Airedale Terrier | Dog Breed Guide

Airedale Terrier | Dog Breed Guide

by Scritch

Airedale Terriers are known as the “King of Terriers”—this breed is the largest of all terriers. This hard-working and independent breed has a lot of drive, stamina, and energy.

Weight - Female: 40-47 pounds; Male: 44-50 pounds

Height - Female: 22 inches; Male: 23 inches

Life Expectancy: 10-13 years

Group: Terrier group

Temperament: independent, energetic, and curious

Energy Level:

Ease of Training:

Grooming Requirements:

History and Personality

The first attempt at creating the Airedale Terrier was in 1853, even though nobody had a blueprint. An otterhound was bred with a rough-coated black and tan terrier. The goal was to create a well-rounded sporting dog that would hunt rats on land and otters in the river. The first crossbreeding resulted in a dog that had the keenness of a terrier and had the ability to scent game and swim. This breed was used through World War I as sentries and messengers as well as carriers of ammunition and food. Airedales were also among the first breeds used as police dogs. During 1949, Airedale Terriers ranked 20th in popularity by the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

The Airedale Terrier is an athletic, independent, and a hard-working dog that has an abundance of energy, stamina, and drive. This breed is prone to barking, chasing, and digging. This breed is lively, so a family who is active and likes to keep moving would be a perfect fit.

This terrier has a slightly curved, stiff tail and is mostly black in color. Usually, the breed is stocky and has a tan body color, including the ears. Sometimes, there will be reddish colored markings. This dog looks like it has no forehead and has V-shaped ears tipped over, with a straight back.

The Airedale Terrier is a thinking breed that requires mental stimulation in addition to regular physical activity. Start early with basic obedience training—Airedales respond well to positive reinforcement training methods. It’s important to establish who is in charge from the beginning since this breed likes to be the Alpha Dog. They tend to excel when it comes to agility training, tricks, and advanced obedience.

Airedales are prone to barking but this usually means they can be good watchdogs. This breed needs a home that has a decent sized backyard due to their energy and stamina. They make an ideal family pet, and may end up even being protective of children in the home. Just like any breed, you still shouldn’t leave a dog unattended with small children. The Airedale Terrier gets along with other dogs as long as he is trained and properly socialized, but he may be aggressive with strange dogs. Keep in mind, as a true terrier, this dog likes to chase animals he views as prey such as rabbits, gerbils, and cats.

Energy Level

The Airedale Terrier is a hard-working dog and needs plenty of daily exercise to stay happy and content and prevent destructive behaviors out of boredom. Consider participating in dog sports like agility or nose work. Though this dog is energetic, he loves to be inside with his owners and shouldn’t be left to live outdoors.


Brush your Airedale’s coat weekly to keep it neat between trims and baths. This breed will need trims or professional grooming several times per year. Be sure to brush your Airedale’s teeth at least twice weekly to maintain good dental health.

Health Concerns

  • Elbow Dysplasia
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease
  • Allergies
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy
  • Umbilical Hernia
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis
  • Cancer

When researching Airedale breeders, be sure to choose a reputable breeder who can provide health clearances for both of the puppy’s parents for hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand’s disease. Keeping up with annual veterinary check-ups is an important aspect of responsible pet parenting. Pet insurance can help cover the treatment costs of unexpected health issues that occur throughout your dog’s life.