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Getting to Know The Airedale Terrier: Personality & Traits

The Airedale Terrier is an affectionate, loyal, and intelligent breed that makes a great addition to any family. With their strong will and strong personalities, they may take some extra training to keep in check–but the benefits of having such a loving companion far outweigh any effort it takes. Learn more about this one-of-a-kind pup with this comprehensive guide!

History & Origin of the Airedale Terrier.

The Airedale Terrier is believed to have originated in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England. Their ancestors were likely a mix of several breeds, most likely a combination of the Otter Hound, an old type of Welsh Terrier, and a broken-coated Black and Tan Terrier. This interesting mix made for an enthusiastic and brave pup with determination and strong hunting instincts–all traits that are still evident in today’s Airedales.



Average height = 23 inches tall.


50 to 70 pounds

Health and Lifespan

The Airedale Terrier is a generally healthy dog, with an average lifespan of between 10 and 13 years. But they can be prone to hereditary health issues like hip dysplasia, immune-mediated diseases (such as Addison’s disease or thrombocytopenia), eye diseases and cancers. As with all breeds, regular check-ups with the vet will help ensure your Airedale lives a long and healthy life.


The Airedale Terrier is a generally healthy breed known for their hunting prowess. While the checkups for hip dysplasia, ear wax and buildup, and tooth brushing may seem tedious, these tasks are essential in order to ensure the longevity of your furry friend. Responsible breeders will also test for any potential health concerns connected with this muscular pooch!


Avid lovers of playtime, Airedale Terriers are the largest of all breeds in the terrier group. Known for their high energy levels, they need regular exercise such as a few rounds of playtime with family and a few walks (or backyard time) daily to satisfy their needs. They generally get along well with children but closely supervised interactions are advised as these Dogs have rather strong builds that could result in accidents if not managed properly.

Personality, Behavior, Temperment

The Airedale Terrier is an active and loyal dog with an intelligent and independent personality. They are known for their confidence, courage, and strength of character. These traits make them excellent watchdogs, but they can also be territorial and a bit stubborn. Airedales typically enjoy being around people, though they may take a while to warm up to strangers. With proper socialization from puppyhood on, the Airedale can learn to get along well with other animals in the home.

Good With Young Children

Yes. While it is important to always supervise dogs when they are around young children or children who have little experience with dogs, Airedale Terriers tend to be very well-behaved in these situations and make for wonderful companions for families!

Good With Other Dogs

Yes. Airedale Terriers are generally friendly and known for getting along well with other dogs.

Playfulness Level

The Airedale Terrier is a livewire breed that never seems to tire of play. They will happily fetch and chase balls, fly discs, and engage in tug-of-war games with you into adulthood. But even when they are not active, they just love being with their family and taking things easy during relaxing sessions on the couch.

Affectionate With Family

Greatly enjoy the company of his family, humans, and other household pets and can also be affectionate with other people once they get to know them.

Watchdog/Protective Nature

Airedale Terriers were originally bred as working dogs and make excellent watchdogs. They are loving and loyal to their owners but will instinctively alert them when they sense a threat or intruder in the home. They tend to be friendly with strangers, provided they are accepted by their family first.

Adaptability Level

The Airedale Terrier is especially adept at adjusting to changes in its surroundings. This includes alterations in its environment such as noise levels, weather conditions, new home environments, and varying daily routines. It is able to maintain a calm disposition when faced with external influences.

Trainability Level

The Airedale Terrier is a very intelligent and independent breed of dog. This energetic breed is highly trainable and loves to learn new things. They are eager to please their owners, making them an ideal companion for obedience training. However, they do have a strong inclination towards independence and will not always adhere to commands, so patience is needed when training an Airedale Terrier.

Energy Level

The Airedale Terrier is an energetic breed that requires regular physical and mental stimulation to be content. This breeds loves running, jumping and playing, and should have ample opportunity for exercise each day. Additionally, an Airedale Terrier can do well with canine sports such as agility and flyball. If these activities are neglected, the dog may resort to destructive behaviors due to boredom and lack of mental stimulation.

Mental Stimulation Needs

Requires mental stimulation to stay mentally fit. This includes activities that stimulate the dog’s problem-solving, concentration and decision-making skills.

Pros and Cons of the Airedale Terrier

Owning an Airedale Terrier can be a delightful experience, but as with every breed, there are both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly acknowledged pros and cons associated with this breed:


Intelligence: The Airedale Terrier is known for its sharp mind, making it relatively easy to train and teach new tricks.

Loyalty: They are deeply devoted to their families, making them great companions for those who invest time in bonding with their pets.

Health: As a breed, Airedales are generally healthy, meaning fewer unexpected veterinary visits compared to breeds with numerous health issues.

