Airedale Terrier Origin Revealed - From History To Present

Airedale Terrier Origin Revealed – From History To Present

Airedale Terriers, also the largest known Terriers, are great companions for the lively individual. If you are wondering about Airedale Terrier origin and history, this article will answer all your questions.

So, what are the insights about the Airedale Terrier’s origin and history? Just like the Airedale breed, the story is simply amazing. They were initially bred as hunting dogs back in the day 1785 in England.

Although Airedale Terriers might look all-powerful with their square V-shaped face, larger body size and the Tan and Black color, they love to be around people and other pets.

Read – Miniature Airedale Terrier and Dogs Similar To Airedale Terriers

However, they are unsuitable for people living in smaller apartments; Airedales are very energetic and need plenty of space to run around! Read on to learn about the Airedale Terrier’s origin below, from where it was bred to when it happened, and many more interesting facts! 

When Were Airedale Terriers First Bred?

Airedale Terriers were bred originally in England’s Aire River Valley. It was 1785, and the working-class people were having many troubles due to the attacks of rats! These rats would go everywhere, eating the grains and whatnot while infiltrating the homes, so these people wanted to find a solution.

The answer was the breeding of Airedale Terriers, who were then known as Waterside Terriers because they were great hunters on both land and water. 

It was only after many years of breeding this dog that it was named Airedale Terrier, and that was in 1879. Even so, the popularity of the Airedale Terriers was less when compared to other dogs because of their reputation as hunting dogs.

Read – Airedale Terrier Health Issues and Airedale Terrier Behavior Problems

After that, in 1886, Airedale Terriers were identified as purebred by The Kennel Club of England. It was after the recognition of the American Kennel Club in 1888 that the Airedale Terriers became the most popular, and people all over America wanted to keep one as a pet. 

Today, Airedale Terrier origin is not much of a problem because it has been for decades. Airedales are not only known as great and cheerful pets in America, but many people around the world love them.

What Were Airedale Terriers First Bred For?

As I mentioned, Airedale Terriers were bred to be used as hunting dogs so working-class people could be free from rats. 

Another story related to the Airedale Terrier origin is with otters. There had been a large population of otters in the Aire River Valley of England, so much that it was uncontrollable, too, like the rats.

Read – Airedale Terrier Grooming Guide and Airedale Terriers Diet Plan & Feeding Tips

Since the first breed of Airedale terriers did not have good swimming abilities, the people residing there thought of breeding a black and tan Terrier with an Otterhound. That is how the Airedale Terrier originated. 

Along with the fierceness of the terriers and the exceptional swimming abilities of the otterhounds, the Airedale Terriers were bred to be the “king of all the terriers” in the world!

Some people also tell different stories about the Airedale Terrier’s origin. For example, it is also believed that crosses were made along the way to increase the dog’s strength and energy with dogs like Bull Terriers. But as time passed, people no longer needed the hunting skills of the Airedale Terrier.

Read – Are Airedale Terriers Aggressive? and How Much Do Airedale Terriers Cost?

As strange as the Airedale Terrier origin story is, they now had different purposes. 

  • Airedale Terriers were employed as police dogs in Britain during the 1900s because of their highly energetic temperament, intelligence, the ability to swim and detect many scents.
  • At the same time, Airedale Terriers were also bred as a dog that can help on farms; by protecting the livestock, acting as guard dogs at night, or simply playing with the children all along. They posses a longer lifespan as well.
  • The Red Cross also used Airedale Terriers to get help when soldiers were injured in the battles, so they became very popular as brave dogs when the war was finally over.
  • The Airedale Terriers’ origin journey began as hunting dogs, but they even made it to the White House! Presidents Warren Harding, Theodore Roosevelt, and Calvin Coolidge kept Airedales as their beloved pets. President Harding’s Airedale Terrier Laddie Boy led a celebrity lifestyle as a White House pet.
  • Another incident that made Airedale terriers famous is the Titanic; records show that two Airedale terriers among the dogs did not survive the sinking of the Titanic.

Today, Airedale Terriers are owned by many people around the world. Be it countryside or city life; Airedale terriers were easily adjusted to different kinds of environments as long as they had plenty of space to run and play around. 

What Breeds Make Up An Airedale Terrier?

If you still have questions about the Airedale Terrier origin, let me go into more detail to avoid confusion.

The Airedale Terrier was bred originally from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier (now known as the Welsh Terrier) and the Otterhound to combine both breeds’ power and swimming abilities. 

The incredible cognitive skills, strong alertness, and intelligence is believed to be inherited from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier. Whereas with the combination of the Otterhound, Airedales got a dense, water-resistant coat that helps them swim! 

Airedale terriers are good guard dogs and protect their owners at any cost. That characteristic is believed to be coming from the Old English Bull Terrier. 

Final Thoughts About Airedale Terrier Origin

The Airedale Terriers you see today have come a long way to be here. They are no longer bred as hunting dogs or working dogs, but with the sole purpose of being kept as pets because people love them; the cheerful and energetic dog is very hard to resist!

However, you should also remember that their heritage does not die, as do their inherited traits. For example, as Airedales were hunting dogs, even now, it will be a little challenging to be trained. But with the proper care and lots of patience, you can make a great pet out of an Airedale Terrier!


  • George Brown

    George B. is the founder of the JRO Organization. He believes in creating a better world for domestic animals. He believes domestic animals are more vulnerable than other animals, especially dogs, since they have been used to depending on their owners for generations. So, he started JRO to share his ideas and insights while helping vulnerable dogs worldwide. George runs multiple projects on street dogs in developing countries, especially Sri Lanka.

    [email protected]

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