The Airedale Terrier is one of the best known terrier breeds for its reputation for being a fearless and hardworking dog. At first glance, they may resemble Fox Terriers, but larger, in fact the differences between the two breeds go beyond size and coat color.
If you are thinking of adopting an Airedale Terrier, you should learn more about its temperament and characteristics: it is a very active and peculiar breed that needs specific care. Now you will learn everything you need to know about them. Keep reading!
Origin of the Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier breed was developed over a century ago in Airedale, Yorkshire, England, where it was originally called the Waterside Terrier. These dogs were bred to scavenge vermin and accompany hunters, driving prey from underground lairs. When they became aware of their hunting abilities, breeders decided to hone their swimming skills by crossing them with Otterhounds and other terrier varieties.
Over time, these dogs got their current name. Airedale Terriers performed many different roles: hunting, guiding, police work, search and rescue, etc.
Physical Characteristics of the Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terriers have a muscular build, although they can be longer than they are tall. Its chest is deep and narrow, and its neck is strong and of moderate width. Their tail is set high on their back and they carry it upright but not curled. While it was common years ago to dock the tail of Airedale Terriers, today the cruel practice is banned in many countries and is becoming less common in breed standards.
His head is elongated, with a flat skull: his jaws are powerful, but not so muscular as to give his cheeks a round shape. They have strong teeth, with a noticeable scissor bite. The Airedale Terrier’s ears are small, but not disproportionate, and are V-shaped. They are folded, appearing slightly above the head.
This breed of terrier has a double coat, with a rough, wiry outer coat and a soft, short undercoat. His hair is thick and while it can be wavy, it cannot be curled. The Airedale Terrier’s coat is usually black, grayish or brown, mixed with gray and/or white hairs. Its back is usually darker, while the rest of the body can vary its shades. Airedale Terriers are considered a hypoallergenic breed.
The standard height for males ranges between 58 and 61 cm at the withers, while for females it ranges between 56 and 59 cm. Their average weight is 23 to 29 kg for males and 18 to 20 kg for females.
Airedale Terrier Temperament
The Airedale Terrier is a cheerful, confident, brave and intelligent dog. They are usually friendly with people and other dogs, but they need a proper socialization process from an early age. They are impulsive and have a strong prey drive, so it will be necessary to educate them from puppies through positive reinforcement, as we will explain below.
Although this is a very versatile breed, it requires a lot of physical and mental exercise. On the other hand, it should be noted that Airedale Terriers can be a bit rough around the edges when playing with small children or other dogs.
The care of an Airedale Terrier
Airedale Terriers need quite a bit of exercise, so they are not recommended for very small apartments. You might consider adopting one if you have a garden or yard where they can play freely, or perhaps you can give them all the time they need on their walks. You will have to offer him long daily walks so that he can socialize and channel his energy. Playing is a great way to train Airedale Terriers. Even if you have a garden and offer daily walks and games, your Airedale may still need more activity, especially during the early years. They will enjoy field trips or practicing a dynamic dog sport like Agility.
Caring for an Airedale Terrier takes time, especially cleaning. His coat needs frequent brushing and also periodic specialized care. You’ll need to brush your dog frequently (especially around the beard, as food can get stuck) and take him to the groomer at least twice a year.
Training an Airedale Terrier
As we pointed out before, you should start training your Airedale Terrier early, when he is still a puppy. This will allow you to follow a proper socialization process, during which your dog will learn to get along with people and other animals as well as become familiar with its surroundings. Offering a variety of positive experiences will prevent later behavior problems. Physical exercise is especially important, as if they don’t channel their energy, Airedale Terriers can become overly excitable and destructive. Intelligence games are always a good option.
Obedience can get tricky with this stubborn and independent breed, but through positive reinforcement, your Airedale Terrier will be able to learn basic dog commands and house rules perfectly.
Common Health Problems of Airedale Terriers
This is a robust and generally healthy breed. However, if you adopt an Airedale Terrier, you will need to watch out for eye infections, skin infections, and hip dysplasia. It’s best to prevent these health problems before they develop, so we recommend taking the following steps:
Although Airedale Terriers are active dogs, don’t force them to exercise too much, as that can cause premature hip or elbow dysplasia.
A high-quality feed based on rice and fish will help your Airedale to prevent skin diseases. Omega-3 and omega-6 supplements will add shine to his coat.
Take care of your facial hygiene, removing legañas, food crumbs and dirt or accumulated debris. When you go to the dog groomer, ask him to pay special attention to the face.
Go to the vet at least twice a year and follow the vaccination and deworming schedules. Regular check-ups will help control the development of diseases before they get worse.