Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier Information


The Airedale Terrier (or Airedale), is a dog breed of the terrier type, originating in the valley (dale) of the River Aire in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is also called the Bingley Terrier and Waterside Terrier. The breed was created in the mid-19th Century, by working class people. They crossed the old English rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier (now known as the Welsh Terrier) with the Otterhound. This breed was originally created to hunt otters. This breed was developed during a time when regular sporting events took place along the River Aire, in which Terriers pursued the large river rats living in the area. The dog was judged on its ability to locate a “live” hole, and then, after the rats were driven out by ferrets, the terrier would chase the rat through the water until it could make a kill. As these events became more popular, the need arose for a terrier that could excel in this activity. The result of crossing the Otter Hound, with the Black-and – Tan Terrier, was a long legged dog that later developed into the dog we know today.

Physical Appearance

The Airedale is the largest of the British Terriers, standing between 23-24 inches at the withers for males and females slightly smaller. They weigh about 50-70 pounds. His head should be well balanced having a little observable difference between the length of the skull and foreface. His skull should be flat and long, and not too broad between the ears. It should narrow very slightly to the eyes. His ears are V-shaped with carriage rather to the side of the head. They should not point to the eyes. They should be small but not out of proportion to its size. The eyes of the Airedale should be small, dark, not prominent, and full of terrier expression, keenness, and intelligence. The nose is black but not too small, and his bite is either level or vise-like. The tail should be carried gaily, but not to curled over the back. This breed, like many terriers, has a broken coat. It is to be kept not very long as to appear ragged. It lies straight and close, covering the body and legs. The outer coat is wiry, stiff, and hard. They may have a softer undercoat. The correct breed standard color of the Airedale is either a black saddle, with a tan head, ears, and legs, or a dark grizzle saddle.


The Airedale is a good working dog as well as a hunting dog and does exhibit some herding characteristics as well. They have a tendency to chase animals. Because the dog was bred to hunt independently, he is very intelligent, strong-minded, stoic, and sometimes stubborn. If children and the Airedale are trained properly, they can make a great choice for a family dog. If raised with them, Airedales do well with cats and other small animals. Without plenty of exercise, the dog may become bored and destructive in an attempt to entertain himself. His attitude towards strangers may vary from enthusiastically friendly, to just sensibly polite. Even the friendly ones tend to vigilant watchdogs though.


The average lifespan of the Airedale is about 11.5 years. Some common health issues related to the Airedale are hip dysplasia, dermatitis, acral lick dermatitis, allergies, dietary imbalances, under/over protective thyroid glands,  and gastric torsion (bloat).

Airedale Terrier