Animal Spotlights:- Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier Playing In Snow

Breed Overview

The Airedale Terrier, often referred to as the “King of Terriers,” is a versatile and intelligent breed with a rich history. Originating in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England, in the 19th century, these dogs were initially bred for hunting small game and vermin. Their athleticism and keen sense of smell quickly led to their use as working dogs in various roles, such as police and military service, as well as search and rescue operations.

With a medium to large build, Airedale Terriers typically stand between 56 and 61 centimetres at the shoulder, and weigh between 20 and 30 kilograms. They are known for their distinctive wiry coat, which is tan with a black saddle, and their deep chest and square body. The breed is also characterised by its long, flat head and strong, yet elegant, appearance.

Airedale Terriers are energetic, intelligent, and loyal, making them excellent family pets. They require consistent training and socialisation from a young age to ensure they grow up to be well-rounded and well-mannered dogs. Though they may be headstrong at times, Airedales are eager to please and are highly trainable. They thrive in active households, where they can participate in a variety of outdoor activities and exercise their minds and bodies regularly.

Average Sizes and Life Expectancy Of The Breed

The Airedale Terrier possesses a range of physical attributes that contribute to their overall size and longevity. To provide a quick reference for potential owners, the following table summarises the breed’s height, weight, and life expectancy.

AttributeAiredale Terrier
Height56-61 cm
Weight20-30 kg
Life Expectancy10-13 years

This table offers an overview of the general characteristics one can expect from an Airedale Terrier. However, it is important to note that individual dogs may vary, and proper care and exercise can have a significant impact on a dog’s overall health and lifespan.

Breed Traits and Characteristics

To better understand the Airedale Terrier, we have divided their traits and characteristics into various categories, providing a comprehensive overview of the breed. Each table highlights specific attributes that will help potential owners make an informed decision about whether the Airedale Terrier is the right fit for their family and lifestyle.

Family Life

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
Affection LevelHigh
Good with ChildrenYes, especially when socialised early
Good with Other DogsGenerally, but early socialisation is important
Suitable for Novice OwnersModerate, requires commitment to training

Airedale Terriers can make excellent family pets, as they are generally affectionate, good with children, and can get along with other dogs. However, their trainability and energy levels may make them more suitable for experienced or dedicated dog owners.

Physical Traits

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
Coat TypeWiry, dense, and weather-resistant
Shedding LevelLow to moderate
Drooling LevelLow
Coat Grooming RequirementsRegular grooming needed
Coat LengthMedium
General HealthGood, but prone to certain health issues
Potential to Gain WeightModerate, proper diet and exercise are important
Exercise NeedsHigh, requires daily physical activity

The physical traits of Airedale Terriers contribute to their overall appearance and hardworking nature. They require regular grooming and exercise to maintain their health and coat condition.


Trait / CharacteristicDescription
Attitude Towards StrangersCautious, but can be friendly with proper socialisation
Protective NatureModerate, protective of their family
AdaptabilityModerate, adaptable to different living environments
Ability to be Left AloneModerate, but prefers company and activity

Airedale Terriers have a playful and social nature. They are generally cautious around strangers but can be friendly with proper socialisation. Their protective instincts make them suitable as family pets, but they prefer not to be left alone for extended periods.

Dog Personality

Trait / CharacteristicDescription
TrainabilityHigh, but can be stubborn
BarkingModerate, may bark to alert or when bored
Energy LevelsHigh
Mental Stimulation NeedsHigh, enjoys problem-solving and learning new tasks
IntelligenceHigh, quick learners

The Airedale Terrier is an intelligent and energetic dog with high trainability. They require consistent training and mental stimulation to keep them engaged and well-behaved. Their energy levels make them suitable for active families and a variety of dog sports.

Pros & Cons

When considering an Airedale Terrier as a potential pet, it is essential to weigh the breed’s pros and cons. The table below highlights the advantages and disadvantages associated with owning an Airedale Terrier, helping you make an informed decision about whether this breed is the right fit for your family and lifestyle.

