airedale terrier breed

Airedale Terrier Description

A large breed of terrier, the Airedale Terrier is originally from Yorkshire, England and was dubbed the “King of Terriers” early in the history of the breed. This nickname is due to the fact that an adult Airedale Terrier weighs anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds or 23 to 32 kilograms.

This breed was created by breeding the old English Rough Terrier with the Otterhound, and they were bred to help hunt otters and is also called a “waterside terrier” in some circles due to their watery hunting skill. An Airedale Terrier is normally a tan breed, with a black ’saddle’, but the AKC also recognizes a tan coat with a ‘grizzle saddle’, which is a black, gray, and white mix.

Airedale Terrier dog breed
Funny grown-up brown and black haired airedale terrier playing with a white cat on a green lawn.

Usually, an Airedale’s tail is docked when they are still a young puppy, but it isn’t a requirement by the AKC or other standards. Another quality of the Airedale is that they do not have the normal pink gums that other dogs do, their gums are black and they also sport some of the largest teeth among any of the other breeds out there today.

Due to their high intelligence, the Airedale was used throughout World War I to help carry messages to the trenches and to soldiers who were caught behind enemy lines, as well as to help find the wounded so the Red Cross could help them. This breed was so well known for their valor and intelligence that they were widely used as the breed of choice for law enforcement and search and rescue until the German Shepherd was adopted.

Also Known As

Waterside Terrier
Bingley Terrier


This breed was also widely used as a working dog, a hunting dog, and a retriever. They have also been used as herding dogs also because they like to chase and don’t have any problems when working with cattle and other farm animals. The Airedale is also widely known for its stubbornness and it can be hard to train when they are still young. They also require constant reinforcement due to the fact that they will forget if not make to practice their training often. But, they are also a very reliable breed when it comes to protecting their families, and make great children’s pets.

Health Problems

Although this breed does not suffer from too many inherited diseases, they are susceptible to dermatitis and to hip dysplasia in some lines of the breed. Their dermatitis can usually be cured by changes in diet, thyroid medication, or allergy medications. The Airedale usually lives a full life of twelve to fifteen years, although there has been some documentation of the breed living as long as seventeen years.


Although no special exercise routine is required for an Airedale, they are an active breed and love to run and chase. Owners need to be sure that their dog has plenty of room to run and play.

Special Grooming Needs

Just like other breeds of terriers, the Airedale has what is called a ‘broken coat’, which means that its fur is hard and wiry on the top, with a softer coat underneath. One plus to this breed’s coat is that they do not shed quite as much as other dogs due to the wiry hair, so they are better for people with allergies.

They require regular hand brushing, called ’stripping’ to help their coat stay in the normal ’square’ terrier shape. ‘Stripping’ is done by using a special small knife to pull the loose hairs from the coat, and if the dog is not a show dog, they can be trimmed with clippers, but this can cause fading of the colors of the dog’s coat.