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About the Airedale Terrier
History of the Airedale Terrier
Breed Standard of the Airedale Terrier
The Many Faces of the Airedale Terrier
Is An Airedale Terrier Right For You?

Is An Airedale Terrier Right For You?

Soul Simplicity, aka Jason, photo by Marian Murray

Soul Simplicity, aka Jason
Photo by Marian Murray

Keen of expression with a swashbuckling attitude, the Airedale Terrier is the largest of the terrier breeds and often referred to as the King of Terriers.

The Airedale is the most versatile breed, having been bred to hunt fur and feather, retrieve over land and water, used as a pit fighter, ratter, herder, police dog, guide dog for the blind, messenger dog, rescue dog, companion, therapy dog and sentry during the First World War. The Airedale Terrier is multi-skilled and adept at every thing that interests him.

The very qualities that make Airedales “the only breed” for many of us can also makes them less suitable or desirable for others. When an Airedale Owner describes the wealth of admirable qualities in his chosen breed, we may describe them with the phraseology used in Column A … whereas another person might choose the description in Column B!

Column A
An Airedale Owner’s Description
Column B
Observations from Non Airedale Owners

Airedales are very devoted companions.
  • They want to be an equal partner in your life, a family member and a friend, and will be unhappy with anything less.
  • They are not happy if excluded from family activities. (Be prepared to even have company in the washroom.)
  • They are not backyard dogs.

  • Airedales are great with children.

    Airedales are “the only breed that babysits.”
  • Trained adult dogs secure in their environment can be unbelievably sweet with small children.
  • Young dogs and young children should never be left together unsupervised.

  • Airedales “think outside of the box.”
  • They possess the ability to think and process thought.
  • They are able to problem solve.
  • They will often outsmart their owners.
  • They do not accept unreasonable or repetitive commands.
  • They are smart and very curious. If you mind being outsmarted, you may not be enchanted with an Airedale.
  • If you want a dog who never questions your judgement, you should consider another breed.
  • They have opinions – sometimes even about furniture placement

  • Airedales have personality plus!
  • Airedales have a clownish streak that both amuses and exasperates their owners.
  • Many will perform for laughs, knowingly embarrassing their owners who have told the world “how well trained he is”.
  • They are unforgiving of harsh treatment.
  • An Airedale never forgives.

  • Airedales can do anything and do it well.
  • Airedales want to work with you, not for you.
  • Obedience classes are strongly recommended.

  • Airedales are courageous and brave.
  • Airedales can be aggressive to other dogs.
  • The Airedale seldom starts the fight, but he will always finish it.

  • Airedales are active.
  • Airedales are terriers and like to dig. An underground cavern with en suites is considered an admirable architectural accomplishment by an Airedale.
  • Airedales are non-stop motion machines.
  • Some have strong hunting and prey skills – your squirrels may be harassed.
  • Airedales need one good walk per day.
  • A fenced backyard is a prerequisite for keeping Airedales.

  • Airedales are non-allergenic and non-shedding.
  • This is true for many people, but some people are allergic to Airedales’ dander.
  • If groomed four to six times a year, Airedales do not shed.

  • Airedales are hardy and have few health problems.
  • Airedale stoicism is a blessing and a curse. Many veterinarians have missed symptoms because “the dog still wags his tail to the end.”
  • Breeders should screen for hip dysplasia, von Willebrand’s disease (a bleeding disorder) and low thyroid function.

  • The only thing better than one Airedale is two! Comments from non-Airedale person edited …

    For more insights, see The Many Faces of the Airedale Terrier – Pet and Family Member.

    Learn more here about Airedale breeders and breeder referrals.



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