Airedale Terrier Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs

Middle Age: 5 years

Senior Age: 7 years

Geriatric Age: 10 years

Life Span: 10 to 13 years

Airedale Terrier History & Background

Originating from Yorkshire, England, the Airedale Terrier is the largest of all Terriers. Back in the day, they were used to protect, either as a watchdog, police dog, or even a war dog. They were also notoriously famous for hunting rats along the Aire River in England for local Yorkshiremen. The Airedale Terrier is a strong and fearless dog. Their muscular built has made them a great hunting dog for

The Airedale Terrier is a strong and fearless dog. Their muscular built has made them a great hunting dog for small and large game. Even more impressive than their high stature, is their iconic beard that gives them their unique look. This breed is brave yet playful, making it an excellent dog for a household pet.

Airedale Terrier Personality & Behavior

Intelligent, outgoing, and confident are the Airedale Terrier’s main defining characteristics. They may be a lot to handle as rambunctious puppies, but eventually they mature into obedient and trustworthy guardians. Having other pets in the picture is not an issue considering the Airedale Terrier is loving and welcoming to all animals.

Is the Airedale Terrier Hard to Train?

Not only do these dogs need plenty of exercise, but they also need to be mentally stimulated on a regular basis. Basic command training is necessary to teach these dogs normal canine manners. As said before, they are easily bored so training and other thinking games are critical for keeping their behavior in check.

From the very beginning, their owner needs to establish dominance and superiority. This can be done through behavioral and obedience training. If not, the Airedale Terrier will try to act as the alpha male, and be over-protective towards close family members.

Exercise Requirements for the Airedale Terrier

This breed of Terrier loves to get outdoors. With their origins in hunting, they are fast and athletic, perfect running or walking companions. Daily exercise is a must to keep their physical and mental state at a high.

If you are looking for a laid-back and casual dog, then the Airedale Terrier may not be the best fit for you and your lifestyle. This breed does best when they have plenty of yard space where they can run and play all day.

Also, keep in mind that these dogs can easily become bored. If they are not getting enough exercise, they may begin to bark, chew, or destroy your home.

Lifespan & Longevity of the Airedale Terrier

The life span of the Airedale Terrier is around 10-13 years.

Airedale Terrier Popularity

The Airedale Terrier gained popularity after assisting in many war efforts. In 1949, the American Kennel Club ranked this dog the 20th most popular breed in the U.S. Unfortunately, this ranking has since declined. Now the breed is currently ranked in the 55th spot.

Feeding Requirements for the Airedale Terrier

When it comes to an appropriate diet for the Airedale Terrier, age and size are two important factors that should be considered. On average,  1.5 to 2.5 cups of high-quality food is recommended daily. Consult with a veterinarian to create the right feeding regimen that best fits your dog. Keep in mind that fresh water should always be readily available, especially for the Airedale Terrier who requires plenty of physical activity.

How to Groom an Airedale Terrier

Although this breed is fairly low-maintenance when it comes to their grooming, regular brushing is necessary to keep their coat in good condition. In order to reduce shedding, the Airedale Terrier should have their coat clipped 3-4 times a year. While your pet is at the groomers, they should be getting their nails trimmed and ears checked for possible infection.

Are Airedale Terriers Good With Children?

As said before, the Airedale Terrier is the perfect companion. Although they may be active, they are also loving and compassionate which makes them a great breed for kids. This breed behaves best when they are raised with small children from the beginning. Parent supervision is always recommended, no matter how controlled your pet is.

Health Issues With Airedale Terriers

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia: About 11% of Airedale Terriers develop a hip or elbow dysplasia within their life. Dysplasia occurs when abnormal formation develops in an area of the body. This can cause lameness, pain, crippling, or cancer if gone untreated.
  • Bleeding Disorders: Hemophilia B and von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) are both disorders that are common in this breed. Hemophilia is severe and genetically inherited as a sex-linked recessive, just like it is with humans. A DNA test is available that can determine proper diagnosis for the disease. Unfortunately, there is no test available for vWD. However, it is an inherited recessive.
  • Heart complications: About 13% of Airedales have a heart murmur, which could be due to a variety of congenital defects. Being diagnosed with a heart murmur is not a serious threat. It should still be regulated by a veterinarian. In more severe cardiac complications, heart disease is the third largest killer in senior Airedale Terriers.
  • Allergies: Most Wirehaired breeds, including the Airedale Terrier, develop symptoms linked to allergies. Common symptoms include itchy skin, flaky skin, and overall irritation. These conditions range depending on environmental factors, and can easily be treated by veterinarian assistance.
  • Cataracts: About 8% of Airedale Terriers develop cataracts throughout their lifetime. Autoimmune hemolytic
  • anemia (AIHA) and immune-mediated thrombocytopenia (ITP): Both of these complications occur much more often in Airedale Terriers compared to other breeds. In AIHA, the immune system suddenly destroys its own red blood cells, causing severe anemia, which can even lead to death. In ITP, the immune system destroys its own platelets, causing internal bleeding. Both conditions are very serious and should seek medical attention immediately.
  • Hypothyroidism: This health issue occurs when there is an overproduction of thyroxine, which is a thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism causes skin issues within dogs, and can usually be tested through a simple blood test.
  • Pupillary membrane: Almost 6% of Airedales have some degree of a persistent pupillary membrane. This occurs when the remnants of fetal tissue extend over the pupillary opening. In some cases, a pupillary membrane can turn into cataracts later on in life.
  • Bloat: GDV is one of the most common health issues among larger breeds. Bloat occurs when the stomach fills with gas or liquid and puts pressure on both ends of the stomach. This causes the gas to become trapped, and can even cause the stomach to flip and become completely blocked. Other occasionally reported disorders are entropion, distichiasis, progressive retinal atrophy, juvenile renal disease, inherited epilepsy.

Other Resources:

National Breed Websites: The Airedale Terrier Club of America

Resources: Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption