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How To Breed Airedale Terriers

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Published on
Monday 21 October 2019
Last updated on
Tuesday 9 May 2023
how to breed airedale terriers
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Would you like to learn how to breed Airedale Terriers? Original from the valley of the River Aire – West Riding of Yorkshire (England) – this hard-working, independent and energetic dog is the King of Terriers thanks to being the biggest of the terrier breeds.

Despite being an intrepid and avid hunter, the Airedale breed is affectionate, loving, obedient and exceptional with children, not in vain it is considered an excellent babysitter.

To show you everything about breeding Airedale terriers, we are going to bring you a proper background, its appearance standard, a full review of its temperament, a revision of the most common health issues, and of course, the most breeding-specific topics!

Background of Airedale Terrier Breeding

Original from River Aire, this dog also receives the names of Waterside terrier and Bingley terrier. It is an intrepid hunter and athletic dog with a loving and obedient personality, yet a strong instinct. In this revision, you are going to get the most solid background about Airedale terriers on the internet.


They come from the valley of the River Aire, Yorkshire, England. Like all terrier breeds, its history is recent. They were bred to be an independent hunter, which was essential to hunt otters, vermin, rats, foxes, and martens. It was the result of breeding the perfect hunting dog for the needs of farmers from the British Isles.

The Airedale Terrier responded to the needs of farmers and inhabitants. They bred an intrepid hunter that could take on small and big preys without problems. They created a dog that was fiery on the ground but that could also quarry through the water.


The main ancestor of the Airedale terrier is the Black and Tan Terrier, which is now extinct. Furthermore, we can also trace back its ancestry to Welsh terrier, Otterhound, and Tan Terrier. Incredibly, some cynologists affirm that this breed also contains strains of the Irish wolfhound and Griffon Vendéen.

The people who bred this dog had to combine the traits of the terrier and the hound to create the ideal hunting and working dog for their purposes.

According to records, the first attempt to create the Airedale was to mix the black and tan terrier with an English Bullterrier. Then, the offspring was mixed with the Otterhound. This first try brought us a rudimentary Airedale that they kept improving and standardizing until it reached the standards we have nowadays.

Standard Airedale Terrier vs. Miniature Airedale Terrier

Here is a table comparing Miniature Airedale Terriers and Standard Airedale Terriers:

Size24 inches15 inches
Weight50-55 pounds20 pounds
Apartment LivingNot recommendedSuitable
Tolerance towards StrangersLow-medium Friendly
EnergyHigh LevelsNormal Levels
Exercise RequirementsPlenty of exercise daily (1-2 hours)Moderate (30 minutes)
Health IssuesProne to more health issuesGenerally a healthier breed
Independence and ObedienceIt is more prone to stubbornness because it is more independentMore obedient and docile

As you can see, they have important differences in personality and temperament, and therefore, they will be suitable for different types of owners. For example, if you are looking for a lap dog, then the miniature Airedale will be a better choice.


Appearance standards are fundamental for recognizing an authentic Airedale terrier, be it a puppy or an adult. Furthermore, it will allow you to know if this breed is a good choice for you.



Thanks to their recognition of the King of Terriers, and hence the largest of terriers, their size is beyond average:

  • HeightMale: 22-24 inches / Female: 22-24 inches (although slightly shorter in average)
  • WeightMale: 50-65 pounds / Female: 40-55 pounds

As you can see, it is a large dog, but thanks to its temperament, you will get a big boy with a golden heart, which is ideal for families.


Its complexion is sturdy, strong and athletic, which certifies it as a hunter. Therefore, their body is characterized by a square outline.  This dog is built for endurance and power, and in consequence, this complexion is the standard of the breed. Always look for the square outline.

The chest must be deep and strong, characterized by well-sprung ribs. The back is strong, short and level with the rest of the body. Also, ensure that the loin is muscular. These traits bring the Airedale terrier is powerful, robust and sturdy build.

Face and Skull

The head must be flat and long, and virtually no forehead. In consequence, it owns the authentic terrier head. There should not be a noticeable difference in length between the foreface and the skull. Furthermore, it must be free from wrinkles.

The nose is always black. Another important trait to look for is the eyes. They must be small, dark and express intelligence and keenness. In addition, the foreface must be well filled up before the eyes, which is another characteristic feature.

An Airedale terrier is always free from cheekiness because its cheeks are well-level and free from fullness. Finally, look at the jaws, because they must be strong and muscular. Ideally, it should have a scissor bite, but a vice-like bite is also acceptable according to breeders.

airedale terrier size
The Airedale Terrier is the largest Terrier breed. It was bred by farmers to wear many hats as a versatile dog breed.


