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Airedale Terrier Dog Breed Information

General Information:

Height: 23-24 in
Weight: 55-66 lbs
Life Span: 10-12 yrs
Coloring: Tan and black, tan and gray
Area of Origin: Yorkshire, England
Similar Breeds: Welsh Terrier, Kerry Blue Terrier, Irish Terrier, Wheaton Terrier

History and Origin:

Bred as a vermin and small game hunter in the nineteenth century, the first Airedale Terries had unique qualities that made it an ideal companion to the British hunting community; while a ratter like other terriers, the Airedale was a strong swimmer and had a keen nose thanks to the introduction of the Otterhound in its breeding. Because of this hound ancestry, the Airedale was popular as an all-around hunting partner, and was held in particular high regard because it could hunt much larger prey than its smaller terrier cousins. Imported to North America in the 1880’s, the first Airedale on American soil, “Bruce,” won first place in the terrier group at a dog show in New York one year after his arrival. Continued appreciation for the breed did not only occur in the United States; the Airedale was a police dog in both the United States and Britain, and used as a message carrier during World War I. Upon discovering its loyalty, tenacity, and determination on the battlefield, the Red Cross suggested the dog be used to find wounded soldiers.

Personality and Temperament:

An independent working and hunting dog, the Airedale is an extremely intelligent breed. Strong-willed and head-strong, it won’t hesitate to challenge its owner’s authority if it thinks it knows better, and may try to dominate its family if not given proper instruction. Quick-witted, Airedales can get bored with a repetitive routine, and an active, varied lifestyle is recommended to keep them on their toes!  Naturally loyal, courageous, protective and fun-loving, the Airedale loves to get into mischief, and is a joyful play partner for children confident with a large dog.

Exercise & Training:

Easy to train, the Airedale does not respond well to harsh training methods. A varied, stimulating training program and exercise regime is recommended to challenge the Airedale both physically and mentally, and it requires a large yard to explore and play in. It excels at agility and hunt trials, and experiencing a range of activities with its owner will form a strong bond, and make the dog willing to listen! While training the Airedale, its handler needs to be calm and confident to encourage the breed’s natural sensitivity and responsiveness, or it may show some aggression. This breed is not recommended for a first-time dog owner; experience with other terrier breeds is ideal.


A breed that requires moderate grooming maintenance, the Airedale has a short, coarse, double coat that requires de-shedding at least twice a year to maintain a healthy skin and stimulate new growth. It will shed very little if properly maintained, and as such is ideal for allergy sufferers, but will shed quite a bit if not maintained using a de-shedding tool. It is recommended to clean the Airedale’’s beard daily to remove dirt or food particles that may have gotten stuck in it.

Similar Breeds:

While all British terriers share common ancestry, the Airedale is most closely related to the Welsh Terrier, as both breeds descend from the now extinct Black-and-Tan Terrier. Appearance-wise, the Airedale resembles the Kerry Blue Terrier; both of these large dogs were known for their ability to dive into deep rivers and catch rats and otters.

Interesting Facts about the Airedale Terrier:

1. Known as the “King of the Terriers” as it is the largest British terrier.

2. Two Airedales perished in the sinking of the Titanic.

3. American Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding all owned Airedale Terriers.

4. A WWI message carrier, “Jack,” famously survived enemy fire for half a mile to deliver a message. He died as soon as the message was retrieved from his collar, after suffering a broken jaw and a shattered leg from his journey.

Organizations dedicated to the Airedale Terrier:

Airedale Terrier Club of America
AiredaleTerriers.org – Airedale Terrier Information and Referral Resource
Airedale Terrier Rescue and Adoption
ATCA Rescue and Adoption Website

Breeds Similar to Airedale Terrier Dogs:

Airedale Terrier Breed Information

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