Airedale Terrier

Published: Updated:

Thinking of raising an Airedale Terrier? These versatile dogs are a lot of fun! Find out if they're a good match for you.

Breed Snapshot

Life Expectancy:
11 to 14 years
Size:

Medium

Maintenance Level:

Medium

Shed Level:

Low

Temperament:
IntelligentSpiritedLoving
Coat Color:
Black And TanGrizzle And Tan

Best For

Airedale Terriers are best for active and experienced pet parents who can invest time in training so their pet doesn't become the boss of them. When properly socialized, they do well with children and some dogs, but most don't mix well with cats.

Airedale Terrier Traits

What makes the Airedale Terrier an Airedale Terrier? Let's find out how they stack up.

Airedale Terrier Temperament

Airedale Terriers are the largest of the terrier breeds, so you might assume they have an extra-high dose of terrier spirit—fiesty, independent, athletic and talkative. But even though they are high energy, they’re actually a little less “terrier-ish” than some of the smaller terrier types. Airedales are super intelligent and, thanks to this, they excel in whatever they put their mind to.

Most Airedales love family life and accept children when properly introduced and socialized, although their patience levels may not be as saint-like as, say, a Golden Retriever. They tend to be good around dogs they know, but they are sometimes wary around dogs they don’t know. And with the Airedale Terrier breed’s innate hunting instincts, it’ll be tricky to have a cat in the household. They are good guard dogs, although not overly aggressive, and they have an average bite force. (So, be sure to work with your puppy to help them learn it’s not OK to nip.)

“But wait!” adds the Airedale, “Tell them how talented I am!” Throughout their history, Airedales have achieved an impressive resume of work as military and police dogs. It’s been said they can do anything, and that includes agility, dock diving, hunting, flyball, tracking, scent work, search and rescue, obedience and therapy work. (Whew!)

How to Care for a Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier dogs have low-maintenance coats and moderate grooming needs, but you’ll need to factor in plenty of time for exercise, training and playtime—they’re intelligent, high-energy dogs. Some pups may have a tendency to be finicky about meals, but on the whole, Airedales are happy, healthy dogs with lots of enthusiasm for life.

Airedale Terrier Health

In many cases, your Airedale Terrier will be a happy, healthy dog! You can easily expect their lifespan to be about 11 to 14 years. However, there are a few health issues you should be aware of to help your pup live the happiest and longest life possible.

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a common joint issue where the hip joint suffers from grinding and doesn’t rotate as smoothly as it should and can cause your dog a lot of pain. Hip dysplasia is hereditary, so one of the best preventions you can take is to purchase your puppy from a responsible breeder who performs genetic testing on the parent dogs (to prevent from passing the condition to future generations). Treatment options include weight management, physical therapy and surgery, depending on how severe the case is.
  • Hypothyroidism: Some larger dogs, including the Airedale Terrier, are more susceptible to issues with their thyroid glands, which can result in your dog appearing tired and losing hair while at the same time gaining weight. Luckily, treatment may be fairly simple, involving a combination of diet and medication.
  • Ear Infection: Keep those floppy ears clean! Dogs with “down” ears like the Airedale Terrier may be more prone to ear infections, but your pet’s veterinarian can demonstrate how to properly—and safely—keep your Airedale’s ears clean.

Airedale Terrier History

Once upon a time in northern England, residents of the Aire Valley decided to develop a brave and versatile hunting dog. The origin of the Airedale Terrier began in the 1800s, and the “King of Terriers” was developed using several types of terrier breeds and a breed called the Otterhound. Over time, additional breeds may have been used to further establish the desired type and characteristics we see in the Airedale today. In the early days, the Airedale Terrier was sometimes called the Bingley Terrier.

The American Kennel Club recognized the Airedale by 1888, and the Airedale Terrier Club of America was established in 1900. Airedale Terriers have been popular with a few United States presidents, including Calvin Coolidge. Airedales have been beloved hunting dogs throughout their history but have also excelled as police and military dogs, serving in World War I. Today, the Airedale Terrier ranks No. 62 on the AKC’s list of most popular dog breeds.

So, where’s the best place to find an Airedale Terrier puppy? You can find a list of reputable breeders on the American Kennel Club’s website. What’s the average Airedale Terrier price? Depending on the breeder, expect to spend anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for a puppy. But for that, you usually get a dog who’s been screened for health and temperament issues, and they might even come with pedigree papers. You can also reach out to Airedale Terrier rescue organizations to adopt an Airedale or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.

FAQs

Do Airedale Terriers shed?

Airedales don’t shed a lot. Compared to other dog breeds, they shed only minimally and may be a good option for pet parents whose allergies are triggered by dogs who are heavy shedders.

How big do Airedale Terriers get?

Airedale Terriers get about 23 inches tall and weigh 50 to 70 pounds. Terriers range in height from 9 inches (Yorkshire Terrier) to the tallest terriers (after the Airedale) who stand at 22 inches (Norfolk Terrier and Bull Terrier). This is one reason why the Airedale is considered the “King of Terriers.”

Are Airedale Terriers good family dogs?

Yes, Airedales can be good family dogs when properly socialized. Airedales love family life and can make wonderful family dogs.

Are Airedale Terriers good guard dogs?

Airedales are known to be good guard dogs. They’re brave and courageous, and while they don’t go looking for trouble, they are protective, and they do like to bark.

What are the most common Airedale Terriers mixes?

The most common Airedale Terrier mixes are:

  • Airedale Terrier-Poodle mix (Airedoodle)
  • Airedale Terrier-German Shepherd mix (Airedale Shepherd)
  • Airedale Terrier-Golden Retriever mix (Goldendale)
  • Airedale Terrier-Labrador Retriever mix (Lab’Aire)
  • Airedale Terrier-Irish Wolfhound mix (Airedale Terrier Irish Wolfhound)
  • Airedale Terrier-Schnauzer mix (Schnairedale)
Image

Top Takeaways

Is the Airedale Terrier the smartest dog breed in the world? We’ll leave it to you to make the final judgement, but it’s safe to say that Airedales certainly rank among the top. These active dogs love work, play and their families (not necessarily in that order, either). They do have an independent streak and may try to employ their own ideas, but often these Airedale Terrier traits can be directed in the way you want them to go with the right training. Bottom line—they can make an ideal canine companion for you to enjoy for years to come.

Expert input provided by veterinarian Dr. Hannah Kleinman, DVM, and certified dog trainer Steven Tallas, CDTK, of Venture Dog Training.

Published: