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Getting To Know You - Airedale Terrier

Posted by Christina Potter on

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the terrier breeds and, as such, is often referred to as the King of Terriers. They stand between 22 to 24 inches at the withers and weigh approximately 40 to 65 pounds, with the females being noticeably smaller than the males. They are double coated dogs who need frequent grooming. You must be willing to either learn how to groom them or take them to a groomer regularly. They do shed, but less so than other breeds. Their black and tan, or grizzle and tan dense topcoat is wiry and hard, while their undercoat is softer.

This intelligent breed was created in the 19th century in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, Great Britain. Their primary purpose was to hunt vermin, badger, otter, weasel, water fowl, fox and other small game. Due to their fearlessness, they have even been used to hunt large game, as well. Their agility, strength and boundless energy, make them good guard dogs and personal companions. It is these same traits, however, that make them inclined to bark and give chase to small animals, including other family pets. Like most terriers, they may also be inclined to dig up the beautiful delphinium that you painstakingly planted in your garden.

The Airedale Terrier is outgoing and confident. They are loyal to their family but may become quarrelsome if not properly trained and socialized. Though they are sensitive and respond well to training, their strong prey drive will make it nearly impossible to stop them once they give chase to the neighbor’s Chihuahua. They are active dogs and, thus, are better suited for homes with yards. They have been described as smart and independent, qualities that are both desirable and frustrating. They can be good with older, well-behaved children if they are exposed to them early. They may be too rough for younger children. And don’t expect them to live in harmony with little Johnny’s pet mouse, aptly named Fievel Mousekewitz. As a matter of fact, you may want to find a new home for Mr. Mousekewitz before you add an Airedale to the family. And, while you’re at it, perhaps Garfield should move out, too.

This breed is known to live life in a big way; he loves his people with abandon, plays excitedly, even tunnels into the family sofa enthusiastically. You must give all this energy a constructive escape, or you will have one unhappy dog who will find less than desirable ways to burn his pent up energy. No matter how big your yard is, don’t think you can leave him alone in it all day without the neighbors complaining about his incessant barking.

While they are not highly biddable dogs, they can excel in many sports with the right handler. They are versatile dogs that will benefit from the mental stimulation that comes with training. If you’re looking for a breed that is courageous and fierce, while at the same time silly and playful, you may want to speak to a reputable breeder about the Airedale Terrier. If you do decide to add one to your family, you should expect to be challenged, while learning how to deal with a willful dog that may be aggressive towards dogs he encounters on your otherwise relaxing daily walks.


If you enjoy Christina's writing, check her books out! She is the author of “Chester Gigolo: Diary of a Dog Star” and "Insider Training: Chester Gigolo’s Dog Training Secrets Revealed” for which she won the 2016 DWAA Captain Haggerty award for Best Training Book and the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Award (Animals & Pets). She is also a contributing author to “Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors”. She has written multiple articles which have appeared in various international publications