Airedale Terrier breed profile – The king of Terriers

Featured image by © / evdoha

What is an Airedale Terrier?

The Friendly, clever and courageous Airdale Terrier was developed in York county, England over a hundred years ago to be large and fearless hunters of ducks and rats. The breed is cross of English Black and Tan terrier and the Otterhound. Airedales are the very image of an intelligent, alert, and willing terrier, hardy, all-purpose and adept in the water, on land, at work and with the family. The Airedale’s size, strength, and enthusiasm have earned the Airedale Terrier the nickname “The King of Terriers.” Originally, they were used in World War I to carry messages to soldiers behind enemy lines, and by the Red Cross to find injured soldiers.  Even though there are still working lines out there, today they are primarily companion dogs.


Pros and Cons


Group:   Terrier (AKC)
Height:  22 – 24 inches
Weight:  40 – 65 pounds

Airedale Terriers have a dense, bristly, wiry coat which is resistant to dampness.  Along with its v-shaped ears which fold slightly to the side and forward, it has a black nose and a tail that is carried high, sporty beard and mustache, and dark eyes. The wiry outer coat should be tan with black markings. Some Airedales have been seen with a bit of red in the black. Tan, long, muscular legs give Airedales a regal lift. Their chest, undersides, head and ears should also be tan, and can occasionally extend up to the shoulders.

Beautiful Airedale Terrier © / otsphoto
Beautiful Airedale Terrier © / otsphoto


Although the Airedale puppy can be rowdy, he matures into a courageous dignified, intelligent and independent adult. Be warned though, the Airedale can be quite stubborn. Patience and consistency in training will be rewarded, as the Airedale Terrier can be trained to great competitive obedience and agility. These dogs quickly understand and pick up what you need from them. They have a great sense of humor, and make for unique and entertaining company.

Early socialization is required with children, so that the Airedale can get used to their antics, but be careful of the really little ones, as Airedales can be a little rough. They are generally friendly with strangers, but at the same time can be courageous and protective if needed. Being Terriers, they are more than happy to please, they typically get along with other household pets, except for Rodents. Recall they were bred to hunt. Also worth noting is that Airedales will try to dominate other dogs.

Airedales require vigorous exercise to be at their happiest and best. Without vigorous exercise and lots of personal interaction, Airedales get easily bored and may become destructive. Additionally, mental stimulation games such as hunting, obedience, agility is essential for this thinking breed.


The Airedale has a short-haired, wiry, double coat that needs relatively little maintenance. Regular clipping will be required 3 or 4 times a year, depending on the climate thus eliminating much of the shedding process. Daily brushing is recommended, though Weekly brushing will suffice and keeps the coat looking good. Regular brushing removes dead hair that would otherwise be shed around the house. Check and trim excessive hair between the pads as you deem necessary, and wipe their face clean and food residue tends to stick to their beard. Trim nails often for optimal comfort. 


Generally, the Airedale Terrier is a very hardy breed, though some may suffer from hip dysplasia, eye problems, and skin infectionsResponsible breeders typically check for health concerns prior to breeding. If your Airedale Terrier does develop dry skin, he should be fed an adjusted omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in the diet. Your Airedale’s ears should be checked and cleaned regularly to remove wax or any debris.

airedale terrier dog © / Life on White
airedale terrier dog © / Life on White

Life Expectancy

Airedales typically live around 10-12 Years


5 Fun Facts About Airedale Terrier


Airedale Terriers are a working breed and were never originally intended to be household pets. Their “working” behaviors such as chasing things, digging, exploring can be a nuisance under normal household circumstances. As such, Airedale Terriers must have regular opportunities to vent their energy, and to use their busy minds. Lots of long walks, playing ball, swim, or retrieving objects is the bare minimum especially when they are puppies. After the first couple of years they will mellow out a bit and not be so demanding, and will be quite happy running along side you on your bicycle. Failure to provide adequate exercise will result in your Airedale becoming restless, bored and more than likely, mischievous. Bored Airedales can destroy your home or yard in a single day. The Airedale Terrier is not really suited to apartment life as they are very active indoors and will thrive better with at least an average-sized yard.

If you’re looking to add an Airedale Terrier to your family, consider adopting one instead. Rescuing and animal is a win-win for all. Its way cheaper and you save a life.

For more information about Airedales, check out