Get to Know the Airedale Terrier

Last Updated on April 25, 2023

Welcome, fellow dog lover! We’d like you to meet the King of Terriers, the Airedale Terrier.

Stylish, confident, courageous, intelligent, outgoing, and silly — what else can you ask for from a pet, right?

But if you’re planning to buy or adopt an Airedale, you have to learn all the info about its personality, needs, and of course, its quirks.

Purebred Airedale Terrier

Let’s find out if this is the right terrier for you!

Origin: What are Airedale Terriers known for?

The Airedale was created by breeding a Welsh Terrier (Black and Tan Terrier), an Otterhound, in Great Britain. The intention was to create a dog that could hunt small animals and big game when trained correctly.

Some people may also notice characteristics of both the Irish Terrier and Bedlington Terrier in an Airedale. 

Airedales have also contributed to other breeds, such as the Yorkshire Terrier. Within 12 years of crossbreeding, they became popular for sport.

The first dog show in Aire Valley took place in 1864, where judges described the breed as excellent. At this time, fans renamed them to the Airedale Terrier, though this only became official in 1886. 

During the 19th century, River Aire hosted multiple dog shows as a venue. The show required Terrier breeds to follow a rat through water and make a kill, resulting in the breed’s popularity.

In 1900, the Airedale Terrier Club of America was founded. They started a trophy called the Airedale Bowl, which displays the names of those awarded with Best of Breed. 

Warmen used Airedales in World War I as watchdogs, guard dogs, and ratters. People also use them for herding, as retrievers, working dogs, hunting dogs, and police dogs.

Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge were also owners and fans of the breed. In 1949, the American Kennel Club (AKC) ranked the Airedale Terrier 20th in popularity, though this has since decreased. 

This is the largest breed of terriers; that’s why, as we mentioned before, people often call the breed the King of Terriers. They are also sometimes referred to as Bingley Terriers or Waterside Terriers.

What does an Airedale Terrier look like?

Side view of purebred Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier‘s head is long and flat from the skull to their black nose. Their ears fold to the sides, and they have small dark-brown eyes.

Their necks flow into their short back, and their shoulder blades are flat. They have long, muscular legs that are in proportion to the rest of their body.

Their chest is long but not broad and may sometimes have a white patch. These cuties have small feet, and their fur is wiry and slightly wavy.

An Airedale’s tail is long and stiff, and people don’t dock them as a tradition, though some do when they’re puppies. 

The American Kennel Club states that show dogs’ tails must not curl over their back, be strong, and be a reasonable length.

Though docking is illegal in certain countries without a valid reason, people from other countries still do it.

Size: How big does an Airedale Terrier get?

Airedale Terriers have a height of 21 to 23 inches (53 to 58 cm) at the shoulder and can reach a weight of 70 pounds (32 kg). Females are a little shorter and weigh 40 to 55 pounds (18 to 25 kg).

Other than thinking about their size, you should also consider this breed’s activity level. With that said, Airedales aren’t suitable pets for apartment dwellers.

We recommend them to a spacious home with a big yard that has a tall, secure fence.

Wondering if there’s a Miniature Airedale Terrier? There’s none, but you can go for the more compact pooch like the Welsh Terrier. They look like Airedales but smaller and less excitable compared to other terriers.

The Airedale’s coat & colors

The Airedale’s coat is either black and tan or grizzle and tan, with the majority being tan. They generally have a black or grizzle patch on their backs and tan on their legs, chest, stomach, and head.

Grizzle refers to a mix of black and white or grey hairs. Airedales have a double coat, with softer fur in the undercoat and longer wiry hair as the topcoat.

Their topcoat is usually dense, while the undercoat is short and soft. This breed’s coat is low-shedding, so you need to brush them regularly and groom them on occasion.

Airedale’s hair should not be too long as it should lie flat and close to their bodies.

Temperament: Are Airedales good family dogs?

This intelligent dog is good with children, though their size and excitement may be too much for very young children. Both children and dogs should get the right training early to form a proper bond.

Parents should always supervise interactions. These cuties can become very protective of family members, which makes them good guard dogs.

