Let's talk Airedale Terriers

Confident, friendly and intelligent, the Airedale Terrier is also one of the biggest members of the terrier family and a gung-ho all-rounder. These wiry black-and-tan beauties have turned their paw to a wide variety of missions over the years: searching for wounded soldiers in the World War One battlefields, delivering messages and serving as police and guard dogs. But, as long as Airedale Terriers get plenty of exercise, they’ll be just as content as a family dog.

Official name: Airedale Terrier 

Origins: Aire Valley (also known as Airedale), Yorkshire, north of England

Black and white portrait of a Airedale Terrier lying down
 Drooling tendencies

Very low

Warm weather? Medium
 Shedding level Suited to apartment living?  Medium
 Energy Level (high, low, medium)* High Family Pet?* 
 Compatibility with other pets High Can stay alone?*

 * We advise against leaving pets alone for long stretches. Companionship can prevent emotional distress and destructive behaviour. Speak to your veterinarian for recommendations.

Every pet is different, even within a breed; this snapshot of this breed specifics should be taken as an indication.
For a happy healthy and well-behaved pet, we recommend educating and socializing your pet as well as covering their basic welfare needs (and their social and behavioral needs.
Pets should never be left unsupervised with a child.
Contact your breeder or veterinarian for further advice.
All domestic pets are sociable and prefer company.  However, they can be taught to cope with solitude from an early age.  Seek the advice of your veterinarian or trainer to help you do this.



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58 - 61 cm Height
23 - 29 kg Weight
56 - 60 cm Height
18 - 20 kg Weight

 Baby age  Birth to 2 months
 Puppy age  2 to 12 months
 Adult age 1 to 7 years
 Mature age 7 to 10 years
 Senior age  From 10 years

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Get to know the Airedale Terrier

All you need to know about the breed

War hero, swim champion, police dog, messenger, guard dog – is there anything the Airedale Terrier can’t do? “Sit still for five minutes” might be the answer to that rhetorical question. Among the biggest of the terriers, with wiry black-and-tan coats and shaggy beards, Airedale Terriers date back to 19th century northern England and are popular today both as family pets as well as working dogs.

Airedale Terriers are high-energy, lively, alert dogs with impressive strength. But once trained, with that abundant energy safely channelled into exercise, exercise, more exercise and games, Airedale Terriers do make excellent family pets. They’re patient with children, sociable and fun. After all, even athletic all-rounders and dutiful war heroes need some downtime. As well as the daily walks and runs they need to remain contented and fit, Airedale Terriers relish the chance to play chasing games or have fun with a ball.  These friendly-faced dogs benefit from having an enclosed space to run around in.

With a strong prey drive, a hangover from their river-splashing origins, Airedale Terriers might find chasing other dogs or other small animals hard to resist. They also love digging. And chewing. Training your Airedale Terrier will take patience and consistent effort, but it can certainly be done and the efforts will pay off, leaving you with a friendly high-energy pet who is always up for playing – never a dull moment.  

Airedale Terrier standing in front of a bush


2 facts about Airedale Terriers

1. Paw Patrol

Airedale Terriers are heroes: in World War One, an Airedale Terrier named Jack is said to have picked up the UK’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, (sadly posthumously) after he braved the trenches and, despite being injured by shrapnel, delivered a message that saved a cut-off battalion. Airedale Terriers still serve as police dogs in countries including Germany and the Netherlands today. 

2. First dog 

Airedale Terriers have friends in high places. No fewer than three U.S. Presidents (Woodrow Wilson, Warren G Harding and Calvin Coolidge to be precise) had Airedale Terriers as pets – with its overachieving nature, it’s probably no surprise that this breed ended up in the White House, rather than the doghouse. 


History of the breed

Energetic, muscular Airedale Terriers come from the Aire Valley – also known as Airedale – in Yorkshire, northern England. Great swimmers, Airedale Terriers were first bred in the 19th century, at the height of the industrial revolution, by factory workers who trained them to catch rats and other vermin in and around local rivers.

Their exact origins are unclear – ancestors may include Otterhounds, English Black and Tan Terriers, Setters, Retrievers and even some herding dogs. But it’s often the secret ingredients that make a great recipe and in this case, the result was intelligence, bravery, energy and determination, a combination which quickly saw Airedale Terriers put to use on the battlefields of World War One, where they provided vital help to their human comrades, delivering messages and medical supplies, as guard dogs and by searching for wounded soldiers. Airedale Terriers are still in service in police forces in some countries today.

Black and white portrait of an Airedale Terrier


From head to tail

Physical characteristics of Airedale Terriers

1. Coat

Dense, wiry black-and-tan coat

2. Muzzle

Square-jawed muzzle with shaggy beard

3. Ears

V-shaped ears that fold over forwards

4. Look

Sturdy, muscular appearance

5. Tail

High, short yet expressive tail

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Things to look out for

From specific breed traits to a general health overview, here are some interesting facts about your Airedale Terrier
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Treasure hunt

Everyone needs a hobby: when they’re not bouncing around, running or chasing, Airedale Terriers love collecting treasure. Having said that, their definition of treasure might not be the same as yours: don’t be surprised if odd socks, children’s toys or other goodies end up in their stash. They also enjoy digging, so if your Airedale Terrier is left to get bored you might find that those freshly planted bulbs are “rearranged”. You have been warned.  

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Hip issues

The Airedale Terrier is a generally healthy dog, but can be prone to certain health problems, including spondylosis deformans, a condition which affects the bones of the spine, through the growth of bony spurs, and which can lead to stiffness, restricted motion and pain. The breed can also develop flank alopecia – the loss of patches of fur, often during the winter. Regular check-ups with the vet are advised to keep your Airedale Terrier in good health and spot this or any other health issue early on. 

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Caring for your Airedale Terrier

Grooming, training and exercise tips

It’s no surprise that a dog known for rescuing lost humans has a lot of energy. But Airedale Terriers really do have a LOT of energy and owners need to provide plenty of exercise: walks and runs, chasing games and ideally an enclosed space for general terrier-ing around. To keep that impressive coat in beautiful condition, your Airedale Terrier will need regular grooming: once a week at home and a trip to the grooming salon every few months should do it. Don’t scrimp on the training. Lively Airedale Terriers need it to be sure they get on well with others – humans and dogs alike. All that energy and can-do-attitude needs to be channelled. Airedale Terriers need mental stimulation as well as physical exercise. Activities such as obedience and agility training or playing games will stop them getting bored and chewing up your old socks. 

All about Airedale Terriers

Although they are not among the breeds most known for it, Airedale Terriers’ thick curly coats do shed, and they need regular grooming both by their owners and through trips to the doggy salon, to keep their black-and-tan curls in order.

Airedale Terriers are not known to be aggressive, but they are brave, lively, confident and alert. Once trained, they make reliable, friendly – and did we mention this already? – energetic family dogs. 


1 - Veterinary Centers of America https://vcahospitals.com/ 

2 - Royal Canin Dog Encyclopaedia. Ed 2010 and 2020

3 - Banfield Pet Hospital https://www.banfield.com/

4 - Royal Canin BHN Product Book

5 - American Kennel Club https://www.akc.org/