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Airedale Terrier

Quick facts

Airedale Terrier AKC Group: Terrier
Height: Male: 22 - 24 inches, Female: 20 - 23 inches
Weight: Male: 50 - 65 pounds, Female: 40 - 45 pounds
Colors: combination shades of tan, dark tan, and black
AKC recognized in: 1888

Rather bizarre in appearance, the Airedale Terrier is one unique dog to look at. And although it may not have the same show-stopping looks as more lucrative-looking breeds, it is definitely a breed that will catch side glances.

Distinguished by its distinctive square-shaped face with rich and lengthier than normal facial hair growth that looks almost like a maturely grown beard, legs with also thicker than usual coat covering, and fur color variety that hardly varies from the combination of tan, dark tan, and black, the Airedale Terrier is one easy breed to spot.

The Airedale Terrier was originally bred as a hunter dog. From its place of origin in Airedale West Riding Yorkshire, people produced the current form of the breed during the mid-19th century by crossing the Otterhound with the Welsh terrier.

Asleep, the Airedale Terrier looks more like a haystack. With a coat about 6 inches long, imagine an adult Airedale Terrier with a shaggy beard and a bushy look. Its harsh, long coat of either solid or light colors deepens or darkens as it ages.

Historically used to hunt otters that live in the water, this breed was designed to be a good swimmer - a trait passed on to it by its Otterhound blood. Other specialties of this breed includes working as a watchdog, as a tracker, assisting military work and police work, and competing in hunting games.

As such, the Airedale Terrier is rightfully nicknamed “King of Terriers”. Not only because it is considered the largest in the Terrier family, but also because of its unique traits and capabilities.


Airedale Terrier Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training four paws
Energy level five paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals two paws
Friendliness: Other Pets two paws
Grooming Requirements two paws
Heat Tolerance four paws
Playfulness five paws
Protection Ability three paws
Watchdog Ability four paws

With a high capacity to be affectionate to its family coupled with its courageous and brave nature, the Airedale Terrier can be a very protective dog. This makes them perfect for keeping properties safe and well-guarded.

Despite its size and sometimes overwhelming stature, the Airedale Terrier is actually gentle natured and peaceful. However, their naturally playful nature will have to be kept on bay and controlled in obedience training if they are to be around small children. Potentially, Airedale Terriers can play rough.

Airedale Terriers can also be quite dominating with the natural tendency towards leadership and holding alpha status. As such, they can become disobedient and too relaxed around members of the family which they see as submissive.

With this in mind, this breed will need to be handled by an owner with firmness in implementing his superiority and alpha status. When the Airedale sees that his master cannot be pushed around, he will be very loyal and highly obedient.


The average lifespan of the Airedale Terrier is 10 to 13 years.

While the Airedale Terrier is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Hypothyroidism - An under-active thyroid gland, which can result in obesity, epilepsy, lethargy, and skin conditions.
  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) - A group of diseases that progress over time and eventually cause blindness in your dog. The retina either stops developing early or the receptors start degenerating early in life. This is an inherited disorder.
  • Umbilical Hernia - An opening in the muscle wall where the belly button is located. This opening allows abdominal contents to pass, perhaps entrapping the intestine.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease - This is a blood disease that causes a deficiency in clotting glycoproteins. This disease is similar to hemophilia in humans.
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis - A disorder characterized by vomiting and extremely bloody diarrhea. The cause is unknown, but it is treatable. If your dog shows signs of this, get her to the vet as soon as possible, as without treatment, the dog may die.


To maintain its naturally active, friendly, lively nature, the Airedale Terrier will need plenty of exercise and physical activities to join. Otherwise, it can succumb to boredom and become lazy and laid back.

As for grooming, shedding will not be too much of a problem given its thick and rough coat. However, daily brushing and combing is still advisable if you do not want to find piles of fur in your kitchen.

Other than regular grooming, the thick double coat of Airedale Terriers will also need to be trimmed on a regular basis. And because they have a rather thick facial hair, food can sometimes get caught and needs to be cleaned regularly.

A controlled and supervised supply of Omega fatty acids into its diet will keep its naturally dry skin nourished and away from potential ailments.

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