Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier Breed description: Character & Co

Airedale Terrier

Life expectancy
10 - 12

What is the origin of the Airedale Terrier?

Airedale Terriers come from a valley in central England near the river Aire. This is where the term Airedale derives from. The hunting and family dog is the result of crossbreeding different breeds. Mainly several terrier breeds, Collies and Otterhounds contributed to its present appearance. In the beginning they were called Bringley Terrier and thanks to his versatility they were used in various different work fields. These robust and extremely intelligent dogs proved themselves as reliable rescue and reporting dogs during the world wars. Today, the Airedale Terrier acts as a family dog, sports dog, guide dog for the blind, avalanche or protection dog.

What are the breed characteristics of Airedale Terriers?

The breed characteristics are listed in the FCI Group 3 in Section 1.

The Airedale Terrier is one of the largest Terrier breeds and therefore deserves the name "King of Terriers". It is a muscular and compact dog that is well-proportioned. His skull is long and flat with the chaps being close to the face. The strong jaw and flat cheeks are characteristic for the breed. They have small dark eyes that look at you with a typical terrier expression. Their ears are V-shaped and carried on their sides. The short and straight back, the muscular loins and the deep chest complete the overall picture.

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Dog,Mammal,Vertebrate,Dog breed,Canidae,Puppy,Carnivore,Black and tan terrier,Snout,Companion dog, Airedale Terrier lying on a green meadow, brown black dog with curls and tilt ears, big dog similar to fox terrier Airedale Terrier in portrait with his whole body, stature of an Airedale Terrier dog male with curled tail and tipped ears, big brown dog with wavy coat Airedale Terrier dogs lying in threes on a meadow, brown black dog with tilt ears look similar to dog breed fox terrier, large dog breed with curls
Alternate Name Airdale Terrier
Origin England
Life expectancy 10 - 12 years
Care requirements low-maintenance
Activity level high
FCI group Large and medium sized Terriers
AKC group Terrier Group
KC group Terrier Group

What are typical characteristics of Airedale Terriers?

They combine robustness and elegance. Their lovable nature and strong nerves make them the perfect family dog for both young and old. Despite their temperament, they are very eager to learn, which makes them suitable for different kinds of training. They show themselves to be extremely alert when it comes to protecting their house and family. They are also extremely loyal souls that want to please their master. Their innate passion for hunting can be kept under control with a sensitive training approach. 

What should be considered when keeping Airedale Terriers?

In general, Airedale Terriers are not very suitable for first-time dog owners due to their hunting instinct and their strongly developed self-confidence. They quickly take the lead if they are not trained in a consistent way.

Their lively mind needs to be kept busy with different kinds of stimulation. There are many ways in which you can satisfy their urge to move.

This includes

  • taking them on bicycle trips together,
  • jogging,
  • running besides the horse or
  • training on the agility course.

However, you should refrain from rough treatment or overly strict words. This is something that won't work with them.

As with many breeds that have wiry hair, you have to take care of the Airedale Terriers' grooming. You should have their coat trimmed regularly about every three months. This bring the advantage of them shedding almost no hair with it. Clipping is not recommended, since this way the coat will lose its special colour and will look soft and shaggy.

Airedale Terrier brown black and white on the chest puppy, small puppy with rough hair coat, rough haired dog, dog with curls

What are typical diseases of Airedale Terriers?

They are considered to be very robust dogs. Nevertheless, 

  • hip joint dysplasia may occur. This is an acquired or congenital malformation of the acetabulum, which can have
  • lameness as a result. Other abnormalities are a predisposition to
  • retinal diseases or
  • dermatitis (inflammatory reaction of the skin).

What to consider in regards to Airedale Terrier breeding?

Airedale Terrier breeders must ensure that aggressive or frightened dogs are excluded from breeding. Dogs with physical abnormalities or behavioural disorders should also not pass on their genes. Breeders can only obtain a breeding license if they work with healthy animals.

Special features if you are interested in an Airedale Terrier

Once you have decided to give the Airedale Terrier puppy a new home, there are other places to go besides the classic breeding club that specialises in the placement of puppies. Ask for example at animal shelters or animal welfare associations, because there are always Airedale Terriers in need. Another address is the Airedale Klub für Terrier e. V. which also publish information about dogs in need under the tab "Mediation". Here you also can find further information on buying an Airedale Terrier.

In any case, you will end up as the proud owners of a very smart dog, whose relatives have already been allowed to live in the house of actor John Wayne or US President Calvin Coolidge.

Airedale Terrier dog

They have a hard and dense coat, which does not look shaggy. It can be slightly wavy, but falls flat and smooth on the body. Their top coat is generally tighter than the shorter and softer undercoat.

Most parts of the body are tan. Only the bridge of the nose, neck and the top of the tail are greyish or black in colour. Some animals have white hairs on their front legs.

How big does the Airedale Terrier get?

The males reach a withers height of 58 cm - 61 cm. Their female conspecifics are somewhat smaller measuring 56 cm - 59 cm.

How much does an Airedale Terrier weigh?

An adult dog weighs between 22 kg and 30 kg.

What age does an Airedale Terrier reach?

Life expectancy is about ten to twelve years. Factors such as keeping, feeding and the health of the dog naturally play a decisive role in this.

Fur length -
Fur -
Ear shape Tilt-ear
Tail short
Anatomy sporty, square
Size ♀ 56 - 59 cm
Weight ♀ 18 - 22 kg
Size ♂ 58 - 61 cm
Weight ♂ 22 - 30 kg
Suitable For -


Airedale Terrier in portrait with his whole body, stature of an Airedale Terrier dog male with curled tail and tipped ears, big brown dog with wavy coat
Airedale Terrier dogs lying in threes on a meadow, brown black dog with tilt ears look similar to dog breed fox terrier, large dog breed with curls
Airedale Terrier brown black and white on the chest puppy, small puppy with rough hair coat, rough haired dog, dog with curls
  • Hypothyroidism

    Hypothyroidism is a condition in dogs where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. This can lead to a slowed metabolic rate, weight gain, fatigue, hair loss and other symptoms.

  • Kidney disease

    Symptoms of kidney disease in dogs: increased urination (polyuria) increased water intake. Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the mouth. Loss of appetite

  • Eye diseases

    Often occur with allergies and intolerances.

  • Skin inflammations

    Can be hereditary in certain breeds.

Sources and relevant links

FCI Rassestandard

Accessed on 06.03.2023


Accessed on 06.03.2023

Accessed on 06.03.2023

Klub für Terrier e.V.

Accessed on 06.03.2023

Williams Haynes (2022). The Airedale. DigiCat.

Claudia Kaiser (2021). Airedale Terrier Erziehung. Expertengruppe Verlag.

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