AKC Dog Breeds: Airedale Terrier

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Terrier Group
Height 22-24 inches  Weight 45-60 pounds Color tan with black (or dark grizzle) markings

The Airedale Terrier originates from Great Britain, and was once known as the Waterside or the Bingley Terrier. In the nineteenth century this breed was used for a number of purposes, such as military work, killing vermin, and hunting. This terrier was first registered with the AKC in 1888. The undisputed "King of Terriers," the Airedale Terrier is the largest and hardiest of the terriers, and an all around useful dog. The breed’s coat is hard, dense and wiry, with a softer undercoat, and comes in both tan and black and tan and grizzle. This breed was one of the first used for police duty in Germany and Great Britain and has also been popular with Presidents, including Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge.

General Appearance
The Airedale Terrier is a large terrier with a harsh wiry coat, long flat head, and a deep chest. Its hair is bristly and resistant to dampness, but it needs stripping. The well-balanced dog stands square, with a level top line and very straight front legs. The v-shaped ears fold slightly to the side and forward. The nose is black. The teeth should meet in a level or scissors bite. The tail is carried high and is customarily docked; left undocked it should be carried gaily, but should not curl over the back. Underneath the hard exterior of the coat, there is a softer undercoat. He has a distinctive face and expression, with a beard that will need to be kept well groomed.


The Airedale has a sweet disposition, but when challenged, is not afraid to stand up for himself.  The Airedale Terrier will usually do okay with children if they have early exposure and socialization, however they may play too rough for very small ones.  Intelligent, pleasant and loyal. Sensitive and responsive, he can be obedience trained at a high level. Airedale Terriers are fun-loving and playful  when they are puppies. Airedales will be happy to please you, if there is nothing more pressing in the environment. An Airedale is extremely loyal, but as an avid hunter you would have to be an ace trainer to get him to come away from a chipmunk even for raw steak! They are naturally lively and can be very rowdy if they do not receive enough daily mental and physical exercise. Train this dog not to jump on humans. The Airedale Terrier needs proper obedience training and an owner who knows how to be "Top Dog". The Airedale Terrier may have dominance challenges toward family members he sees as submissive. This can lead to willfulness and disobedience. They are not difficult to train, but they do not respond to harsh overbearing training methods. The Airedale Terrier is intelligent enough to perceive quickly what is required of it, but if you ask it to do the same thing over and over again it may refuse. Try to give it some variety to its training, making the exercise a challenge. They need a calm, but firm, confident and consistent handler. With the right handler, the Airedale Terrier can do well in various dog sports including defense dog trials. This breed generally gets along well with household cats and other animals, but they sometimes try to dominate other dogs. This depends upon the way the humans around the dog treat him, their training and the individual dog.

Airedales have a hard, short-haired, double coat. The hair should be plucked about twice a year, but for dogs that are to be shown, much more intensive grooming is needed. Trim excessive hair between the pads of the feet when necessary. The good news is that this is a breed that is a very light shedder providing that he is properly groomed on a regular basis. Of course, this means that you will need to dedicate some time to grooming your Airedale Terrier. You should make sure that his beard is combed on a daily basis to keep it clean and hygienic, and his bottom will need to be kept trimmed. For show dogs, stripping of the dead coat may be required every few months. For pet Airedales owners can opt for clipping. A stiff bristle brush should be used a few times a week in order to keep the dog's coat in good condition, and bathing is only required when necessary. Burrs stick in the coat and beard. The beard should be washed daily because of food residue.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
A very hardy breed, although some may suffer from eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections. If your Airedale Terrier has dry skin, he should be fed an adjusted omega-6/omega-3 fatty acid ratio in the diet. The life expectancy of the Airedale Terrier is around 10-14 years.

Activity Level

Airedales were bred for active work, and therefore need plenty of exercise. They need to be taken for long daily walks. Most of them love to play with a ball, swim, or retrieve objects and once fully grown will happily run alongside a bicycle. Without enough attention and exercise the Airedale Terrier will become restless and bored and will usually get itself into trouble. The exercise requirement can go down somewhat after the first two years (as with many dogs) but the first two years with an Airedale are very strenuous on the human. Then they start to get much more mellow. .


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