The coat is dense, wiry and hard. In addition, it must lay close and straight and it has to cover the body and legs. However, the undercoat is soft and short.

The following coat colors are valid:

  • Black saddle with a tan head, legs, and ears
  • Dark grizzle saddle

There are other colors such as red and black, however, they are considered deviations from the standards, and hence, such pups cannot be AKC registered.

They have minimal shedding and dander levels, and therefore, they are excellent hypoallergenic dogs.

Ears & Tail

The ears must be v-shaped and folded forward. Any deviation from this standard is a red flag. The tail of the Airedale terrier is naturally undocked.


This breed is an interesting mix of personalities. On one side, he is an energetic, hard-working, independent, intelligent and fiery dog with a burning drive. The hustler and the hunter. Nonetheless, it is also lovely, affectionate and has a deep desire for attention.

Nonetheless, as the hunter that it is, it is prone to stubbornness and aggressiveness, but these defects can be corrected with early training and socialization. However, you should not keep it near to prey-like pets such as rabbits and hamsters, and it also applies to cats. They get along well with other dogs.

They are vigilant and protective. Therefore, they are great for watching kids and they will do everything in their power to protect their family. Nonetheless, these traits can make them aggressive towards strangers. Once again, early socialization is the key to avoid potential problems.

The good news is that thanks to its intelligence and desire for love and attention, they are highly trainable. You can train them to avoid annoying behaviors such as excessive barking and chewing, eliminate stubbornness and erode aggressiveness. Check out these great dog training bloggers!

They are not suitable for apartment living, because they need space to move. They are ideal for homes with big gardens where they are free to roam. Furthermore, you should never leave them too much time alone, because they are prone to separation anxiety.

Therefore, they are ideal for families, first-time owners, and working people. If after reading this review on its temperament you think that it will be an ideal dog for you, then it will probably be. Just keep reading to know more about it.


The key is to train your Airedale from an early age to deal with its stubbornness and aggressiveness, which are common traits in hunting dogs. Therefore, training is harder than other breeds because it has a drive for being the alpha dog.

The best way to deal with this is to show him who is in charge of the family, so it knows its place from the beginning. You should start training when it becomes 6 months old because it will be able to understand and process your teachings and orders.

You must use rewards and treats to train your Airedale because it will show positive reinforcement and allow you to deal with the problematic traits of its personality. In addition, the following tips will come in handy:

  • Bring your dog its own space, a place it can call its own
  • Avoid punishment at all cost, this breed does not react well to them and it will disrupt the training process
  • Give your dog rewards that it loves, because it will boost positive reinforcement and allow it to internalize the training better
  • Provide your dog with plenty of exercise, because they need it for mental stimulation and it will make the training process much easier and effective
Video presentation of the King of Terriers, the Airedale Terrier.

Health Issues when Breeding Airedale Terriers

All breeds are prone to specific health issues, and the King of Terriers is not the exception. They are vulnerable to orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia, which is a common scenario for all the terrier breeds, allergies, and hypothyroidism. However, they are a healthy breed for the most and have a life expectancy of 11-14 years.

The best way to avoid these health concerns is to buy your pup from a reputable breeder. Below you will find our complete analysis.

Hip Dysplasia

Like most terriers, they have a tendency to develop certain orthopedic diseases such as hip dysplasia. Unfortunately, it is a genetic defect. Hip dysplasia deforms the hip socket, which causes the hip to slightly dislocate. It causes friction and erosion, which leads to pain, lameness and limited mobility.

Nonetheless, hip dysplasia can be diagnosed in several degrees. When it is mild, it will not affect your dog for the most part, but when it is severe, it can cause arthritis and crippling lameness, which will greatly affect the quality of life of your pet.  

Therefore, the best course of action is to take your puppy for a check-up, because it develops from an early age. It will allow you to discard it or confirm the diagnosis, so you can begin treatment as soon as possible to prevent the disease from progressing.


Airedale terriers are vulnerable to skin problems and allergies, therefore, as an owner, you need to take extra measures. If your dog has a severe allergy, then you should visit your veterinarian for a proper thyroid blood test, because in many cases, the malfunction of the gland might be responsible.

However, thyroid malfunctions are not the only root of the problem, because allergies are a common scenario amongst wirehaired breeds. They can develop problems such as flaky and itchy skin, and irritation.


