Airedale Terrier

Country of origin: United Kingdom (England)
Registries: AKC, UKC, CKC
Breed Group: Terrier Group
Occupation: Hunter, police
and military dog
Size: 20–22.5kg (44–50lb),
56–61cm (22–24in)
Lifespan: 11 to 13 years
Exercise: Vigorous daily
Training: Easy; retains what
is learned well
Grooming: Difficult
Colors: Black and tan

Airedale Terrier Breed Overview

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of all terrier breeds and is often referred to as the King of Terriers. This dog breed originated in Yorkshire, England, and was developed by crossing the Old English Broken-haired Terrier with the Otterhound. As a result, a versatile and tough breed emerged, which has been used for various tasks such as hunting vermin, serving as a messenger, working as a police dog, and even as a guide dog. Despite their many admirable qualities, the Airedale Terrier’s stubbornness and tendency to engage in fights can be a hindrance to their popularity.

Breed History of the Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier has a long and storied history dating back to the 19th century. Officially recognized by the AKC in 1888, these dogs were initially bred to hunt otters and rats along the Aire and Wharfe rivers in Yorkshire, England. Over time, the breed expanded its role to include military service, policing, and guiding. Airedale Terriers have shown exceptional courage and determination, with notable examples like Jack, a brave Airedale who delivered crucial messages across enemy lines during World War I, earning him an award for courage and helping save his battalion.

Airedale Terrier Breed Size

  • Males: 50-70 lbs, up to 23 inches high
  • Females: generally smaller than males
  • Oorang Airedales: larger variation of the breed

Airedale Terriers are considered medium-sized dogs but can weigh anywhere from 50-70 lbs and be as much as 23 inches tall. Females are typically smaller than males. Oorang Airedales, a variation of the breed, tend to be larger than the standard Airedale.

Breed Temperament of the Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers are hardworking, brave, and intelligent dogs that excel at the tasks they are trained for. They have a strong prey drive and can be aggressive toward other animals, but they can also make great family pets if trained properly. These dogs are independent and confident, often making their own decisions without waiting for their owner’s instruction. They are energetic and love activities such as swimming, jogging, and digging. However, Airedale Terriers are known to hold grudges and can be sensitive to aggression.

Airedale Terrier Breed Health

Common health issues for Airedale Terriers include:

  1. Cancer
  2. Hip dysplasia (more common in Oorang Airedales)
  3. Skin infections
  4. Eye problems

The average lifespan of an Airedale Terrier is around 11.5 years, with cancer being the leading cause of death. Larger Oorang Airedales are more prone to hip dysplasia, while skin infections and eye problems are also common in the breed. Regular check-ups and early detection of health issues can help ensure a healthy and happy life for your Airedale Terrier.

Grooming Needs for the Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers have a rough, wire-haired coat that is hypoallergenic and sheds infrequently. To maintain their coat, they should be stripped 2-3 times per year using a small knife to remove loose hair. Regular brushing is also necessary to keep their coat in good condition. The colors of Airedale Terriers are typically limited to black and tan, with some variations featuring a grizzle saddle pattern.

Airedale Terrier Breed Diet

A nutritious diet is crucial for the health and well-being of an Airedale Terrier. They should be fed high-quality dog food, either commercially prepared or home-prepared under the guidance of a veterinarian. It’s important to monitor their weight and adjust their food intake accordingly to prevent obesity, as this can lead to health problems.

Example foods for Airedale Terriers:

  1. High-quality dry kibble
  2. Lean meats (chicken, turkey, or fish)
  3. Vegetables (carrots, green beans, or peas)
  4. Fruits (apples or blueberries, in moderation)
  5. Whole grains (brown rice or quinoa)

Exercise Requirements

Example exercises for Airedale Terriers:

  1. Daily walks or jogs
  2. Fetch or frisbee
  3. Swimming
  4. Hiking
  5. Agility or obedience training

Airedale Terriers are energetic and sporty dogs, requiring regular exercise to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Daily walks or jogs, fetch, swimming, hiking, and agility or obedience training are all excellent activities for this breed. Ensuring your Airedale receives enough exercise can help prevent behavioral issues stemming from boredom

Training Tips for the Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers can be slightly difficult to handle due to their intelligence and independent nature, which can lead to stubbornness. It is recommended to enroll this breed in obedience training classes to guide them in the right direction. Crate training is also advisable from an early age. Consistent, positive reinforcement-based training methods are most effective for Airedale Terriers.

Living Conditions

Airedale Terriers are suitable for various living conditions, including urban apartments or rural homes with large yards. However, they require secure fencing to prevent them from chasing after prey or wandering off. This breed may not be suitable for households with small pets, as their strong prey drive may cause issues.


Proper socialization is crucial for Airedale Terriers to develop into well-rounded, confident, and well-behaved dogs. Early exposure to different people, animals, and environments can help reduce the breed’s potential for aggression towards other dogs and animals. Regularly engaging in social activities and providing positive reinforcement can help Airedale Terriers become friendly and sociable companions.


In conclusion, the Airedale Terrier is a versatile, hardworking, and intelligent breed with a rich history. With proper training, socialization, and care, they can make excellent companions for a variety of households. Potential owners should be prepared to meet their grooming, exercise, and training needs to ensure a happy and healthy life for their Airedale Terrier.



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