Are Airedale Terriers Good Family Dogs? Expert Insights and Tips

Airedale Terriers, often referred to as the “King of Terriers,” are a versatile and intelligent breed that make for great family dogs. With their distinctive appearance and charming personality, Airedales have captured the hearts of many dog lovers around the world. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics of Airedale Terriers, discuss the pros and cons of owning one, delve into the factors to consider before bringing an Airedale into your home, provide training and socialization tips, and address important health considerations. Whether you are considering adding an Airedale Terrier to your family or simply want to learn more about this breed, this post is your comprehensive guide.

Characteristics of Airedale Terriers

1. Temperament

Airedale Terriers are known for their friendly and outgoing nature. They are confident, courageous, and have a strong desire to please their owners. Airedales are often described as being intelligent and independent, which can sometimes translate into stubbornness. However, with proper training and socialization, they can become well-mannered and obedient.

2. Energy Level and Exercise Needs

Airedale Terriers are energetic dogs that require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They have a moderate to high energy level and enjoy activities such as long walks, runs, and playtime in a secure, fenced-in area. Engaging them in mentally stimulating activities, such as puzzle toys or obedience training, can also help satisfy their exercise needs.

3. Intelligence and Trainability

Airedales are highly intelligent dogs and are known to be quick learners. They thrive on mental stimulation and enjoy training sessions that challenge their minds. However, due to their independent nature, they may require consistent and patient training. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best with Airedales to keep them motivated and focused during training sessions.

4. Size and Grooming Requirements

Airedale Terriers are a medium to large-sized breed, with males typically weighing between 50 to 70 pounds and females ranging from 40 to 60 pounds. They have a wiry, dense coat that requires regular grooming to prevent matting and keep them looking their best. Regular brushing, trimming, and occasional hand-stripping are necessary to maintain their coat’s texture and appearance.

Pros of Owning an Airedale Terrier

1. Loyal and Protective

Airedales are renowned for their loyalty to their families and their protective instincts. They are known to form strong bonds with their owners and will go to great lengths to protect them if they sense any threat or danger. This makes them excellent watchdogs and companions for those seeking a devoted and protective family dog.

2. Great with Children

Airedale Terriers are generally great with children and can be wonderful playmates and protectors. They have a patient and tolerant nature, which allows them to handle the excitement and energy of kids. However, as with any dog breed, proper supervision and teaching children how to interact respectfully with dogs are important to ensure a harmonious relationship.

3. Versatile Working Abilities

Airedales were originally bred as working dogs, and their versatility shines through in various tasks. They excel in activities such as obedience, agility, tracking, and even water sports like dock diving. Their intelligence, agility, and willingness to learn make them suitable candidates for various dog sports and activities.

4. Low Allergenic Potential

For individuals with allergies, Airedale Terriers may be a suitable choice as they have a low-shedding coat. While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, Airedales produce less dander than many other breeds, making them a potentially more tolerable option for allergy sufferers.

Cons of Owning an Airedale Terrier

1. High Energy and Exercise Demands

Airedale Terriers have a high energy level and require regular exercise to prevent boredom and destructive behaviors. They thrive in an environment where they can engage in physical activities, and a lack of exercise can lead to restlessness and potential behavior problems. Prospective owners should be prepared to provide ample exercise opportunities for their Airedales.

2. Independent and Stubborn Nature

Airedales are known for their independent streak, which can sometimes translate into stubbornness. They may test boundaries and challenge authority, requiring consistent and firm training. It is important for owners to establish themselves as strong leaders and provide clear rules and boundaries for their Airedales to follow.

3. Potential for Aggression towards Other Animals

Airedales have a strong prey drive and may display aggression towards other animals, particularly small mammals or dogs of the same sex. Early socialization and proper training can help mitigate potential aggression, but it is essential for owners to be aware of this breed characteristic and take appropriate precautions when introducing their Airedales to other animals.

4. Regular Grooming and Maintenance

The Airedale Terrier’s wiry coat requires regular grooming to keep it in good condition. This includes brushing at least once a week, regular trimming, and occasional hand-stripping to maintain the texture and appearance of their coat. Additionally, their ears should be regularly checked and cleaned to prevent infections. Prospective owners should be prepared for the grooming and maintenance needs that come with owning an Airedale.