As strong-willed pups, they may not show their affection through cuddling but enjoy just being around their people. An Airedale makes a good family pet with the right amount of love.

The more attention they receive, the less likely they are to get up to mischief. Airedales can also get along with other pets, particularly if they grow up together. 

Socialization from a young age is a good idea to prevent them from chasing or hunting other animals.


They are independent dogs, often hunt without instruction, and are likely to chase smaller animals considered prey.

Airedales are also good herders, though you should provide proper training; otherwise, they may annoy larger animals.

As people bred Airedales to hunt and be used in shows to hunt water rats, they are good swimmers, and they love to swim.

You shouldn’t leave them alone for long periods, as this may lead to boredom and destructive behavior. They require regular exercise to get rid of their excessive energy.

One walk a day may be enough, but we recommend two, along with lots of space in the garden or yard to play. You can also give them various stimulating toys to keep them busy while you’re away.

Terriers are a mouthy breed in general. As we mentioned before, people bred Airedales for hunting, so they tend to bark at things they perceive as prey or threats.

Obedience training and socialization may help with this, as they learn to follow commands that steer them away from animals they consider feed.

Attending training classes with your pup is a must, as they can sometimes be challenging to handle.

As a result of their intelligence and affection, training your dog can be easy, though you should vary training to avoid boring them.

Potty training any puppy can be challenging; however, following these easy steps can help you. Keep in mind that these dogs may hold a grudge and become aggressive if you treat them harshly.

We recommend the following training pads to use inside.

Caring for your Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier taking a bath

An Airedale’s wiry coat requires little maintenance, though we recommend weekly brushing and occasional grooming.

Brushing your dog weekly removes dead hair that would usually be shed naturally and require more cleaning of your home.

You can learn to groom your dog on your own, or you could find a reputable groomer to do the job for you.

Your pup will prefer warmer weather due to their thinner coat; we recommend allowing them inside during the colder months of the year.

A kennel may be a good investment if you leave them outside when you’re not home.

You don’t need to bathe your pup regularly, but it’s a good idea to wash them three to four times a year to keep them looking snazzy.

Make sure to provide enough durable toys for your pup when you’re not around to keep them from getting bored.

Check your pup’s ears regularly for redness or a smell; if one of these is present, it’s best to take them to the vet for treatment.

Exercising your Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier playing a ball

Airedales have high energy levels and require a moderate amount of exercise. They make great jogging partners and will often tire you out.

They stay young at heart far into their lives and enjoy constant play. You should prepare yourself to spend 40 to 60 minutes with your pup daily to eliminate their excess energy.

Grooming: Are Airedale Terriers hypoallergenic?

As we mentioned before, grooming doesn’t need to be too regular, but rather to keep your pup looking smart. Should you have the correct tools and some basic knowledge, you can groom your dog yourself.

Remember that your puppy will enjoy vet checkups and grooms if you provide positive training from a young age.

These cuties have a hypoallergenic coat and don’t shed much, so few people experience allergy symptoms while living with them.

Their hair may knot a little if it gets too long, but you can use a comb to untangle them during your weekly brush. They have a typical dog smell due to the oils on their skin, but it’s something you’ll get used to.

Feeding your Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier eating his meal
Source: @airedalesofinstagram / IG

You should feed your dog a balanced diet according to the recommended weight for their age and size. You should consider a high-quality dog food or raw-food diet with the approval from your vet.

Keep an eye on their weight level, especially during training, as high-calorie intake may lead to obesity.

You should learn about what human foods are safe for your pup to consume and which ones aren’t before giving them anything from your plate.

Remember, when your pup is young, he should eat puppy food and move over to adult food when he’s older. Your dog should have fresh water available to him at all times.

An adult dog will eat around three cups of kibble a day, though you should stick to the weight recommended on the food pack.

We advise you to feed your pup twice a day rather than leaving the food out throughout the day. This will help them eat the right amount and balance it out, so they don’t get hungry later in the day.

You can budget around $68 for food in a month per Airedale Terrier. The food you choose is up to you, though it should be recommended by a vet to ensure that it’s appropriate for your dog.

