Airedale Terrier

Last updated February 26, 2019

Airedale Terriers are categorized under the AKC (American Kennel Club) category of terriers. Airedale Terriers are a relatively young breed, created in the 19th Century by the working class in northern England. Originally known as the Waterside and Bingley Terriers, Airedale Terriers are descended from a now-extinct breed of terriers. Crossed with the Otterhound, Airedale Terriers are terrific swimmers. Historically used as ratters, Airedale Terriers were also used to hunt bigger game in India, Africa, and Canada. They were utilized as police dogs during World War II. Known to possess various skills of hunting, rodent control, tracking, and the like, Airedale Terriers make great watchdogs and police dogs to this day.

Airedale Terriers have a general height range of 22 to 24 inches (56 – 61 centimeters), and an average weight range of 40 to 65 pounds (18 – 29 kilograms), depending on the gender. They have an average lifespan of 10-13 years.


Airedale Terriers can be traced back to the 1900s; originating in the industrial Aire River Valley region of northern England. Although lacking in documentation, it is believed that the Otterhound, Irish and Bull Terriers, and the Old English Rat-Catcher Terrier are key breeds in the development of the Airedale Terrier. First rising to prominence around the 1840s, the Airedale Terrier was used to hunt game as well as guard dogs. With multiple skills and abilities, the Airedale Terrier became known for their ability to hunt game on land and on water, as well as their competence in guarding the farm, ranch, or house(s) of their owner.

Still used for hunting as of this day, Airedale Terriers can also be seen working for the police as well as for therapy purposes, thanks to their high level of devotion and affection

Physical Appearance

Airedale Terriers have a top coat and an undercoat; the hairs of the topcoat are dense and coarse, whereas the hairs of the undercoat are softer and shorter. The majority of their coats is most commonly a tan color, with black or a mix of black, gray and white on the back and upper sides of the coat.

One of the larger terriers, the Airedale Terrier has a long and flat head with small eyes and V-shaped ears. They boast deep chests, straight front legs, and a high tail.


As a result of their terrier heritage, Airedale Terriers are fond of digging, chasing small animals, and they tend to bark a lot. They enjoy collecting random items around the house and will hoard them. Airedale Terriers are very active and playful by nature, and thus require daily exercise. They are better suited to a home with a yard instead of being kept indoors for most of the day.

Airedale Terriers generally get along very well with children, and they can be trusted to be capable babysitters (supervision should still be carried out regardless of how good-natured the dog is). Brave and loyal, Airedale Terriers make excellent guard dogs.

Airedale Terriers have an aggressive side, and this side can be seen when they come face to face with other dogs and animals. As a result, good obedience training and a strong, secure fence for the yard are needed.

General Care & Health

The coats of Afghan Hounds should be brushed regularly (one or twice a week) and they should be bathed periodically. They do not shed too much, but they do have certain periods over the course of the year where they will shed. Trimming isn’t necessary, but it can be done a few times a year in order to keep a neat appearance. Airedale Terriers’ ears should be checked weekly, and the outer ear should be cleaned with a cotton ball and a cleanser obtained through a vet. Teeth should be brushed two to three times a week at the very least, and nails should be trimmed once or twice a month. Check for signs of infection whenever the Terrier is groomed, keeping an eye out for redness and inflammation of the skin, eyes, nose and mouth.

The recommended daily amount of food an Airedale Terrier should be getting is 1½ to 2½ cups of dry food, divided into two meals throughout the day. Despite the presence of a guideline, the amounts can be altered if the dog is highly active or otherwise.

Airedale Terriers are prone to the following diseases:
• Allergies – symptoms of allergies include sneezing, eye/nasal discharge, itching, and lethargy. Treatment will depend on the cause of the allergy(ies).
• Progressive Retinal Atrophy – an eye disease that results in the gradual deterioration of the retina. Night vision is the first to go, followed by vision in the day as the disease progresses.
• Umbilica Hernia – a condition in which abdominal fat or internal organs protrude against the abdominal wall. This is present at birth, and if the hernia is small, it can spontaneously be sorted out by the time the puppy turns 6 months old. Larger hernias will require surgery in order to prevent complications.
• Von Willebrand's Disease – a blood disorder that affects clotting, this disease will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and blood present in stool.
• Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis – this disease causes vomiting and diarrhea, and its cause(s) are unknown. Treatment should be immediate, as dehydration will easily occur as a result of this disease.


A very active breed, Airedale Terriers need to be entertained constantly, or will resort to destructive behavior – chewing, digging, etc. Dependable and hardworking, Airedale Terriers can prove to be a very helpful dog – babysitting, guarding, etc. – and may easily lighten the burden of its owner. Good, strong training is recommended for an Airedale Terrier in order to control its aggressive personality, and if the training is successful, the Airedale Terrier will turn out to be a fun-loving family pet.

Image Credit

Photo by Derek Key - CC BY 2.0

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