Factors to Consider before Getting an Airedale Terrier

1. Lifestyle and Activity Level

Before bringing an Airedale Terrier into your home, consider your lifestyle and activity level. Airedales thrive in an active and stimulating environment, so if you lead a sedentary lifestyle or have limited time to dedicate to exercise and mental stimulation, this breed may not be the best fit for you.

2. Time Commitment

Airedales require time and attention from their owners. They thrive on human companionship and can exhibit destructive behaviors if left alone for extended periods. If you work long hours or frequently travel, it is important to consider how you will provide adequate companionship and mental stimulation for your Airedale while you are away.

3. Pet Allergies

If you or a family member has pet allergies, it is crucial to spend time with Airedale Terriers before making a decision. While they have less dander and are considered low allergenic, individual reactions can vary. Spend time in the presence of Airedales to gauge your sensitivity and consult with an allergist if necessary.

4. Space and Living Arrangements

Airedale Terriers are active dogs that require space to move around and explore. If you live in a small apartment or lack a secure outdoor area for them to play, it may not be an ideal living situation for an Airedale. They thrive in homes with a yard or access to regular outdoor exercise opportunities.

Training and Socialization Tips for Airedale Terriers

1. Early Obedience Training

Start training your Airedale Terrier from a young age to establish good behaviors and manners. Early obedience training helps them understand boundaries, learn basic commands, and develop a strong bond with their owners. Consistency and positive reinforcement techniques, such as rewards and praise, work best with Airedales.

2. Positive Reinforcement

Airedales respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. Use treats, verbal praise, and toys as rewards for good behavior and desired responses during training sessions. Avoid harsh training methods or punishment, as it can lead to fear or aggression in this sensitive breed.

3. Socializing with People and Animals

Early and ongoing socialization is crucial for Airedale Terriers. Introduce them to various people, animals, and environments to help them become well-rounded and confident individuals. Controlled interactions with other dogs, supervised playdates, and exposure to different sights and sounds will help prevent fear or aggression towards unfamiliar situations.

4. Consistency and Patience

Consistency and patience are key when training an Airedale Terrier. They may test boundaries and challenge authority, so it is important to remain calm, firm, and consistent with rules and expectations. Maintain a positive attitude and approach training sessions with patience and understanding.

Health Considerations for Airedale Terriers

1. Common Health Issues

While Airedale Terriers are generally healthy dogs, like any breed, they are prone to certain health conditions. Some common health issues in Airedales include hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, allergies, and certain types of cancer. Regular veterinary check-ups and awareness of breed-specific health concerns are essential for maintaining their overall well-being.

2. Regular Veterinary Care

Routine veterinary care is crucial for the long-term health of Airedale Terriers. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental care are all important aspects of their healthcare routine. Building a relationship with a trusted veterinarian who is knowledgeable about the breed is essential.

3. Exercise and Diet for Optimal Health

Providing Airedales with regular exercise and a balanced diet is vital for their overall health and well-being. Airedales thrive on a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs and supports their active lifestyle. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet and exercise regimen for your Airedale Terrier.

4. Genetic Testing and Responsible Breeding

If you are considering getting an Airedale Terrier from a breeder, it is important to choose a responsible breeder who conducts genetic testing on their breeding dogs. Genetic testing helps identify potential hereditary health issues and ensures that the puppies are healthy and free from certain genetic conditions.


Airedale Terriers can make wonderful family dogs for the right owners. Their loyal and protective nature, compatibility with children, and versatile working abilities are just a few of the many reasons why they are beloved by so many. However, owning an Airedale requires commitment, time, and effort to meet their exercise, training, grooming, and socialization needs. By considering the pros and cons, evaluating your lifestyle, and understanding the breed’s characteristics, you can determine if an Airedale Terrier is the right fit for your family. With proper care, training, and love, an Airedale Terrier can become a cherished companion and a source of joy for many years to come.

ThePetFaq Team