The best way to combat such problems is to take the following measures:

  1. Clean its coat, because even though you cannot control the environment where you go with your dog, you can use an organic and sulfate-free shampoo to remove allergens and pollutants from its coat. We recommend you to do it weekly
  2. Watch its diet, because food allergens can trigger several allergies as well, especially flaky and itchy skin. You should exclude problematic foods such as corn, wheat, soy and grains in general
  3. Monthly flea control, because Airedales are especially vulnerable to flea saliva. Therefore, monthly flea control is the best way to combat this pest and avoid a huge trigger of allergies

Put these measures in practice, because the allergies can cause all sort of problems as we have seen, and they can even extend to yeast infections, ear infections, and even rashes.


Hypothyroidism shrinks or inflames the thyroid gland, which leads to an underperforming production of thyroid hormone. It leads to several maladjustments in the body, which provokes sudden weight gain, lethargy, exercise intolerance, intolerance to cold, hair loss, etc.

Airedale terriers are at higher risk because hypothyroidism is recurrent amongst medium and large breeds. Therefore, it is necessary to remain alert for possible signs, as the ones described before such as sudden weight gain and abnormal intolerance to cold, which are easy to detect. You should be extra careful when your dog reaches senior age (7-8 years) because it is when it becomes the most vulnerable to hypothyroidism.  

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is a congenital eye disease (genetic) with a late-onset that affects several breeds including the Airedale. It is a result of the degeneration of the photoreceptor cells of the retina (rod and cone), which provokes peripheral vision loss and night blindness.

Therefore, it is important to take your dog for ocular inspection when it becomes 1.5 years old because most breeds develop it at such age. Your veterinarian will perform an Electroretinogram, which is one of the most effective methods for diagnosing ocular diseases such as PRA. Nonetheless, it may develop it later at 3-5 years old.

Unfortunately, PRA does not have a treatment nor cure, and it will provoke vision loss until it reaches absolute blindness. Early diagnosis will help you to cope with the issue better, and luckily, it does not cause pain.

Umbilical Hernia

An umbilical hernia is the result of the incomplete closure of the umbilical ring when your puppy is born. It often looks like a swelling beneath the skin, and it becomes noticeable when your pup barks, stands up or strains.

Fortunately, most umbilical hernias do not cause problems. However, in very extreme cases, the hernia can trap the intestines or tissues and strangulate them. But such cases are the exception to the rule.

The only way to treat an umbilical hernia is with surgery. The veterinarian will remove the scars and then will proceed to close the defect with sutures.

Von Willebrand’s Disease (VWD)

Von Willebrand’s disease is a congenital bleeding disorder that affects normal blood clotting because it reduces the levels of von Willebrand’s coagulation factor (vWf) by more than 50%. This disease expresses through the following signs:

  • Constant nosebleeds
  • Your dog bruises easily
  • Mouth bleeding when your pet loses its juvenile teeth
  • Excessive bleeding for minimal injuries

The severity of the disease depends on the levels of vWf. If your dog has less than 35% of the normal amount, it will show minimal signs. Nonetheless, when it is less than 50%, the symptoms will worsen and can even lead to death.

Therefore, it is important to know from an early age if your dog suffers from this condition, to take extra measures to prevent injuries, and especially if your dog has to undergo surgery, because he will be more vulnerable.

Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis (HGE)

HGE is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract that provokes bloody diarrhea and sudden vomiting. Although it is more common amongst small and toy breeds such as the miniature Schnauzer, Airedale terriers are also at risk. It is a serious complication because it can be fatal if it remains untreated.

Although the real causes of HGE are still a mystery, evidence suggests that it might be caused by a bacteria known as Clostridium perfringens, which is known to cause different types of intestinal lesions. Furthermore, it is also detected in cases of acute diarrhea, like in this study done on dogs from southwestern Iceland.

The disease itself is easy to diagnose because the symptoms are dramatic and severe. If you notice bloody diarrhea, vomiting, bloody stools, lethargy and clear displays of pain, then visit your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Cancer is a latent threat for all breeds. In the case of this breed, it is the leading cause of death, unfortunately, accounting for 32% of deaths. However, it is worth noting that the Airedale is especially vulnerable to the following types of cancer:

  • Leukemia, it starts in the bone marrow and provokes the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which breaks the homeostasis of blood cells and leads to fatigue, infections, bleeding, etc.
  • Lymphoma, a common type of cancer that affects several breeds and accounts for 15-20% of cases of cancer in dogs. It causes lymph nodes to grow 3-10 times their normal size and affects vital functions in the body, and in consequence, it leads to lethargy, weakness, dehydration, and anorexia
  • Nasal Cancer, characterized by chronic discharge. They are prone to developing nasal tumors
  • Pituitary carcinoma, for example, in this study they analyzed the changes on a 6-year-old Airedale terrier

Therefore, regular health check-ups, especially when your dog becomes a senior (7-8 years old) because it is when they become most vulnerable to cancer.

