Airedale Terrier Dog Breed Info

This breed, which used to be bred to hunt otters, is a strong dog that is also excellent at swimming. Named after the Aire Valley in Yorkshire, the powerful, large dog was trained to hunt waterfowl and badgers in addition to otters. It was probably bred in the mid-19th century from a cross between the Otterhound and one or more types of working terriers. It was first shown under the name Airedale Terrier in the 1880s. Before that he was also known as the Waterside Terrier.

Crossing Otterhound blood made the Airdale the largest terrier and used in a variety of jobs. Before the German shepherd outstripped him, he was often trained as a police dog. It was also used as a reporting, search and rescue dog during the First World War and proved to be adept at locating the wounded.

In the 1930s the Airedale became very fashionable, resulting in it being kept far more as a domestic dog than a working dog. It was then that people began to breed it more for its looks than for its usefulness. Since then, he has been less in demand as a companion dog because he places high demands on the owner.

Dogs of this breed should not be left alone for long and should be moved a lot. Tireless and intelligent, the Airedale needs to be kept busy, preferably with outdoor activities. It’s an excellent choice for someone who is very adventurous and wants a playmate or hiking partner. Airedales love to eat and, unlike other terriers, they also love to swim. However, without sufficient activity for body and mind, they can become angry and then inevitably bite, gnaw and dig.

These dogs are not difficult to train, but they mature slowly, so the training period lasts until their second birthday or longer. A well-trained and well-bred Airedale is worth the effort; Owners are rewarded with a docile, enthusiastic, and smart dog.


Its body is dark gray or black in color, while the head, ears, belly, and paws are tan. The long and narrow head has a flat forehead and an indistinct stop. The powerful snout ends in a black nose mirror. There are also small, dark eyes and small, V-shaped tipped ears. The tail is set high and carried erect, but not bent towards the back. It is usually docked so that it reaches the same height as the head.


The name probably refers to the “dale” of the River Aire in the English county of Yorkshire, Great Britain. The Airedale Terrier was bred in the last century by fishermen along the Aire River by crossing the Otterhound with the Black and Tan Terrier, a breed that is now extinct. Since then it has been used to hunt otters, rodents, and also as a retriever.

Gordon Setters and Scottish Shepherds are also said to have been crossed. The first mentions refer to him as “Waterside” or “Working Terrier”. In 1875 the first dogs of this breed were exhibited under the names “Waterside” or “Bingley Terrier”. It was not until around 1880 that the current designation “Airedale Terrier” was used at breed shows. The breed standard was recognized in 1886. These terriers were among the first dogs to see service in the British Army. During the First World War they were used as messengers in the trenches of Flanders.

Breeding and Distribution

The versatility of the Airedale Terrier, which allowed it to be kept as a service dog, tracking dog, medical service dog, and as a family and companion dog, ensured that is relatively common. Today it has become one of the most widespread terriers. Therefore, people who are interested in large dogs usually find pedigree dogs nearby.


Of course, proper grooming is also required to keep your dog healthy. To maintain the color and shine of Airedale’s coat, your hair should be trimmed regularly. Trimming removes dead hair and makes room for new, healthy hair. From the age of six months, this breed of dog should be trimmed three to four times a year, or about every three to four months. Or you can only trim specific parts of the body like the head, front and back legs, back, neck or back every four weeks. The advantage of this is that the Airedales does not have to last as long. If you trim the whole body at once, you won’t need three to four hours.


Kind and loyal, sincere and lively, the dog makes a perfect companion and guard dog. From time to time he tends to disobedience and must be lovingly but firmly guided by his master. The radiant appearance and the expectation of happiness showed it: This dog is ready for any adventure! There are few activities that this dog breed would not participate in. His lively and eager to learn about nature as well as his adaptability make it easier for his master to fulfill this wish. Whether it’s at the restaurant, at the dog field, on vacation, or on a family outing, the Airedale Terrier knows how to behave and what is expected of them.


Consistent training is important for the terrier, which tends to dominate. The basis for the typical terrier characteristics are love, trust, and understanding. However, in the event of excessive harshness or even violence, Airedale will tend to be adamant and likely do the opposite of what was intended. Fortunately, the likable Brit is very open-minded and people-oriented, which enables his owner to quickly gain his trust.

He then emerges as an extremely loving and cooperative partner to his family who is easily motivated. This dog is intelligent enough to quickly understand what is being asked of them. You should make the training as varied as possible because if the dog is always given the same command, he will quickly become stubborn. With the right training, Airedale Terriers can participate in a variety of canine sports.


Airedales are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Not all Airedales will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you’re considering this breed.

If you are buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you the health clearances for your puppy’s parents. Health clearances show that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a specific condition.

Hip dysplasia

This is an inherited disorder in which the femur does not fit snugly into the hip joint. Some dogs show pain and lameness in one or both hind legs, others show no outward signs of discomfort. (X-rays are the surest way to diagnose the problem.) In either case, arthritis can develop as the dog ages. Dogs with hip dysplasia should not be bred. So when you buy a puppy, ask the breeder for proof that the parents have been tested for hip dysplasia and have no problems.


