9 Things to Know About the Adventurous Airedale

The Airedale Terrier is a large breed known for being friendly, courageous, and clever. Yet, there are some things potential owners need to know about this challenging breed.

Jan 30, 2024By Thalia Oosthuizen
things to know about the adventurous airedale terrier

Known as the “King of the Terriers,” this regal pup hails from the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England, and just as its nickname suggests, it’s a very regal breed of dog. If you’re looking for an intelligent dog, one that’s loyal to a fault and with the distinctive appearance of a royal, then look no further. The Airedale Terrier is the dog for you!

The Airedale is Bigger Than Your Average Terrier

Airedale Terrier Standing on Grass Lawn
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The Airedale Terrier is one of the largest of the terrier breeds, and its size and stature definitely set it apart from its fellow terriers. How big do they really get? Answering this question is important for any prospective dog owner, as it can determine how suitable your home is for whatever breed you’re choosing to bring into it. Well, these terriers can get pretty big. Males typically stand 21 to 23 inches at the shoulders, and females range between 20 and 22 inches.

These dogs look impressive beyond simply their size; they are also robust with speed and agility that add to a well-proportioned physique. The dogs have a straight back and deep chest, which makes them look very powerful. Not only do they look powerful, but they truly are also powerful, which is reflected in the rich history of the canine as a formidable working dog.

The King of the Terriers Comes From England

Airedale Terrier Sitting in Forest with Sunset
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There are many dog breeds in the world, some with verifiable histories, lineages, and traceable reasons for being bred in the first place. The Airedale Terrier stands proud among these, with a rich history that can be traced before the First World War.

The Aire Valley had a vermin problem, and the community’s solution was to breed a dog that would eradicate the pests. The solution: The Airedale Terrier. Thus, the early role of the breed was as a skilled hunter of both otters and rats. This shaped the terrier’s versatile abilities and gave the dog its working roots. It turned out that the breed was highly intelligent and very trainable, which led to its integration into diverse roles.

Moving on, the dogs played a very big role in World War I, where they showed off their adaptability and courage by being messengers and guard dogs. Today, the dog still makes itself very useful to us by doing police work, search-and-rescue missions, and even excelling in breed-specific sports.

The Fur-tastic Airedale Is Always in Vogue

Airedale Terrier Running Across Field
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The Airedale Terrier is a double-coated beauty with a dense, wiry outer layer that disguises a softer undercoat. This isn’t the only thing that makes the breed such a looker; they also have a very distinctive coloration - a tan head, ears, and legs that contrast beautifully with a dark grizzled body. But the most notable feature of the King of the Terriers is the saddle-like markings on its back.

Because of the nature of its thick, luscious coat, this terrier needs very regular grooming to prevent matting and to remove loose hair. By incorporating a regular grooming schedule into your routine, you can make sure that your Airedale Terrier has a healthy, shiny coat that will make you the envy of all your fellow dog owners. Good news, though! The Airedale does not shed excessively, making this hypoallergenic pal great for people with allergies.

Airedale Terriers Have a Lot of Energy

Airedale Terrier Standing on Grass Panting
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Other than their highly intelligent nature, another hallmark of the breed is its spirited personality, which is akin to a tornado blasting through your living room. And though we all love an energetic dog (and perhaps one that can keep up with a hoard of children), it can be a daunting challenge to those who are unfamiliar with just how spirited they can get.

Because of the dog’s intelligence, energy, and independent streak, second to none, it may sometimes come across as quite stubborn. As the owner of an Airedale Terrier, you need to be prepared to channel its energy into more constructive outlets; regular exercise, mental stimulation, and a lot of positive reinforcement when trick training is needed.

Once you have harnessed all that energy, you will have a confident and outgoing companion who will be the talk of the town. They are quick learners, very eager to please their owners and have a sense of humor that fits their intelligent personalities.

The Einstein of the Terrier World

Airedale Terrier Lying on Concrete Floor
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This medium-size dog makes the perfect pet for people who like having an intelligent canine companion. As a pet owner, you will notice this intelligence during training; they are remarkably able to learn commands. It’s a matter of one, two, three, and they'll be sitting, rolling, and playing dead.

