Airedale Terrier: The King of Terriers

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
The Airedale Terrier is the largest among all terriers. Due to Airedale's size, this breed is named 'King of Terriers.' Read on to learn if this breed is really royal.
Dog Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs
21 to 23 inches tall at the shoulder
40 to 65 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 13 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

To dog lovers, Airedale Terrier is known as ‘The King of Terriers,’ because this terrier is the largest of all terriers.

The famous Airedale, originated in the valley (dale) of the River Aire, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.

This dog was originally bred to serve as a versatile hunting dog.

Duties for this dog expended over time, and farmers wanted a breed that could help them more than merely dealing with hunting, so Airedale has eventually become an all-around working farm dog.

In Britain, the Airedale Terriers were used as war dogs, police dogs, and guide dogs.

In the States, this breed was used to hunt big game, occasionally birds, and serve in many working roles.

Quick Facts

Real name: Airedale Terrier
Other names: Waterside Terrier, Bingley Terrier
Nicknames: Airedale, King of Terriers
Origin: England
Breed type: Terrier Group
Weight: 50-70 pounds
Height: 23 inches
Lifespan: 11-14 years
Litter size: Up to 9 puppies
Color: Black saddle with tan ears, legs, and head; dark grizzle saddle
Coat: Broken

Airedale Terrier History

Airedale originated from a small place, the Aire Valley, located less than a hundred miles from the Scottish border.

This breed was first bred in the 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, where factory mill and hands workers had difficult jobs to do. To ease some of it, they bred the King of Terriers – Airedale Terrier.

Dog lovers have been talking for decades that Airedale was bred by workingmen and not by royals.

Airedales were purposely created to be large in size, and fearless hunters. They were fitting dogs for a manufacturing community.

To create this unique breed, breeders had to mix many breeds, including Otterhound, Irish Terrier, Bedlington Terrier, and now -extinct breeds as the English Black and Tan Terrier.

Many claim that herding dogs, as well as retrievers and setters, were included in the making of this breed. During the First World War, this breed was busy serving in the British Armed Forces as sentries, guard dogs, and messengers.

Airedale owners already know that the breed’s versatility is exceptional. Today, they are mostly indoor pets, although some of them are still busy performing various jobs, such as being part of the K-9 force.

Airedale Terrier Physical Appearance

The Airedale has a classic terrier head with v-shaped ears and an erect docked tail. The whole body is well-balanced with little apparent difference between the length of the skull and face.

The head is longer and creating a charming expression. The neck is of moderate length, while the neck skin is tight, and never loose. The shoulders are long, and the depth of the chest is on a level with the elbows.

The back should always be short, level, and strong. Hindquarters should be strong and muscular, while the forelegs should be perfectly straight, powered with muscle and bone.

The feet should be small and round and well-cushioned. The coat is hard, dense, and wiry, lying straight across the body and legs. There is the presence of a shorter growth of softer hair termed the undercoat.

Airedale Terrier Personality

The Airedale is an independent, hard-working, and athletic dog with a lot of energy. He is prone to explore, dig into your back yard, and bark.

These behaviors are natural to terrier breeds, so if you aren’t sure how to deal with these characteristics better do your research or think about getting another breed.

Like with any breed, any behavior can be influenced as long as you are ready to invest enough time and energy into proper training.

If you get the Airedale without proper research first, you may expect some frustration, especially if you are vivid flowers with a breathtaking back yard garden and you see your Airedale spending his days digging countless holes.

Be sure that this breed is for you. The Airedale is an energetic breed, and he needs plenty of activity.

Don’t leave him alone too frequently and for a long period of time, or you will see how difficult anxiety can fall onto this breed.

They can easily get bored and in moments of boredom, they may be prone to destructive behavior and massive mischief.

This is a reliable watchdog, who loves protecting his family. With family and friends, he is calm and full of love and tenderness.

They can be aggressive toward other dogs, especially of the same gender, and isn’t the best option for families with cats or other pets, unless raised together.

Airedale Terrier Training

Positive reinforcement training is the key to every well-behaved dog. Due to airedale’s size, strength, and intelligence, obedience training is highly recommended.

Mastering the basic commands is a must, and training should start as soon as you welcome your airedale home.

Training this breed should be easy if you already have some experience with dog training. Even if you don’t, this breed will be happy to learn new things.

As long as training sessions and fun and interactive, your training will go fine. This breed may not be the best choice for first time dog owners, due to their size and happiness to dig.

When bored, Airelade will show you that, so always choose varied training sessions instead of repetitive ones.

Provide enough challenging toys and master indoor games that will keep him entertained and happy.

Airedale Terrier Exercise

This breed is known for high energy levels. Since this is the largest of all terriers, it’s important to channel that energy right.

Luckily, they love to play with family members and friends, making them the perfect choice for outdoor time.

Daily walks are mandatory, three times per day would be perfect if it’s an adult Airedale. There should be daily play sessions of moderate length, and constant training, next to walks to have a happy Airedale.

They play well with children, although it can’t hurt to educate your children on how to behave around dogs.

Teach them not to disturb your Airedale terrier, or any other dog while eating from his bowl, drinking water, or napping in his crate. Any playtime with toddlers and younger children should be supervised.

Airedale Terrier Grooming

You might be surprised to hear that Airedale terries doesn’t require much maintenance. This breed is blessed with a short and wiry coat that is easy to maintain.

All it takes is weekly brushing with the right grooming tools to keep his coat healthy and shiny.

Brushing is a great way to remove the dead skin, check your Airedale for fleas, and have some bonding time with your dog.

Some people with dog allergies even reported that they can easily share a space with this breed since they don’t shed much.

The rest is regular grooming, which should include teeth and gums weekly checking.

Nail trimming is mandatory to keep a dog’s paws safe. Bath Your Airedale only when really needed.

Don’t forget that dogs have different skin values than humans do, and they don’t need as much bathing as we do, so don’t overdo it since it can lead to various health issues that can be time-consuming and costly.

Airedale Terrier Health

Airedales are in general healthy dogs. If you are adopting one, you will get information on the current dog’s health, and if you are getting one from a breeder, make sure that you deal only with the responsible ones.

Responsible breeders will always scan dogs for major health concerns, such as hip and elbow dysplasia, and they will present your medical documentation.

If you are not getting any medical documentation on the dog, or if you aren’t allowed to meet puppies’ parents or see the place, be sure that you are standing in a puppy mill. If so, walk away.

As soon as you have your Airedale, make sure that you take him to the veterinarian’s office. This is the best way to know how healthy a dog is and if the papers are matching with his real health conditions.

Plus, an early introduction to the vet can make future veterinarian visits easier.

Keep the schedule on the vaccine, use parasite prevention regularly, and provide high-quality food that will keep your Airedale healthy and happy.

Learn how much you should feed your Arierdale, and discover which human foods should be off-limits.

Obesity in pets, is the rising problem in the States so stick to recommended food portions because weight gain can lead to serious health problems and expensive and frequent veterinarian visits.

If you have any concerns about your Airedale’s diet, talk to your veterinarian.

The Bottom Line

The Airedale Terrier is a perfect dog for you if you want a medium to large dog, with an athletic body and high energy level.

If you have time and energy to train this dog, he will do almost anything, there is no trick that this breed cannot master.

On the other hand, if you have a problem with hole digging, intense exercise requirement and braking, and destructive behavior, this might not be the dog for you.

Make sure that you explore the breed enough before you get a dog, and when you do provide enough socialization and proper training because this is the only way to have a well-behaved dog.

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