Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

10 Incredible Airedale Terrier Facts

Chantelle Fowler

By Chantelle Fowler

airedale terrier dog standing outdoors in the forest

Airedale Terriers are hardworking, independent, athletic dogs with lots of energy and stamina. These intelligent pups are chock full of personality. Though they were bred to be working dogs, they’re highly loyal and affectionate toward their human companions.

Read on to find 10 more fascinating facts about this unique and versatile dog breed.


The 10 Airedale Terrier Facts

1. Airedale Terriers are sometimes called the “King of Terriers”.

Airedale Terriers are a terrier dog type, originating in the valley of the River Aire, a major river in Yorkshire, England. The breed is traditionally known as the King of Terriers as it is the biggest of all terrier breeds. They can be as high as 24 inches tall and weigh as much as 70 pounds, though some have been reported to be as heavy as 121 pounds.

Airedale Terrier
Image Credit: Lumia Studio, Shutterstock

2. Airedale Terriers were known as the “Jack of All Trades”.

Airedale Terriers are muscular and squarely built dogs bred to be working dogs. They were known for their ability to hunt vermin of any shape or size. Though they didn’t originally have great scenting or swimming skills, they were eventually crossed with other hounds to create the Airedale Terrier we know and love today. The Airedale has since carved a name for itself as a hunter, athlete, and companion.

3. Airedale Terriers served in the military.

Airedale Terriers played an important role in the military during World War One. They were trained to carry out various tasks, including carrying messages and locating injured soldiers. They were taught to stand watch on the front lines and warn troops when enemies were approaching. The Red Cross even used Airedale Terriers as rescue dogs during wartime.

Dog handler is walking with his obedient airedale terrier dog on the road in a forest
Image Credit: thka, Shutterstock

4. Airedale Terriers have high exercise needs.

Airedale Terriers must have opportunities to vent their energy and keep their minds busy; otherwise, they can become rambunctious and mischievous when allowed to become bored. This working breed was never intended to be a household companion, and trying to suppress their hardwired behaviors without providing an alternative outlet can be disastrous. An unfulfilled and bored Airedale Terrier can make quick work of your home and yard, destroying it in a single day.

They need at least an hour of energy-burning activities daily, but more is often recommended. Two hours is better to release any pent-up energy and prevent the development of behavioral issues.

5. The first presidential dog to get a lot of publicity was an Airedale Terrier.

Warren G. Harding, the 29th president of the U.S., owned an Airedale Terrier named Laddie Boy. Though he wasn’t the first presidential dog, he was the first to be regularly covered in the national press. Harding and his First Lady Florence had a deep love for animals, and Florence was a known advocate for the care of neglected and abused animals. This love of animals led Laddie Boy to be used as a poster child for a national campaign for animal rights.

Airedale terrier puppy sits in a field on a haystack
Image Credit: Aleks Silchenko, Shutterstock

6. Many celebrities own Airedale Terriers.

Airedale Terriers are a popular breed among celebrities. Actress Bo Derek had an Airedale named Harum Scarum. John Wayne had one growing up, and Wayne’s nickname, Duke, was even inspired by his beloved pup.

Warren G. Harding wasn’t the only president associated with Airedale Terriers. Theodore Roosevelt hunted lions in Africa with an Airedale by his side, and Woodrow Wilson owned two Airedales named Davie and Sandy.

7. Airedale Terriers have a fascinating lineage.

Airedale Terriers are believed to be bred from the crossing of Otterhounds with the now-extinct Old English Terrier. Otterhounds, originally developed to hunt otters, are a vulnerable native species, with only approximately 600 left in the world. The Old English Terrier became extinct partly due to their genetic issues, such as deafness.

Other breeds, such as Bull Terriers, are also supposed to have played a role in the creation of the Airedale.

Airedale Terrier sitting on bench
Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

8. Airedale Terriers first came to North America in the 1880s.

The Airedale Terrier is a rather old breed, originating in the mid-19th century in England. It didn’t take long for them to “jump the pond,” with the first imports coming to North America during the 1880s. The first Airedale to set foot on American shores was named Bruce, and he went on to win the terrier class in a New York dog show.

9. Two Airedale Terriers were passengers on the Titanic.

Two Airedales were among the pets lost when the RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic in 1912. One named “Kitty” belonged to John Jacob Astor IV, an American business magnate and investor. Astor died during the sinking as well. The second Airedale, whose name is unknown, belonged to William E. Carter, an American millionaire. Carter and his family survived the sinking.

Airedale terrier
Image Credit: jarobike, Shutterstock

10. An Airedale Terrier became a national celebrity in New Zealand during the 1930s.

An Airedale known as Paddy the Wanderer became a celebrity in New Zealand during the Great Depression. Paddy found his way to the streets after his owner died in 1928 and quickly adopted a waterfront identity. He wandered around the streets of Wellington, befriending cabbies, working men and women, and seamen. When he passed away in 1939, a taxi procession took his body to be cremated, and an announcement appeared in the newspaper.

A plaque and drinking fountain were eventually erected in Paddy’s honor.


Final Thoughts

The Airedale Terrier is a large, intelligent, playful breed with a unique history and versatility. Whether you want the King of Terriers to be a faithful companion or a right-hand man for your hunting trips, this pup can do it all.

See Also: 

Featured Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database