Are you thinking about purchasing an Airedale Terrier puppy or better yet adopting an adult Airedale Terrier dog? Well if so, we here at IndulgeYourPet think that you’ll find the following article pretty interesting because in this article, we’re going to cover some of the Pros and Cons associated with owning an Airedale Terrier and try to help any prospective new owners determine whether or not an Airedale Terrier will make a good pet for you.
So, without further ado, let’s start right from the beginning and first take a moment to first discuss the origin of the Airedale Terrier breed so that we may have a better understanding of how it may behave.
Origin of the Airedale Terrier
The Airedale Terrier, or the “king of terriers” as it’s often referred, first became an actual breed back in the mid 1800’s when hunters located in and around the Aire River Valley (River Aire) of England decided to breed the common black-and-tan terriers of the time with a breed known as Otterhounds (Otter Hound) in an effort to create a terrier that would be well suited around water, combined with an improved ability to hunt by scent.
What emerged was…
A fearless terrier with an “uncanny” ability to hunt! These “Super Terriers” originally went by several names such as: Waterside Terrier, Bingley Terrier, and Irish Red Terrier, but were eventually recognized as Airedale Terriers in 1878.
Fast Facts of the Airedale Terrier
Country of Origin: England
Original Purpose: Hunting
Height: 20 to 23 inches tall
Weight: 50 to 55 pounds
Life Expectancy: 10-13 years
Dog Breed Classification: Terrier Group
Size of an Airedale Terrier
The average Airedale Terrier weighs between 42-55 pounds for males and 35-50 pounds for females. The height of the Airedale is about 24 inches at the dogs’ withers, with the females being smaller (and for those who may not be familiar with the term “withers”, its just a term used to describe the front shoulder blades of a dog).
The first thing that you’re going to want to understand about the Airedale Terrier breed is that it isn’t a small breed which is something that you’ll want to consider before you choice to make one of these “guys” your own.
We should also mention…
That there was one kennel that actually specialized in breeding very large Airedale Terriers in the United States and actually produced quite a few that weighed in at over 12o pounds! So, just keep that little fun fact in the back of your mind.
Now clearly these…
Monster Airedale Terriers aren’t going to “fit” into what the American Kennel Club (AKC) would necessarily say is the “ideal” image for this breed, but we just wanted to make sure that your aware that these big boys are out there, so that if you do decide that an Airedale Terrier is right for you, just be sure that the Airedale Terrier breeder that you’re working with doesn’t produce these GIANTS.
That is, of course, unless you want a 120 lb Airedale Terrier, in which case you’ll want to search for an Oorang Airedales (you may find them listed under guard dog or guard dogs!).
Grooming of an Airedale Terrier
An Airedale has a harsh, wiry black and tan topcoat and a soft undercoat that needs to be brushed/groomed every couple of days. Additionally, your going to find that an Airdeale’s coat will also need to be “shaped” with either scissors or a razor every couple of months or two. So, needless to say, grooming your Airedale Terrier is going to be a bit of a pain.
On the plus side…
Airedale Terriers don’t shed much if at all. Which is why, you’re going to find that a lot of folks will consider Airedale Terriers hypoallergenic.
But we’re here to tell you…
That even though some may say that Airedale Terriers are hypoallergenic, in our experience, we have found that some will still experience symptoms with Airedale Terriers which is why if you are prone to suffer from dog allergies, we would strongly recommend that you visit an Airedale Terrier club to see first hand if you have any reactions.
The last thing that you’ll want to do is make one of these magnificent animals your own only to learn a week or so later on that your allergies are driving you nuts!
Airedale Terrier Training and Personality
The Airedale Terrier is an intelligent independent dog that is very hard-working, athletic and has the energy, drive and stamina to get things done. That means that training the Airedale Terrier, and socializing them at a young age is a must! Or to put in another way you’re Airedale Terrier is going to be as great as you choose to make him or her.
Airedale Terriers are very trainable, however they’re also quite playful and adventurous, so if you leave them to their own devices, what you’re going to find is that they can get into a whole lot of trouble. Trouble that could mean quite a bit of damage to your yard and home!
Now, one way…
You can avoid such disasters is by making sure that your Airedale gets plenty of exercise and ample time to play. So, if you can’t see yourself going on daily walks with your Airedale, or taking time out of every day to play with our Airedale, then chances are, this breed may not be right for you.
Also if you have children…
Or plan on having any children in the future, you’ll need to understand that properly introducing your Airedale Terrier to your kids will go a long way to ensuring a good relationship between your kids and your dog. Because, while it is true that Airedale Terriers can be fantastic household pets that are unbelievably loyal, they will need to be trained how to behave around small children.