Intelligent and trainableCan be stubborn, requiring consistent training
Loyal and protectiveMay require early socialisation with strangers and other dogs
Adaptable to different environmentsNot suitable for small living spaces due to size and energy levels
Good with children when socialised earlyPotential for health issues, regular vet check-ups recommended
Low to moderate sheddingRegular grooming needed to maintain coat condition
Energetic, suitable for active familiesHigh exercise and mental stimulation needs

This table summarises some of the key factors to consider when deciding whether an Airedale Terrier is the right fit for your family. It is important to take into account both the positive and negative aspects of the breed to ensure you can provide the appropriate care, attention, and environment for a happy and healthy dog.

Airedale Terrier Side On


Airedale Terriers have been affectionately given several nicknames over the years, which often highlight their unique traits or historical significance. Some popular nicknames for this breed include:

  1. King of Terriers: A nod to their status as the largest of the terrier breeds.
  2. Airedale: A shortened version of their official name, which originates from the Aire Valley in Yorkshire, England.
  3. Waterside Terrier: A historical reference to their original role as hunting dogs along the banks of the River Aire.
  4. Bingley Terrier: Named after the town of Bingley in Yorkshire, which played a significant role in the breed’s development.

These nicknames reflect the Airedale Terrier’s rich history, distinctive traits, and the enduring affection of their owners and enthusiasts.

General Temperament

The Airedale Terrier is known for its spirited and outgoing temperament. These dogs are highly intelligent, energetic, and eager to please, making them highly trainable, though they can sometimes exhibit a stubborn streak. Consistent training and socialisation from a young age are crucial in ensuring Airedales develop into well-mannered and well-rounded dogs.

Airedale Terriers are loyal and protective of their family members, which makes them excellent companions. They are generally good with children, especially when socialised early and raised together. Although they may be cautious around strangers, they can become friendly with proper introductions and socialisation experiences.

Airedales are also known for their playfulness and enjoy engaging in various activities, from fetch to agility training. They require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviours. Overall, the Airedale Terrier is a versatile and adaptable breed that thrives in an active household where they can be a cherished member of the family.


Airedale Terriers have a moderate tendency to bark, which can be attributed to their alertness and protective instincts. Their barking often serves as a means of communication, alerting their family members to potential threats, unfamiliar people, or other dogs. However, it is important to note that Airedales may also bark when they are bored or seeking attention.

To manage and reduce excessive barking, it is crucial to provide Airedale Terriers with proper training, socialisation, and adequate mental and physical stimulation. By teaching them to respond to commands such as “quiet” or “enough,” owners can effectively control their dog’s barking. Furthermore, addressing the underlying causes of barking, such as boredom or anxiety, can also help in maintaining a harmonious household with an Airedale Terrier.

Colours & Markings

Airedale Terriers are known for their distinctive coat colour and markings. The breed’s standard colouration consists of a combination of tan and black, giving them a unique appearance. Below is a description of the typical colour and markings of an Airedale Terrier:

  1. Tan: The head, ears, underbelly, and legs of the Airedale Terrier are predominantly tan. The tan colour can range from a light golden shade to a darker, richer hue.
  2. Black Saddle: A prominent black saddle covers the dog’s back, extending from the shoulders to the base of the tail. This black saddle contrasts sharply with the tan fur on the rest of the body.
  3. Grizzle: Some Airedales may have grizzle markings, which consist of a mixture of black and white hairs, giving their coat a slightly greyish appearance.

It is important to note that while the combination of tan and black is the standard for Airedale Terriers, individual dogs may exhibit variations in shade or markings. However, these variations do not affect the breed’s overall temperament, intelligence, or suitability as a family pet.

Breeding Advice

Breeding Airedale Terriers requires careful planning, research, and a commitment to the health and welfare of the breed. If you are considering breeding Airedales, keep the following points in mind:

  1. Health testing: Ensure that both the sire and dam have undergone necessary health tests for common breed-specific issues, such as hip dysplasia, eye conditions, and von Willebrand’s disease. This will help minimize the risk of passing on genetic health problems to the puppies.
  2. Responsible breeding practices: Familiarise yourself with responsible breeding practices and adhere to them. This includes selecting dogs with good temperaments, avoiding inbreeding, and ensuring your dogs are of appropriate age and health for breeding.
  3. Knowledge of breed standards: Study the Airedale Terrier breed standards to ensure your breeding pair conforms to them. This will help maintain the breed’s distinctive appearance and characteristics.
  4. Puppy care and socialisation: Be prepared to invest time and resources in caring for the puppies during their first few weeks of life. Early socialisation and exposure to a variety of experiences are crucial for the development of well-rounded Airedale Terriers.
  5. Finding suitable homes: As a responsible breeder, it is your responsibility to screen potential buyers and ensure they can provide a loving and suitable home for the puppies. Educate new owners about the breed’s specific needs and requirements, such as grooming, exercise, and training.

Breeding Airedale Terriers is a significant undertaking that should not be taken lightly. By following the above advice and prioritising the health and wellbeing of your dogs, you can contribute to the betterment of the breed and provide future Airedale Terrier owners with healthy, well-adjusted companions.

Care Advice

Caring for an Airedale Terrier requires attention to their specific needs, including diet, exercise, and health concerns. By understanding these aspects, you can ensure your Airedale Terrier remains healthy and happy throughout their life.

Diet Recommendations

  1. High-quality dog food: Feed your Airedale Terrier a balanced diet of high-quality dog food, preferably one formulated for their specific age, size, and activity level.
  2. Appropriate portion size: Avoid overfeeding and adhere to the recommended portion sizes, which can usually be found on the dog food packaging or advised by your veterinarian.
  3. Treats in moderation: While treats can be a useful training tool, they should be given in moderation to avoid weight gain and maintain a balanced diet.
  4. Monitor weight: Regularly check your Airedale’s weight and adjust their diet accordingly, seeking advice from your veterinarian if you are unsure about their dietary needs.

Exercise Recommendations

  1. Daily exercise: Airedale Terriers require regular physical activity to keep them fit, healthy, and mentally stimulated. Aim for at least one hour of exercise per day, including walks, runs, or playtime.
  2. Mental stimulation: Incorporate mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzle toys or obedience training, to keep your Airedale Terrier engaged and prevent boredom.
  3. Off-leash play: Provide opportunities for off-leash play in a secure area, allowing your Airedale Terrier to expend energy and socialise with other dogs.
  4. Dog sports: Airedales excel at various dog sports, including agility, obedience, and scent work. Participating in these activities can help strengthen your bond and provide additional mental and physical stimulation.

Common Illnesses

Illness / DiseaseDescription
Hip DysplasiaA genetic condition causing the hip joint to develop abnormally, leading to arthritis and pain
AllergiesAiredales can be prone to skin allergies, which can lead to itching and discomfort
HypothyroidismAn underactive thyroid gland, causing weight gain, lethargy, and coat issues
von Willebrand’s DiseaseA genetic clotting disorder that can result in excessive bleeding during injury or surgery
Progressive Retinal AtrophyA degenerative eye condition that can eventually lead to blindness

By staying informed about your Airedale Terrier’s care needs and taking a proactive approach to their health and wellbeing, you can help ensure your canine companion leads a long, happy, and healthy life.

Airedale Terrier On A Lead

What To Expect When Caring For An Airedale Terrier


Airedale Terriers are generally a healthy breed, but like all dogs, they can be prone to certain health issues. Common concerns for this breed include hip dysplasia, allergies, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease, and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular veterinary check-ups and routine preventative care, such as vaccinations, parasite control, and dental cleanings, are essential to maintaining your Airedale’s health. It is also recommended to have your dog screened for breed-specific conditions, particularly before breeding. Discuss with your veterinarian any specific tests or health concerns relevant to your Airedale Terrier.


Airedale Terriers have a dense, wiry double coat that requires regular grooming to keep it clean and free from tangles. It is recommended to brush your Airedale at least once a week to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Additionally, Airedales require occasional professional grooming, including hand stripping or clipping to maintain their coat’s characteristic texture and appearance. Bathing should be done as needed, and routine care, such as nail trimming, ear cleaning, and teeth brushing, should also be part of your Airedale’s grooming routine.


Airedale Terriers are energetic and active dogs that require daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental wellbeing. A combination of walks, runs, and playtime in a secure area is ideal for meeting their exercise needs. Providing opportunities for off-leash play and participating in dog sports, such as agility or obedience, can also help keep your Airedale engaged and well-exercised.


