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BaxterBoo Blog
January 7, 2013

Meet the Breed: The Airedale Terrier

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  • Height: 23"-24" at the withers. Females may be slightly smaller.
  • Weight: 55-66 pounds
  • Historical Function: Otter hunters
  • Modern Function: Companion, watchdog
  • AKC Classification: Terrier

Physical Characteristics:

The Airedale Terrier is a strong, sturdy, square dog known as the king of terriers due to it's size and outgoing personality. The coat of the Airedale Terrier is of medium-length in a distinctive tan with a black saddle. It has a harsh topcoat and soft undercoat. It is known by its distinctive beard around the muzzle.

History of the Breed:

The Airedale was developed in the Valley of the Aire in England to hunt the plentiful small game in the area. They were used to hunt river rats and otters. Because of hound influences in the line, the Airedale also has the ability to track well so has also been used for hunting larger game as well. This breed has also been used as a police dog.


The Airedale is a lively, active dog bred for inquisitiveness. They can be too rowdy for young children, but with proper socialization at a young age both dog and children can do well together. The Airedale is both courageous and protective, yet fairly friendly with strangers. They are intelligent, pleasant and loyal. They are sensitive and responsive, and can be obedience trained at a high level, though they do have a tendency to be stubborn. They require variety in activity and commands or they can become bored and destructive.

  • Best suited for: families with older children, firm, kind trainers, active lifestyles, allergy sufferers.
  • Preferred living conditions: Airedales are not suitable for apartment life. They need plenty of exercise and a good-sized yard. They are very social and intelligent, and will keep yards vermin free!

Care and Health:

  • Grooming Requirements: The coat requires regular and extensive grooming. They need to have their coat stripped at least twice a year, which promotes very little shedding. This can be helpful for allergy sufferers. The beard needs daily washing to keep food and debris out of it.
  • Exercise Needs: This is a high-energy, high-intelligence dog that requires a daily walk with a firm pack leader human. These dogs are quick to ascertain inexperienced handlers and will chase after wildlife, so be sure to handle them with calm confidence. The first two years of life with an Airedale can be stressful for the owner because of the exercise needs and inquisitiveness that may get the dog into trouble.
  • Life expectancy: 10-12 years
  • Health concerns: 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 an adjusted omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in the diet.

Breed Club Links: The Airedale Terrier Club of America, Inc.

Have any stories about an Airedale Terrier?

Linda Wenger on January 7 at 8:01 AM said:

I could write a book about our Airedale, Quinn. He is everything the video says about them. He is loud and protective when someone comes to the door. I don't have to worry about door -to-door salespeople, but it is a challenge sometimes to sign for a delivery. He is a big goof who is ready to play at the drop of a hat, and he's 9 1/2 years old. His best friend is our largest Sheltie, Annie. Sometimes it looks like they are going to eat each other, but no one ever gets hurt. I love to watch him run flat out or chase and catch Annie, hooking his front legs around her like you see lions do with their prey. He used to be our daughter's jogging companion until her distances increased beyond what we thought he should do. He also has a very gentle side. Our Parrotlet, Vinnie, absolutely adores him and will perch on the ledge around his cage, sitting inches from Quinn's face, chattering quietly to him. Quinn wouldn't think of hurting him or our turtle who sometimes gets to walk around the house while her tank is getting cleaned. By the way, Vinnie got his very own small stuffed toy Airedale for Christmas. It sits on the tray outside his cage so he can get his "Quinn fix". And this puppy can't walk away. I will post a picture of Quinn and Vinnie together on Baxter Boo's Facebook page. Quinn and I have a nightly ritual. At bedtime he waits for me in the hall to my daughter's room. He looks back to make sure I'm coming and then proceeds to his bed. I give him his chest and chin rubs and then he plops down on his pillows so I can cover him, with his fleecy blanket (about the third version of the one he had when we brought him home as a puppy). If someone has snitched one of his two pillows or his blankie, all I have to say is, "Where's your pillow?" and he will run off to look for it and carry it proudly back to his bed where he drops it in the right spot. He knows the names of most of his toys too. And every new toy that comes into the house is HIS, at least for a short time. Life around here would definitely be a lot more boring without our much loved Airedale around.

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This entry was posted by Mary.

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