The Airedale Terrier--often called the "King of Terriers" since it's the largest of all terrier breeds--is an intelligent, energetic, often stubborn dog breed that's a popular choice for owners everywhere. Fortunately for those owners, care and maintenance for these dogs doesn't take a huge amount of work. Below you'll find plenty of details on Airedale Terrier upkeep: puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. For answers to all your questions about caring for an Airedale Terrier, keep reading!
As a medium-sized breed, Airedale Terrier puppy development typically lasts 14-16 months from birth to full maturity. Physically, Airedale puppies grow swiftly for the first 7-8 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent Airedale "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat; an Airedale Terrier is normally at or near its full adult size by 14 months of age. Socially, Airedales develop pretty steadily: they reach adolescence at about six months, sexual maturity at 10-11 months, and full mental maturity by 16 months (though some may retain their puppylike behavior for a few additional months). For specific milestones in Airedale development, see the chart below.
|Dog Age||Development Milestone|
|2-3 Weeks||Eyes/ears open, begins walking|
|2 Months||Old enough to be separated from mother, housetrained, introduced to solid food; obedience training and socialization should begin at this early stage to minimize breed's natural stubbornness|
|3 Months||Can begin exercising; vaccinations/de-worming needed; training/socialization should be in full swing|
|6 Months||Adolescence begins, characterized by increased fear, independence, disobedience; training/socialization continues; spaying/neutering can take place|
|9 Months||Can be transitioned to adult food|
|10-11 Months||Sexual maturity|
Dogs of this breed have a wealth of energy. Airedales were originally developed to be working dogs, so they're used to days filled with plenty of movement--which means that your Airedale Terrier will need a good bit of daily physical activity. These dogs are intelligent, playful, and task-oriented, so a variety of exercises, from long walks or jogs to romps in the yard to obedience and agility trials, are all great for them.
But specifically how much exercise does an Airedale Terrier need each day? The Typical adult Airedale, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about an hour of physical activity every day. You can start exercising an Airedale puppy at three months old by taking it on short (10- to 15-minute) walks, then increasing the walks' duration as the puppy grows.
Some things to consider when you're exercising your Airedale Terrier: first, puppies younger than nine months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping and running, as doing so can injure their still-growing bones and joints. Second, it's probably a good idea to keep your Airedale leashed when in public. These dogs have incredibly high prey drives, and they're naturally strong-willed and independent; these traits make Airedales frequent wanderers and chasers, so they'll need to be closely controlled while you're out and about.
Safeguards aside, it's vital that you give your Airedale some exercise every single day. A bored or restless dog of this breed will likely exhibit behavioral problems like barking, chewing, and destructiveness, so consistent activity is a must for an Airedale. Here are a few exercise ideas:
- Walking/Jogging: Two 30-minute walks (or 20-minute jogs) is a good target
- Fetch: Throw the ball or stick as far as you can--the Airedale is a great retriever
- Canine Sports: Airedales excel in obedience and agility trials
- Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
- Hiking: Great bonding activity--and even better if you can trust your Airedale off-leash
When indoors, it's a good idea to give your Airedale access to one or more chew-toys or balls that will allow the dog to release any pent-up energy. Airedales are known to be frequent chewers, so having your Airedale mangle a chew-toy is much better than your favorite pair of slippers. It's also recommended that you establish a consistent daily exercise schedule for your Airedale, such as walks after breakfast and dinner combined with a play period in the afternoon.
Required care for these dogs in terms of shedding and drooling is low to moderate. If the coat is properly maintained, Airedale Terrier shedding is minimal; drooling isn't an issue at all.
Airedales have double-layered coats that include a short, soft undercoat. One of the breed's most beloved qualities is that, despite being double-coated, Airedale shedding is very low compared to most breeds with double coats--but that's the case only if the coat is well cared for. This includes brushing once or twice per week, and clipping or hand-stripping the coat (or even both) every three months or so. Though some owners learn to clip or strip the coats themselves, many people spend a bit of extra money on professional grooming for their Airedales. In either case, if properly maintained the Airedale coat won't leave many stray hairs on floors, clothes, and furniture.
And an Airedale may drool a bit in anticipation of food, but very little otherwise. If your Airedale Terrier is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, which means veterinary care is necessary.
As a breed that's active and lively, Airedale Terriers will need a diet that's packed with animal proteins and carbohydrates; they'll also need food that has omega fatty acids for coat and skin health. This means that the most sensible choice in food types for your Airedale is premium dry food. High-quality foods, while more expensive and difficult to obtain, have the necessary nutrients listed above that cheap foods, which contain lots of empty "filler" ingredients, just don't. So while you may have to work harder to get premium food (and spend more on it), your Airedale will be much healthier and live longer by eating it every day.
And just how much of this premium dry food will an Airedale Terrier need? Not as much as you'd think. Depending on the dog's age, size, and activity level, adult Airedale Terrier food portions should be 2-2½ cups per day, divided into two meals. Airedale puppies will need a bit less: again depending on their age, pups will need about 1½ cups per day, divided into three meals (not two) until they're six months old. It's a good idea to feed a young Airedale puppy food for its first nine months, then you can transition to adult food by mixing the two types for a few days. It's also recommended that you establish a consistent daily feeding schedule for your Airedale so the dog gets used to eating at the same time every day. For more details on feeding an Airedale from puppyhood through maturity, see the following chart:
|Dog Age||Dog Weight||Food Type||Amount||Frequency|
|2 Months||8 lbs||Dry (Puppy formula)||0.3 cups||3x/day|
|3 Months||15 lbs||Dry||0.4 cups||3x/day|
|6 Months||35 lbs||Dry||0.5 cups||3x/day|
|9 Months||45 lbs||Dry* (Puppy/Adult)||0.8 cups||2x/day|
|12 Months+||55 lbs||Dry (Adult formula)||1 cup||2x/day|
*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing just a bit of it with the puppy food. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a bit more adult food to the mix until your Airedale is eating it entirely.
It's best to try and stick to the above-listed portions; while the amounts may seem small, they're ample enough for these dogs--and surprisingly, despite being quite energetic, the Airedale Terrier has a pretty high tendency to become overweight if fed too much. A fat Airedale will have joint, breathing, and digestive problems, not to mention a shortened lifespan. You can help control your Airedale's weight in several ways: by keeping consistent eating and exercise schedules; by not feeding the dog table scraps; and perhaps most important, by not "free-feeding" your Airedale. (Free-feeding is leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time so it can eat whenever it wants.) It's highly recommended that you put your Airedale's bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up 15-20 minutes after the dog begins eating.
If you're worried your Airedale Terrier is overweight, give the dog this simple Ribs Test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce your Airedale's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk or play period to its daily exercise schedule.
Though opinions differ over what's the best dog food for an Airedale Terrier, the most sensible and popular choice is premium dry food. Airedales need a balanced diet consisting of plenty of proteins, carbohydrates, and omega fatty acids--and cheap, generic, or "store-brand" foods simply do not contain much (if any) of those nutrients. High-quality dog food is definitely the best choice.
Technically speaking, the Airedale Terrier is both an inside and outside breed. While these dogs will need a good bit of outdoor exercise each day, they'll probably be happier living inside with their human family members. And for the Airedale, apartments aren't a good match, as these dogs are just too energetic for such confined spaces.
Another consideration for owners of the Airedale Terrier: weather. Overall, these dogs are fairly adaptable to most climates, and will be comfortable in all but extremely hot or cold temperatures. In general, Airedale Terriers are best suited to life in mild climates.