Airedale Terrier Health

Though these fit doggos are generally healthy, they have some minor health problems to look out for. Most breeders can provide health clearances that show results of tests done on dogs for these conditions.

If you wish, you can check these through the Orthopedic Foundation for Animal’s website.

Airedale Terrier playing in the fallen leaves

Health Concerns

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a hereditary condition often seen in larger breed dogs, though smaller breeds can also get it. It occurs when the hip and thigh bone don’t slide smoothly but rather rub against one another. Thankfully, this condition is treatable with supplements, though severe hip dysplasia can result in expensive surgery.

If you notice a decrease in activity or range of motion, you may want to visit your vet for a checkup.

Your pup may also sway his hips, have some pain or stiffness and sometimes even be lame in his rear end. You may also notice an increase in shoulder muscles and underdevelopment of thigh muscles.

You can find more information on this condition from the American Kennel Club.

  • Dermatitis: You may not notice dermatitis on your pup until he starts licking at it, and it becomes inflamed, itchy, or raw. You can treat it with topical ointments from your vet or a different shampoo for bathing.
  • Allergies: Allergies may sometimes cause dermatitis. Your puppy may be allergic to food or something in their environment that they come into contact with or breathe in. You prevent allergy flares from foods by avoiding certain ingredients. 

Your vet may prescribe medication, different food, and sometimes even CBD oils to treat environmental allergies.

Your vet can recommend the best route to take to prevent allergy flares. Keep in mind; you may need to change your pup’s environment.

  • Thyroid Problems: An underactive thyroid may present itself through other conditions such as hair loss, weight gain, epilepsy, lethargy, or skin conditions. Your vet will diagnose hypothyroidism by doing some tests and prescribe medication for your puppy. 

He may have to be on this medication for the rest of his life, though the dosage may change. Your vet will need to test your dog’s thyroid level annually as the dose may need to change accordingly.

An overactive thyroid will cause hyperthyroidism, which may lead to cancer. 

Though this is more serious, vets can treat it. The AKC provides more information with regards to the treatment of hyperthyroidism.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy: This condition will affect your dog’s eyesight. It may start with night blindness and result in total blindness. Most dogs can live with this condition, provided their environment stays constant. Unfortunately, they can’t treat this condition, though the breeder can test for it before continuing the line.
  • Umbilical Hernia: This condition presents itself as a lump near the dog’s umbilicus. If it’s small enough, it could close over time and does not need treatment. Sometimes dogs live with small hernias all their lives. Your vet can remove larger hernias when your pup goes to get sterilized, as it carries the risk of life-threatening conditions.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: If you notice your puppy has a bloody nose or some blood in his stool but is otherwise ok, he may have Von Willebrand’s disease. This condition prevents blood from clotting, and vets can diagnose it when your dog is between three and five years old. 

Vets can manage it by using stitches or searing wounds, avoiding certain medicines, and transfusing blood before surgeries.

  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: If your pup suddenly starts vomiting or has diarrhea containing blood, you need to take him to the vet. He may eliminate other disorders that present the same symptoms before finalizing his diagnosis. Thankfully, this disorder is treatable and can subside within a few days. 

However, your dog will need to stay hydrated to prevent intravascular coagulation, which can result in death. Your vet may also prescribe antibiotics and anti-ulcer regimens.

You need to act quickly and keep a constant eye on your dog if you suspect this disorder.

Bored Airedale Terrier lying in couch
Source: / IG
  • Cancer: When we hear the word cancer, our brain already jumps to death. Fortunately, vets can treat cancer if they find it early. Take your puppy for regular checkups with the vet to catch any disorders early on. Cancer can present itself in various ways, and so treatments also vary. 

The treatment can be either surgical or medicinal, and success rates depend on the individual.

Life Expectancy of the Airedale Terrier

The average lifespan of an Airedale Terrier is between 10 and 13 years, which is typical of a dog their size. Of course, this depends on their living conditions as well as their overall health.

Remember that your dog may be around for a long time and that taking care of him is a big commitment.

Sadly, cancer is the leading cause of Airedales crossing the rainbow bridge. In a survey from 2001, old age contributed to 12% of their deaths in the United States.

