Airedale Terrier: Color, Lifespan, Characteristics & Facts

The Airedale Terrier is a proud dog perfect for people who want a fun-loving energetic companion. The canines, originally bred to catch otters and similar game, is the largest of the terriers.

Naturally intelligent, Airedales are extremely playful. They require quite a bit of attention and exercise to be kept happy, which can make them high-maintenance at times. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, they are one of the most loyal dogs around.

The breed makes a great guard dog, but they are also extremely friendly around other humans. They are great with guests and do well around older children.

As they can be a bit headstrong or unruly, training them from a young age is key. Even so, they can hold grudges and do not respond well to stern treatment. This is a breed you must treat with care.

Breed Overview

Other Names: Bingley Terrier, Waterside Terrier, King of Terriers

Origin: Yorkshire, England

Height: 22 to 24 inches

Weight: 40 to 44 pounds

Life Span: 10 to 12 years

Colors: Black and Tan

1. Personality & Temperament

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Despite their size, Airedale Terriers are still terries. They are full of energy, and they will use that energy every chance they get.

That hyperactivity makes Airedales one of the best guard dogs around. They will fiercely defend your family and are not afraid to let you know when someone approaches your home.

However, their natural tendencies also mean Airedales can quickly become bored if not given proper stimulation. They require a lot of exercises. Without it, they might tear up your house or yard.

The Airedale Terrier is not a breed for those looking for a relaxing couch dog, but it is a perfect fit for owners who want a pet they can play with quite often.

It is also important to socialize Airedales early on in life. Though they naturally get along with both dogs and humans, their loyalty can make them overprotective if raised in isolation. Bringing Airedale puppies around others will go a long way towards helping them acclimate.

2. How to Care for an Airedale Terrier


Airedale Terriers, like most active breeds, need quite a bit of food to keep up with their lifestyle. However, if you’re not careful it is quite easy for them to put on weight.

To avoid that, you want to feed them a strong mix of lean proteins and vegetables. There are many large breed puppy food options on the market, as well as some great grain free choices as well. Pick the one your dog likes the best.

How much you feed your terrier depends on the amount of exercise they get. The goal is to keep them at a lean-but-healthy weight. Two feedings a day works to hit that mark, but Airedale puppies often require a third feeding for their first two to eight months.


All Airedales, whether they are a short or long haired terrier, have a hard, wiry coat that helps protect them from the elements. Though the extra layer is great for exploring outside, it can be a bit unruly if left unchecked.

To help keep your Airedale’s coat shiny, it should be trimmed or clipped with high-end tools every six to eight weeks. If you’re not sure what grooming items to use, this article has some great options.

Unlike other breeds, Airedales do not need to take regular baths. Rather, a weekly 30-minute brushing session along with a towel rub down will be enough to get rid of any dirt or oil build-up in their fur.

When it is time for a bath, wash your Airedale with warm water in the direction their hair grows. Dry in the same way.


Airedale terriers are extremely active dogs that need to be run around quite a bit. They are not content to stay inside all day long.

Walks are recommended for Airedales, as their origin as hunting dogs makes them naturally curious. They love to explore the world and greatly enjoy being outside. It is critical to take them out every day if possible.

During seasons where going outside is not as easy, it is important to play with them inside. Hardy chew toys are a great option for such situations.


Airedale Terriers are naturally headstrong, which can make them difficult to train. You want to start working with them the day you bring them home.

Obedience and socialization training both go a long way with the breed. Just be sure to not ask them to do the same task too many times, as that can cause them to grow bored.

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3. Common Health Issues of the Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terriers tend to live between 10 and 12 years. Though they are generally healthy dogs, there are a few common issues you want to be aware of when choosing them as a pet.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia, which comes from a malformed hip joint, is found in many pedigree dog breeds. Airedales are no exception.

This issue commonly affects puppies before the age of two, and can be extremely painful for the dog. Always check how your Airedale walks, and make sure to get them a large, comfortable bed like the ones outlined in this guide.

Dermatitis and Skin Conditions

Airedales are susceptible to a few skin conditions, but dermatitis is the most common within the breed.

It is important to regularly check your Airedale Terrier for any sore spots or itchy patches on your dog’s skin. As Airedales have thick coats, you must be extremely diligent in this search.

Also take note of any possible blemishes or rashes that don’t follow the above criteria. Airedales can have thyroid gland issues, and they are known to develop allergies as well.

Bowel Conditions

Many Airedales develop bowel issues during their lifespan. The breed can experience constipation at times, but they are also prone to diarrhea as well.

These issues commonly manifest as bloody feces, but they may also vomit or develop a sensitive stomach. If you note those problems it is important to take them in for a check-up right away.


Cancer is the most common cause of death for Airedale Terriers. Though the breed tends to live long, energetic lives, they do become susceptible to the disease as they get older.

Skin cancer (melanoma) is the most common form in the breed, but they also tend to develop internal tumors (adenocarcinoma), blood cancer (hemangiosarcoma), and lymphoma during their later years.

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4. Children & Other Pets

Airedale Terriers are naturally friendly dogs, which makes them great to have around the house. However, though they play well with kids, their high energy does not always make them a great fit for young toddlers.

The breed, however, does extremely well with other dogs. That goes double if you raise the puppies together. Proper training early in life can go a long way towards helping the breed acclimate to any other canines.

Just note that, despite their friendly demeanor, Airedales do not get along with other pets. The dogs are natural hunters. That, combined with their curious nature, will lead them to chase down rodents and cats.

5. The History of the Airedale Terrier

Airedales, like many terrier breeds, started out as the black and tan terrier. The dogs came about in 1853, when breeders mixed a Rough-Coated Black and Tan Terrier with an Otterhound in order to create a sturdy hunting dog capable of both sport and play.

From there, the Airedale’s (especially the black Airedale Terrier) popularity grew. The dog spread out to many different countries, and eventually hit its peak during World War 1.

During that time, soldiers used the breed for a variety of different purposes. That included sled dogs, guard dogs, scouts, ratters, and food carriers. That loyalty only served to grow their reputation, and turned them into the breed they are today.

Though they still make great hunting dogs, their versatility allows them to also compete in shows and serve as great household pets.

6. The Regular Expenses of Owning an Airedale Terrier

Airedale puppies from a reputable breeder will cost anywhere between $1,400 and $5,000. However, you can still get a good bloodline for around $850 and some breeders will go down to $700.

7. Airedale Terrier Rescue Groups

Airedale Terriers can be found all across the U.S. However, there are a few choice organizations that work to help get them forever homes.

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