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Are Airedale Terriers Good With Cats? Breed Temperament & Facts

Ashley Bates

By Ashley Bates

Airedale Terrier sitting on bench

Are you interested in getting an Airedale Terrier puppy, but afraid they might not be compatible with your current living situation? You’re doing the right thing by making sure that this dog is compatible with your current list of pets.

If you question whether Airedale Terriers are good with cats, the answer is that they can be, but it’s a little bit more complicated than that. This article will explore the factors determining whether or not an Airedale Terrier is good with cats.


Airedale Terrier Origin

Before we get into the specifics, it’s essential to know the origin of this particular breed so you can understand them better. Airedale Terriers were bred as hunting dogs. This fact alone can sometimes make them incompatible with smaller animals.

The Airedale Terrier is referred to as the king of terriers because it is the largest breed in the terrier lineup. The Airedale Terrier was considered a working dog. According to the AKC, they did not specialize in anything in particular, but we’re skilled at overall general work.

Originally, these dogs were very skilled at killing vermin, but they also hunted larger creatures and made excellent guard dogs as well. The Airedale Terrier was even a great retrieving dog. So, they were really a jack of all trades.

Airedale Terrier
Image Credit: Three Dogs photography, Shutterstock

Do Airedale Terriers Get Along With Cats?

First and foremost, it’s essential to be very upfront that Airedale Terriers are not compatible with smaller pets like chickens, rodents, and rabbits. These dogs have classic hunting roots, making every little scurrying critter they see potential prey.

Even Airedale Terriers that don’t have the instinct to kill might still have the instinct to chase, which can, in turn, injure or frighten smaller animals. Cats, on the other hand, can handle their own in many situations.

Unlike some small animals, Airedale Terriers can be very good with cats, especially if they are raised together. If you already have existing cats in your home, know that introducing an Airedale Terrier puppy will likely not be that difficult.

Life Stage Impacts Compatibility

If your Airedale Terrier is a puppy when you get them, they will look at your cat like any other household member. They will know them very early on, so they can solidify their bond and grow up together.

Therefore, if you already have an Airedale Terrier and you’re considering getting a cat, the same sentiment may not extend to that reversed scenario. Airedale Terriers are prey-driven and might look at the curious little kitten as their latest chew toy.

That’s not to say that all Airedale Terriers will have this reaction, so proper introductions are very important. Many simply want to chase, chase, chase! If you’re going to adopt a cat, take your Airedale Terrier along to see how they do at the meet and greet.

You can gauge a lot about your dog’s feelings simply by judging their body language. Plus, if you’re adopting from a rescue or shelter, professionals are usually standing by helping you decipher how the two of them are responding to one another.

Some fully grown Airedale Terriers might take right to cats without having any negative intentions. Others might not feel the same way. It’s the luck of the draw and something that should be handled with caution and proper care.

Airedale Terrier standing on the grass
Image Credit: Daniel Hedrich, Pixabay

Professional Training for Airedale Terriers

Any professional trainer will explain that prey drive cannot necessarily be trained out of your dog. Prey drive is a natural impulse and will always exist if your dog exhibits these behaviors.

What you can teach instead is impulse control. Impulse control might be a little complicated for some folks if you are not an experienced trainer. Opting for professional training can give you the foundational aspect needed when working with your dog.

If your dog has a high prey drive, learning specific behavioral techniques can help curb their attention and keep your cat off their radar. If your Airedale Terrier acts aggressively towards cats in any way, we do not recommend having the two of them share the same space.

Airedale Terriers are significantly larger than cats and can hurt them, or even kill them, if they are so inclined. However, if they are just chasers, you can always work to correct this behavior through positive reinforcement.

How Much Does Professional Dog Training Cost?

Some folks might be concerned with the cost of professional training. Luckily, there are tons of resources to make this affordable for you.

The ultimate price will depend on several factors, such as the specific trainer’s rates, the area you live in, and the complexity of the training you select. You can also use tons of free resources online that guide you through aspects of training on your own.

Ultimately, it will depend on your budget and goal. Don’t be afraid to ask your vet or acquaintances for recommendations around your area. Explain the type of training you’d like to accomplish and ask for suggestions from the professional on what they recommend.

Airedale Terriers are typically exquisite training candidates and highly receptive to direction. So, in most cases, it’s money well spent.

man is training an Airedale Terrier dog
Image Credit: Kseniia Kolesnikova, Shutterstock

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Airedale Terrier Breed Information

Origin United Kingdom
Height 21-23 inches
Weight 40–64 pounds
Lifespan 10–12 years
Colors Black and tan


Airedale Terriers are classic terrier breeds, having a lively and spirited personality. They tend to be very friendly, outgoing, and confident. These dogs love to be on the go, gladly accompanying their family members on any adventure.

They are affectionate but very active. So, the Airedale Terrier won’t be a couch potato that wants to snuggle constantly. They are a perfect combination of exuberant and relaxed – fit for all occasions. So, if you have a moderately active family, this is an exceptional dog for you to own.

Three airedale terrier lying in the grass
Image Credit: Dora Zett, Shutterstock


Airedale Terriers are well known for their lively energy levels. Airedale Terriers absolutely love playing with other canines and humans in their family. They would greatly benefit from a large, fenced-in backyard.

They also make excellent candidates for dog park visits and love playing games like fetch, scavenger hunting, and other interactive, stimulating activities.


Airedale Terriers are generally very healthy, hardy dogs. That is not to say that certain genetic health issues cannot plague the breed, such as hip dysplasia, kidney disease, and malformation.

Most of these issues can easily be avoided with genetic testing and responsible breeding.

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Airedale Terriers can be a good match for homes with feline friends. You just need the proper introductions, training, and guidance for the puppy. Airedale Terriers are fabulous additions to suitable homes, bringing livelihood and excitement wherever they go.

If you are interested in the breed, buy from a reputable breeder. If you adopt, remember, meet and greets are a must if you’re getting a rescue—just to ensure the two are compatible.

Featured Image Credit: PROMA1, Shutterstock

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