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Airedale Terrier Temperament: Forever young

Airedale Terriers are a breed of dog known for their intelligence, courage and high energy level. They will spread happiness daily and have come a long way since hunting rats and otters.

They have become popular family pets because of their friendly disposition to people and children. Before plunging into decisions, you should also read about the challenges and difficulties with the breed to ensure you're prepared for everything that comes with owning an Airedale Terrier.

This article will detail everything you need to know about this fantastic pup to decide if the Airedale Terrier is a breed for you. Let's dive in!

Running Airedale Terrier in Gras
A running Airedale Terrier is probably a common sight when spending the day with an Airedale

History of Airedale Terriers

The history of the Airedale Terrier starts in the Aire River Valley in England, where they were used for hunting large rats and otters. Their job was to keep the population in check.

While there is not much written about the origin of the Airedale Terrier, it's assumed that they were bred from Black and Tan terriers and Otterhounds. Many people couldn't afford to have a more miniature terrier against the rats or the large and powerful Otterhound for the water work. The Airedale was the perfect Terrier who solved both problems.

Many other breeds were used to further strengthen the endurance and trainability of this dog breed, like the Collie or the Olde English Bull Terrier.

In early 1900, the dog became popular in America, and president Warren G. Hardings Airedale Terrier "Laddie Boy" became a favourite White House Celebrity pet with regular updates in the newspaper.

Airedales were also used in both World Wars to carry messages across trenches. Unfortunately, it is believed that nearly 3000 Airlies died in the process. However, it shows their loyalty, excellent trainability and unwavering courage.

The average longevity of the Airedale Terrier is around 12 years. However, some have been known to live as long as 16 years. Airedale Terriers typically weigh 22-26 kg (48-60 lbs) for males and 18-23 kg (39-50 lbs) for females. Therefore, they are a relatively large breed of dog, with the male being taller than the female. As a result, Airedales are the largest terrier breed, also called the "King of Terriers".

The Airedale has a distinctive 'otter' head, dark round eyes and long ears that usually hang down to the cheeks. They have a broad, deep chest compared to most breeds of dogs, as well as muscular legs and feet that are rounded rather than oval-shaped like many other terriers. Their short coat has a coarse texture, and the British Kennel Club recognises two standard breed colours: Black and Tan and Black and Gold.

Grizzle is the unique colouring of Airedale Terriers with fawn or brindle hair mixed through their coats to give an overall grizzled appearance. It's this colour variation that makes them so distinctive! Because they have thick skins, Airedales require regular grooming to prevent matting. They shed twice a year.

In 2022, fewer Airedales were registered with the UK Kennel Club than last year. Q2 2022 saw 140 Airedales registered.

Q1 2021

Q2 2021

Q3 2021

Q4 2021

Total 2021

Q1 2022

Q2 2022

Q3 2022









Source: January 2023

What is it like to live with an Airedale Terrier

Airedales are brilliant dogs and are considered one of the most trainable and versatile breeds. They are also known for their high energy levels and love of playing fetch, so expect to spend plenty of time exercising your Airedale if you bring him or her home!

Airedales are very protective of their property and family. They are affectionate and can get a bit jealous of you. This dog will enjoy being around you and requires a lot of love and attention. It's important to socialise your Airedale from an early age. Due to their protective nature, they can be a bit standoffish with strangers. Putting them into different situations at a young age and meeting new people will make your Airedale grow into a well-rounded and amicable dog.

They are typically good with children and other animals, but as with any breed of dog, it is essential to socialise with them from a young age to ensure they are friendly with all people and pets.

The Airedale requires a lot of exercise, typically between one and two hours per day. They are not the best choice for people who live in apartments or tiny homes, as they need plenty of space to run around and play. A bored dog is a recipe for the naughty stuff to start, and an Airedale can get bored quickly. They were bred to work, and that's when they're at their best.

Switching up walking routes is a good idea so your Airedale can sniff different smells and run in other surroundings.

As with most Terriers, they are prone to barking a lot, digging in the garden and destructive chewing if bored. In addition, Airedales can sometimes portray aggression towards same-sex Airedales. However, they are very confident dogs and not on the timid side. For this reason, it can be a challenging dog for novice dog lovers. The new owner would need to train the Airedale with a lot of dedication, time and patience.

You should also be aware that although they have a people-orientated side, they will sometimes choose to think for themselves, which they were bred to do.

