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Airedale Terrier Dog Breed Information & Characteristics

Follow the article below on the website Dogsbreed.org to learn about the Airedale Terrier dog breed: Origin, physical characteristics, personality, health status and how to care for this dog breed!

Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier, commonly called the “King of Terriers,” is the largest of all terrier breeds. Airedales are loyal and loving companions, and they make great family pets. They possesses athleticism and are highly trainable, leading them to excel in a variety of dog sports, including obedience, agility, and tracking.

Airedales originated in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England, in the mid-19th century. They were originally bred to hunt otters and other vermin but quickly became popular as working dogs and show dogs. Airedales served in World War I and II as messenger, guard, and ambulance dogs.

If you are looking for a loyal, intelligent, and versatile dog, the Airedale Terrier may be the perfect breed for you. They are a great choice for active families who are looking for a dog to share their adventures. However, if you are considering getting an Airedale Terrier puppy, be sure to do your research and find a reputable breeder of Airedale Terrier puppies. Airedales are a great breed, but they require a lot of care and attention. With proper care, Airedales can make wonderful companions for many years to come.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: Aire Valley, Yorkshire, England
  • Size: 22-24 inches tall at the shoulder, 45-65 pounds
  • Breed Group: Terrier
  • Lifespan: 10-13 years
  • Coat: Wiry, harsh, and double layer that comes in black, tan, or brindle
  • Temperament: Intelligent, loyal, playful, and fearless
  • Exercise needs: High
  • Training: Firmness and consistency
  • Grooming: Brushed 2-3 times a week and hand-stripped once a month
  • Health: Generally healthy, but can be prone to some health problems, such as hip dysplasia and elbow dysplasia
  • During World War II, Airedales served as messenger dogs and in search and rescue, earning the distinction of war heroes.
  • The Airedale won the favor of many celebrities, including Woodrow Wilson, Olivia De Havilland, James Earl Jones, Theodore Roosevelt, and John Wayne, to name a few.
  • An Airedale Terrier named Kipper plays a supporting role in Disney’s live-action adaptation of “101 Dalmations.”

Airedale Terrier Pictures

Airedale Terrier Overview

During World War I, an intrepid Airedale Terrier named Jack demonstrated extraordinary bravery on the battlefield. Despite facing perilous conditions and sustaining severe injuries, Jack fearlessly delivered a crucial message to British headquarters. Sadly, he passed away shortly after completing his mission. The message he carried saved his battalion, and in recognition of his gallantry, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

The spirit of courage and determination displayed by Jack continues to be a defining trait of today’s Airedales. Bred as versatile dogs with the agility of a terrier and the ability to swim and track prey, Airedale Terriers excel in both sporting and working roles. In modern times, they participate in agility, obedience, and hunt tests, enjoying activities that engage their sharp minds and boundless energy.

Airedales thrive when they have a purpose, whether it’s entertaining children, with whom they get along splendidly (though supervision is essential), or accompanying their owners on jogging sessions. However, they have an independent streak and may not always wait for commands from their owners, making them better suited for people who enjoy a challenge.

With their strong prey drive, Airedales may show aggression towards other animals, and they are unforgiving of harsh treatment. They require consistent, positive obedience training and a securely fenced yard. As excellent watchdogs, Airedales will fiercely protect their families from intruders while remaining friendly towards invited guests.

Beyond their protective nature, Airedales possess a playful and comical side. They love spending time with their family, engaging in mischief, playing with toys, and retaining their puppy-like playfulness even in old age.

The Airedale Terrier is a captivating breed, blending courage, athleticism, style, and a sense of humor. Many owners attest that having one Airedale is a delight, but having two is even better.

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Airedale Terrier Highlights

Airedales, like all Terriers, possess natural inclinations for digging, often right in the middle of a beautiful flower garden, chasing small animals, and barking.

The Airedale Terrier has a peculiar habit of collecting human memorabilia. Anything from socks and underwear to children’s toys becomes part of their treasured stash.

As a high-energy working dog, the Airedale Terrier requires daily exercise and remains active and energetic throughout its life. Apartment living is not suitable for them, and they thrive best in a home with a large, fenced yard.

