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Image by Derek Key

Welcome! This website exists to help potential Airedale Terrier owners:

  •   learn about Airedale Terriers,
  •   evaluate whether this breed is right for your lifestyle,
  •   consider whether a rescue or a puppy is the best fit,
  •   learn how to recognize the difference between a good breeder and a questionable breeder,
  •   and locate an Airedale Breeder or Rescue Group near you.

We also hope you’ll use our site as a resource to learn about breed specific behavior and specific training needs, and to locate a local groomer experienced in grooming Airedales.


Airedales are charming and handsome dogs but aren’t the right fit for every lifestyle. But if you have a sense of humor and appreciate a rough-and-tumble terrier attitude, an Airedale Terrier might be for you.

In most areas of the country, breeders are difficult to locate. Many breeders are responsible, knowledgeable enthusiasts who will help educate you about the breed and get your puppy off to a happy, healthy start. In recent years, however, the number of Airedale Breeders group of airedale terriers breeding for pet stores or breeding purely for profit has grown. Breeders who breed irresponsibly may try to sell you an Airedale puppy whose parents were not full-blooded Airedales or that will develop serious medical or behavioral issues, not covered by a health guarantee, after purchase. This type of Airedale Breeder should be avoided. Browse our articles on choosing a puppy and a puppy breeder to help ensure that the you will have the knowledge to choose an Airedale breeder with happy healthy puppies who will come with “technical support” through the puppy phase and beyond. We support both rescues and careful, ethical breeding that upholds this breed’s health and characteristic energy and spirit.


How to Choose a Puppy

First, pick the litter. Then, pick from the litter.

It cannot be stressed enough that picking an Airedale Terrier litter is more important than picking a puppy. You can tell very little about the dog a puppy will become by simply observing the puppy. On the other hand, parents, breeder, and early environment speak volumes about the dog a puppy will grow to be. If you pick a litter from an experienced breeder who has bred a healthy, well conformed female dog to a social and well-trained stud then the chances are that all the puppies will develop into happy, healthy, and trainable dogs. Unfortunately, every breeder will try to convince a buyer that their litter belongs to the latter category. Read our section on picking a breeder to learn how to evaluate more than what the breeder is saying.

Some breeders will pick a puppy for you or give you a choice of only a few of the dogs in the litter. This is a common practice among good breeders who want to get to know their puppies and then match the puppies with appropriate families. You should never feel like you’re having a puppy “forced” upon you without reason, but the breeder should be able to explain why a certain pup would be the best match for you or your family.

Although not ready to leave their litter until about 8-12 weeks, a puppy’s personality begins to develop at 5-6 weeks. The time your breeder spends with the puppies helps the breeder become much more familiar with their character and personalities than you could ever be in the few minutes you’ll spend spend with the litter when you visit.

Don’t be scared off by a litter that seems “picked over” with only one or two 12 or 14 week puppies left. Many times the very first dogs to be released to homes are the dogs who are obviously show dogs (picked by buyers who want to show) and those who are obviously not show dogs (the first to be culled and sold to waiting buyers not looking for show dogs). The remaining puppies might be marked as “borderline” show perspectives (so the breeder can watch how their structure develops) and kept with the mother as they develop a little more. The advantage of finding yourself taking home one of these Airedale puppies is that, being borderline show-worthy, they will have excellent conformation and will have had an extra few weeks with their mother, learning pack hierarchy (so they can recognize YOU as alpha) and learning skills like house-training from their mother.

If the breeder gives you the opportunity to choose, resist grabbing up the first pup that rushes up to you — it displays boldness, but it might be the litter “bully” and prone to dominance or aggression. Neither should you feel drawn to the quiet puppy in the back. A puppy who shies away from new people and new things may, without specific training, develop into a shy (and potentially fear-aggressive) adult dog.

Instead, you should evaluate your expectations for an Airedale puppy and choose accordingly: are there young children or elderly in your home? A quieter puppy who loves to cuddle might be the right pup for you. If you are looking for a jogging partner with whom to do obedience work, the Airedale puppy who trots along at your heel and responds well to gentle correction may be the right pup. If you’re looking for an agility or flyball dog the puppy who bounds after a tossed ball or toy could be the best fit.

Remember to choose your Airedale breeder carefully and acknowledge that they know their puppies’ strengths and weaknesses much better than you. If in doubt, trust their opinion and know that if you chose your breeder well, you’ll enjoy any puppy that ends up in your home.

