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Airedale Terrier Pros & Cons: What to Consider Before Bringing One Home

Written by: Nicole Cosgrove

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

Airedale terrier walking in the middle of the forest

Airedale Terrier Pros & Cons: What to Consider Before Bringing One Home

The Airedale Terrier is the largest of the terrier breeds and a skillful hunter, working dog, and watchdog. A rambunctious puppy, the Airedale grows into a dignified and athletic adult who loves being part of a family.

Like all dogs, the Airedale has pros and cons, making them more suited to some owners. Take a look at the pros and cons of the Airedale Terrier to decide if they’re the right dog breed for you.

The 5 Pros of Airedale Terrier Ownership

1. Airedales Are Versatile

The Airedale was bred to be used as a working dog and hunting dog. They can work cattle, hunt game, or guard family. Like most terriers, the Airedale was bred to hunt independently, but they are extremely loyal to their owners.

Three male airedale terrier lying in a meadow
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock

2. They’re Intelligent

The Airedale is a highly intelligent working dog developed to outperform and “outthink” other dogs of the period. Intelligent dogs learn quickly and can accomplish challenging tasks and tricks, but they can become bored easily without regular mental enrichment.

3. This Breed Is Good for Families

There’s nothing aloof about the Airedale. These dogs enjoy the whole family, including children if both are trained correctly. They’re docile and patient with kids and get along well with other dogs. Some also enjoy cats, but they do have a high prey drive.

4. They’re Vigilant Watchdogs

Airedales are generally sociable and friendly with strangers, but even the friendly ones are vigilant watchdogs. They’re extremely loyal and quick to alert you to intruders or suspicious activity around your home. When there’s a threat, they don’t back down.

5. Airedales Have Low-Maintenance Grooming Needs

The Airedale’s short, wiry coat is easy to care for, even if you’re outside all the time. They need regular brushing to remove loose, dead hair, but they don’t shed as much as some dogs. Some Airedales will need clipping for areas prone to excessive growth and matting, but it depends on the individual.

Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

The 5 Cons of Owning an Airedale Terrier

6. They Can Be Destructive

Intelligent, determined dogs are easy to train and determined to get the job done, but the downside of that is that the Airedale can be prone to destructive behaviors without proper outlets. It’s important to train the Airedale with consistent positive-reinforcement training and exercise that challenges their body and mind.

7. They Hate Being Alone

Airedales develop strong bonds with family, including children and other pets. They won’t be happy left to their own devices with an owner who works long hours or travels often. Airedales also require a lot of exercise and play, which is difficult to do with minimal free time.

Airedale Terrier dog lying on the floor isolated on black background
Image Credit: YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV, Shutterstock

8. They Have Classic Terrier Behaviors

The largest of the terriers, the Airedale is energetic, athletic, and intelligent, but they have some of the classic terrier traits. They love to dig and can quickly ruin a garden. Bred to hunt small game, Airedales will chase rabbits and other wildlife in your yard. Cats are hit or miss as well. Some Airedales are fine with cats if they have early exposure and training, but it varies by individual.

9. This Breed Is Not Suited for Novice Owners

Though agreeable and intelligent dogs, Airedales are independent and willful. With a mind of their own, Airedales can take advantage of an owner who’s a pushover. They require consistency in training or else they’ll take over, which can be challenging for inexperienced dog owners. Professional training is recommended if it’s your first time with a working breed.

10. They Can Be Aggressive

Many of the Airedale’s positive traits—intelligence, independence, protectiveness, and determination—can become problematic if they don’t have proper training early on. Airedales can develop aggression toward strangers and other dogs, particularly of the same sex, if they’re not socialized properly.

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Independent, athletic, and brave, the Airedale Terrier makes a great athlete, companion, and hunter. With proper socialization and training, the Airedale can grow into a well-adjusted adult who gets along with the whole family, but they can develop destructive or undesirable behaviors like digging, chasing, animal aggression, and barking if they’re bored or mismanaged. Airedales are best suited for owners with experience raising similar breeds or owners committed to professional training.

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Featured Image Credit: samalfr, Shutterstock

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