale Terrier dog breed are generally healthy but they are prone to certain health conditions as well as any other dog breed.

Although not all Airedales will get any or all of these diseases, it is essential to have an idea of likely health conditions before getting this breed.

Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is an inherited medical condition in which the thigh bone doesn’t fit properly into the hip joint. Some dogs show symptoms which pain and lameness in one or both rear legs but other dogs do not not show any sign of discomfort. This condition could lead to arthritis as the dog matures. X-rays screening is the most certain way to diagnose this condition. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred

Allergies: Allergies are common in dog, there are 3 main types of allergies which include contact allergies, this is caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as flea powder, dog shampoo, bedding and other chemicals; food allergies, food allergies are treated by removing certain foods from the dog’s diet; inhalant allergies, these are caused by airborne allergens such as mildew, pollen and dust. Treatment of allergies vary according to the cause and it may include dietary restrictions, environmental changes and medications.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): this is an eye disease that causes the gradual deterioration of the retina. At an early stage of this disease, dogs become night blind but as the disease progresses, they lose sight during the day as well. Many dogs with this condition adapt well to their lost vision as long as their surroundings remain the same.

Cancer: Like humans, dogs can also develop cancer. There are various kinds of cancer and treatments for it differs for each case. For some cases of cancer, tumors can be surgically removed while other cases of cancer are treated with chemotherapy, some other cases are treated both medically and surgically.

Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is a disorder of the thyroid gland, it is believed to be responsible for conditions like alopecia—hair loss, obesity, epilepsy, hyperpigmentation, lethargy, pyoderma and some other skin conditions. It can be treated with medication and diet.

Von Willebrand’s Disease: Von’s Willebrand’s disease is a disease that’s found in dogs and humans, it is a blood disorder that affects the clotting process. Dogs with this disease will exhibit symptoms such as nosebleeds, prolonged bleeding from a surgery, bleeding gums, blood in the stool, prolonged bleeding during heat cycles. This disorder is usually diagnosed in dogs between the ages of 3 and 5. It cannot be sited but it can be managed with treatments that include transfusion before surgery, avoidance of specific medications, cauterizing injuries.

Umbilical Hernia
Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis
Their recommended daily amount of food is 1½ to 2½ cups of high-quality dry food divided into two meals. Take into consideration his size, build, age, activity level and metabolism. They have a lifespan of 10 to 13 years

Training and exercise

Training and early socialization of Airedales is essential in order to teach them the proper canine manners. If your Airedale isn’t used to other dogs and animals or brought up in the same home as other dogs and animals, he will become aggressive and quarrelsome towards them.

These dogs have a high energy level and may not be ideal for novice pet owners as they may be too intense for novice owners to handle. Due to their high energy, they require lots of exercises.

Fortunately, providing Airedales with space to run in the form of a big yard with a tall and secure fence is enough to meet up with those physical needs. Being both working and sporting dogs, they can compete in obedience, agility and hunt tests.

Daily walks are a part of Airedale’s favorite activities. Chewing is one of the many habits Airedales have, he will chew whatever he can find, whenever you’re going to be away from home, it’s a good idea to leave them in crates or secure kennels with sturdy toys to prevent them from chewing your furniture or valuables.

Airedales can be aggressive and even though they may not start fights, they are sure to finish fights, consistent obedience training is an effective tool in combating this so is a securely fenced yard. Airedales need daily exercise.

Like all dogs, the Airedale Terrier needs to learn socialization from an early age, they need to be exposed to different people,  dogs, animals, sounds, sights and experiences. Early socialization is key in ensuring that your Airedale Terrier matures into a well-rounded dog. 

You should also introduce your pup to grooming at a tender age so they get used to it.

Why you should get an Airedale Terrier

Airedales are a delightful breed, they playful delight their owners with their antics and personality.

They have high energy levels which make them the perfect partners for hiking, jogging and running. In Airedales, you are guaranteed to find a playful and loving companion.

Where to get an Airedale Terrier and price

Airedale Terriers are purebred dogs, they may be found in the card of shelters or rescue groups. To ensure you get a healthy dog, do not buy a puppy from an unreliable or irresponsible pet store, puppy mill or breeder.

Buy your puppy from a reputable breed who tests her dog to be sure they are free from health conditions and genetic diseases and make sure that the dogs have a sound temperament which they may pass to the puppies, your breeder should also be able to show you health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents to prove that the parents have been tested and cleared for a particular medication 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, hypothyroidism, Von Willebrand’s disease, elbow dysplasia
Auburn University for thrombophilia
Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) to certify that the eyes are normal
You can also confirm health clearances given to you by the breeder but checking the OFA website (
They cost between $800-$1500.

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