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Airedale Terrier: The Ultimate Guide

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Airedale Terrier dogs originated in England and are often called the King of Terriers as they are the largest of the Terrier breed. These are friendly, outgoing, and confident dogs that love to be in the company of their families, and they will get on well with various people. There is so much to learn about these dogs.

When you are bringing any breed of dog into your home and family, it is essential to do your research beforehand, so you can be aware of exactly what you can expect from owning these dogs. It is essential to know what you are getting yourself into so you don’t meet any unexpected surprises along the way.

Airedale terrier

In this article, we will share our ultimate guide to the Airedale Terrier breed, so you can find all the important information you need to know about them.

We are going to look at everything from their appearance to their temperament and even their health, training, and grooming requirements. Just keep reading to find out more.

Airedale Terrier Key Facts

Before we get into the rest of this article, we are going to share some key pieces of information with you that are really important for you to be aware of. The lifespan, exercise requirements, costs, and coat of the Airedale Terrier are important aspects that must be carefully considered when determining if this is the right breed for you.

Average Lifespan

Larger dogs typically live for less time than smaller dogs, and the Airedale Terrier will usually live for between 10 to 12 years, which is a shorter length of time than some other breeds of Terrier.

Minimum Exercise (Per Day)

Airedale Terriers are dogs that are highly energetic, and they have lots of excess energy to burn off throughout the day. They will need to be provided with at least 1 hour of exercise per day, but the more the better.

It is generally recommended to exercise your Airedale Terrier dog for around 2 hours a day, broken up into walks, playtime, and other activities. These are also really intelligent dogs, so the more exercise they get, the more mental stimulation they will get at the same time to keep their minds busy.

Coat Length

The Airedale Terrier has a medium-length coat, and it is also a double-layered coat. These dogs will have a wiry topcoat and a dense undercoat, which will require regular brushing. If you want to keep the harsh texture and vibrant color, the topcoat will need to be maintained by hand stripping.

Minimum Cost (Per Month)

It will cost you a minimum of $55 a month to care for your Airedale Terrier when it comes to ongoing costs like food, treats, essential items, insurance, and more. You will need to ensure that you can account for this in your monthly budget.


The Airedale Terrier is a tough dog, the largest of the Terrier breed. They have the classic Terrier head with virtually no stop, or forehead. These dogs have v-shaped ears that are tipped over, and they have straight backs with erect tails. Their outline is relatively square, and they are very sturdy dogs.

The Airedale Terrier can be either black or tan in color, and they feature a classic Terrier coat of harsh hair with a soft undercoat. When their coat is fully grown out, it will look almost curly. The color of the coat will be its sharpest after hand stripping of the dead hair. If these dogs are clipped, they can appear to be grey and tan.


The Airedale Terrier is medium in size, and they are actually named the King of the Terriers for being the biggest breed of Terrier that there is.

Average Height

These dogs are typically around 60 cm tall.

Average Weight

They can vary in weight from around 25 kg for a small female and 35 kg for a large male.


The Airedale Terrier is known for being a hard-working, independent, and athletic dog that has a lot of drive, energy, and stamina. They are prone to digging, chasing, and barking, which are all behaviors that come naturally to this breed.

These traits can be frustrating to some owners if they are not familiar with the personality of the Airedale Terrier.

If you are thinking about getting a dog of this breed, you should really consider whether you are willing to live with their high likelihood to display such undesirable behaviors, and whether you are willing to take on the challenges that often come along with the independent nature of these dogs.

As long as you are prepared for these challenges, you will be delighted by the Airedale’s active, fun-loving, and even at times, comical attitude.

This lively breed needs lots of physical activity, and they shouldn’t be left alone for too long because of this. They can easily become bored, which will most likely lead to destructive behavior.

You will need to keep their training fresh and interesting as repetitive exercises will only become boring. They are best motivated by treats and other positive reinforcement methods.

Airedale Terriers can be a reliable watchdog, and they will take pride in protecting their family. They can often become fierce guardians but are always friendly with family and friends. Their temperament can be affected by a number of different factors, like heredity, training, and socialization.

Puppies with nice temperaments will be curious and playful, willing to approach people and be held by them. When you are getting any puppy, it is essential to meet at least one of the parents to ensure that they have nice temperaments that you are comfortable with.

However, there is no guarantee that they will have the exact same temperament. It can also be beneficial to meet the siblings or other relatives of the parents to get an idea of what the puppy will be like when they grow up.

Apartment Living

These dogs are not recommended for apartment living as their larger size, and high energy levels would make this too challenging. They like to play indoors, which can be a problem in a small apartment, and they ideally need a backyard for them to run around in and burn off some steam.

Good for Novice Owners

Airedale Terriers are not recommended for first-time owners as they can be difficult to handle if you do not have any previous experience with dogs. They can be quite demanding and stubborn at times, which will require an experienced owner to keep them under control.

Sensitivity Level

Due to the fact that these are dogs that thrive on companionship, they can also be quite sensitive. They do not like to be scolded and can react to this with anxiety and unwanted behavior. It is best to use positive reinforcement in their training. 

Tolerates Being Alone

Airedale Terriers are dogs that thrive on human company, which is why they do not tolerate being left alone for long periods of time. They are very devoted to their families that require lots of mental and physical stimulation, and they much prefer to have you home with them.

If you leave them alone for long periods of time, they can easily become destructive in their behavior, which is why they shouldn’t be left alone for more than a few hours at a time.

