Airedale Terrier: dog breed appearance, character, training, care, health

The Airedale Terrier is the largest dog of the entire group, which has earned it the nickname of King of Terriers. At Petlifey we explain everything about the Airedale Terrier breed .

Characteristics of the Airedale Terrier breed

The Airedale terrier originates from the United Kingdom. Originally employed for hunting and company. It is an active, muscular, strong and quite compact animal, it is the largest of the terriers. Well proportioned, it does not have excessively long legs.

Characterizes its character energetic, agile, lively and alert, it is courageous, outgoing, loving and very intelligent. Its strong temperament causes them to sometimes have disputes with other dogs, especially if they are several males.

We are going to know in more detail its physical characteristics and its behavior :

Physical characteristics of the Airedale Terrier

  • General appearance: this is the largest representative of the breeds in its group. It has a fairly compact body, with strong muscles and not excessively long limbs. The body is quite proportionate with all its parts.
  • Size and size: large.
  • Height at the withers: 58-61 cm (Male) and 56-59 cm (Female).
  • Weight: 19-21 Kg Male) and 17-19 Kg (Female).
  • Body: compact, muscular and strong, it is a dog with a not very long body and long legs, but not excessively. In fact, it is the largest of the terriers. His back is short, straight and horizontal, in general he is strong. Its chest is endowed with well sprung ribs and is deep, but not broad.
  • Head: well proportioned, without wrinkles and the skull is approximately the same as the muzzle. Its skull is long, flat, rather narrow between the ears and tapers at the level of the eyes.
  • Muzzle: delicately shaped, it is strong and under the line of the eyes it does not appear concave, but neither does it drop sharply. The cheeks are smooth, not prominent. Endowed with a beard and moustaches.
  • Nose: it is black.
  • Eyes: these are the typical terrier eyes, with an alert, watchful and intelligent expression. Small in size, not prominent and dark in color. Round, small and dark, the eyes of the Airedale Terrier reflect a cheerful, lively, bold and attentive look, very expressive, like almost all terriers.
  • Ears: they have a “V” shape, they are small in relation to the size of the dog and the animal carries them to the sides, bent forward and with the fold line above the height of the skull.
  • Naso-frontal depression (stop) : it is little marked.
  • Jaws: the lips are firm and the jaws, large, robust, strong and well muscled, are endowed with strong teeth with a scissor bite. However, some Airedale terriers do pinch bites.
  • Neck: It is muscular, of moderate length and thickness, does not present a double chin and gradually widens as it reaches the shoulders.
  • Forelimbs: bony and very straight. The shoulder blades are flat and the shoulders are long, with a good leaning back. The forearms and arms are straight, and the elbows, which are located on the axis of the body, are highly mobile.
  • Hind limbs: they are long and strong. The legs are muscular and powerful. With well angulated knees, they do not drift inward or outward. The hocks are set quite low and parallel seen from behind.
  • Feet: under straight and robust legs, they are characterized by being small, round and compact, and by being equipped with large, thick and very resistant pads. The fingers, moderately arched, are straight, they do not turn inwards or outwards.
  • Tail: set high, the dog wears it well raised without curling on the back. It is strong and thick, and on many occasions, in the countries where it is allowed, it is amputated, allowing it to reach more or less the same height as the upper part of the skull.
  • Hair: is double layer, with a short, soft undercoat, and a blanket of hard cover, quite thick and rustic, almost wiry, dense, compact and not too long, not to look ragged.
  • Color: black or dark grey on the upper line of the body (back, neck and tail), the rest of the body is tan. In the ears it sometimes has a darker tan tone, and around the neck and on the sides of the skull it sometimes shows a shaded area. Some specimens have some white hairs on the windowsill.

Airedale Terrier character

The character of this dog is typical of all the breeds of the group. It is an intelligent, active, fast, resistant, strong and somewhat quarrelsome animal.

As a good canine athlete, his exercise needs are high and constant. It is not enough to give him a long daily walk or to allow him to do some more intense exercise or in freedom on time.

