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Home > Dogs > Dog Breeds > Airedale Terrier Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

Airedale Terrier Dog Breed: Info, Pictures, Care Guide, Temperament & Traits

Airedale Terrier on grass

The tallest of the Terrier breeds, Airdale Terriers have a woolly coat and a lively, Schnauzer-like appearance. Airedales are true terriers in that they’re bright, active, and in-your-face with their personalities while also possessing high levels of stamina and endurance. They’re similar to Yorkies and Jack Russel Terriers, except they’re much bigger and stronger.

Breed Overview


22 – 25 inches


40 – 65 pounds


10 – 12 years


Tan with black saddle, tan with dark grizzle saddle

Suitable for

Active families, outdoor enthusiasts, runners/hikers, camping families


Tenacious, brave, social, alert, rugged, playful

These medium-large dogs are constantly on alert as terrier breeds often are, vocalizing to the household when they notice something suspicious. If you’re looking into getting an Airdale Terrier, be ready for a bold and outgoing dog that loves to bark, chase, and run all day long. With that in mind, read on for more information on this active working breed:

Airdale Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.
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Airdale Terrier Puppies

Airdale Terriers are pretty rare, so their price range is on the expensive side. Higher price tags are for dogs with exceptionally premium bloodlines, usually bred for the show ring. Either way, expect waiting times for litters as there aren’t many breeders of this rare terrier breed.

Finding a legitimate Airdale Terrier breeder is essential for stable temperaments. Backyard breeding and puppy farm breeding cause serious temperament and health issues due to a lack of understanding of canine genetics. The best way to find a reputable breeder is to attend larger dog shows and ask around for potential breeders. Adoption is an alternative, but Airedales are rarely up for adoption because of their rarity.

Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Airdale Terrier

Many times, when talking about Airdale Terrier temperaments, they’re called “classic terriers.” Most breeds in the terrier group have underlying traits that make them similar: charisma, determination, and energy. They’re feisty, bold dogs with a lot of personality and energy, often taking new terrier owners for a wild ride if they’re not prepared. Dogs belonging to this group of breeds are simply known for being terriers, and Airedales are no exception.

One of the smartest breeds in general and in their breed group, Airdale Terriers have strong working instincts. They need a job or sports activity to burn off their excess energy and exercise their minds, or you’ll have a stubborn, high-strung dog on your hands. For families that aren’t home often and don’t spend time outdoors, Airdale Terriers may not be the breed for you. They require a lot of time and attention, so it’s crucial that your family will have enough time.

Although they may be a handful due to their energy levels, Airdale Terriers can be loving and doting companions. They may be a little more independent than other breeds, but they thrive off of human attention. Airedales are relatively friendly, and some enjoy being the center of attention, as long as they are socialized at an early age.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Yes, but they’re better off in homes with calmer, older children. Airdale Terriers can be feisty and snippy with rambunctious, rough-playing children. They’re not as tolerant of roughhousing as other breeds, so we recommend waiting until children are older and can be calm around dogs. Any family considering these active dogs should be familiar either with terriers or working dogs, but they can be great pets for households that have the time to exercise them. The key to a peaceful home with an Airdale is consistent exercise and bonding with the family, but they need a lot of both.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets?


Yes and no- it varies from one Airdale to another. They tend to be dog and animal aggressive since they were bred to fend off and hunt animals. Early socialization with dogs is a must to prevent dog-based aggression. However, it does vary, and some Airdale Terriers are perfectly fine with other dogs around. If you plan on getting an Airdale and you already have dogs, start with slow introductions to prevent dominance fighting and aggressive behavior.

Cats and Small Pets

Generally, Airdale Terriers will try to chase small animals, whether it’s to hunt or out of curiosity. They have high prey drives that will trigger chasing, so cats and small animals are not great companions for this breed. With lots of training and supervision, some Airedales can live peacefully with other pets. However, it’s important to remember that they’re still predatory dogs and may react out of instinct.