How Much do Airedale Terrier Puppies Cost?

Young Airedale Terrier licking his nose

On a lighter note, if you’re looking at buying or adopting a puppy, you’ve come to the right place.

Before bringing your pup home, you need to prepare the environment, buy some toys and a bed, and find a vet near you. Royal Canin prepares you for what you can expect when you get a new puppy.

Airedale cuties are available from breeders at prices between $1200 and $3000, depending on their background.

If you’re looking at adopting one, the price is a lot lower at $300 to cover the kenneling costs. Of course, buying a dog from a breeder provides you with more information about their background.

While you may not get what you’re looking for when adopting a dog, you will be saving a life. Try to look at adopting before buying from a breeder; you may find your soulmate in a kennel. 

Airedale Terrier Breeders

AKC provides a significant list of official registered breeders. They also show the availability of puppies from certain bloodlines and breeder information. You can even view photos of the parents and puppies from the past.

When choosing a breeder, make sure to do your research on the bloodline and request clearance documents. Look at their profile and make sure they’re registered.

Have a look at their website if they have one and speak to the breeders. Try to meet the parents of a litter before choosing a puppy.

We recommend choosing a happy and playful puppy, one that’s not afraid to approach you. Don’t choose the shy puppy or the one that harasses his siblings.

If you’d like to have a look at some of the cute furballs available, here’s a list of some of the breeders:

  • California Airedale Terrier Club
  • Singing Hills Kennel

Airedale Terriers Looking for Furever Homes

The easiest way to adopt an Airedale is to go through an organization that specializes in the breed. will be able to provide you with an organization close to you that may have Airedales up for adoption. They also have other animals should you be interested in getting a sibling for your pup.

Some of the rescue organizations include:

  •  Airedale Terrier Club of America (Rescue and Adoption)
  • SoCal Airedale Terrier Rescue

Airedale Terrier VS. Welsh Terrier

Though these breeds look similar, a Welsh Terrier is not an Airedale. Have a look at the following comparison to show their similarities and differences:

Airedale Terrier Welsh Terrier
Appearance Long and athletic. Tan and black or grizzle coat. Wiry coat. Square shape, also athletic. Tan and black or grizzle wiry coat.
Height 21-23” 13-15”
Weight 40-47lbs 15-20lbs
Personality Active and independent. Can get along with other animals. Stubborn. Also intelligent and protective. Active, may struggle to get along with other animals. Intelligent and protective.
Date of Origin 1800s 1700s
Place of Origin England Wales
Docked Tail No Yes

Curious about Airedale Terrier Mixes?

There are various Airedale mixes with other breeds. We explore some of them below:


Cute and playful Airedoodle
Source: @texas_airedoodles / IG

The Airedoodle is a mix of an Airedale and a Poodle. They originated in the United States, and people bred them as companions.

They grow to a height between 22 and 27″ and weigh between 40 and 65lbs. They don’t shed much depending on which breed’s coat they inherited.


Lab'Aire swimming in the river
Source: @chase_friday / IG

Lab’Aires are a mix between an Airedale and a Labrador Retriever. Their origin is unknown as they are a relatively new breed.

People decided to bread them as companions and watchdogs. The Lab’Aire’s height ranges between 22 and 24″ and their weight between 50 and 80lbs.

They tend to have a broad chest, and their eyes vary in color between hazel, brown, and amber. 


Schnairedale chilling on the deck
Source: @jpeake84 / IG

These cuties are a mix between a Schnauzer and an Airedale and can be extremely playful. They grow up to 22″ in height and weigh up to 50lbs, though the females are slightly smaller. 

They are often more like the schnauzer, with red or ginger highlights. They have floppy ears that show off their quirky expressions.

Is this Dog Breed Suited to You?

These intelligent dogs make great family pets and guard dogs. They’re independent and can keep themselves busy for short periods with stimulating toys.

If you’re an active person, the Airedale Terrier is perfect for you.

When left alone for long periods, they may behave destructively by chewing and barking. They may also jump a fence or dig too. If you’re not active and get tired quickly, this dog is not suited to you.

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