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8 Airedale Terrier Pros & Cons: What to Know Before You Get One

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Airedale Terrier standing on the grass

Airedale Terriers are dignified, courageous, athletic dogs that make great hunters, athletes, and companions. The largest of all terrier breeds, Airedale Terriers are known for their sporty beards, long, muscular bodies, and signature wiry coats.

Despite their strengths, Airedale Terriers aren’t ideal for every owner or home. Here are the pros and cons to owning an Airedale Terrier to see if they’re a good match for you.


Top 4 Pros to Owning an Airedale Terrier

1. They’re Sturdy and Athletic

Airedale Terriers are medium to large dogs that can excel in all kinds of sports and activities. They’re hardy and make great hunters and canine athletes if you want to engage in competitive sports like agility, rally, dock diving, or other sports.

Airedale Terrier
Image Credit: otsphoto, Shutterstock

2. They’re Highly Intelligent

The Airedale Terrier is intelligent and bonds strongly with certain family members, so it’s highly loyal and happy to be part of the family. With proper training and exercise, this intelligence can be channeled into virtually any canine sport or job, such as guarding the home.

3. They’re Good Family Dogs

Airedales are generally good choices for families and can play well with children. They tend to get along with multiple family members and other dogs with proper socialization. The Airedale has a strong protective instinct, so they work well as guardian dogs.

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

4. They’re Low Maintenance

Between the regal stance and its short, wiry coat in black and tan, the Airedale has an eye-catching look and low-maintenance grooming needs. The short, wiry coat only requires weekly brushing and bathes a few times a year. Because these dogs don’t shed much, they tend to be a good choice for people with mild dog allergies.


Top 4 Cons of Airedale Terrier Ownership

1. They Have High Energy

The downside of the Airedale’s incredible athleticism is that they require a lot of exercise and enrichment to be happy. They should have daily play sessions of moderate lengths, walks or backyard play, and a job to do. Otherwise, that energy and strength may be channeled into activities you don’t want, such as destroying your home. They’re also rather boisterous as puppies, which can be a lot with a big dog.

Airedale Terrier dog runs free with owner at the back
Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

2. They’re Highly Intelligent

Yes, this was a pro, but without the right outlet, the Airedale’s intelligence can turn against you. These dogs need mental stimulation and healthy outlets. If you allow your Airedale to become bored, it may find new activities like destroying your home or nuisance barking. They’re also strong willed, so you have to be a confident owner who provides structure and boundaries.

3. Their Natural Instincts Can Be Problematic

The qualities that make the Airedale desirable, such as strong, versatile hunting instincts, high prey drive, high energy, and natural protectiveness, can become a problem without proper boundaries and socialization. They may become aggressive toward other animals, especially smaller animals they can chase, and protectiveness can evolve into resource guarding and aggressive behaviors.

Airedale Terrier sitting on bench
Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

4. They’re Not Good for Apartments or Small Homes

The Airedale doesn’t need to live in the country, but these dogs do best in environments that have space for them to run and play. They have an innate need to work and burn off energy, which is often a challenge for people living in small homes or apartment buildings without yard space.


Who Is an Airedale Suitable For?

Airedale Terriers are extremely versatile dogs that can thrive in a variety of homes. They do well on farms and country homes that have a lot of open space, but they can do well in urban environments if you’re committed to a lot of brisk walks and exercise.

There are several strong instincts that are difficult to break in the Airedale, including a high prey drive, some wanderlust, and strong protectiveness. These traits can be directed into healthy outlets with proper training and socialization, but these are not dogs for casual or inexperienced owners.

An Airedale that doesn’t have a job to do or an outlet for their intelligence and energy will turn destructive, including behaviors like chewing, barking, and digging. They may also become aggressive and overly protective of their territory, food, or people, which can be problematic with such a large and powerful dog.

Airedale Terrier lying on floor
Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock



The Airedale Terrier is a renowned hunting dog with keen intelligence and a confident, sturdy build. They can adapt to many different environments and jobs, including guarding, competing, or hunting.

These dogs aren’t for everyone, however. The key to owning a well-adjusted Airedale Terrier is providing plenty of mental and physical stimulation and ensuring that they’re well-socialized and trained to avoid undesirable behaviors.

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Featured Image Credit: Daniel Hedrich, Pixabay

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