You have to realize, though, that as with everything in life, it can’t all be good. With this dog’s smarts comes an independent streak that may just drive you up the walls. This terrier will not be very receptive to mindless repetition, and you will need to employ effective training techniques and make sure to apply them consistently.

Above all, you need to understand that this is not simply a “fetch-the-stick” breed, and you will need to mentally stimulate your terrier to keep it happy.

Airedale Terriers Are Social Butterflies

Airedale Terrier with Harness Sitting in Yard
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Because of their sociable and friendly nature, Airedale Terriers form very strong bonds with their families. As the owner of an Airedale Terrier, you need to realize that if you want these social bonds to stretch beyond just the interactions with the immediate family, you will have to start socializing them with other animals and people from a very young age.

It is also important to note that they have a rather unique aspect to their temperament: a strong prey drive. What does this mean? They will chase anything, and when we say anything, we mean everything - birds, cats, dogs, even small children.

By exposing them to a variety of environments and settings from the time they are small puppies, you will help shape them into a well-adjusted and well-mannered addition to your family rather than one who only spreads destruction.

Airedale Health Considerations

Airedale Terrier Dog Running Across Field
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This breed tends to be a hardy dog, not one to fall ill easily, but as with all breeds, they are susceptible to specific health issues. There are a few common concerns that you need to look out for, and these include hip dysplasia - a hereditary condition that affects the hip joints, and allergies, which may manifest as itching and other common skin issues.

Don’t be discouraged and start thinking that the breed may be too much of a responsibility for you. There are steps that you can take to combat some common dog health problems. The first step to mitigating these concerns is responsible breeding choices: health screenings for breeding partners are a must.

More than this, you need to make sure your dog is on a highly nutritional diet. They need to be on a regular exercise schedule, and you need to take them for regular checkups with a veterinarian who is informed on the specific health concerns of your Airedale Terrier.

Airedale Terriers Are Great for Families

Airedale Terrier Dog and Owner Walking Down Path
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Airedale Terriers are the perfect family dog, and they build very strong bonds with all members, including the children. We have mentioned before that they need to be supervised around very small children since they have a boisterous nature, which can be overwhelming around very young kids.

They do make the perfect playmates for older children, though. With their fierce loyalty and their protective nature, they make excellent guardians who will always alert you to any potential threats.

Be prepared to invest your time and energy into both mental and physical activities, or you’ll have a bored pup on your hands, and a bored pup causes chaos. If you are thinking of adding this furry companion to your brood, make sure that you look after its body and mind, and you’ll have a loyal family member for life.

Airedales Make Good Watchdogs

Airedale Terrier Playing in River Water
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These dogs have been bred for years to be watchdogs in many different capacities, from guarding soldiers during the First World War to guarding homes in modern times. As such, their territorial nature and instinct have developed over the years, and today, we have a dog that is fiercely protective.

But beware! Without thoughtful management, these protective behaviors can take on an overzealous nature and may become too much to handle. Early socialization is key to teaching your dog manners and proper behavior in public.

Airedale Terriers Make Great Pets

Airedale Terrier Running on a Snow Covered Ground
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The King of the Terriers is a well-deserved nickname for this dog breed. With its regal looks, intelligent demeanor, and energetic temperament, this is a dog that will make any pet owner proud. And, yes, you may face a few challenges because of its spirited nature, but we are here to assure you that it is well worth all of the effort.

You will find the rewards of owning this dog immeasurable, and we guarantee there will be no regrets. All you need is a bit of guidance, effective training, and lots of love, and you will have a loyal and affectionate companion that will make all your pet owner dreams come true.

Thalia Oosthuizen
By Thalia Oosthuizen

Thalia has been a freelance writer for over a decade and a dog (and animal) lover for over 30 years. She grew up on a farm where, at one stage, she had 15 dogs. She currently has one dog, Avery - an adorable pavement special with an extra toe on each foot, and two rescue cats - Boris and Mango. In her spare time, Thalia enjoys running, cycling, swimming, and reading