Chewing is another favorite pastime of Airedales, and they are known to chew on anything within reach. Providing a crate or secure kennel with sturdy toys is essential when leaving them unattended.

Although independent, the Airedale enjoys being part of a family and is happiest when indoors with their owners rather than being left as a backyard dog.

Airedale Terriers are excellent with children and are often referred to as reliable babysitters. However, it’s crucial to never leave children and dogs unsupervised.

Grooming is necessary for Airedales, and you may need the services of a professional groomer or learn to groom them yourself.

Proper training and socialization are essential to instill good canine manners in the Airedale. Without exposure to other dogs and people, they may become quarrelsome.

Airedale Terrier History

The Airedale Terrier proudly holds the title of being the largest of all Terriers. Its origins trace back to 1853 when a Rough-Coated Black and Tan Terrier was crossed with an Otterhound, aiming to create a versatile sporting dog capable of hunting otters in rivers and rats on land. This crossbreeding produced a dog with the agility of a terrier, the ability to swim, and a keen sense of scent.

Initially known as Waterside or Bingley Terriers, they gained popularity within 12 years of the first crossbreeding and were showcased in the Broken-Haired Terriers class at the first dog show in the Aire Valley in 1864. Author Hugh Dalziel, after judging the dog at a show, highly praised the Bingley Terrier, sparking even more interest in the breed. As debates arose about the breed’s birthplace and name, a group of enthusiasts united to rename them the Airedale Terrier, which was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in England in 1886.

The Airedale Terrier Club of America was established in 1900, and during World War I, these dogs proved their courage and loyalty as messengers, sentries, carriers of food and ammunition, scouts, ambulance dogs, ratters, Red Cross casualty dogs, sled dogs, and guard dogs. Their heroic actions during the war further popularized the breed, attracting notable figures such as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge.

In 1949, the Airedale Terrier ranked 20th in popularity according to the American Kennel Club but has since seen a decline in rank, partly due to the increased use of German Shepherds in roles traditionally filled by Airedales. Nonetheless, their rich history of bravery and versatility continues to be celebrated by those who admire this remarkable breed.

Airedale Terrier Size

Male Airedales typically have a height of 23 inches at the shoulder and weigh around 50 to 65 pounds. Meanwhile, females are slightly shorter and weigh approximately 40 to 55 pounds.

Airedale Terrier Personality

The Airedale is a hard-working, independent, and athletic dog with a lot of drive, energy, and stamina. Like many terrier breeds, he may exhibit behaviors such as digging, chasing, and barking, which can be challenging for those unfamiliar with the Airedale personality. Before considering bringing an Airedale into your home, it’s essential to assess whether you are willing to cope with these potentially undesirable behaviors and embrace the challenges that come with their independent nature.

If you decide to welcome an Airedale into your life and provide the necessary attention and stimulation, you’ll be delighted by their active, fun-loving, and even comical attitude. This breed thrives on activity, so it’s crucial not to leave them alone for extended periods to avoid boredom, which could lead to destructive behavior.

Training an Airedale requires variety and positive reinforcement methods, such as treats, to keep them engaged. Avoid drill-and-jerk training, as it may not yield the desired results with this breed.

As a reliable watchdog, the Airedale takes pride in protecting their family and can be a fierce guardian. However, they are generally friendly with their family and friends.

Temperament in Airedales is influenced by various factors, including heredity, training, and socialization. Choosing a puppy with a nice temperament, curiosity, and playfulness is ideal. Meeting at least one of the parents and observing siblings or other relatives can offer insights into the puppy’s future behavior.

Early socialization is vital for Airedales to grow up as well-rounded dogs. Exposing them to diverse experiences, people, sights, and sounds at a young age helps in developing their social skills. Enrolling in a puppy kindergarten class, inviting visitors regularly, and taking them to busy places can contribute to their overall development and well-being.

