So you're thinking of getting an Airedale Terrier

So you're thinking of getting an Airedale Terrier

Melbourne, 4 Feb 2019 - Prior to getting Duke, we really didn't see many Airedale Terriers around, now we have 4 Airedales that frequent our local dog park. It appears that Airedales are becoming more and more popular, so we thought we'd share the attributes of owning an Airedale Terrier with you. 

  • Cutability factor - You honestly never get tired of people coming up to you (and even sometimes pulling over in their car) to tell you how adorable your dog is, and let's face it - they are right. Airedales look like big teddy bears.
  • They don't shed - The time you save not having to hoover every day is the extra time you can put into playing with your Airedale.
  • Your hairdressing budget just grew  - A downside to not shedding is that you need to either learn to groom your Airedale yourself or take them to a groomer every 3-4 months or so (depending on the time of year). So factor $70-$120 per groom into your budget. 
  • Training  - Airedales are extremely smart and stubborn, meaning they can pick up commands/tricks very quickly, but also become bored very quickly. We put Duke through 4 weeks of pre-puppy school at our local vets, 6 months of puppy school with the German Shepherd School, and now he attends an obedience training school. We also try to spend 10 minutes each day (particularly the first 12 months of his life) practising a few commands everytime we enter the park - to help him focus on us (and remember who had the treats) and to help stimulate his mind. While he loves playing bitey face with his friends, we also need to exercise his mind, as this really helps to tire him out. I don't think everyone will need to attend puppy/obedience school, we just found it useful as Duke is our first Airedale and our first puppy. 
  • Good with kids - Duke loves to say hello to kids at the park- usually with a lick. Most people who frequent dog parks with kids, have dogs and are generally fine with your dog coming up to say hello. Only once have I had to wrestle a dirty nappy out of Duke's mouth after he stole it from the bottom of the buggy. But obviously always be cautious with your dog around children. Remember, children and dogs should never be left unsupervised.
  • Big hearts - They are loving and caring. As crazy as Duke can be when I come home, if I'm unwell (which has been a little more frequently lately due to morning sickness) he instantly calms down and comes to lay with me on the sofa while I rest. Duke loves to give you kisses, cuddle with you, and just generally be with you. On the downside to this, Airedales are not typically backyard dogs. They want to be with the family and are highly social, so if you want a dog to keep in the garden this is not the breed for you. 
  • Social - They typically get on well with other dogs and pets - but be sure to socialise them young. Airedales love other Airedales or dogs they can wrestle with/play bitey face. 
  • Exercise - Something else to consider, which to me is a pro, but to others could be a con, is that they are highly energetic and needs lots of exercise. Duke is walked 3 times a day. 30 minutes of playing around in the dog park in the morning, a paid group-dog walking session in the day, and then 30-40 minutes back at the dog park in the evening. I absolutely love my dog park and have met so many wonderful people. But if you are someone who wants a lap dog, or won't consider walking your dog in the rain/wind/dark then an Airedale probably isn't for you.
  • Ready to say down? -  Airedales are jumpy, and this takes a long time to train out of them, so you need patience (as do your house visitors).
  • Chewing - Oh how Duke has made his way teeth first around our house. He's chewed the coffee table, kitchen table, and put a few holes in the wall. It felt like we tried everything to get him to stop (no-chew spray, leaving dog-friendly treats to chew, taking him on long walks, getting his teeth checked) and to be honest nothing seemed to work. Luckily (at 15 months) he seems to have finally grown out of this habit.
  • Stealing - With their height and jumping ability Airedales are great kitchen counter-surfers, so keep food pushed out of the way otherwise you will lose it! They are also great at running up behind you when you open the fridge to steal food, taking the toilet roll, nicking cheese from peoples picnics at the park, and pulling (and eating) the laundry from the basket. Duke is literally known as a treat thief at the local park (lucky he is cute as people forgive him very quickly).
  • Gardening aka digging - Some Airedales dig! We bought Duke a sandbox as a pup - a recommendation from another Airedale owner. He loves to dig, and bury his toys and roll around in it. The only downside is, he does like to fling the sand around so you might need to give it a top up every now and then.   

Made up your mind?
As with the decision to adopt any breed of dog, or pet, it certainly shouldn't be taken light-heartedly. Puppies and dogs require so much more time effort than you can imagine. And then there is also the cost of insurance, food, grooming, dog walking, kennels etc to consider. You need to make sure someone can always come straight home from work to see your dog, so goodbye Friday night office drinks. 

I certainly would not recommend for Airedales for everyone. You need to have time morning and night to walk and train your dog, you need to accept that they probably will chew on some furniture, steal socks and grab the Christmas turkey from the kitchen counter, and be OK with having an inside dog. BUT the love you receive in return, to me makes it all worth it. 

If you do decide that an Airedale is the right breed for you, and live in Australia then I highly recommend joining the AireNet Australia Facebook page to join in with local dog meet-ups, share stories of your pup, and get tips from other Airedale owners. 

Ready to get your pup - check out our essential puppy checklist. 

 Airedale Terrier Pro's and Con's

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