Airedale Terrier vs Welsh Terrier

By John Martin - October 24, 2022

Airedale Terrier side by side Welsh Terrier

It often gets hard for dog lovers or prospective dog parents to differentiate between the different breeds. Take the Airedale Terrier and the Welsh Terrier for example.

Both breeds look quite similar to each other but the similarities end there. If you are planning to buy one of these dogs or are just curious to know more, keep reading.

You are in for a ride as we will be breaking down a quick overview of the dogs, what makes them similar, and what makes them different.

Significant Traits Of Terrier Dogs

If you are planning to buy or adopt a terrier, be aware of these telltale traits:

  • Extremely alert
  • Adamant and stubborn
  • Lively and playful
  • Extremely noisy and loud
  • Bringing their A-game to digging
  • Strong and deep bite

Most dog parents complain that their terriers require very specific grooming. These dogs have a unique type of fur and need special attention while grooming.

They are also very adamant and argumentative when it comes to their things. We mean the dogs, not the parents!

To keep this comparison simple, let us begin with basic differences and move to the complex ones.

Scratching The Surface: Names, Origins, And More

Airedale Terriers are also called Waterside Terriers or Irish Red Terriers. They are treated as hunting dogs and are groomed to give such an appearance as well.

They are confident purebreds that are from England and do well with new owners. But Welsh Terriers (also called Welshies) do much better.

They originate from Wales and are purebred too, but they are different when it comes to hunting. They, too, are hunters but have a loving and caring side to them.

Also Read: Airedale Terrier vs Fox Terrier

Physical Differences That Make A Difference

Weight and height are two of the most distinguishing features between the two dog breeds. While one of them is the largest, the other is quite small and cute.


It is interesting to note that Airedale Terriers are the largest dogs in their breed. They are about 24 inches tall and are called the King of the Terriers.

The Welsh Terriers look like miniature versions of the Airedales. They are just about 14-15 inches tall. People find it hard to believe that they are hunting dogs!


In terms of weight, male Airedales range from fifty to seventy pounds. Even the females are quite big with about forty to forty-five pounds weight.

For Welshies, even the weight is lesser compared to Airedales. On average, both males and females weigh only around 18 to 23 pounds.

Coat And Fur For Airedales

Airedales have a two-layered coat that has wavy fur. The top coat is very dense and rough, while the undercoat is soft and short.

Their coat color is often compared to a grizzly bear as they have the same shade of brown. This fur is shed only during specific times of the year.

They are low maintenance and ideal if you want minimum shedding. However, you might have to brush their teeth, comb their hair, and trim their nails twice a week.

It is also of paramount importance to grooming your Airedale twice or thrice a year to keep its coat healthy. You must also clean their ears and bathe them twice a month.

Nevertheless, these dogs are friendly and socialize with other dogs easily. Be sure to take your pooch out for daily exercise as they cannot stand being indoors!

They have very high energy and require open spaces to run and exercise. You should buy such dogs only if you have a big backyard or a vast space for them to run.

Coat And Fur For Welshies

Welshies also have hard and wiry topcoats with soft undercoats. Their coat colors are restricted to black and tan.

If you were concerned about the shedding behaviors of the Airedales, you will be amazed by the Welsh Terriers! They shed a lot more and require more frequent grooming, too.

You must brush their coat every other day to ensure that it is in good condition. This is what will stimulate the growth of healthy and clear coats.

For Welshies, clean their teeth twice a week and clean their ears twice a month. Trim their nails as they grow quickly and groom them every two to four months.

Yes, Airedales require only two grooms per year but Welsh Terriers require full grooming once every two months! They are high maintenance and require a close watch.

They are very intelligent and free-spirited, which makes them easy to train. This is something they share with their Airedale counterparts.

Characteristics Of Both Terriers

Let’s talk personality! Both terriers have quite similar personalities that extend to all Terriers. This breed is known to be very fun-loving and loyal, with a charming persona.

Airedale Terriers

But don’t judge an Airedale by its good nature with kids. They get very protective when it comes to saving their home. If they have puppies, you will need time to get near them.

The thing is that both these breeds take time to develop trust and loyalty. They are very stubborn and protective of their homes and families.

But once you break the ice, they will stay loyal forever! It is best to have a fenced yard for your Airedales as they have a lot of energy. They might even wander out of your home.

Try to give them space and let them be playful. Don’t restrict them to your apartment and give them time to socialize with people and other pets.

Welsh Terriers

If you are looking for a family man, this pooch is the next best thing for you! Welshies are known to have a delicate personality and can be friendly and loving with anyone.

They are great friends and have a soft and empathetic side. These dogs love physical and mental stimulation and always wish to stay occupied.

Like Airedales, they too are sociable and high-energy canines. They can make friends with your family, and other pets, and take care of your children like other family members.

They are loyal and friendly as compared to Airedales and find different ways to unleash their energy. You can manage them easily even if you have a small space.