As a slowly maturing breed, don't expect your Airedale to slow down anytime soon. Even senior Airedales still portray a lot of energy.

This dog is definitely right for you if you're looking for a jogging or hiking companion. Their stamina is breathtaking as they're considered working dogs and a good breed for agility training. To tire out your Airedale, play tug of war and fetch.

Brushing the coat twice a week should be enough to keep the coat of the Airedale up to a shiny standard. They don't tend to shed a lot, and the coat is easy to maintain.

To prevent matting of the coat around their neck, try to buy natural materials for your dog collars like leather, hemp, cotton or linen. These are breathable and very suitable dog collars for sensitive skin.

Airedale Terriers are an affectionate and intelligent breed that make great pets for active families. They require a lot of exercise but are well-suited to life in a house with a yard. As with all breeds of dog, it is essential to research before bringing an Airedale into your home to ensure they are the right pet for you! However, with proper care, patience and time, an Airedale can make a great addition to any family and will probably improve your fitness!

Airedale Terrier looking in a camera
The Airedale looks like a little teddy bear

Airedale Terrier characteristics in a nutshell

  • An intelligent breed that matures slowly

  • Require plenty of exercises (at least an hour per day)

  • Good with children

  • Can be pretty stubborn and think for themselves, so need early training

  • Affectionate and loyal

  • A high-energy dog that needs plenty of exercises

  • Has the affinity for barking, digging and chasing

Potential diseases in the Airedale Terrier breed

As a new owner, you should be prepared to pay medical expenses associated with the breed. In addition, the size of this dog will make medical treatment expenses. Thus, always opt for comprehensive insurance.

While not all ADT will experience these conditions, it is crucial to be aware of them if you consider adding an Airedale Terrier to your family. Some common health concerns in Airedales include:

  • Cancer

  • Hip dysplasia is a condition in which the hip joint does not develop normally, often causing pain and lameness.

  • Elbow dysplasia: a condition in which the elbow joint does not develop normally, often leading to lameness.

Most diseases are inherited in a recessive manner. It means the puppy must inherit both parents' genes to become affected. The puppy becomes a carrier if the mutation is only present in one parent. Hence, choosing a reputable breeder who has done genetic testing on their litters is vital.

The more aware you are of these diseases, the higher the chances you can prolong your dog's life if problems arise. Same as with your child, be mindful of all required vaccinations and risks outside your home. This blog post, for example, outlines all toxic spring plants that can harm your dog.

Many dog owners are unaware of the danger in some pet toys and accessories that can worsen health issues when they innocently buy cheap products from the Far East. Avoid synthetic rubber play things like chew bones or tug of war ropes from polyester; polyester collars could cause skin irritation while nylon leads absorb your pup's skin over time! Swap those harmful materials with our eco-friendly pet products alternatives here at Hooman's Friend.

Airedale Terrier Fun Fact

An Airedale Terrier named Jack received the Victoria Cross, the highest honour in the United Kingdom, for his heroic mission in delivering a message from a cut-off battalion. Despite severely injuring himself, Jack had the news and saved the division. Unfortunately, Jack later died due to his injuries during his mission. A faithful hero dog.

Conclusion: Is the Airedale Terrier right for you?

These dogs have a lot going for them. The Airedale Temperament fits well into families with children. They are loyal to their family and make for excellent watchdogs. Airedales will bring much love, laughs and mischief into your life.

Their temperament can also be very confident and thinking off their feet, making them stubborn. Their high energy requires an owner who shares the love of outdoor activities, and you need a lot of patience and time to train your pup into a well-rounded adult. However, if you have the time to dedicate to them and have lots of energy, we believe the Airedale fits into your lifestyle.

Hear the voices of owners

"They are just so full of love...but still head strong.
Like a real living teddy bear...when they sit, they are full of pride, they have this manner..."royalty like"...almost. They are not like everyday ordinary dog breeds.... they are special"

To learn more about other dog breeds, check related articles or sign up for our newsletter here. This will also trigger a code for 15% off your first order of our eco-friendly pet products. We are working hard to add all dog breeds as soon as possible to have an extensive library!

Airedale Breed Information



Dog Size


Dog Weight


Bitch Size


Bitch Weight






Tendency to drool


Energy level

Very high

Tendency to bark


Tendency to dig


Attention need


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