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Airedale Terrier Health

Airedales are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health conditions. While not all Airedales will develop these diseases, it’s crucial to be aware of them if you are considering this breed. When buying a puppy, ensure you choose a reputable breeder who can provide health clearances for both the puppy’s parents. These clearances prove that the dogs have been tested and cleared of specific conditions.

Common health issues in Airedales include:

  • Hip Dysplasia: An inherited condition where the thighbone doesn’t fit properly into the hip joint, leading to pain and lameness. X-ray screening is the most reliable diagnostic method.
  • Allergies: Airedales are susceptible to food, contact, and inhalant allergies, which can cause various symptoms and require tailored treatments.
  • Hypothyroidism: A disorder of the thyroid gland that can result in a range of issues, including epilepsy, hair loss, obesity, lethargy, and skin conditions. Treatment involves medication and dietary adjustments.
  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of eye diseases that cause gradual deterioration of the retina, leading to night-blindness and eventually loss of daytime vision.
  • Umbilical Hernia: A condition where abdominal fat or internal organs protrude near the umbilicus. Small hernias may close on their own, while larger ones may require surgery.
  • Von Willebrand’s Disease: A blood disorder affecting the clotting process, leading to symptoms such as nosebleeds, bleeding gums, and prolonged bleeding.
  • Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: A disorder causing vomiting and diarrhea with blood, requiring prompt medical treatment to prevent dehydration and further complications.
  • Cancer: Like humans, dogs can develop various types of cancers, with treatment options varying depending on the specific case.

By being aware of these potential health concerns and working with a responsible breeder who tests and screens their dogs, you can provide your Airedale with the best possible care and enjoy a healthy, happy life together. Regular veterinary check-ups and a nutritious diet are also essential to support your Airedale’s overall well-being.

Airedale Terrier Care

The Airedale Terrier is a spirited working dog with plenty of energy and endurance. Regular exercise is vital for this breed, ideally involving at least one daily walk, though two walks are preferable. Additionally, a good romp in the backyard and engaging in activities like retrieving, playing, and swimming are all enjoyed by the Airedale. They make great jogging companions and may even outlast their owners in physical activity.

Training and socialization are essential for Airedales, and it’s best to start early with puppy classes. Incorporate socialization into training by exposing your Airedale to different environments, such as pet supply stores, outdoor events, and busy parks. It’s crucial to introduce them to people of all ages, including children, to ensure they become well-adjusted and friendly adults.

Crate training is highly recommended for the Airedale Terrier. Besides aiding in housetraining, the crate provides a safe and comfortable den for them to relax and settle down. When it comes to training, keep in mind that Airedales have independent minds. While they generally respond well to most training, they may have their preferences, like seeking shade on a hot summer day instead of sitting in full sunlight.

Positive reinforcement is the most effective approach to teach an Airedale. Maintaining a positive and fun attitude during training, coupled with patience and flexibility, is key to successfully training this freethinking breed. With the right approach, you can have a well-trained and lively Airedale Terrier as a loyal companion.

Airedale Terrier Feeding

The recommended daily amount of high-quality dry food for an Airedale Terrier is 1.5 to 2.5 cups, divided into two meals. However, the actual portion your adult dog needs can vary based on factors like size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Just like people, dogs are individuals, and their food requirements differ. Highly active dogs may need more food compared to more sedentary ones. The quality of the dog food also matters, as better-quality food provides more nourishment, requiring smaller portions.

To keep your Airedale in good shape, measure his food and feed him twice a day instead of leaving food out all the time. Monitoring his weight is essential. You can use the eye test by looking down at him; a waist should be visible. Additionally, use the hands-on test by placing your hands on his back with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel his ribs without pressing too hard, but they shouldn’t be visibly protruding.

If you suspect your Airedale is overweight, consider reducing his food intake and providing more exercise. Following proper feeding guidelines and monitoring his body condition can help maintain his health and well-being. For more detailed information on feeding your Airedale, consult guidelines for choosing the right food, feeding a puppy, and feeding an adult dog.

