Airedale Terrier Dog Breed Information (New Owners Guide)

Airedale Terrier close up of teddy like face
Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier is a sharp-witted, strong-willed, energetic and adaptable dog breed with a colourful personality. These dogs are highly intelligent. They can learn new tricks quickly and be trained easily with an experienced dog owner. They also exhibit extraordinary levels of affection for their owners, which make them very loyal companions. This level of intelligence means these dogs require experienced and confident pet parents to take the alpha’s job role with ease.

Breed Overview

  • Group: Terrier
  • Height: the male grows up to 23 to 24 inches while the females are slightly smaller than their male counterparts.
  • Weight: Around 40 to 65 pounds
  • Coat: Dense, wiry, hard, straight and short topcoat. The undercoat is relatively soft.
  • Coat colour: The ears and heads are of tan colour, and the body is a mix of tan, grizzled tan, and black colour.
  • Life expectancy: about 11 to 13 years

Airedale Terrier Other Names:

The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to “Airedale”), also called Bingley Terrier and Waterside Terrier. The Airedale Terrier is known as the “king of terriers” partly for its size.

Intro

The Long-legged Airedale Terriers are the biggest of the group. These dogs are a wonderful mixture of agility and strength. The dog’s name came from the Valley of the River Aire in Yorkshire, England, where this dog breed had originated. Traditionally, these dogs were bred to work as hunting partners and all-around farm dogs. In Britain, these dogs were also bred to fulfil duties in the war. That is why you can see Airedale Terriers work as police dogs and guide dogs. In the United States, the owners also use the Airedale Terriers for hunting upland birds, big game, and waterfowls.

Appearance

Airedale Terrier dog standing tall for image
Airedale Terrier

The Airedale terriers are the largest of all the British terriers. The dog’s weight ranges between 19 to 25 kg; in their top physical condition, the male dogs grow to 23 to 24 inches in length. The height of the female Airedale terriers is slightly smaller than the male counterparts. Some of the larger Airedale terriers found in North America can weigh up to 55 kg. These Airedale terriers are known as the “Oorang” terriers, the kennel’s name that created this breed. These terriers are known as the Roosevelt terriers as well.

Even though there are rumours that the ‘Oorang’ type larger Airedale Terrier is more eager and fearless than the standard breed, there is no truth to this claim. The larger dogs are primarily used for big game hunting or as family guardians. However, these dogs generally perform poorly in American Kennel Club conformation shows. Compared to the standard Airedale Terrier breed, the large type is more prone to health problems like hip dysplasia.

The standard Airedale Terriers have wiry and short fur in tan, black or grizzle tan colours. These dogs dont shed much and do not require much maintenance as well. Occasionally a visit to the groomers and regular brushing is good enough to keep the coat of these dogs in shape. Even though it is impossible to find hypoallergenic dogs, people with dog allergies tend to report fewer symptoms when they contact an Airedale Terrier. These dogs’ proud and erect stature also suits their ‘ready for action’ personality pretty well.

Coat

Just like other terriers, Airedale Terriers come with a wiry and hard broken coat. Owners should not keep the coat too long to give the dogs a shabby look. The coat of the dog spreads evenly all over its legs and body. The wiry and hard hairs constitute the outer coat of the dogs. The inner coat of the Airedale Terriers is significantly soft. The hardest parts of the coats are slightly wavy or crinkly.

A dog standing on grass, well groomed
Well Groomed Airedale Terrier

The undercoat of these dogs is generally groomed by hand. Dog parents use the hand stripper tool to separate the loose hairs from the dogs’ coats. As these dogs do not shed as much as other breeds, they require frequent stripping or clipping. 

According to the breed standards of AKC, the desirable coat colour is either a dark grizzle coloured saddle or a black saddle with tan ears, heads and legs. Grizzle colour is a mixture of red and black hairs. There are several non-standard red ad black coated Airedale Terriers available in the pet industry. You can also get redline type short-haired Airedales. These dogs appear to be a genetic throwback to the early ancestors of the Airedale Terriers, whose coat was much shorter than the Airedale Terriers of today. The coat length does not affect the quality of the coat. The wavy and wiry outer coat and the soft undercoat of the Redline type Airedale Terriers fall well within the AKC standards. That’s why these dogs can get registered in AKC. 

Tail

Traditionally, the tails of the Airedale Terriers were erect, long and fluffy. In most European nations and Australia, it is illegal to dock the tails of Airedale Terriers if it does not directly benefit their health. This resulted in the emergence of spitz-type tails among some of the Airedale Terriers. 

In other countries across the world, the tail of the Airedale Terriers is mostly docked before they become more than five days old. However, it is not something that is required in maintaining breeding standards. 

Size

The average Airedale Terrier weighs about 50-80 pounds. Even though it may seem a bit heavy, the weight of the Airedale Terriers does not hinder their agility or activity. In 1920, some breeders created larger Airedale Terriers and classified them as the Oorang variation. However, the strain size of the Oorang Airedale was never standardised as the breeders tried to fulfil the requirements. In North America, the standard Airedale terriers weigh up to 40 to 70 pounds, while the Oorang Airedale weight ranges from 80 to 120 pounds. 

Temperament

  • Active
  • Alert
  • Confident
  • Fearless
  • Friendly
  • Independent
  • Intelligent
  • Playful
  • Protective
  • Stoic
  • Strong herding abilities
  • Stubborn
Playful Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier was traditionally bred as the hunting and working dog. As the Airedale Terriers were also bred for handling the works of farms, most of them exhibit strong herding abilities. That is what makes them chase other animals. Most of the Airedale Terriers are pretty comfortable working with livestock and cattle. Having said that, if the Airedale Terriers do not receive proper training, they can annoy and agitate other animals instead of managing them properly. Compared to other breeds, the Airedale Terriers have a longer puppyhood, making it significantly difficult for the owners to train them properly. 

