Airedale Terriers have large, lean and well-proportioned frames covered in bristly, wiry coats. Their long, flat heads are somewhat narrow with small, dark eyes and V-shaped ears that fold forward. Airedales are usually groomed to have bushy, hanging bears. They have strong necks that slope down to deep chests, short backs and tails that point straight up. Their coats are usually tan with black and/or red markings. Overall, Airedale Terriers carry themselves with a nice combination of austerity and agility.
Though handsome and huggable, Airedale Terriers are not the types to cuddle on the couch for long periods of time, if at all. They have loads of energy and love nothing more than to run, play, fetch and dig outside. If you’re a hiker, hunter or runner, your Airedale Terrier will stay with you the whole way. They are also very responsive to obedience training. However, squirrels in the yard can easily distract them.
Protective and loyal, Airedales are dependable watchdogs, delivering a piercing bark and lots of intimidating, acrobatic moves. Slightly rowdy as puppies, these dogs mellow a little with age—but not that much. They have a sweet sensitivity and need lots of love and attention.
Airedales are courageous, intense and extremely curious about other dogs and small animals: Always keep them on a leash in public. In addition to daily walks and games of fetch, they like to swim. If you’re near a safe lake or river, let them have at it.
A healthy Airedale Terrier can live as long as 12 years. These dogs are generally healthy, but some can develop hip dysplasia and skin problems. Their short, dense coats need regular grooming to look like a trademark Airedale. Also, since these dogs love to romp and splash outdoors, they may need to be clipped and bathed fairly often.
Named for the valley of Aire in England, Airedale Terriers were developed from different hunting and swimming terriers to catch otters and other small game, in addition to curbing the rat population. Commonly used as police, military and farm dogs in the mid-19th century, Airdale Terriers also joined many hunting expeditions to Africa, Canada and India. In addition to hunting and working, Airdales have always been popular show dogs and companions.