Lifespan: 12-15 yrs
Pups per Litter: 3-5
Average Weight: 45-70 lbs
Average Height: 23 inches
Exercise/Activity Level: High
Temperament with: Children
The Airedale Terrier is an all-around dog. Its large size and working abilities as well as its very friendly and playful nature earns its label as the king of terriers. Their high level of intelligence makes them easy to pick up commands. They are very good companion dogs and also very protective. This dog can get along with children well, as well as with other pets in the house, given the proper socialization while still young.
Origin and History
The Airedale originated in West Riding, Yorkshire England. The name of dog actually comes from the area of West Riding called the Valley of the Aire, hence the Airedale Terrier. Oddly enough, this dog was bred to hunt otter, so what better way to create a dog that does that exact deed then to add an Otterhound and a Terrier together! The history of the breed shows it a few names, such as the Old English Black and Tan Terrier, the Rough Coated Black and Tan Terrier and the Waterside Terrier. Historically this breed dates back to the 19th century and has become ever more agile and intelligent.
This extremely intelligent dog is very easy to pick-up commands and learns things fast, but it has a tendency to be independent and dominant when not properly trained and socialized. It is considered a very good family dog with its guarding skills and obedience. Airedales are generally good playmates for children but this dog has a tendency to be rough on smaller children whom the dog sees as submissive in the family.
Caring and Nurturing (Haircut, Fur Treatment, Washing…)
Owners should regularly conduct hair stripping for Airedales, to remove dead hairs and prevent it from matting. Three to four times a week brushing is also needed to keep the dog’s hair from tangling. A grooming rake or pin bristle brush is recommended. The long beard should be washed often to remove food trapped into it. Ears and teeth should be checked regularly.
Because Airedale terriers are prone to having dry skin and skin allergies, their food should contain ample amount of omega 3 fatty acids. They can be fed with vegetables, chicken, lamb and beef meat and fish, as well as eggs, cheese and milk. Protein content should not exceed 24%. They also like brown rice and oatmeal as sources of carbohydrates. Fiber content should be less than 4% while fat content should not exceed 20%.
The Airedale is an extremely intelligent dog and has a very high learning ability. They are responsive and very active making them great guard/watch dogs. As terriers are bred to do, the Airedale hunts small game such as otters and other small animals. This breed is an excellent family dog and is great with small children as they are very tolerant and gentle. They love affection and need a lot of exercise as they are high energy dogs, so regular long walks and preferably an off leash area or backyard to run around in would be ideal.
Weighing in at 45- 70 pounds (20-32 kg) and averaging around 23 inches high, the Airedale is known as the “King of Terriers” as it is the largest in the Terrier group. They have either medium or short hair that sheds moderately and heavily during shedding season. The Airedale has a double coat, which is usually a tan color with black markings, or black with tan markings. A white patch on the chest is also noticeable and a slight reddish highlight is present at the back.
The coat is quite wiry and short but doesn’t shed that much! Instead, this dog needs to be stripped of its coat because unlike other breeds that shed regularly or “blow their coats”, this dog does not, so “stripping” the coat is necessary for this breed.
Black and tan are the AKC standards for colouring of this dog. As for the tail of the dog, it is to be docked, which is done quite quickly after birth (3-5 days actually) but isn’t required for the breeds standards. The eyes should be dark and small and the ears should be small and floppy but not out of proportion for the size of the breed.
Unlike some purebred dogs, the Airedale is relatively hearty as its not prone to any genetic diseases except for Hip Dysplasia which is in only some of the blood lines of the breed. As most terriers do, Airedales are prone to dermatitis caused by food and can have thyroid gland problems (either to active or not active enough).
Generally, terriers like the Airedale are healthy dog breeds. But like other dogs, they are also prone to hip dysplasia, gastric torsion, skin allergies, and eye problems.
This dog excels in training as they are agile, responsive, intelligent and strong. Agility, hunting, and obedience would be fun for both the owner and the dog as these are the breeds strongest abilities! This dog is easy to medium level for owner training and constancy is the key!
Training should be done in a positive and consistent way. Though this dog is intelligent, trainers often find it hard to train them because of their slow process of maturity. However, Airedales are very good in obedience training. They should also be taught not to jump on people when excited or happy.
For this breed, stripping of the coat is necessary because they don’t shed as regularly as some other dogs do. Stripping is done by a groomer who takes a serrated knife and pulls out the loose fur. As for the tail of the dog, it is usually docked ( meaning to be shortened by way of surgery) and this is done at around 3-5 days after birth! The breed standard states that this is not necessary as it is somewhat a controversial subject of owners and dog fanatics.
The breed is categorized in the Terrier Group. They are ideal family dogs and would do the best in either a big apartment or a house that has a big backyard. The Airedale Terriers average life span is between 12-15 years. They have about 5-12 pups per litter. When obtaining a baby Airedale Terrier, keep in mind that every puppy is different and to research your breed before bringing the baby home!