Airedale Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, making them highly trainable. However, they can also be independent and stubborn, requiring consistent and positive reinforcement-based training methods. Early socialisation and obedience training are crucial for raising a well-mannered and well-adjusted Airedale. As a breed known for their problem-solving abilities, incorporating mental stimulation into their training routine will not only benefit their behaviour but also strengthen the bond between you and your dog.


Feeding your Airedale Terrier a balanced and high-quality diet is crucial for maintaining their overall health and wellbeing. Choose a dog food formulated for their specific age, size, and activity level, and always follow the recommended portion sizes to prevent overfeeding. Adjust their diet as needed based on their weight, age, and activity level, and consult your veterinarian for any specific dietary concerns or recommendations. Treats can be a useful training tool but should be given in moderation to maintain a balanced diet.

You can purchase food from pets at home.

How To Buy / Adopt

If you are interested in welcoming an Airedale Terrier into your home, it is essential to find a reputable breeder or rescue organisation to ensure the health and wellbeing of your new companion. Here are a couple of websites where you can start your search for Airedale Terrier puppies or rescue dogs:

  2. Pets4Homes:

When looking for a breeder, be sure to research their reputation, ask for references, and visit their facility to see the conditions in which the dogs are raised. A responsible breeder should provide health testing records for the parent dogs, as well as proof of vaccinations and any other relevant health documentation for the puppies.

If you are interested in adopting an Airedale Terrier from a rescue organisation, be prepared to fill out an application, undergo a home check, and provide references. Rescue organisations often have dogs of various ages and backgrounds, and their staff will work with you to find the best match for your family and lifestyle.

Remember, whether you choose to buy or adopt, always take your time and do thorough research to ensure the well-being of your future Airedale Terrier companion.

Origin and History

The Airedale Terrier, also known as the King of Terriers, has its origins in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England. The breed was developed in the mid-19th century by crossing the now-extinct Old English Black and Tan Terrier with the Otterhound. This combination produced a versatile and resilient working dog capable of hunting game, guarding property, and providing companionship.

Originally bred to hunt otters and small game along the banks of the River Aire, the Airedale Terrier quickly gained popularity for its intelligence, adaptability, and excellent scenting abilities. In addition to its hunting prowess, the breed was also employed in various roles such as police work, military service, and as a messenger dog during World War I.

The Airedale Terrier was officially recognised by the UK’s Kennel Club in 1886 and soon gained popularity in the United States and other parts of the world. Today, the Airedale Terrier is a beloved companion, known for its friendly nature, loyalty, and spirited personality, making it a popular choice for families and dog enthusiasts alike.

Airedale Terrier Groups / Clubs / Breed Organisations

For those interested in learning more about the Airedale Terrier breed, joining a breed organisation, or connecting with other Airedale enthusiasts, the National Airedale Terrier Association is an excellent resource. The association is dedicated to promoting the health, welfare, and responsible ownership of Airedale Terriers in the UK.

National Airedale Terrier Association:

By becoming a member of a breed organisation or club, you can access valuable information, attend events, and participate in activities related to Airedale Terriers. These organisations often provide support for Airedale owners and enthusiasts, host breed-specific shows and competitions, and promote responsible breeding practices. Connecting with other Airedale Terrier owners and enthusiasts through these groups can provide invaluable advice, support, and camaraderie as you embark on your journey with this intelligent and loyal breed.


In conclusion, the Airedale Terrier is a highly intelligent, energetic, and versatile breed that makes a wonderful companion for the right family. They are known for their distinctive appearance, friendly nature, and strong problem-solving abilities. Caring for an Airedale Terrier requires attention to their specific needs, including diet, exercise, grooming, and healthcare. It’s essential to invest time in early socialisation and consistent, positive reinforcement-based training to ensure a well-mannered and well-adjusted pet.

When considering adding an Airedale Terrier to your family, it’s important to research reputable breeders or rescue organisations to ensure the health and wellbeing of your new companion. Joining breed clubs or organisations, like the National Airedale Terrier Association, can provide invaluable resources and support for Airedale owners and enthusiasts.

