The Airedale Terrier!

The Airedale is the largest in the terrier family, giving it the nickname “The King of Terriers.” It has a flat and elongated head, a deep chest, and very straight front legs. It has a rough, wiry coat that resists dampness (a must for the rainy weather of the Valley of Aire, England, where it was originally bred and from which it gets its name). This is lined by a softer undercoat. The fur is usually tan with dark griddle saddle markings. Ears fold forward, the short tail, which it holds gaily but never curls over the back, is often docked.

Some Quick Facts:

Life Expectancy:
13-15 years

Energy Level:

Living Conditions:
Indoors with yard for play


Exercise Needs:
Yard play and daily runs

Breed Group:


22-24 inches

55 to 65 pounds

Standard Hair Colors:
Tan on head; tan, red and dark on body

National breed club:
The Airedale Terrier Club of America

Airedale Terrier Skills

The Airedale was once used as a hunting dog, largely due to its strong constitution, alertness, intelligence, and quickness to obey commands. It also has very strong swimming skills (hence its prior name, “Waterside Terrier”). During the First World War, the Airedale Terrier was used as an ambulance dog, locating wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Today, these talents are often used by police and the military, who put him to work in search and rescue or tracking teams.

Airedale Terrier Personality

The Airedale is a very intelligent and loyal dog, and because of its courage and protectiveness (especially over the small children of the family) it is a perfect watchdog and playmate. Like all terriers, it can be stubborn and willful; it also likes to clown around, which can either amuse or exasperate its owners. It needs gentle but firm discipline, especially as it may have “dominance” issues and will even question the authority of an owner he perceives as submissive. The key is to act like “top dog” while never using rough handling—the Airedale never forgets, nor forgives, cruelty. Use plenty of praise and affection, win its loyalty, and it will do everything it can to make you happy.

Exercise Needs

A natural athlete, the Airedale Terrier craves active play like fetch, swimming, and daily runs.

Living Conditions

While its moderate size makes the Airedale a good city dog, it will not be happy in a small and enclosed home. It needs an average yard where it can run freely.

Grooming Requirements

Its short-haired double coat needs to be plucked at least twice a year. Fur between the pad of the feet must be trimmed. The Airedale Terrier may require daily brushing, especially if it is allowed outdoors and burrs are caught in its coat and beard. Owners will also need to wash its face regularly to remove food tidbits.

Health Issues

The Airedale Terrier has a very hardy constitution and a high tolerance for pain, making it difficult to detect illness. Pet owners must then be vigilant for early symptoms of disease, including hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease, and low thyroid function. Like other terriers it is also vulnerable to skin allergies.

If you liked this dog…

Airedales require large spaces and plenty of exercise. If you admire its intelligence and loyalty, but live in a small apartment, consider a Scottish Terrier.


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