Tolerates Cold Weather

As a sturdy working breed, the Airedale Terrier does well in cold weather. They have a double-layered coat that will help to keep them warm in colder temperatures.

Tolerates Hot Weather

These dogs are also very tolerant of hot weather, as long as it is not to the extreme. You will need to keep an eye on them to ensure that they do not overheat.

Affectionate With Family

Airedales are loving dogs that love to spend lots of time with their family. However, they do not always show affection in classic ways, like cuddling up to their owners. They will usually show their families affection by following them around the house and spending lots of time with them.


Airedale Terriers make great family pets, even in homes with children. However, they can sometimes become protective of any children in the home, and their large size and high activity levels can be a bit too intense for really young children.

As with any other breed of dog, you should always teach your children how to approach and touch dogs properly.

You should also always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any unwanted behavior from either side. It is important to teach your child to never approach any dog while eating or sleeping or to try to take the dog’s food away.

No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child, no matter how friendly and trusting they are.

Dog Friendly

The Airedale  Terrier will typically get along well with other dogs in the household as long as they have been properly socialized and trained from a young age.

However, they can sometimes be aggressive with strange dogs that they perceive to be a threat.  Also, due to their natural hunting instincts, they are very likely to chase animals that they view as prey, including cats, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters.

Friendly Toward Strangers

These dogs can sometimes be quite weary around strangers, but it shouldn’t take long to warm up to new people as long as they are introduced calmly and slowly.

Health And Grooming

Airedale terrier

Just like with every dog breed, there are some important things that you should know about their health and grooming requirements. We will tell you what you need to do to groom the Airedale Terrier, as well as tell you about some of the health conditions they may be more likely to develop.


These dogs do not shed excessively, but they do shed more during the changes of the season. This is a low-shedding breed that is thought to be hypoallergenic.


Airedale Terriers do not drool. If your dog is drooling excessively, it could have an underlying health condition.


Lots of people will take their Airedale Terriers to a professional groomer, as they can be quite high maintenance. Their hair does not need to be trimmed, but you will need to brush their coat at least 2 to 3 times a week.

You will also need to ensure that you are brushing their teeth every day to get rid of tartar buildup and bacteria and ensure that they don’t develop gum disease and bad breath.

If their nails are not being worn down naturally, you will need to cut them yourself. If you can hear them dragging on the floor, then it is likely that their nails are too long.

You should also check their ears on a weekly basis for any signs of infection, like redness or a bad smell. Once you have checked them over, you should clean them with a cotton ball and a dog-friendly ear cleaner.

General Health

Generally, these are really healthy dogs. However, just like any other breed, there are some health conditions that they are more likely to develop, which we will list below.

Common Health Problems

Some of the most common health problems for Airedale Terriers to develop are:

  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Allergies
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Umbilica Hernia
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Cancer
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis

Potential For Weight Gain

Airedale Terriers are much more likely than other breeds to gain too much weight, which is why it is really important to ensure that they are getting enough exercise and eating the correct amount of food.

Airedale Terrier Trainability

These dogs can be trained well as long as you have the time and energy to dedicate to them and their training. It is also worth knowing that Scottish Terriers respond best to positive reinforcement training techniques.

Easy To Train

Thankfully, these dogs are straightforward to train as long as you keep their training fresh and exciting for them. Their stubborn side can come out from time to time, which can be a challenge, but you can overcome this with consistency in their training.


Airedale Terriers are very intelligent, which can be very helpful in their training. However, they are also very stubborn, which can counteract this at times.

Potential to Bite

Airedale Terriers are not very likely to bite people, but this is a habit that they can develop when they are puppies that will need to be trained out of them.

Tendency To Bark Or Howl

These dogs are highly prone to barking and other undesirable behaviors. Occasionally, they will even bark at nothing or simply get your attention.


The Airedale Is the largest of the Terriers, and they were first created in 1853. A Rough-Coated Black and Tan Terrier was bred with an Otterhound to create a well-rounded sporting dog that could hunt otters in the rivers and rats on land.

The breed was originally called the Waterside or Bingley Terrier, but it was decided that they would be renamed later on. 

The name changed to the Airedale Terrier, and it is thought that this name was first suggested by Dr. Gordon Stables, who had previously judged the dogs. In 1880, another judge, Dalziel had the opportunity to judge the Airedale Terrier for the second time, and he referred to the dog by this name in his report.

The name Airedale Terrier was not accepted or commonly used until 1886. This is when the Kennel Club in England accepted Airedale Terrier as the breed’s official name. The Airedale Terrier Club of America was founded in 1900.

These dogs were also later used throughout World War I as messengers, sentries, carriers of food and ammunition, scouts, ambulance dogs, ratters, Red Cross casualty dogs, sled dogs, and guard dogs.

The war brought stories of the Airedale Terrier’s bravery and loyalty, making the breed more popular. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge owned the breed.

In 1949, the Airedale Terrier was ranked 20th in popularity by the American Kennel Club but has since dropped in rank. The reason behind this decline is due to the increased use of the German Shepherds in roles that were traditionally filled by Airedale Terriers.


The Airedale Shepherd is a reasonably priced dog that can cost anywhere between $300 and $900.

Airedale Terrier Fun Facts

  • The dogs are prone to digging, chasing, and barking
  • These are hardworking, independent, and athletic dogs
  • The Airedale Terrier is an active collector of your things
  • They are known for chewing anything and everything
  • They are quite high-maintenance dogs

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.