What this dog needs to be balanced is to follow a continuous work program and as varied as possible. In which some specific training is included in order to keep your body and mind active.

Its relationship with people is usually excellent. It is possible that on some occasion it is somewhat suspicious of strangers or that it warns of their presence in a noisy way.

Even so, it is never aggressive towards people. And the relationship it maintains with the children is also good in principle.

Especially if from the first moment both get used to the presence of the other. However, on occasion an incident may occur, even if it is unintentional, since it is a very playful dog that sometimes does not know how to measure its strength.

  • Energy: High level. You need to stick to an intense, regular, and varied exercise program. You must be continuously active and busy with some task.
  • Temperament: It is very active, energetic, agile and playful. With a very keen hunting instinct, it is strong, fast, resistant and courageous. Extremely curious, it is intelligent, friendly, confident and affectionate.
  • Adaptability : Medium. It adapts well to city living, but it needs large spaces where it can run, jump and browse at its leisure.
  • Sociability : Medium. It adores its family but is suspicious of strangers. It is quarrelsome and quarrelsome with other dogs, especially if they are males.
  • Health: Good You may have hip dysplasia.
  • Longevity: Medium. Live 10 to 12 years.
  • Utility: Very versatile. Born hunter, it is a great companion dog and performs any task that is taught: guard, utility, agilityflyball .
  • Movement: progress is free and parallel to the sides, with the front legs straight forward. The propellant momentum is provided by the hind legs, which are strong and powerful.

Their fieryness and strength are precisely two of the characteristics of this breed. They ensure that its use as a therapy dog ​​is not too widespread, although it is an excellent dog to carry out this task.

Thanks to its contagious joy and an ability to gesture and express themselves, it can even be very comical.

The relationship of this dog with its congeners can be ambivalent. If they get used to it since they were a puppy and there are no hierarchy problems, share games and races with them. But if not, it can be rowdy and prone to getting into trouble.

It is very important to always keep them under control and never leave them alone with dogs with whom it does not have a good relationship.

The strong terrier temperament of this dog makes it even pretend to impose these dominance traits on those in the family whom it considers inferior.

If this behavior appears, it must be stopped immediately, since it can end up leading to behavior problems and disobedience, aspects that in a dog of its size make it very difficult to coexist

In general, it is a very intelligent breed and very close to its family, who likes to please as much as possible. It is a very susceptible dog to receive a complete and adequate training for the different functions for which it can be used.

The puppies Airedale Terrier are real vortices. They are always active and looking for something to satisfy their curiosity and inexhaustible energy, so they also need to eat properly.

Airedale Terrier training

When working with them, special emphasis must be placed on being able to always keep its curiosity active and its attention towards what is asked of them.

Sometimes you can spread out a bit, and even quit your job at any time if you find an alternative that is more attractive to you.

In particular, watch your hunting instinct. This is so strong that it becomes very difficult to restrain it if it is in the situation of being able to capture a rodent, a squirrel, or any other animal that it can consider as prey.

Therefore, for a person who does not have good knowledge and a minimum of experience in dog training, the management of this breed can be a bit complicated.

This does not mean that it is a problem dog or that it causes social problems, but it does mean that you have to be aware of its size and strength. It should always be kept under control to avoid accidents, always unpleasant.

Due to its intelligence and insight, it is an easy dog ​​to train, as it learns very quickly whatever is taught. With them a natural leadership must be exercised, its respect must be earned, because in this way it is possible that the dog turns to its master and tries at all times to satisfy its desires.

Negative, coercive or force methods do not work, submission training does not work with a proud terrier used to fighting enemies faster and more dangerous than themselves.

On the other hand, with the right person and methodology, this dog can be used for a wide variety of activities, more than any other terrier can develop.

Specimens have been seen participating in defense and sports work competitions, in disciplines such as agility and flyball , sports obedience and even dancing with dogs .

As this dog gets bored with routine exercises, a good option for its owners is to take them out to places with water, where it can run, jump and even swim, as it is a good retriever in the water.

The Airedale Terrier is energetic and very active, so the person who wants to train it well has to continually propose a wide variety of activities.

