Are Airedale Terriers Good Family Dogs?

By John Martin - September 6, 2022

Airedale Terrier playing with owner outside

It’s unsurprising if you find yourself in love with an Airedale terrier—these dogs are all kinds of lovable, intelligent, and fun to have around.

While it may be tempting to just bring one home without any second thoughts (completely understandable), some amount of prior research is necessary to ensure that these spirited dogs are the right fit for your family, especially if you have kids and/or other pets around.

Do Airedales make good family dogs? Let’s find out!

Are Airedales Good for Families?

Airedales are extremely friendly, protective dogs. They’re also extremely courageous (to the point of sometimes being foolhardy) and won’t shy away from protecting you, even if they’re not particularly trained to do so and even though they’re not naturally aggressive dogs.

Here are a few great reasons why Airedale terriers make great family pets.

The Love of Kids

Airedales are extremely loving doggos that enjoy being around children. They can play and engage children for hours on end, which is frankly a great thing if you’re a parent!

They’re also quite patient and sturdy, with a high pain tolerance level, which means that a little roughhousing is acceptable and even welcome!

Playtime involving running and screaming doesn’t put Airedale terriers on edge; most often, this doesn’t even bother an Airedale, unlike some other terrier breeds.

Airedales will happily follow your kids through their playtime and be extremely active and participative in all physical activities, especially in their pupper days.

Given their love for physical activity, it’s quite hard to tire out an Airedale terrier—even with the recommended 40 minutes of exercise a day, there’s still enough energy left in their reserves to dig and chew whenever these opportunities present themselves!

Great Guard Dogs

Not judging a book by its cover couldn’t have been truer in the case of an Airedale—these fluffballs can make quite the mean watchdog.

Protective behavior is something that has been bred into these dogs, and hence, is a very strong instinct in them.

Even if you don’t train your Airedale to be a guard dog, he or she will step up and fiercely protect you should the need arise, displaying aggressive tendencies (though this isn’t a typical trait in Airedales) and chasing off anyone or anything they deem a threat.

Additionally, these dogs are extremely courageous, a personality trait that led to them being used as messenger dogs during the First World War—injuries and other threats didn’t stop these hardy doggos from completing the missions entrusted to them.

The breed’s sense of self-preservation is often outranked by its courage and protectiveness, which means that your Airedale will go to any extent to safeguard you, regardless of the consequences it could face.

Social Dogs

Airedales are quite social, getting on well with other dogs and animals.

Of course, even so, you should socialize your puppy the right way so that they learn to connect with other dogs and don’t exhibit any behavioral problems when they meet other animals.

Without sufficient socializing, your Airedale can make walk-time difficult for you and other dogs, exhibiting obsessive behavior, aggression, and/or excitement.

Hypoallergenic Dogs

Airedale terriers hardly shed (a couple of times a year, if at all), which means that they’re deemed hypoallergenic. This makes them ideal household pets for people with allergies.

High Levels of Intelligence

Their high levels of intelligence mean that Airedales are fast learners and easy to train. Many skills and traits are inherent in these dogs, such as swimming abilities and protective instincts, so you don’t have to work too hard to harness these or bring these to the fore.

However, as mentioned earlier, their intelligence also means that they can be quite stubborn, choosing to follow a command only if it benefits them. They can also quite cleverly twist the rules in their favor.

To avoid the hassles that come with a dog that’s too smart for its own good, proper training from a young age is extremely important.

Great Companions

Airedale terriers are great dogs overall, with sparkling, humorous personalities and a friendly nature. With an Airedale around, you’re guaranteed entertainment, fun, and laughter.

They’re also incredibly loyal, with a need to always be around their owners—whether you’re answering nature’s call or you’re out hiking, your Airedale will want to accompany you.

Additionally, Airedales can easily identify the alpha member of the pack (or household, as the case may be) and respect the pecking order, so you won’t find it too hard to give them commands if you’ve established yourself as the alpha.

Love of Physical Activities

Airedale terriers, as mentioned earlier, are extremely energetic dogs with a love for the great outdoors. This makes them an excellent choice if you’re an outdoors person yourself, as you can take them on long walks, runs, and even camping and hiking.

However, bear in mind that their energy levels aren’t inexhaustible, though it may seem so at times—don’t overwork your Airedale.

Why Airedales May Not Make Good Family Dogs

There are some tendencies that Airedales exhibit which could make them unsuited to certain families:

Airedales Can Be Too Rough

Airedales don’t mind rough play, but they also don’t know their own strength. What your Airedale might deem as playful romping may actually be too rough for kids to handle.

Airedales don’t hold back while playing, and while the lack of natural aggressive tendencies means that they won’t attack children, it doesn’t mean that they won’t hurt children while playing, even if it is unintentional.

This is also something to consider if you have senior citizens or frail people in the house.

Needs Constant Attention

Airedales thrive on constant attention and love and sufficient mental and physical stimulation to keep them healthy. You need to be able to provide these, failing which, your Airedale can get unhappy and destructive.

This also means that they may not do too well if left home alone.

Airedales Can Be Very Independent

While Airedales are easy to train, you need tons of patience during the training process due to their independent nature, especially in an older dog (habits formed during puppyhood are difficult to break later).

These dogs also don’t take too well to being yelled at or hit and can turn quite defiant when faced with such treatment.

Thrive In Large Spaces

Due to their love for exploring and digging, Airedale terriers thrive in large spaces with a backyard or garden. A small apartment might have them feeling cooped up and lead to pent-up energy, which could prove harmful in the long run.

Also Read: Do Airedale Terriers Bark a Lot?

In Conclusion

Nothing in life’s perfect, as much as you wish it, and this includes Airedales—but they could come pretty close if you’re a family that loves the outdoors, has sufficient space at home, and most importantly, the time, effort, and love to shower on your doggo.

Cases of dogs being abandoned are too common, especially when the owner’s preconceived notions of a dog blind them to the animal’s true nature; instead of nurturing the dog’s personality, they try to change the animal, and eventually, when that doesn’t work, they seek to get rid of it.

So put in sufficient research, learn all you can about the breed, explore the pros and cons thoroughly, and ensure that your mental and physical resources are sufficient for an Airedale before you bring one home.