The Airedale Terrier, the largest of the British terriers weighing it at around 44-66 lbs (20-30 kgs), originated in Yorkshire, England. He is a handsome dog standing approximately 2 feet tall. If you plan to own one, this article will help you get familiar with the Airedale Terrier temperament.
We all have good or bad qualities and the Airedale Terrier is no exception. Airedale lovers will tell you that he is alert, confident, courageous, friendly, intelligent and outgoing. But Airedale critics point out that they can be aggressive, destructive, rowdy, strong-willed and stubborn.
Intelligent but Stubborn
The Airedale was bred to be an independent hunter (of otters, originally) and it still does well as a working dog. Like other dogs bred to be hunters — the Dachshund, for example — owners should not be surprised that Airedales have an independent, stubborn streak in them.
Having said that, Airedales are extremely smart and they have been known to do well in obedience and agility events.
Like other intelligent dogs, Airedales need to be engaged through regular mentally and physical stimulation. If his life is that of a working dog, he will be a happy camper. If not, you must make time for him on a regular basis.
This is not an apartment dog that will be content to be left on his own. If he is bored, he can be extremely destructive and since he is big, he will be quite capable of turning one’s apartment upside down.
Outgoing but Aggressive
The Airedale Terrier temperament is that of an outgoing, confident dog. However an Airedale can, on occasion, become aggressive so it is important through his regimen of training that you clearly and very early show him who's the boss.
Additionally, as a puppy, he must be adequately socialized so that he is not only obedient but also a good fit within your family, including your other pets.
Having said that, it is not a good idea, however “sweet” your Airedale’s temperament is, to have pets that his natural instinct considers prey… like rabbits, hamsters or rats.
Vigilant and Protective
Your Airedale tends to be very vigilant. Which can be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. On a farm, it’s probably good; in town, this could become a problem. Especially, since he can also be quite protective, even becoming aggressive with strangers.
I will reiterate the need for early socialization as well as the need to establish his position in the family hierarchy.
This will also help in his behavior in the presence of younger children.
Barking and Chasing
The Airedale is an athletic breed, a hunter. He needs his physical exercise. Without it, he will have a ton of nervous energy in surplus, searching for an outlet.
If, as is possible in such a situation, he is also not getting enough attention and mental stimulation, he is going to become a handful, barking at the slightest provocation and chasing anything that moves.
Individuals vary; also, their requirements change over time. As a puppy, you will have to keep him occupied on a regular basis; as he matures, his needs will reduce. You will have to tweak his regimen as his personality matures.
Loves Attention, Very Trainable
Somewhat surprising for an “independent hunter”, the Airedale loves a lot of attention. The more time you can spend with him, the happier and more stable he will be.
Hand in hand with his love of attention, he enjoys being trained. Like all other dogs — a fact increasingly recognized by animal behaviorists — he will respond better when given plenty of positive reinforcement.
Did you know that, for some skills, humans take ten thousand repetitions to properly learn an action? Your Airedale is perfectly fine with repetitions; with luck, though, the skills you are aiming for will not need ten thousand repeats!
A Final Word About the Airedale Terrier Temperament
Keep in mind that there is marked variation in owners that share a common breed. There are animal professionals who assert that the variation within a breed (Airedales) can exceed the variation across breeds (Airedales vs. Cairn).
So, while we have given you some clues of what to expect in your Airedale, remember that your Airedale Terrier’s temperament is unique and you will need to cater, in how you treat him, to his very own special identity.