Airedale Rescue – Myths and Realities about Breed Rescues

Photo by Derek Key

What comes to mind when you think of rescued dogs?

Mixed breed? old? Sickly? Aggressive? Poorly bred dogs who can never really be fully at home as a housepet?

Modern dog rescue is anything but! Although most dogs come into rescue with issues of some sort, Airedale rescue will not place a dog in a foster home until it’s behavior and health can be evaluated.

Upon intake into Airedale Rescue, a dog is taken to an available foster home. In a foster home a dog is:

  • taken to a vet immediately, brought up to date on all vaccinations, wormed, hip x-rayed if needed, and treated for any medical problems.
  • allowed to participate in a home environment and evaluated in how it interacts with humans, other dogs, children, and other pets.
  • put on a high quality food to improve skin and coat, lose or gain wait according to vets recommendations, and help the dog feel the best it can.
  • put into beginning training to learn to walk nicely on a leash and have good house manners.
  • spayed or neutered, at no cost to the future adopter.

Sick or aggressive dogs are never adopted into homes and a good rescue will be 100% honest about a particular dog’s strengths and weaknesses– since placing the dog in a permanent home is in everyone’s best interest.

Many perspective dog owners have their heart set on a puppy- but would you give up 6 months of cuteness for an already housebroken dog, A dog that won’t chew your shoes, or a dog who doesn’t need four visits to the vet within the first few months?

Here are some rebuttals to common misconceptions about purebred rescue dogs:

Most are really mixed breed dogs – Airedale Rescue rescues Airedales and only Airedales. Occasionally Airedale rescue has contacts with other groups with Airedale mixes up for adoption, but all dogs rescued and adopted out by Airedale rescue are judged to be purebred by experienced Airedale owners.

Most rescue dogs are old, I need a trainable puppy – A good percentage of Airedales end up in rescue because they are simply too rowdy as puppies or young adults. Many people buy Airedales loving the look of the breed but unaware of the exercise and training needs. Without discipline and training, Airedale puppies can wreak havoc on a home and overwhelmed owners frequently pass their young, healthy, exuberant dog on to rescue because “he is just too much”.

Rescues are always sickly – Some Airedales do come into rescue with medical problems, but no dog is ever placed without a full veterinary exam. Dogs are fully vaccinated, wormed, treated for any other conditions, and allowed a reasonable recovery time in foster care before being adopted into a permanent home.

Rescues tend to be aggressive – No responsible rescue group adopts out aggressive dogs. Morally and legally it is an unacceptable practice. Rescue dogs may need clear leadership to help them establish their role in the family “pack”, but follow ups by rescue volunteers and/or consultations with behaviorists before adoption are always available.

There’s always a reason the dog was given up – Such as an owner ignorance or unwillingness to train? Most rescue dogs come into rescue through neglect/shelters, through losing an elderly owner, or their family moving to a place they cannot keep dogs. It’s not just “bad” dogs that end up in rescue

They never look “right” – A purebred rescue will probably never pass for a show dog, but they are 100% airedale. If you insist on  jet black markings, perfect tail length, or perfect ear set you may have to wait a bit longer, but the dog you picture will come along. Even the most handsome, well bred dogs can be found in rescue through unfortunate circumstances.

A rescue will never really see us as his family – It’s a fallacy to believe that a dog must live in a home since puppy hood to feel like a member of the family. Rescue dogs always have an adjustment period (ranging from just a week or two to several months) but always bond with their new family and home eventually.

Rescue dogs can’t be shown – In conformation? No. But all Airedales placed by Airedale Rescue look purebred and are thus eligible to pick a show name and register for a ILP number from the American Kennel Club. The ILP number will allow a rescue Airedale to compete in obedience, agility, flyball, tracking, or other AKC dog sports just like any registered purebred.

If you are looking for a dog to casually show in obedience, agility, flyball or other dog sport- rescue may be the perfect option. Instead of gambling on a puppy who, as an adult, may lack the drive or discipline to excel in your sport, you’ll have the opportunity to choose a developed, adult dog with the perfect drive and personality for your sport– and a dog who’s ready to begin training right away.

If you think a rescue dog might be right for you, contact one of the following groups to see photos and descriptions of Airedales available for adoption in your state: