Temperament: Friendly, Clever, Courageous
- Height: 23 inches
- Weight: 50-70 pounds
- Life Expectancy: 11-14 years
- Group: Terrier Group
His size, strength, and unflagging spirit have earned the Airedale Terrier the nickname “The King of Terriers.” The Airedale stands among the world’s most versatile dog breeds and has distinguished himself as hunter, athlete, and companion.
The head should be well balanced with little apparent difference between the length of skull and fore-face.
The skull should be long and flat, not too broad between the ears and narrowing very slightly to the eyes. Scalp should be free from wrinkles, stop hardly visible and cheeks level and free from fullness.
Ears should be V-shaped with carriage rather to the side of the head, not pointing to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. The top-line of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull.
About the Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier is the largest of all terrier breeds. Males stand about 23 inches at the shoulder, females a little less. The dense, wiry coat is tan with black markings. Long, muscular legs give Airedales a regal lift in their bearing, and the long head—with its sporty beard and moustache, dark eyes, and neatly folded ears—conveys a keen intelligence. Airedales are the very picture of an alert and willing terrier—only bigger. And, like his smaller cousins in the terrier family, he can be bold, determined, and stubborn. Airedales are docile and patient with kids but won’t back down when protecting hearth and home. Thanks to their famous do-it-all attitude, Airedales excel in all kinds of sports and family activities.
NUTRITION The Airedale Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
GROOMING The Airedale has a short, wiry coat that needs relatively little maintenance. Weekly brushing keeps the coat looking good and has the additional advantage of removing dead hair that would otherwise be shed around the house. (Some people with dog allergies have found that they can share a living space with a well-brushed Airedale without suffering any symptoms.) If the weekly session turns up any mats, they should be broken up with the fingers and then teased apart with a comb. Full grooming — where the dog is bathed, brushed, and stripped or clipped — should be done three or four times a year, either by the owner or a professional groomer.
EXERCISE Terriers are generally known for their high energy levels. Given that the Airedale is the largest of all terriers, that energy must be channelled into safe outlets. Fortunately, Airedales love to play with other family members. A daily play session of moderate length, in addition to walks (or backyard time) several times a day, should be enough to satisfy the Airedale’s exercise requirements. Airedales play well with children, but interactions with toddlers and smaller children should be closely supervised. Airedales are rangy but strong; that strength, combined with a boisterous personality, can lead to mishaps.
TRAINING Because of the Airedale’s size (he is a medium-sized dog, but the largest of the terrier breeds), strength, and rambunctiousness, obedience training is highly recommended. At a minimum, an Airedale should learn basic obedience commands such as come, sit, and stay. The breed’s intelligence and the fact that they bond closely with family members can make training easy. Owners and trainers should keep in mind that an intelligent dog is an easily bored dog, so varied training sessions will be more successful than repetitive ones. Also, an easily bored dog who is often left alone for long periods of time will tend to develop undesirable behaviour. It often helps to provide the dog with challenging toys that will keep him happily occupied.
HEALTH Airedales are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders will test for health concerns such as hip dysplasia, a malformation of the hip joint. An Airedale’s ears should be checked regularly to remove foreign matter and avoid a buildup of wax, and his teeth should be brushed regularly.
Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:
- Hip Evaluation
- Cardiac Exam
- Renal Disease DNA Test
- Ophthalmologist Evaluation