Just like other terriers, the Airedale Terriers can also hunt independently. In general, these dogs are strong-minded, stoic, independent and exceptionally intelligent. All of these personality features sometimes make these dogs behave a bit stubbornly. 

The playful, confident and fun nature of these dogs makes them exceptional companions for families. They also have a sense of humour which makes the Airedale Terriers the natural comedians of the family. As these dogs are clever, they can figure many things out that the owners never thought they could.

Training and Exercise

Airedale Terrier enjoying a forest walk

To keep your Airedale Terriers happy, you have to make sure that they get plenty of activity. Even though you do not need to make the exercise regime of the Airedale Terriers as intense as the other terriers, they require good knowledgeable training and exercise schedule to develop a balanced personality.

How often should I walk an Airedale Terrier?

  • Twice a day for 30 minutes, or one long walk for an hour

Active

These dogs are very active, and they would love to be a great companion on a hike or other outings. So, if your lifestyle is a bit laid back, you should maybe look to choose other dog breeds instead of Airedale Terriers. In fact, unlike other breeds, the Airedale Terriers do not slow down as they age. 

Child Friendly

These dogs have an even temperament which makes them the perfect companion for older children. The Airedale Terriers are considered best suited for the household with older children because of their fun-loving and boisterous nature. Even though the Airedale Terriers are not aggressive dogs, they are very protective of their families. If someone breaks into your home, these dogs will alert you of the presence of the intruder and will challenge them fearlessly as well. 

Trainable

Even though these dogs can be a little stubborn, it is relatively easier to train them thanks to their intelligence level. The Airedale Terriers are active learners, and they crave a job to channel their energy. You can purchase challenging toys or other puzzles to keep them occupied when you are out of the home.

Pet Friendly

The Airedale Terriers get along pretty well with other dogs. Even though these dogs get along well with other dogs, they may not be best friends with cats. However, if cats are introduced whilst Airedale Terriers are puppies, they should be able to get along just fine.

Airedale Terrier mother with puppies

Living Requirements

The Airedale Terriers are highly adaptable dogs that can adapt to almost any situation. Despite their size, these dogs can live happily in an apartment as long as you take them outside regularly and give them all the exercise they require. Traditionally these dogs were bred for hunting small animals on their own, so they have retained a tendency to dig around.

Bark

Thanks to their curious nature, these dogs can get a bit barky and naughty if left alone. That means this is not a dog for people who have to stay out of their homes for long periods. 

History

Old picture - A boy and an Airedale Terrier happily sitting on the grass together.
Airedale Terriers have been family dogs for many years

Airedale Terriers gets their names from the Aire Valley located in Yorkshire, North England. In this region, these dogs were developed as one of the most versatile breeds. During the industrial revolution, the working-class people used to breed these dogs as their working companions. 

Breeders mixed several different dog breeds to create this dog breed. It’s believed that the Tan and Black terrier, Otterhounds and many other breeds were the ancestors of the Airedale Terriers. The root of these dogs can also be traced to the Irish terrier and the Bedlington terriers.

Well known for their versatile nature, these dogs were often used for hunting rodents, like rats, in farms and factories. These dogs used to help their owners in herding animals and protecting the livestock’s as well. 

The 1880s

The first Airedale Terrier arrived in North America in the 1880s. The dog owners of the region greatly appreciated the hunting abilities and endurance of the Airedale Terriers. 

1888

AKC recognised the breed in 1888. Thanks to their intelligence and courage.

First World War

The Airedale Terriers were widely used in the first World War. During the great war, these dogs were often used as guard dogs, supply carriers, lookouts, messengers and ratters. In fact, an Airedale Terrier called Jack was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for their courage and bravery. 

Police Dogs

The Airedale Terriers also worked as police dogs before the German shepherd took their place.

Health

While the Airedale Terriers are very hardy dogs, they sometimes suffer from a couple of health issues. You should pay special attention to eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections. The best way is to keep an eye out for your dogs and prevent these problems from occurring in the first place. 

Hip Dysplasia

Do not force a lot of physical exercise on these dogs. Excessive exercise can lead to premature elbow dysplasia and hip dysplasia. 

Skin Infections

Maintain a high-quality diet to keep the problems like skin irritations at bay. Pay attention to the facial cleansing and remove the food remains and accumulated dirt.

New Owners Advice

The Airedale Terrier is one of the most intelligent dog breeds of all the terriers. Their independent nature and intelligence give these dogs a unique character that you cannot find in any other dog breed. However, that also makes it challenging to handle these dogs easily. That is why it is not that easy for novice dog owners to train.

These dogs love to live with an owner who has the energy and time to give them all the necessary exercise and has the patience to support all their high spirited and athletic nature. If you want to welcome an Airedale Terrier into your home, you should keep a lot of chew toys and puzzles. These will help you to keep them engaged and reduce the chances of destructive behaviour.

Fact

Over the years, many celebrated people were Airedale enthusiasts. The biggest names were Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Warren G. Harding, Calvin Coolidge, John Steinbeck and actor John Wayne.

Final Words

Now you have all the information that you need on the Airedale Terrier to decide to welcome one into your family or not. If you do, you will not be disappointed. The Airedale Terrier is a dog breed that will be a forever companion for many years to come. They are charming and make the perfect family pet.

If you feel like your matched with another dog breed, check out the Jack Russell Terrier. These make brilliant pets, especially for new dog owners. Or, if you have young children, a Poodle would be the perfect match for you.

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