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The first Airedales looked completely different from the Airedales of today. They were originally known as the Waterside and Bingley Terriers, descended from the now extinct black-and-tan type terrier. The breed was later crossed with the Otter Hound to make him a better swimmer. It is also said to have the Manchester Terrier in its blood lines. They were developed about a hundred years ago in the county of York from the ancient Working Terrier being used as a vermin hunter.

The Airedale is often called "The King of Terriers,” and was named from the Valley of the Aire, which was heavily populated with small game. In addition to his role as a small game hunter, the Airedale has been used to hunt big game in India, Africa, and Canada. The breed was also used as a police dog and a wartime guard in World War II. Today the Airedale is primarily a companion dog, but there are still working lines to be found.


The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the terriers and stands square in appearance. The skull is about the same length as the muzzle, with a very slight stop that is hard to see. The head is long and flat. The nose is black. The teeth should meet in a level, vice-like or scissors bite. The small eyes are dark in colour. The v-shaped ears fold slightly to the side of the head and forward. The chest is deep. The top line of the back is level. The front legs are perfectly straight. The tail is set high on the back.

The double coat has a hard, dense and wiry outer coat with a soft undercoat. Coat colours include tan and black and tan and grizzle. The head and ears should be tan, with the ears being a slightly darker shade of tan. The legs, thighs, elbows and the under part of the body and chest are also tan, sometimes running into the shoulder. In some lines there is a small white blaze on the chest. The back of the dog, sides and upper parts of the body should be black or dark grizzle in colour.


The Airedale Terrier can be part of a family with children as long as the proper boundaries are adhered to although they can be quite lively and therefore not ideal with small children. A courageous and protective dog that is fairly friendly with strangers being Intelligent, pleasant and loyal. Sensitive and responsive, the Airedale can be obedience trained at a high level. Airedale Terriers are fun-loving and playful when they are puppies.

Airedales will be happy to please you, as long as there is nothing to distract them such as another dog or food. An Airedale is extremely loyal but often do not return when recalled because of their hunting instinct. They are naturally lively and can be very rowdy if they do not have the exercise they require. Train this dog not to paw or try to jump up at people they meet.

The Airedale Terrier needs proper obedience training and an owner who knows that being the pack leader is paramount. The Airedale Terrier may have dominance challenges toward family members he sees as submissive. This can lead to wilfulness and disobedience. They are easily trained and will not respond to harsh overbearing training methods.

The Airedale Terrier is intelligent enough to perceive quickly what is required of it, but if you ask it to do the same thing over and over again it may refuse. Try to give it some variety to its training, making it challenging. They need a calm, but firm, confident and consistent handler. With the right handler, the Airedale Terrier can do well in various dog sports. This breed generally gets along well with household cats and other animals, but they sometimes try to dominate other dogs.

Height, Weight

Height: Dogs 56-61 cm. Bitches 56-58 cm
Weight: Dogs 23-29 kg. Bitches 18-20 kg

Health Problems

A very hardy breed, although some may suffer from eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections. If your Airedale Terrier has dry skin, he should be fed a food high in omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid.

Living Conditions

The Airedale Terrier is not recommended to live in flats or small dwellings. They are very active indoors and will do best with at least an average-sized garden.


Airedales were bred for active work, and therefore need plenty of exercise. They need to be taken for at least two medium to long walks a day. Most of them love to play with a ball, swim, or retrieve objects and once fully grown will happily run alongside a bicycle. Without enough attention and exercise the Airedale Terrier will become restless and bored and will usually get itself into trouble. The exercise requirement can go down somewhat after the first two years (as with many dogs) when they start to get mellower

Life Expectancy

About 10-12 years

Litter Size
Average of 9 puppies


Airedales have a hard, short-haired, double coat. The hair should be stripped about twice a year, but for dogs that are to be shown, much more intensive grooming is needed. Trim excessive hair between the pads of the feet when necessary. If you keep the coat stripped it will shed little to no hair, however if you do not strip the coat, you will most likely find fur piles around your floor, even with trimming, and brushing almost every day. They actually require a good bit of grooming. Burrs stick in the coat and beard. The beard should be washed daily because of food residue.




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