Breed-related disease: Airedale Terrier

John K. Rosembert

The Airedale Terrier also called Bingley Terrier and Waterside Terrier, is a dog breed of the terrier type that originated in the valley (dale) of the River Aire, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. It is traditionally called the “King of Terriers” because it is the largest of the terrier breeds. The Airedale was bred from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier (now known as the Welsh Terrier), the Otterhound and probably some other Terrier breeds, and has contributed to other dog breeds, such as the Yorkshire Terrier. Originally bred to serve as a versatile hunting and all around working farm dog, in Britain this breed has also been used as a war dog, guide dog and police dog. In the United States, this breed has been used to hunt big game, upland birds, and water fowl, and serve in many other working capacities.

The Airedale Terrier is known as the “king of terriers” partly for his size. They range in height about 23 inches and in weight from 45 pounds for a small female, to 70 pounds for a large male (20 to 32 kilograms).the breed has a classic terrier head with virtually no stop (forehead), v-shaped ears tipped over and a straight back with an erect docked tail. The outline is quite square and these dogs are sturdy. Coloring for the Airedale is black and tan, with a classic terrier coat of dense, harsh hair with a softer undercoat. A grown out coat will look almost curly. The coat and color stay sharpest with hand stripping of the dead hair. Pet Airedales that are clipped may appear gray and tan.

This protective and lively companion is one of the most versatile terriers. The playful, adventurous, and bold Airedale is intelligent, and yet headstrong and stubborn at times. Though some dogs are dominating, most of them are responsive to the wishes of the owner and are reliable.

As long as the Airedale is provided with daily physical and mental exercise, it is a well-behaved house dog. It likes to be a leader and dislikes being challenged by other dogs. Smaller dogs and terriers, however, get along well.

We know you care so much for your dog welfare, below we summarize some of the most common problem of the terrier dog


Eye Problems

Not many things have as dramatic an impact on your dog’s quality of life as the proper functioning of his eyes. Unfortunately, Airedale Terriers can inherit or develop a number of different eye conditions, some of which may cause blindness if not treated right away, and most of which can be extremely painful! We will evaluate his eyes at every examination to look for any signs of concern.

Hip dysplasia

Hip dysplasia is one of the most commonly found osteopathic conditions in pedigree dog breeds, and the Airedale is one of the breeds that is known to be affected by it to some degree. Hip dysplasia has a genetic element to it, and is caused by a malformation of the hip joint in development, which usually manifests in dogs before they reach the age of two years old.


Airedales can be prone to a range of skin conditions, particularly dermatitis, which is common across all of the terrier breeds. The coat and skin of Airedales should be checked over regularly, as problems often go unnoticed due to the density of their coats.

Acral lick granulomas may develop if sore spots and itching lead to the dog obsessively licking their skin to the point that it breaks, and acute moist dermatitis, which leads to itchy, weeping skin in patches can also affect the breed.

A range of other dermatological conditions may manifest too, including allergies, particularly food allergies, or problems with the thyroid gland which manifest as skin conditions.


Cerebellar ataxia

Cerebellar ataxia is a hereditary brain condition that is caused by a recessive gene, and usually becomes symptomatic in puppies of between six and twelve weeks old. The condition leads to a range of obvious symptoms and problems, including poor balance and rapid eye movement, as well as problems with focusing.


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