Airedale Terrier health and diet

The Airedale Terrier is a healthy breed with a fairly high longevity. With an average of between 10 and 12 years of age, although it is increasingly common to see specimens that are even over 15 years of age.

Due to their size, the specimens of this breed can suffer from hip dysplasia with a higher incidence than that of other terriers, but, despite this, it is not a condition that causes concern among breeders because it is not as widespread nor it is as serious as it is with other races.

In fact, sometimes the ailment exists but never clinically manifests itself. Being a dog of considerable size but quite light and having a flexible and large muscular development, this gives it a perfect support of the joint.

Two of the fundamental measures to keep this animal healthy throughout its life are, on the one hand, to provide it with an adequate level of exercise , something essential for a breed like this, which was selected to work tirelessly. And, on the other, provide a balanced diet , that is, rich in protein of animal origin and quality fats.

In the case of dogs that present dryness or flaking on the skin , it is also necessary to look for an extra supply of omega 3 and 6 fatty acids , present in certain vegetable and fish oils.

They are essential for the health of the skin, but also for the proper functioning of many other organs and eyesight.

In particular, eye diseases can be prevented very well by applying selective breeding criteria. That is why it is so important to always go to responsible breeders determined to eradicate the problems that may appear in the breed.

A healthy, well-fed, well-exercised, well-trained Airedale Terrier makes an excellent companion dog.

In addition, it is a very versatile animal. But their master must know how to occupy the position of leader with justice, rigor and a lot of tact, since this breed is very proud, temperamental and independent.

Airedale Terrier care

The Airedale Terrier has a coat of hard and rough hair, with a wire texture, which also has a dense and soft undercoat, inherited from its water dog ancestors.

To keep this coat in condition and follow the traditional grooming of the breed, it is necessary to groom the dog at least three times a year, pulling out all the dead and damaged hair.


The first task that must be undertaken in the grooming of the Airedale Terrier is brushing. Before doing so, any possible knot must be removed. It is important never to brush dry, but having previously sprayed the dog with a little water or a specific moisturizing product.

Then, with a terrier mitten or with a metal card, all dead hair is removed. During the shedding season, it is also recommended to use a rake to open and aerate the undercoat, in addition to helping it to be removed more quickly.

Certain areas such as the eyebrows, the beard, and the hair on the legs, can be brushed with the card and then given the appropriate shape with a metal comb.


When the animal has to be bathed, a specific shampoo for terriers should be used that does not adversely affect the quality or texture of the coat. It may be convenient or necessary to focus on the areas where the coat is lighter, especially the beard, the genital area and all those regions that have semi-permanent contact with moisture, where an oxidation process can occur.

Once the dog has been soaped well, rinsed completely and the excess water has been removed, proceed to complete drying, which can be done by letting the animal run in the open air or using some type of dryer , which speeds up the process quite a bit.


To groom this dog, the first thing to do is remove excess and excess hair from the feet and hands (to keep them closed and compact), as well as from the inside of the ears (if you want to avoid secondary infections).

Next, the excess hair is also plucked from the body, the upper back line, the skull and the back of the neck. This operation should be done with the fingers, because in this way the dog does not lose the natural texture of its coat, which is hard and rough, like wire, while its shedding is greatly minimized.

The hair on the flanks is then trimmed to the proper length with the help of the trimming blades. And with these same blades the hair on the ears, cheeks and tail is also trimmed to the maximum.

The genital area and the anterior part of the neck can be worked with the help of the hair clipper (with the blade of the appropriate numbering), and the arrangement is finished with the fingers or with the blade to give it more uniformity.

To groom the legs, they are first combed with the card, which gives them volume, and then they are trimmed with the scissors to sculpt and with the smooth ones, trying to give them the typical tubular shape, which increases the sensation of solidity and body. With these same smooth scissors, the beard and eyebrows are also shaped, after having combed them with the help of the metal comb.

Finally, once the entire body is finished, it can be nuanced with the help of a pumice stone, which makes it possible to eliminate the shearing or jumps that may have remained between the areas that have different hair lengths.

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