Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier


Group: Terrier
Size: large
Lifespan: 10-13 years
Exercise: moderate
Grooming: high
Trainability: moderate
Watchdog ability: high
Protection ability: high
Area of Origin: England
Date of Origin: 1800’s
Other Names: Waterside Terrier, Bingley Terrier
Original Function: badger and otter hunting


The Airedale Terrier was developed about a hundred years ago in the country of York from the ancient Working Terrier. “The King of Terriers,” the Airedale was named for the Valley of the Aire in England, where lots of small game flourished. Originally known as the Waterside Terrier and used as a vermin hunter. The breed was later crossed with the Otterhound to make him a better swimmer. In addition to his role as a small game hunter, the Airedale has been used to hunt big game in Africa, India and Canada and as a police dog and army sentry dog in World War II. Today the Airedale is primarily a companion dog. Some of the Airedale’s talents are guarding, watchdogging, hunting, tracking, military work, police work, and competitive obedience.


The Airedale Terrier is an independent, territorial dog breed. It is intelligent, but often stubborn and headstrong. It makes a good house dog as long as it gets daily mental and physical exercise. Initially suspicious of strangers, the Airedale Terrier makes a good watchdog.


This is an active breed that needs a chance to get vigorous exercise every day. Its needs can be met with a long walk, a strenuous game or a chance to hunt and romp in a safe area. It can live outside in temperate climates, but it is better suited for indoor sleeping. Its wire coat needs combing twice weekly, plus scissoring and shaping (clipping for pets and hand stripping for show dogs) every one to two months.
Official Breed Standard


Keen of expression, quick of movement, on the tip-toe of expectation at any movement. Character is denoted and shown by the expression of the eyes and by the carriage of the ears and tail.


The various parts of the dog should be in proportion to each other giving a symmetrical appearance. In movement, the legs should be carried straight forward, the forelegs being perpendicular and parallel with the sides. The propulsive power is furnished by the hind legs, perfection of action being found in the Terrier possessing long thighs and muscular second thighs well bent at the stifles, which admit of a strong forward tust or snatch of the hocks. When approaching, the forelegs should form a continuation of the straight line of the front, the feet being the same distance apart as the elbows; when stationary it is often difficult to determine whether a dog is slightly out at shoulder, but directly he moves, the defect if it exists, becomes most apparent, the forefeet having a tendency to cross. When, on the contrary, the dog is tied at the shoulder, the tendency of the feet is to move wider apart. When the hocks are turned in (cow- hocks) the stifles and feet are turned outward, resulting in a serious loss of propulsive power. When the hocks are turned outward, the tendency of the hind feet is to cross.

Head and Skull:

The skull should be long and flat, not too broad between the ears and narrowing slightly to the eyes. It should be well balanced, with only little apparent difference in length between skull and foreface. The skull to be free from wrinkles, with stop hardly visible and cheeks level and free from fullness. Foreface must be well-filled up before the eyes, not dish-faced or falling away quickly below eyes, but on the other hand, a little delicate chiselling should keep appearance from wedginess and plainness. Upper and lower jaws should be deep, powerful, strong and muscular, as strength of foreface is a great desideratum of the Airedale, but there must be no excess development of the jaws to give a rounded or bulging appearance to the cheeks, as “cheekiness” is not desired. Lips to be tight. The nose should be black.


Should be dark in colour, small, not prominent, full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence.


Should be V-shaped with a side carriage, small, but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. The top line of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull. A pendulous ear, hanging dead by the side of the head like a hound’s is a fault.


Teeth strong and level being capable of closing together like a vice.


Should be clean, muscular, of moderate length and thickness, gradually widening towards the shoulders, and free from toatiness.


Shoulders should be long, well laid back, and sloping obliquely into the back, shoulder blades flat. Forelegs should be perfectly straight, with plenty of bone. Elbows should be perpendicular to the body, working free of the sides.


Back should be short, strong, straight and level, with no appearance of slackness. Loins muscular. Ribs well sprung. In a well ribbed-up or short-coupled dog there is little space between ribs and hips. When the dog is long in couplings some slackness will be shown here. Chest to be deep but not broad.


Should be long and muscular with no droop. Thighs long and powerful with muscular second thigh, stifles well bent, not turned either in or out. Hocks well let down, parallel with each other when viewed from behind


Should be small, round and compact, with a good depth of pad, well cushioned, and the toes moderately arched, not turned either in or out.


Customarily docked. Should be set on high and carried gaily, but not curled over the back. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length.


Should be hard, dense and wiry and not too long as to appear ragged. It should also lie straight and close, covering the body and legs; the outer coat of hard, wire, stiff hairs, the undercoat should be a shorter growth of softer hair Some of the hardest coats are crinkling or just slightly waved; a curly coat is objectionable.


The head and ears, with the exception of dark markings on each side of the skull, should be tan, the ears being of a darker shade than the rest. The legs up to the thighs and elbows also, should be tan. The body to be black or dark grizzle.

Weight and Size:

Height about 23 inches to 24 inches (58.4 – 60.9 cm) for dogs, taken from top of shoulder, and bitches about 22 inches to 23 inches (55.8 – 58.4 cm). Weight to be commensurate with height and type.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

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