Airedale Terriers have served in the British military, the German police force, and the American White House. Perhaps best known as strong, brave, and energetic terriers, Airedales are the largest of the group. This dog loves to rise to every challenge, both physically and mentally, perhaps in part because of originally being bred as hunting companions. President Teddy Roosevelt claimed that an Airedale Terrier can “do anything any other dog can do, and then lick the other dog, if he has to.” The Duke himself, John Wayne, apparently borrowed the nickname from his childhood Airedale, Little Duke. Alert, eager, and very active, an Airedale Terrier is up for anything life brings its way.
Originally from England, this medium-sized, energetic, and active breed can grow to between 50-70 pounds and lives about 11-14 years. The breed is recognized by the American Kennel Club and classified as a member of the Terrier breed group.
AKC Recognized: Y
Breed's Original Pastime: Hunting
Breed Group: Terrier
Average Lifespan: 11-14 years
Bark Factor: Moderate
AKC RANKING 50
AREA OF ORIGIN England
DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s
ORIGINAL FUNCTION badger and otter hunting
TODAY'S FUNCTION guardian, police dog
AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 23 Weight: 55
AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: <23 Weight: 55
OTHER NAME Waterside terrier, Bingley terrier
Energy level High energy
Exercise needs Medium
Playfullness Very playful
Affection level Moderately affectionate
Friendliness toward other dogs Shy
Friendliness toward other pets Shy
Friendliness toward strangers Friendly
Ease of training Moderately easy to train
Watchdog ability High
Protection ability Very protective
Grooming needs High maintenance
Cold tolerance Medium tolerance
Heat tolerance Medium tolerance
BEHAVIOR & TRAINING
WHAT IS AN AIREDALE TERRIER'S PERSONALITY LIKE?
Airedales are a lot of dog — they're diggers, chasers, and clowns. They're very playful, have lots of energy, and can be affectionate toward their favorite folks. An Airedale Terrier is intelligent, self-assured, and friendly. Airedales are devoted to their families, but as with any dog, best when supervised with children.
WHAT IS AIREDALE TERRIER BEHAVIOR LIKE?
Airedale Terriers are somewhat friendly with other dogs, so long as those other dogs know who's boss. (Hint: it's your Airedale.) They can be shy with other pets and small animals, but are generally stranger-friendly. This said, many are motivated and capable of protecting you and your home
Be sure to keep them busy — bored dogs can tend toward destructive behaviors, and a neglected Airedale will bark your house down.
HOW EASY IS IT TO TRAIN AN AIREDALE TERRIER?
Though headstrong, Airedale Terriers learn fast and are typically trainable — this dog wants nothing more than to earn your approval. But they're smarties, so start early, be consistent, and mix it up to hold their interest. A regularly exercised Airedale Terrier is a happy one.
CARE & HEALTH
HOW MUCH DO AIREDALE TERRIERS SHED AND WHAT ARE THEIR GROOMING NEEDS?
Airedale Terriers are seasonal shedders and require weekly grooming. Brush regularly throughout the week, and schedule grooming and clipping or stripping at least once a season. (You can also hand-strip your Airedale Terrier yourself, but it's time-consuming.)
Their wiry hair coats can be tough to maintain at home; many Airedale aficionados prefer to leave maintaining the texture of this breed's broken coat to the groomer.
WHAT HEALTH PROBLEMS DO AIREDALE TERRIERS HAVE?
This is a sturdy breed, but some Airedales are prone to hip dysplasia or bloat — know the symptoms, keep an eye on your dog, and contact your vet immediately if you notice a problem. Other Airedales have problems with hypothyroidism or colonic disease. If you've added an Airedale to your home, be sure to consult your veterinarian about these conditions.
Breed history has moved while this section is under construction. Please check out the first tab for fun facts about this breed's history. You can also read on to learn about this breed's ideal family situation.
ARE AIREDALE TERRIERS GOOD FOR PEOPLE WITH ALLERGIES?
The American Kennel Club doesn't list Airedale Terriers among its breeds recommended for folks with allergies.
Remember that no breed is 100% hypoallergenic, and any breed can aggravate allergies.
WHAT IS AN AIREDALE TERRIER'S BEST DAY?
Large and in-charge, an Airedale's best day involves barking, roaming and generally getting the lead out in any way possible. She's equally up for being your jogging companion, energetic games, hunting (in safe areas), and telling other dogs who's boss. (Although you may want to avoid the dog park for that reason.) Her perfect day also includes you, of course, although she may be ambivalent about strangers coming along.
SHOULD I ADOPT AN AIREDALE TERRIER?
No one would call an Airedale Terrier low maintenance. If you're looking for a laid-back dog with no opinions of its own, this is probably not the breed for you. If you live in a small space or if your busy lifestyle doesn't leave time for much exercise, you're likely to come home to find chewed sofas and excavated drywall. (May we suggest a Chihuahua instead?)
Are you looking for a hard-working, very playful furry friend — a dog you can train to roll over, but who'll never be a pushover? Want a dog who's ready for anything, always up for a romp, and fairly tolerant of both hot and cold climates? Willing to groom your pup regularly in exchange for unconditional love and devotion? Then we suggest you “go [Airedale] Terrier!”
Have you decided that a Airedale Terrier is the perfect dog for you? Why not be your new best friend's hero and adopt a rescue! Be sure to check out our article on what to expect when you're adopting a dog or cat.