The Airedale is the largest of the Terrier group. Height about 23-24 ins for dogs, taken from top of shoulder, and bitches are about 22-23 ins. Their wiry coats are mostly tan, with a black saddle, sometimes with a flash of white on the chest. Tails were traditionally docked, but are now left undocked. They are strong dogs and usually weigh around 23 – 25 kg when fully mature adults.
The breed originated in the Aire valley in Yorkshire, by crossing a large Terrier with a rough coated Otter Hound. The result was a very agile, courageous and tenacious dog with excellent eyesight, hearing and a love of water.
Airedales are fairly large dogs requiring considerable amounts of exercise and attention. We would not recommend an Airedale to first time dog owners as, in common with most terriers, they are very intelligent and definitely have minds of their own! They can be trained to a very high standard of obedience but they do like to do things their way. You have to be prepared to put some effort into training a puppy or they can grow into very badly-behaved, unruly adults. They respond best to love and kindness.
They need lots of exercise, love and attention. They are also natural diggers and chasers, so having a nice garden can prove to be difficult. Digging up things you have planted and presenting them to you is a particularly favourite game. They can live with cats if they grow up with them, but remember they will chase anything that runs!
Airedale Terriers can make ideal family pets if you are allergic to animal hair, as Airedales have a wiry outer coat and don’t shed hair like other breeds! This means however, that they do need grooming at home and/or by a dog groomer. If you want to keep your Airedale looking at its best, you will need to brush or rake the coat 3 to 4 times per week. You also need to have a professional groomer clip or hand strip the coat 2 or 3 times per year. You could also buy clippers and learn to do it yourself. The Club can help you to learn. Try not to bathe them unless it is absolutely necessary. If they are just dirty, let them dry and brush the dirt off. You destroy the oil in their coats if you wash them too often – although there will be times when you will have no alternative due to you dog's love affair with smelly things - cow dung, stagnant water, etc. etc.
Airdales are very loyal and faithful companions who are also incredibly curious about everything! They enjoy being involved in every aspect of family life. They love children and make great guard dogs, feeling that protecting their family is their task, but they are not normally noisy dogs. They have a great sense of humour and love to play and entertain you with their antics.
Once you have had an Airedale, no other dog will come close.