beautiful little girl in a dress in nature in summer with an Airedale Terrier dog

Airedale Terriers: Terrier Group Kings

Brown Airedale Terrier Dog Close Up Portrait.The Airedale Terrier is often called the “King of Terriers.” One of its primary progenitors is the Black and Tan and the old English Terriers. Airedales are the tallest members of the terrier’s entire breed family. They were medium-sized dogs highly admired by Yorkshire hunters who would go after all sorts of prey, ranging from small rabbits to foxes.

They were reliable hunters of land animals, and their owners prized these Terriers as excellent bird retrievers. Sometime during the mid-1800s, many of these Terriers were bred with Otterhounds. The goal was to create a dog with increased water-hunting skills and a stronger tracking sense. The result was a sharp-looking dog that became an excellent otter hunter.

These otter-hunting dogs became the breed we know of today called the Airedale Terrier. Their name was originally “Waterside Terriers” but became Airedale in 1878.

Terrier enthusiasts began to show these dogs in competitions. To further the beauty of the Airedale Terrier, owners mixed them with Irish and Bull Terriers. By the early 1900s, the well-known Airedale Terrier and champion “Master Briar” became the founding father of today’s Airedale Terriers.

Master Briar produced dogs that highly influenced the breed in the United States. They picked up popularity as strong hunters, proving themselves worthy of hunting big game. However, after World War I, their numbers declined, and today they are a rare breed to come across, yet their excellent reputation remains the same.

The Personality of the Airedale Terrier

Airedales are one of the most versatile of the Terrier dog breed. They are adventurous, bold, and love to play. Highly intelligent and a bit stubborn, training may take some time. However, these dogs are obedient and loyal and make excellent watchdogs with the right training time. And so long as the Airedale Terrier gets plenty of mental and physical stimulation, they can make obedient house pets.

Airedales in Dog Competition

airedale terrier jumpingThe Crufts Dog Show in England in 1978 marked the debut of the sport of dog agility. Following the obedience competition’s conclusion and before the group judging, John Varley, a member of the Crufts Dog Show, organized entertainment for the general public.

The fastest-growing canine sport in the world over the years was dog agility. At Crufts in February 1978, the public observed a dog agility competition between two teams. It was a huge success, and dog agility seemed set for a bright future.

In agility, the adaptable Airedale has discovered a new side. Agility suits the fun and variety-loving nature of Airedales quite fine. Our lovely breed still doesn’t have enough competitors, but those that do have great results.

Taking Care Of Your Airedale Terrier

Airedales require a lot of exercise. They get bored quickly without enough physical exertion and can be quite destructive if left alone inside the house. Long walks or active games should provide plenty of stimulation to care for these needs.

Airedale Terriers can live outside during cold climates, but sleeping inside with family-like, all-house dogs is always best. Grooming takes more work than most breeds due to its long wiry coat. A thorough combing 2 – 3 times per week is ideal. Clipping and scissoring are also recommended about every eight weeks or so.

Airedale Health Information

The average lifespan for a healthy Airedale Terrier dog is between 10 and 14 years. They are a very healthy breed, in which CHD is the only major health issue that may come up. Minor concerns include gastric torsion and hypothyroidism.

For more information about this dog breed, visit the Airedale Terrier Club of America.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do Airedale Terriers shed?

An Airedale Terrier’s thick, wiry coat is hypoallergenic and does not produce much dander, making them a good choice for people with allergies. While Airedale Terriers do not shed much, they do require regular grooming to maintain their coat and prevent matting.

Are Airedale Terriers Good Family Dogs?

Airedale Terriers can be a good choice for families who can provide them with enough exercise and mental stimulation. Airedale Terriers may not be the best choice for families with other pets, as they have a strong hunting instinct and may be aggressive towards cats, rabbits, and rodents.

Do Airedales bark a lot?

Airedale Terriers may bark excessively if they do not receive enough exercise and mental stimulation. However, their barking can also be essential to their protective nature as great guard dogs.

What are Airedale dogs known for?

Airedale Terriers are known for their versatility and have been used for various purposes throughout history. They were one of the first breeds used for police duty in Germany and Great Britain and have also been used for hunting, retrieving, and serving as war dogs.


The Airedale Terrier is a versatile breed with a rich history of working roles and success in the show ring. As one of the first breeds used for police duty in Germany and Great Britain, the Airedale Terrier has also been used for hunting, retrieving, and serving as a war dog. They have a strong sense of loyalty and protectiveness towards their families, making them good guard dogs.

Airedale Terriers are intelligent and excel at tracking, and have been used as messenger dogs and search and rescue dogs. They have a weather-resistant coat, making them well-suited to various environments. In addition to their working roles, Airedale Terriers have also been successful in the show ring, winning Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show four times. Overall, the Airedale Terrier is a courageous, loyal, and reliable breed that excels at various tasks and makes a wonderful companion for the right family.

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