Getting a dog is usually a decision for life (the dog’s life that is!). So, while we don’t expect an individual to get a dog unless they’re planning on keeping them for life, we would especially urge anyone thinking of purchasing or adopting an Airedale Terrier to think it through very carefully because in the case of an Airedale Terrier, when then choose to bond with an owner, then tend to bond for life.
This is why…
You’ll probably find that your Airedale Terrier will make a great guard dog and is likely not to take kindly to strangers approaching the household.
Health Issues for Airedale Terrier
As a general rule, it’s safe to say that just about any “purebred” dog will be prone to some specific health concerns due to their own genetics. And while some of these potential health concerns will be unavoidable, some of them can be avoided by getting your Airedale Terrier from the right breeder, but even then, it might not be possible to get a totally healthy purebred Airedale Terrier – that just doesn’t exist.
The good news is that in general…
The Airedale Terrier is a pretty hardy breed with few “major” concerns. That said however, one must be vigilant when observing their Airedale because many times their stoicism (or stubbornness) of their personality may prevent them from exhibiting the usual or obvious signs of distress, such as whining.
Thus, it is up to the owner to be aware if anything may be ‘off’ with their companion.
The most common…
And sometimes the most costly problem that Airedale Terriers may suffer from is Hip Dysplasia. The typical cost for surgery for Hip Dysplasia can run anywhere form $4000-$6000 and then there is the added expense of pain killers.
After surgery there is the struggle of limiting their weight on the joint that was freshly operated on. This can be quite a challenge and once you have gotten through the first few days, since this dog is so full of energy it is often a good idea to look into physical therapy to ensure that you’re Airedale Terrier doesn’t complicate the healing process by over exertion or hurting themselves in some other way.
Because of the Airedale Terriers rough overcoat and soft undercoat it often goes unnoticed if they have skin problems such as Dermatitis. If the Dermatitis is left untreated then it can possibly lead to painful, oozing, wounds. Ouch!
Allergies, possible dietary imbalances and thyroid problems (over or under productive) can often times be the main causes of an Airedales skin issues. Depending on the severity of Dermatitis the cost can be upwards of $5000 to give the dog relief.
Health problem for Airedale Terriers is either high or low thyroid levels. This will cost around $200 for diagnosis and $10-50 per month for the rest of your Airedale Terriers life.
Now we don’t…
Mention all of these potential health issue simply because we want to scare you or discourage you from deciding to purchase an Airedale Terrier puppy or adopt an adult Airedale Terrier dog from a rescue center. It’s actually quite the opposite! We mention these issue so that you’ll know what to look for when considering which Airedale Terrier you want to invite into your family, as well as let you know what some of the potential cost may be associated with making that decision.
We also like to point out to folks looking to make a commitment to being a great owner that choosing to purchase a pet insurance policy might also be a good choice as well. Now will purchasing a pet insurance policy be the right choice for everyone?
Probably not, but knowing which pet insurance companies are the best out there and how much such a policy might cost could make the difference between having to go into considerable debt just to treat your loved one or simply using your insurance to pay for the care your dog needs.
If you think that a pet insurance policy might make sense for you, feel free to check out our article where we highlight who we feel are the Best Pet Insurance Companies for 2020.
If you love the look of an Airedale Terrier but just not sure you can handle such a large dog, be sure to check out our article on the Welsh Terrier which could be more your style.
I raised Airedales for years. This is a wonderful breed but as is said of many terrier breeds, “If you don’t make work for them, they will make work for you.” I found my dogs to have no health problems, and endless energy (but not as much as say, a border collie or Malinois.) They were good around farm animals but have an extremely strong prey drive so it was a real job to train them to not eat the chickens. If they are raised with children they are excellent with them. My dogs were very tolerant of any kids that came around but were on guard with unknown adults. They were not prone to biting but can be quite intimidating. I also don’t know where the idea that they are hypo allergenic ever came from. They can have either a curly appearing coat that if it is stripped and cared for constantly does very little shedding; many have a shorter very harsh and wiry coat, which is more desirable, but still needs a lot of grooming. Otherwise it grows out to a curly 4 or 6 inches and then sheds out spring and fall like any other dog. If not brushed or “picked” you have boatloads of dog hair. They are extremely loyal and brave. I love the breed. Be sure you are willing to spend a lot of time with your dog in high energy activities if you decide an Airedale is for you.