How To Breed Airedale Terriers


Now that you have in your hands a proper background about this breed, it is time to see how to breed Airedale terriers. Breeding Airedale Terriers starts with health screening of your entire breeding stock. We will check the factors that influence litter size, common birthing problems, and pricing.

Average Litter Size

The average litter size of a healthy Airedale Terrier is nine puppies. However, it can be anything in a range from eight to twelve pups. This huge output is thanks to the average inbreeding coefficient (COI) of 17.3% and their large size.  

To get a healthy and numerous litter, you must hit the sweet spot of sexual maturity. Therefore, you must know that Airedale terriers develop steadily and they are sexually mature by the time they become 10-11 months old. However, before breeding, consult with your veterinarian.

Furthermore, take care of their diet and bring your dogs a proper environment to reduce stress and anxiety, because all of these factors will influence the number of puppies and their health.

Birthing Problems

As you have seen, the Airedale terrier has a tendency to develop congenital diseases such as hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand’s disease, and progressive retinal atrophy. Although it does not mean that your pup will develop them, the best way to avoid such problems is to buy your pup from a reputable breeder.

Make sure to demand the health certificates and veterinarian examinations that certify that the parents and the bloodline are free from such issues. It will decrease the chances of developing such diseases.


The average cost of an Airedale puppy is $700 USD. Nonetheless, the real range varies from $1,400 to over $5,000. The main factors that influence the price are the reputation of the breeder, the bloodline, the pedigree, the tail (undocked or docked) and the certificates. Similar to other guides, let us explore some real-life examples:

  • A female puppy which parents are champions from beauty contests, and has top Argentinian and American bloodlines, superior Pedigree and show quality, in addition to all the top certificates, vaccinations, microchip and undocked tail will cost you $2,000 USD.
  • A pup with full AKC registration, health certificates, vaccinations, Pedigree and veterinarian inspection will cost you $1,200 USD.

As you can see, the bloodline has a huge influence. The more reputable the bloodline is, the more expensive the puppy will be.

laddie boy, the white house airedale terrier
Laddie Boy was the first dog in the White House, and it was an Airedale Terrier.

FAQs about Airedale Terriers

During our research phase, we found these three questions to be the most frequent from people interested in breeding Airedale Terriers. Therefore, below you will find them a proper answer for each one, to clear all your doubts. They will bring you a better understanding of this breed and if it is what you are looking for.

Are Airedale Terriers Trainable?

Airedale terriers are highly trainable thanks to their intelligence and love for attention. This breed loves training, especially if you bring your dog positive reinforcement. The most important aspect of training your Airedale terrier is to bring it tons of attention and affection, to make its mood more stable, and thus, make it more receptive to learning new commands and behaviors.

Furthermore, another key to internalize training in your Airedale terrier is constant repetition. They respond better when you repeat the same command multiple times, ideally at different times of the day, so you do not bore them. Each time they get it right; reinforce it with attention and affection. Mix it up with walks and games, because they love exercise and it will make them happier and improve mental stimulation, which will help them to learn faster.

Are Airedale Terriers Good Lap Dogs?

Thanks to their due disposition and temperament, Airedale Terriers are good lapdogs. They are loyal, obedient and loving, and therefore, they are excellent dogs for a family. Since they crave and love attention, they will be there to please you. They are not a small breed, but they still comply with the requisites.

Nonetheless, you must not forget that they are hunters, and hence, there are certain traits of its personality that can be problematic such as stubbornness. Luckily, you can fix it with early socialization and obedience training. Do it as soon as possible and you will get yourself a beautiful, loving and loyal lapdog with the soul of a hunter.

How Many Walks A Day Do Airedale Terriers Need? 

Airedale Terriers require at least one daily brisk walk, which should take you approximately 45 minutes. That is the bare minimum because these dogs have very high energy levels, and hence, they need a lot of activity. Ideally, you should bring your pup 1-2 hours of exercise every day, mixing it up with walks, games, and training.

They love exercise as the hunters that they are, it is built in their DNA. Therefore, the best way to improve their mental wellbeing and mood is to get them as active as possible. If your time allows it, take it for as many walks and games as possible and your pet will reward you for it with tons of love and obedience.

As you can see, breeding Airedale Terriers is a lifelong ambition that will take effort, money, and a lot of trials and errors to succeed. Whenever an Airedale fancier wonders how to breed Airedale Terriers, my answer is to just get started and speak with experienced mentors.

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