Airedale Terrier

The largest of all the terrier breeds, this is yet another designer dog bred by working men for specific purposes. Airedales make grand companions and show dogs, winning at the highest level.


During the Industrial Revolution, many agriculture workers lost their land and went to the Yorkshire mills and mines to earn a living. New industries were situated on the rivers Aire and Wharfe and the workers wanted a large, courageous all-purpose dog for hunting and fighting. By selective breeding, they created the Airedale. We do not know which breeds constitute Airedales: they probably started with the Black and Tan broken-haired Terrier and added the Bull Terrier and Otterhound. Originally named Waterside Terriers, they appeared in the 1886 Kennel Club Stud Book as Airedales. They became hunting dogs, police dogs and war dogs as well as pets.

must know

Apart from some hip dysplasia, the Airedale is not burdened with any genetic faults.


This big dog is usually prepared in a similar way to a Welsh Terrier with a beard and eyebrows, the coat cut close on the body with furnishings on the legs. The coat should be extremely wiry with a soft undercoat. The colour is always black and tan. Dogs are 58-61cm (23-24in) in height, while bitches are less tall at 56-59cm (22-23in).

The powerful Airedale is the largest of all the terriers. Exuberant and fun-loving, it can be quite noisy and will bark to warn of visitors and intruders.


This reliable, kindly dog has a great affection for its family, is very playful and loves children. However, because of its size, be careful with small children. Although relatively easy to train, it has a streak of independence in its character. Its calm nature means that it is not given to being aggressive to other dogs, but it will be a very effective guard.

Airedales have an intelligent, alert expression and distinctive "beard" which needs regular cleaning and grooming.

Strangers 4/5

A good, alert guard

Temperament 4/5

Playful, reliable but can be stubborn

Exercise 4/5

Plenty of walks, free running and play

Grooming 4/5

At least once a week; hand stripping or trimming every three to four months

Other dogs 3/5

Non-aggressive but will defend itself


A lovely, warm family member who wants nothing more than to be involved in everything

General care

Like other canine athletes, Airedales need plenty of exercise, and playing in a large garden will help keep them alert. They are also adapt at Agility and Flyball. Although they do not moult, they need brushing and combing weekly: if neglected, the hair tangles and matts. For competition, the wiry coat must be hand stripped. Pet dogs are usually professionally trimmed once every three to four months.

Gallery of Airedale Terrier