With proper care, commitment, and understanding of the breed’s unique traits and requirements, the Airedale Terrier can be a loving and loyal addition to your family, providing years of joy and companionship.


Is an Airedale a good family dog?

Yes, Airedale Terriers make excellent family dogs. They are known for their friendly nature, loyalty, and affection towards their families. Airedales are also good with children, although supervision is recommended, especially with younger children, to ensure safe interactions.

Do Airedale Terriers bark a lot?

Airedale Terriers may bark occasionally, but they are not known for excessive barking. However, individual dogs may vary, and proper training can help manage barking behaviour if it becomes an issue.

Are Airedale Terriers high maintenance?

Airedale Terriers have moderate maintenance requirements. They need regular grooming, including weekly brushing and occasional professional grooming to maintain their coat’s texture and appearance. Airedales also require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

Are Airedale Terriers aggressive?

Airedale Terriers are not typically aggressive. They are friendly and social dogs. However, early socialisation and proper training are essential to ensure they develop into well-rounded and well-mannered pets.

Are Airedale Terriers dangerous?

Airedale Terriers are not inherently dangerous dogs. With proper socialisation, training, and responsible ownership, they can be excellent companions.

Are Airedale Terriers easy to train?

Airedale Terriers are intelligent and eager to learn, making them relatively easy to train. However, they can be independent and stubborn, so consistent and positive reinforcement-based training methods are necessary.

Are Airedale Terriers good for first-time owners?

Airedale Terriers can be suitable for first-time owners, but they do require a committed and consistent approach to training and socialisation. If you are willing to invest time and effort into meeting their needs, an Airedale Terrier can be a rewarding choice.

Are Airedale Terriers good guard dogs?

Airedale Terriers can make good guard dogs due to their natural protectiveness and loyalty towards their families. They are also alert and have a strong sense of territory. However, their friendly nature towards familiar people may make them less suitable for guarding roles compared to some other breeds. Proper training and socialisation are essential to ensure a well-rounded and well-adjusted guard dog.

Are Airedale Terriers good with cats?

Airedale Terriers can get along with cats if they are properly socialised with them from a young age. However, individual dogs may vary, and early, positive experiences with cats are essential for developing a harmonious relationship.

Are Airedale Terriers hypoallergenic?

Airedale Terriers are considered a hypoallergenic breed due to their low-shedding coat. However, no dog breed is completely allergen-free, as allergens can be found in a dog’s dander, saliva, and urine.

Can Airedale Terriers be left alone?

Airedale Terriers can be left alone for short periods, but they are social dogs that thrive on companionship. Prolonged periods of isolation may lead to boredom, anxiety, and destructive behaviours. Proper training, mental stimulation, and gradually increasing the time spent alone can help your Airedale adjust to being left alone.

Do Airedale Terriers shed?

Airedale Terriers are a low-shedding breed due to their dense, wiry coat. Regular grooming, including brushing and hand-stripping, can help manage shedding and maintain their coat’s appearance and texture.

Do Airedale Terriers smell?

Airedale Terriers do not have a strong doggy odour compared to some other breeds. However, proper grooming and regular bathing can help keep any unpleasant smells at bay.

How big are Airedale Terriers?

Airedale Terriers are the largest of the terrier breeds. Males typically stand between 58-61 cm (23-24 inches) at the shoulder, while females stand between 56-59 cm (22-23 inches). They usually weigh between 20-30 kg (44-66 pounds).

How big is an Airedale Terrier?

Airedale Terriers are considered a medium to large-sized breed. Males typically stand between 58-61 cm (23-24 inches) at the shoulder, while females stand between 56-59 cm (22-23 inches). They usually weigh between 20-30 kg (44-66 pounds).

How long do Airedale Terriers live?

Airedale Terriers have an average life expectancy of 10-13 years. With proper care, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and routine veterinary check-ups, they can live a healthy and fulfilling life.

How much do Airedale Terriers cost?

The cost of an Airedale Terrier puppy can vary depending on factors such as the breeder, location, and lineage. Prices in the UK typically range from £800 to £2,000 for a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder. It’s essential to do thorough research and choose a responsible breeder to ensure the health and wellbeing of your Airedale Terrier.

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