Airedale Terrier


Created in the 19th century by the working class in the industrial Aire River Valley Region of northern England, the Airedale Terrier is considered a relatively young breed. Their origins are not well-documented, but the Airedale Terrier originally emerged around 1840 and was bred to hunt otter, duck, weasel, badger, fox, water rat and other small game. The breeds strength, agility and intelligence, coupled with their seemingly unending energy made them a highly valued guard dog and personal companion. The Airedale Terrier is unique and versatile as it has performed in various roles through history as rat-killers, duck-catchers, deer-trackers, working dogs, war dogs, hunting dogs, guard and police dogs, gun dogs, army-messenger dogs and all-around sporting dogs. They were used in both World Wars to locate the wounded and to carry messages and medical supplies. They have also been used to hunt large game.

The breed came to North America in the early 1880s, where it quickly became known as a three-in-one gun dog; used to hunt game birds on land, waterfowl on water and four-footed mammals wherever they would appear. They gradually grew in popularity in the U.S. and during the early 20th century, specifically with western farmers and ranchers. Their do-it-all skills included guarding the farm or ranch against two- and four-legged predators; babysitting toddlers; herding sheep and cattle; and being a gundog when there was time for upland bird, waterfowl, or fur hunts.

As a testament to its versatility, in addition to their supreme hunting talents, Airedales have been awarded Best in Show at the most prestigious dog shows in both England and the United States. Today, they are still used by countless devotees to hunt all manner of game. They also perform police and search-and-rescue work, as well as for therapy and assistance dog work, herding, sledding, carting and backpacking. Airedales excel in obedience, agility, flyball and other performance disciplines, and they are extraordinarily devoted and affectionate family companions.

Height & Weight

Airedales average in height from 21 to 23 inches at shoulder and their weights ranges from 40 to 65 pounds. Male Airedale Terriers are slightly larger than females, being 23 to 24 inches in height and weigh between 50 and 65 pounds. Female Airedales are around  22 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh between 40 and 45 pounds.


Barking is a common complain of owners because Airedales are terriers. They will bark at pretty much anything that moves, including strangers, animals, neighbors and cars. Getting their barking under control is important and they should be taught an obey to stop barking command from early on.

Chasing, like barking, is a common behavior in terrier breeds. Airedales should be kept on a leash or a fenced in yard whenever outdoors. Once an Airedale takes off, it will be almost impossible to stop him.

Another potential problem with

this breed is digging. If they are left outside, they should be supervised because they have been known to destroy flowerbeds with lightning speed.

Any small pets, like cats or rabbits should not be in the same home as an Airedale. They were originally bred to hunt, and this instinct is still very strong.


Airedale Terriers have endless energy who work as hard as they play. They make excellent watchdogs due to their vigilant and protective nature, but they are also friendly to family and friends. They are a family dog and love attention from everyone. The Airedale enjoys running and playing with children all day and then curling up with mom and dad on the couch in the evening.


Like all thinking breeds, the Airedale needs as much mental stimulation as he does physical. Obedience training should be done with confidence and only positive reinforcement. This breed likes to be in charge, so it is important to establish who is in charge from early on. You must also be consistent because once an Airedale sees you give in just a smidge he will take this as an invitation to take over. Once basic obedience is learned, they will excel in advanced obedience, trick and agility training due to their high intelligence.

Training should be conducted with treats, and a drill-style of repeat tasks works best to keep an Airedale Terrier’s attention.

Exercise Requirements

Airedale Terriers need as much mental stimulation as they do physical because they are a high-energy, thinking breed. Apartments are definitely not the best living arrangements for them and they do much better with families who have a large, fenced in yard. This gives them the room that they need to run every day. They enjoy chasing and hunting, so games of fetch and hide-and-seek are some of an Airedale’s favorite things to do.

Although they can exert dominance over small children, Airedales generally do well with children. If they are raised alongside small children, they can be socialized to know that children are not to be dominated over.


The Airedale’s coat can become quite unruly if left untrimmed. In order to keep their coats short and manageable, owners will have their dogs trimmed or stripped several times a year. To keep their coats neat between baths and trims they should be brushed weekly. Airedales do not need to be bathed frequently and over-bathing can cause their coat to break down and become soft, which is not the right texture for this breed. Monthly nail trimmings are needed as well as ear cleanings.

Health Issues

The Airedale Terrier has an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years. Generally speaking, this is a healthy, hardy breed. Breed health concerns may include cancer, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, skin problems and urological disorders.

Category: Airedale

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