Allergies are a common condition in dogs, and the Airdale is no exception. There are three main types of allergies: food allergies, which are treated by eliminating certain foods from the dog’s diet; Contact allergies caused by a reaction to a topical substance such as bedding, flea powder, dog shampoos, and other chemicals; and inhalant allergies caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, and mildew. Treatment varies depending on the cause and may include dietary restrictions, medications, and environmental changes.


This is a thyroid disorder. It is believed to be responsible for conditions such as epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin conditions. It is treated with medication and diet.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

This is a family of eye diseases in which the retina gradually deteriorates. At the onset of the disease, affected dogs become night blind; As the disease progresses, they lose their eyesight during the day. Many affected dogs adjust well to their limited or lost vision as long as their environment remains the same.

Umbilical hernia

At birth, this is a condition in which abdominal fat or internal organs protrude against the abdominal wall near the navel. If the hernia is small, it can be left untreated. Some small hernias will close spontaneously by the time the puppy is 6 months old, and some dogs will live with small hernias their entire lives without difficulty. Large hernias require surgery, which is often done while the dog is spayed or neutered. Surgery is used to prevent a more serious condition in which a loop of the intestine falls into the hernia, causing life-threatening strangulation of the intestine.

Von Willebrand disease

This is a blood disorder that occurs in both dogs and humans and affects the clotting process. An affected dog will have symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, persistent bleeding from surgery, persistent bleeding during heat cycles or post-puppy, and occasionally blood in the stool. This disorder is usually diagnosed between the ages of three and five and cannot be cured. However, it can be managed with treatments that include cautery or suturing injuries, transfusions before surgery, and avoidance of specific medications.

Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis

This disorder causes vomiting and diarrhea with either fresh or digested blood. This disorder occurs very quickly and the cause is unknown. Diagnosis is a process of elimination since many other diseases cause similar symptoms. Hemorrhagic gastroenteritis requires immediate medical attention. Although it runs its course within a few days, the dog will need to be treated with IV fluids to stay hydrated. As the dog becomes dehydrated, its red blood count will continue to rise until the blood becomes thick and slow-moving. This can cause another disorder that can spread intravascular coagulation and lead to death. The disorder is also treated with antibiotics and anti-ulcer drugs.


Recommended Daily Amount: 1.5 to 2.5 cups of high quality dry food per day, divided into two meals.

NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on their size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like humans, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog needs more than a couch potato dog. The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference – the better the dog food, the further it will contribute to your dog’s nutrition, and the less of it you have to shake into your dog’s bowl.

Keep your Airedale in good shape by measuring his food and feeding him twice a day, rather than skipping food all the time. If you’re not sure if he’s overweight, take the hands-on test.

Look down on him first. You should be able to see a waistline. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel, but not see, his ribs without having to push hard. If you can’t do that, he needs less food and more exercise.


Terriers are well known for their high energy. Because the Airedale is the largest of all terriers, this energy needs to be channeled safely. Luckily, Airedales love to play with other family members. A daily hour of moderate-length play, in addition to walks (or garden time) several times a day should be enough to meet the Airedale’s exercise requirements. Airedales play well with children, but interaction with toddlers and smaller children should be closely supervised. Airedales are fiery but strong; That strength combined with a boisterous personality can lead to mishaps.


Because of the Airedale’s size (he’s a medium-sized dog but the largest of the terrier breeds), strength, and ferocity, obedience training is highly recommended. At the very least, an Airedale should learn basic obedience commands like come, sit, and stay. The breed’s intelligence and the fact that they bond closely with family members can make training easier. Owners and trainers should remember that an intelligent dog is an easily bored dog, so varied training sessions are more successful than repetitive ones. Also, an easily bored dog often left alone for long periods of time, is prone to develop undesirable behaviors. It often helps to provide the dog with challenging toys that keep him happily occupied.


Dogs of this breed are also suitable for being kept in the apartment if they are sufficiently busy. However, whether it is suitable as a house dog or family dog ​​depends to a large extent on whether, in addition to consistent training, it also gets the species-appropriate activity and sufficient exercise. Therefore, daily walks should be supplemented with dog sports, hunting, or other activities. Dogs of this breed can also be well accompanied when jogging, cycling, inline skating, or horseback riding. A house with its own garden is definitely suitable for the energetic Airedale.


Once bred for otter hunting, the Airedale Terrier makes an excellent family dog ​​that is great fun not only for children but also for adults as it is well-balanced and sensitive to all types of play. Many Airedale Terriers are true clowns even as they get older and know how to inspire their people with their humor and lightheartedness. He has a particularly close relationship with children. He is not only an interesting playmate but also a reliable protector who will stand by them.

But as with any dog, he should not be left unsupervised with young children. These dogs also proved to be very peaceful with other dogs. Therefore, as long as early social activities are taken into account, no one will argue against a “multi-dog family.” If you live with smaller pets (like guinea pigs, hamsters, and rabbits) and cats, consider terriers’ innate hunting instincts.


An Airedale Terrier has a medium need for exercise. A long walk three times a day and then a little play and brainwork should be part of the obligatory program. The dogs are really wild about ball games, swimming, and fetching. When they are fully grown, they can also walk alongside the bike.

Owners need a sense of vigorous exercise and plenty of time for exercise. Airedales are elegant but have the tough, independent demeanor of many terriers.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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