Airedale Terrier Coat Color And Grooming

The Airedale Terrier boasts a striking coat with two layers: a dense and wiry topcoat and a short, soft undercoat. Most Airedales have a distinct coat pattern, where the majority of the body is tan, including the ears, legs, head, underbelly, and sometimes the shoulders, while the back and upper sides are either black or grizzled, a mix of black, gray, and white. Occasionally, there may be red speckling in the black and a small white star on the chest. Shedding is not excessive, but seasonal shedding does occur.

Regular brushing, about once or twice a week, helps maintain the coat’s condition, while bathing should only be done when necessary, as over-bathing can soften the terrier’s coarse coat. Although the family Airedale does not require trimming, many owners opt for professional grooming three to four times a year to achieve a neat appearance, as an untrimmed coat can be thick, curly, and unruly. The grooming process typically involves clipping, stripping (thinning and shortening the coat with a stripping knife), or a combination of both. It’s important to consider the grooming costs when choosing this breed, as professional grooming can be expensive. Motivated owners can learn to trim their Airedale themselves, but it is a challenging and time-consuming task.

Dental hygiene is essential, so regular brushing of the dog’s teeth, ideally two to three times a week, can prevent tartar buildup and maintain good oral health. Trimming nails once or twice a month is necessary to prevent painful tears and other issues. If you’re unsure how to trim your dog’s nails, seek advice from a vet or groomer to avoid causing injury to the quick.

Ear health is also important, so check your Airedale’s ears weekly for signs of redness or a foul odor, which could indicate an infection. Use a cotton ball dampened with a gentle, pH-balanced ear cleaner to clean the outer ear and prevent infections. When your Airedale is a puppy, introduce him to grooming practices and handling. Handle his paws regularly, as dogs can be sensitive about their feet, and gently inspect inside his mouth. Make grooming a positive experience with praise and rewards to establish a foundation for easy veterinary exams and handling in adulthood. During grooming sessions, take the opportunity to inspect the skin, eyes, ears, and feet for any signs of sores, rashes, or potential health issues, addressing them promptly.

Airedale Terrier Children And Other Pets

The playful and affectionate Airedale Terrier makes an excellent family pet. In some cases, he may even develop a protective instinct towards the children in the household. However, due to his size and high activity level, he may be too exuberant for extremely young kids. As with any breed, it’s crucial to teach children how to approach and interact with dogs, always under supervision, to avoid any accidental incidents like biting or pulling on the dog’s ears or tail.

Children should be educated never to disturb a dog while he’s eating or sleeping, and never attempt to take away the dog’s food. No matter how friendly the dog seems, it’s essential to avoid leaving any dog unsupervised with a child. Within his own household, the Airedale usually gets along well with other dogs, provided he receives proper socialization and training. However, he might display aggression towards unfamiliar dogs that he perceives as threatening.

Given the Airedale’s hunting background, he may have a strong prey drive and may chase after smaller animals like cats, rabbits, gerbils, or hamsters. It’s crucial to be aware of this instinct and ensure a secure environment for both the Airedale and any smaller pets in the household. Proper training and socialization from a young age can help manage these tendencies and create a harmonious environment for all members of the family.

Airedale Terrier Rescue Groups

Airedales are often purchased without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. There are many Airedales in need of adoption and or fostering. There are a number of rescues that we have not listed. If you don’t see a rescue listed for your area, contact the national breed club or a local breed club and they can point you toward an Airedale rescue.

  • Airedale Club of America Rescue and Adoption Committee
  • Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption

Airedale Terrier Breed Organizations

Finding a reputable dog breeder is one of the most important decisions you will make when bringing a new dog into your life. Reputable breeders are committed to breeding healthy, well-socialized puppies that will make great companions. They will screen their breeding stock for health problems, socialize their puppies from a young age, and provide you with lifetime support.

On the other hand, backyard breeders are more interested in making a profit than in producing healthy, well-adjusted dogs. They may not screen their breeding stock for health problems, and they may not socialize their puppies properly. As a result, puppies from backyard breeders are more likely to have health problems and behavioral issues.

Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas expert in training and caring for pet dog breeds. Whether he spending quality time with her own furry companions or contributing to websites such as Dogsbreed.org and Animalpet.com, dedicated to our canine.

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