Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

Group: Terrier Group

Origin: Great Britain

Height at the Withers:

    – Males: 58-61 cm (23-24 in.)
    – Females: Slightly smaller

Weight: Weight is proportionate to height. Both males and females should be sturdy, well muscled, and well boned.

Airedale Terrier
CH Nightsun Brightest Star CDX (Soleil)
Photo: ©Nightsun Airedale Terriers

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Breed Profile

It is generally believed that the Airedale originated in the Valley of Aire in England by crossing the now extinct English Terrier with the Otteround and various other Terriers to develop a all-purpose dog which was known as the Waterside Terrier, then as the Bingley Terrier. The first classes for Airedale Terriers at shows were held in 1879. This all-purpose breed was used for hunting large game, including wild cats and bears, in Africa, India, the United States and Canada. It was also one of the first breeds used as police dogs in Germany and Great Britain and, in several wars, Airedales were used as dispatch dogs. During the first part of the 20th century, the Airedale breed had an almost legendary popularity. The breed was first brought to North America from England in the early 1880’s and by the early 1920’s, the Airedale was the most popular breed of dog in America.

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the Terriers—known as the “King of the Terriers.” He is a medium-sized, muscular and squarely-built dog. Always a terrier in appearance and attitude, he should stand alert with his head and tail held high. The Airedale is an active dog with quick movement and a keen expression, outgoing and confident, friendly, courageous and intelligent.

Not only is the Airedale a keen hunter and family protector, he is playful, fun-loving and a wonderful companion. While he can adjust to various living situations, he does require regular and daily exercise. The Airedale is eager to learn and has a very good memory, often learning a task on the first or second try. They do, however, get bored from repetition and may refuse to repeat a task repetitively. Positive reinforcement training is the ideal method for this versatile breed — whether training for companionship, conformation, hunting, obedience, agility, search and rescue, tracking, agility, flyball or other.

All Airedales are black and tan, with only slight variations of shades. They have a hard, wiry outer coat and a softer wooly undercoat.


A Bit of History

It is believed that the Airedale Terrier originated in the Valley of Aire in England by crossing the now extinct English Terrier with the Otteround and various other Terriers. This produced a all-purpose dog originally known as the Waterside Terrier and then as the Bingley Terrier.

During the first part of the 20th century, the Airedale Terrier was a very popular breed and, after being brought to North America from England in the early 1880’s, the breed’s popularity grew to the point where, by the early 1920’s, the Airedale Terrier was considered to be the most popular breed of dog in North America.


Did You Know?

  • The Airedale Terrier was one of the first breeds used as police dogs in Germany and Great Britain as well as being used as dispatch dogs in several wars.
  • In 1912, 1919, 1922, and 1933, The Best of Show title at the Westminster was won by an Airedale Terrier.
Ivy (If In Doubt Von Der Locher Muhle) — A 2 year old female Airedale, and the best family dog we’ve ever had.” – Melanie Tilkov, Germany

Health Issues

In general, the Airedale Terrier is known to be a healthy breed; however, like all breeds certain genetic disorders have been known to occur, including: Hip Dysplasia, Hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s Disease, and Progressive Retinal Atrophy.

If you are considering the adoption of a Airedale Terrier puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy’s parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the General Information page.)

Recommended Health Screening:

The Airedale Terrier Club of America recommends that breeders screen for genetic problems, including:

  • Hip and Elbow certifications,
  • CERF,
  • Thyroid testing, and
  • Cardiac evaluation.

For the Airedale Terrier, the CHICNote 1 database includes health screening for the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia;
  • Congenital Cardiac evaluation; and
  • Renal Disease

Optional screening includes: Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist; Autoimmune Thyroiditis; and Elbow Dysplasia.

Additional Health Resources:

Airedale Terrier - Oscar

Airedale Terrier – “Oscar”
Photo credit: Dazzle by Design Graphics Studio Inc.

Grooming Information

  • Grooming — This section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.


Training Resources

  • Training — For training information, see this section of the Canada’s Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.


Additional Information

*NOTE 1: CHIC – The Canine Health Information Center “is a database of consolidated health screening results from multiple sources. Co-sponsored by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and the American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Health Foundation, CHIC works with parent clubs to identify health screening protocols appropriate for individual breeds. Dogs tested in accordance with the parent club established requirements, that have their results registered and made available in the public domain are issued CHIC numbers.” To learn more, visit:

*NOTE 2: The Fédération Cynologique International (FCI) is the World Canine Organization, which includes 91 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 344 breeds, with each being the “property” of a specific country. The “owner” countries write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.

Breed Listing

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