Versatility: Airedales excel in various canine sports and activities, from obedience to agility.

Watchdog Capability: Their alert nature makes them effective watchdogs, as they will promptly notify their owners of strangers or intruders.

Low Shedding: Their coat doesn’t shed as much as other breeds, making them a good option for those who don’t want too much dog hair around the house.

Good with Kids: With proper supervision, they can be great companions for children, teaching them responsibility and providing affection.


Training Challenges: Their independent nature can sometimes make them stubborn. Consistent and early training is essential.

Exercise Needs: Being a high-energy breed, they require regular physical and mental stimulation to prevent destructive behaviors.

Size: Their size and strength can make them difficult to manage, especially for first-time dog owners or those with physical limitations.

Grooming: Despite being low-shedding, their wiry coat needs regular maintenance to keep it in top condition.

Socialization: They can be reserved or territorial around strangers or unfamiliar dogs. Early socialization is crucial to prevent aggressive tendencies.

Potential Health Issues: While generally healthy, they are prone to specific hereditary health issues that owners should be aware of and regularly check for.

Barking: Though not excessive barkers, they will bark to alert or when they sense something amiss, which could be a nuisance in densely populated areas.

Physical Characteristics

Double coat of wiry hair – an outer coat covered by a finer and softer undercoat, triangular ears that are usually folded over, dark eyes, and black or brown noses, depending on the color of their fur. Their tails can be either docked or left natural.

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The care for an Airedale Terrier’s coat is known for its characteristic wiry coat that can reach up to two inches in length. The coat requires brushing every week, as well as regular trimming every six weeks or so. Longer coats need more frequent trimming. In addition, the fur around the tail and ears needs to be plucked out by hand several times a year. Grooming is, however, relatively easy compared to other standard terrier breeds and needs only minimal brushing and occasional baths, while their nails must be trimmed regularly.

Shedding Level

Low-shedding and require only minimal brushing


generally cause less trouble with allergies

Drooling Level

The Airedale Terrier drools very seldomly.

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Barking Level

The Airedale Terrier is known for its loud, yet loyal, bark. Its temperament makes it an alert watchdog, but it’s friendly to people and other animals provided it’s been properly socialized from a young age. It also has a strong guarding instinct and will let out a warning bark if intruders are detected. An Airedale is not an excessive barker, as long as it’s given enough exercise, mental stimulation and companionship.

Welsh Terrier vs. Airedale Terrier:

The Welsh Terrier and the Airedale Terrier, both hailing from the United Kingdom, share common ancestry but differ in size and certain behavioral traits. The Airedale is notably larger, often referred to as the “King of Terriers,” and has a height of around 23 inches, while the Welsh Terrier stands at about 15 inches tall. Both breeds sport a similar wiry coat, but the Airedale often has a more pronounced protective instinct, making it an excellent watchdog. Meanwhile, the Welsh Terrier is known for its spirited and game nature. While both breeds exude confidence and energy, potential owners should consider their individual characteristics and needs when deciding between the two.

Cost of Airedale Terrier:

Acquiring an Airedale Terrier can be a financial commitment, with purchase prices for puppies ranging from $800 to $1,500, depending on the breeder’s reputation, lineage, and location. However, this initial cost is just the beginning. Owners should also factor in expenses for vaccinations, regular veterinary check-ups, grooming, training, and high-quality dog food. Furthermore, unexpected health issues or emergencies can add to the overall cost. Over the dog’s lifetime, the total expenses can considerably exceed the initial purchase price, making it essential for potential Airedale owners to be prepared for both the initial and ongoing costs of ownership.

National Breed Club & Rescue

Adopting an Airedale Terrier? Whether you’re looking for resources, help in the adoption process, or just to connect with other fans of the breed, the Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA) is here for you. Established in 1900, the ATCA is recognized as the official AKC Parent Club and has a presence in each of the fifty United States as well as through its network of more than 450 rescue groups across the US.

The Airedale Terrier, also called the Airedale, is a breed of terrier originating from Airedale, Yorkshire, England. It is a large and hardy breed that stands between 22 and 24 inches tall at the shoulder and typically weighs between 50-70 pounds. It has a shorthaired coat that can be black with tan markings or simply tan in color. The Airedale is known as the “King of Terriers” and was originally bred to hunt game animals such as badgers and otters. They are loyal and devoted companions who thrive when given plenty of exercise, training and attention.

Airedale Terrier is a playful, intelligent and loyal breed. They are happiest with a job to do, whether it’s fetching toys, herding livestock or just being an active family companion. But like any pet, taking care of an Airedale Terrier means commitment and responsibility. They require proper exercise, training and socialization as well as providing essential needs such as nutrition and veterinary care.

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