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Things to Know When Owning an Airedale Terrier:

Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Airedale Terriers are energetic working dogs that burn a lot of calories each day, so it’s crucial that their diet can support their high levels of activity. Try finding a dry kibble with a formula specifically for medium to large dogs with at least 20 – 25% crude protein and a complete balance of vitamins and minerals. For best results, consult with a veterinarian as all dogs have their own specific needs.

Exercise 🐕

As working dogs from an energetic breed group, Airedales need plenty of exercise every day. They make excellent running partners and great trail dogs because of their activity levels. They do well with a fenced-in yard to roam around off-leash, which will build up their confidence as watchdogs and burn off some energy.

A few walks a day is not enough for these active breeds, so plan on a lot of playtime and adventures if you’re looking into this breed. Airedales are thinkers and also need mental stimulation, so it’s important to challenge their minds and nurture their problem-solving abilities. They’re also highly athletic and can participate in a wide variety of dog sports, which is a great way to bond with your dog as well.

Training 🎾

Both intelligent and stubborn, training your Airdale might be a challenge if you’ve never had a terrier before. They’re quick to learn and will excel in obedience, but you’ll need to be patient and not get frustrated with them. Airedale Terriers need a confident owner that won’t let them take over the house, but any harsh training will cause them to shut down immediately.

Group puppy classes are a great way to learn the basics of obedience and to socialize your Airdale as well, so search around for puppy schools in your area. Consider hiring a dog trainer for in-home training if you can’t find group classes, which can help guide you through training a terrier breed.

Grooming ✂️

Airdale terriers have whooly, thick coats that need a moderate amount of maintenance in order to keep them from matting. Hand-stripping the coat is a technique that involves pulling the dead chunks of hair out of the coat, a process that isn’t too difficult to do if you’re taught by a professional. Airedales need their coats hand-stripped to remove the loose hair, as well as a few occasional trips to trim the coats. On top of trips to the grooming salon and hand-stripping, brushing out their coats at least once a week is important for optimal coat health.

Health and Conditions 🏥

Airedales are fairly healthy dogs, but there are some issues that they’re prone to. It’s crucial to plan ahead when getting a dog, ensuring that they’ll get the care they need later on in life. Here are the most common health conditions of Airdale Terriers:

Most common health conditions of Airdale Terriers:
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Gastric Torsion/Bloat
  • Obesity
  • Cataracts
  • Colonic Disease
  • Cancer
  • Allergies

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Male vs. Female

Airedale Terrier males are usually bigger than females, almost 10 pounds bigger, and around 3-4 inches taller. If you’re worried about how big your dog may get, a female will be a better choice. Other than size, there aren’t many differences between males and females. The choice is purely a personal one, which should be made with anyone else involved in your future pet’s life.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Airdale Terrier

1. Airdale Terriers Have Two Other Names

Although they’re recognized as Airdale Terriers, these rugged dogs are also called by two other names: Bingley Terriers and Waterside Terriers. They’re also nicknamed the King of Terriers because of their status as the biggest of the terrier group.

2. Airdale Terriers Fought in the Military

Airdale Terriers are tough canines, and they proved it by becoming reliable military dogs, braving the battles of World War I in order to help British troops communicate. They also earned various medals, including one Airdale that earned the Victoria Cross after dying from battle injuries.

3. Airdale Terriers Were Bred for the Farm Life

Tenacious and relentless in their chasing, Airdale Terriers were bred for working and living the farm life. Their natural instincts to chase and hunt just about anything helped barns be clear of rats, foxes, mice, and just about anything that set off their hunting instincts.


Final Thoughts

Airedale Terriers are the biggest of the terrier group, powerhouses of muscle and energy. They’re great dogs that fit well into active lifestyles, especially families that enjoy spending time outdoors. Tenacious and always on alert, Airedales are natural watchdogs that love to be vocal. They’re determined dogs that need a job to do, or they’ll become extremely destructive out of boredom. If you have the time and patience for a large terrier and a working breed, the Airedale Terrier can be a great companion and family pet.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Lumia Studio, Shutterstock

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