Differences In Attitude

One major difference between Airedales and Welshies is their attitude. Airedales are known to be cruel and hold resentment against anyone who wrongs them.

Be aware that these canines are mostly watchdogs and have a hunting nature within their minds. They rarely begin fights, but never step out without winning them.

Airedales can show a pushy and forceful attitude toward other dogs, which makes them hard to handle at times. This is owing to their hunting nature and constant drive for prey.

Welshies are not so forceful and can be quite amiable to other dogs and humans. They are ideal if you have another dog or a cat at home.

They are also perfect if you are going out for walks and your dog is untrained. You needn’t worry about your Welsh Terrier running far ahead of you or being a nuisance.

However, they are known to bark and run about uncontrollably when they hear dubious noises. They tend to get very much on guard and skeptical when they hear new sounds.

If you live in a noisy street or pass a police vehicle on the street, keep a hand on your pooch’s leash. However, they don’t usually need much attention once they are trained.

On the whole, if you are looking for a comfy pooch to snuggle with on the sofa, get a Welsh Terrier. If you are looking for a watchdog that can run with you, get an Airedale.

What Health Factors Should I Be Aware Of?

As mentioned multiple times, both dogs are healthy and active. They know what they need and are self-sufficient most of the time.

But like all breeds, they too are prone to sickness and require frequent health checkups or annual vaccinations.

It is common for dogs to get tooth problems as well. Terriers might have it extra owing to their thirst for prey and aggressive nature.

Even if they seem healthy, take them for periodic checkups to the vet. It could be something as basic as an eye infection or stomach virus, but be safe and not sorry.

Airedales are prone to diseases such as:

  • Cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • General allergies
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hernia
  • Retinal atrophy issues

They have an average lifespan of about eleven to fourteen years. This is much less compared to Welshies that have lifespans of about twelve to fifteen years.

Welsh Terriers are prone to diseases, too. They most commonly get:

  • Epilepsy
  • Skin diseases
  • Allergies in general
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Glaucoma

And chances of both eye and ear infections. Since these dogs are very playful and energetic, they have chances of tiring quickly. Be sure to keep them hydrated always.

Benefits Of Having A Welsh Terrier

This section isn’t a comparison to convince dog lovers to buy Welshies. It is simply a rundown of reasons why people prefer having Welsh Terrier over Airedales.

Contrary to popular belief, Welsh Terriers are truly good hunting dogs. They can fit into small spaces owing to their compact size and capture small creatures.

If you wish to catch a small animal like a hedgehog that is destroying your plants, set your Welshie on them. No deep burrow can help the creature escape, even cats!

Airedales have a disadvantage due to their size. They are used more as service dogs than as hunters. Owing to their amiability and intellect, they make great companions.

In a way, Welshies are considered a more stable and sensible version of Airedales. They have the energy and drive but know when to tone it down and keep it together.

Handy Tips To Handle Your Terrier

Now that you know the similarities and differences between these dogs, it works to know some tips to manage them.

Terriers are good friends and great companions. Be it a brisk morning run or a bit of babysitting, they are always happy to help.

Help Build Their Self Confidence

It takes time for Terriers to develop their confidence. But once they do, they are great for socializing and toning down the barking a lot.

They tend to dig a lot and hide their toys and things wherever they can. Try to welcome them and show them that you mean no harm.

If you want less barking and mess, go for an adult dog. But with a puppy, you can train them and build trust from a tender age.

Be Watchful About Their Grooming

For most dogs, grooming is mandatory every month to keep them healthy. Their coats need to be cleaned and groomed to ensure they are stimulated.

Ensure their nails and teeth are clean after they have finished hunting or digging. If they dig around in the mud, they are sure to have germs and dirt in their nails.

Since they are keen watchdogs, try to keep them clean after every hunt. They can protect your family against all odds, so you could protect them too.

Let Them Know Who The Boss Is

Most Welsh Terriers are stubborn and have minds of their own. It works to train them from a young age and let them know who the boss is.

When they try to dominate or threaten you, keep calm and stay consistent. If they react violently to teasing and petting, set clear boundaries with them.

Keep your kids away from them initially. New pets won’t tolerate the clumsiness of children and any unintentional stepping on their tails.

They might get violent with your kids if they squeeze the dog’s ears or step on a paw by accident. To broaden that thought, try to introduce them to newcomers gradually.

Summing Up

Now we know the differences and similarities between Airedale Terriers and Welsh Terriers. Notably, both dogs have high energy and love exercise.

They are friendly and genuinely care about the family around them. They are stubborn and are protective of their things. Sometimes, they are tough to handle due to their attitude.

Keep your children safe from them and train your dogs to behave friendly and confident around strangers. It is best to get a puppy and teach them how you function early on.

It is also vital to keep their ears, eyes, teeth, and nails clean. Groom them as required and ensure that they receive periodic checkups and vaccinations.

Every dog indeed has its day and you could give your new pet the best day of their life! Just be sure that you know what you are getting into and choose wisely.