Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

12 July 2023

Let’s talk about… Airedale Terriers: what are they?

  • Airedale terriers were originally bred for hunting animals like otters, but are now most commonly family pets.
  • They originate from England, named after the Aire River, and were bred from other terriers, to make a dog that had a good nose, as well as being a good swimmer, and the drive and stamina to run alongside horses. They are now popular worldwide.
  • Their popularity grew during the First World War as they made their name as great scent dogs. This included Jack, the military Airedale terrier, who won the Victoria Cross for his services to the British Army.
  • They are a dog suitable for experienced owners.
  • They weigh between 20-29kg depending on size and gender.
  • At between 56 and 61 cm tall, they are the tallest of the terrier breeds, leading to their nickname as “King of the Terriers”.
  • The lifespan of an Airedale tends to be between 10-13 years.
Airedale Terrier  Exercise Needs 4/5 Grooming Ease 3/5 Trainability 4/5

What is the temperament of Airedale terriers like?

  • Airedales are intelligent and love to be active.
  • They will bond well with their family, and are known to be patient with children. They can take some time with strangers though.
  • They tend to be good with cats too, as long as they are well socialised with them from a young age.
  • Some Airedales don’t like other dogs, but this depends a lot on their socialisation and experiences.
  • As they are terriers, they can share the stubborn trait, but they can also be very loving and playful, wanting to be entertained, and happy to entertain us too! As they are quite large and playful, watch out around small children, and they are not ideally suited to small spaces.
  • Some Airedales are quite noisy, and behave like guard dogs, while some report their Airedales as quite quiet dogs.
Teddy, the Airedale Terrier

What kind of exercise do Airedale terriers need?

  • As Airedale Terriers are an energetic and intelligent breed, they need to be given up to 2 hours of exercise per day.
  • They love to play with a ball, swim or retrieve, and can get lots of mental and physical exercise from these activities.
  • Mental stimulation is great in between walks to keep these intelligent dogs occupied.
Fergus, the Airedale Terrier

Do Airedale terriers need a lot of grooming?

  • The most common colouring of Airedales is tan with a grey/black saddle. They tend to have a double, short, wire-haired coat.
  • Airedales should be regularly brushed, and fully groomed at least 4 times a year, ideally with a professional groomer with experience of terriers and coat stripping.
  • If your Airedale has a softer coat, you may need to brush them and get them groomed more often to avoid knots and matts
  • You should only need to bathe them when they’re dirty, as it can soften their coat which can lead to tangles and matts.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal.  If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.
Toast, the Airedale Terrier

Are Airedale terriers easy to train?

  • Airedales are highly intelligent so can train well, but if they get bored they are known to become a bit stubborn.  Make sure to change up instructions to keep their attention.
  • Be patient with them if they do get bored, and keep training sessions short, yet varied. They respond best to positive praise!
  • They can do very well with advanced training like obedience classes and agility, and it can help to manage their high level of intelligence.
  • As they were bred to chase vermin, if you are wanting to allow them off lead, then do it in an enclosed area or after a good bit of training, or they may run off.
  • Socialise them as much as you can as puppies, as it can help them to be more comfortable around other dogs and strangers.
Teddy, the Airedale Terrier

What do Airedale terriers eat?

  • Airedales should be fed a good quality dog food twice daily.
  • The change from puppy to adult food is dependent on brand recommendation but should generally be done slowly at around the 12 month mark.
  • Airedales can become overweight quite easily, so watch their food intake, and ensure they are getting plenty of exercise.  If you are worried your dog could be overweight, stand over them and at an ideal weight you should comfortably be able to feel your pup’s ribs, but not count them, when they are standing normally. They should also have a neat waist when you look from the top, and  a bit of a tuck from their chest up to their tummy.  Your vet practice can advise if you are worried about your dog’s weight.
  • Airedales enjoy a good treat on occasion or as a training reward, but always make sure that treats only make up a maximum of 10% of your dog’s diet.
  • Why not change it up with some home baking, and treat your Airedale to some blueberry biscuits?

Are Airedale terriers healthy?

Airedales are a generally healthy breed of dog, but there are some conditions they can be more prone to than other breeds.  These can include:

Bones and Joints

  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint


  • All dogs can be affected by cancer, and a lot of different breeds are prone to different cancers. Airedales appear most prone to skin cancers, nasal cancers and cancers of the blood stream/lymph nodes. They can however be affected by any type.


  • Cataracts - a common cause of blindness due to a clouding of the lens of the eye
  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye


  • Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) - a disease of the heart muscle causing the heart ventricles to get larger


  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!


  • Hypothyroidism - a condition where your dog does not produce enough thyroid hormone

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Yorkie is right for you, consult with your vet.

Always make sure to have your dog insured, so you don’t get caught out with any unexpected vet bills.

Our vet top tip

It’s important to keep an Airedale entertained. They are so intelligent that if they get bored then they can get naughty. Plenty of exercise, mentally stimulating playtime and classes can help!

BorrowMyDoggy loves Airedale terriers

BorrowMyDoggy has 335 Airedale terrier members.

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

Terrier Dog Breed Guides

Airedale Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Manchester Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Parson Russell Terrier

Scottish Terrier

Smooth Fox Terrier

Staffordshire Bull Terrier

Welsh Terrier

West Highland White Terrier

Wire Fox Terrier

Yorkshire Terrier

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