Are Airedale Terriers Good Guard Dogs?

By John Martin - September 11, 2022

Airedale Terrier keeping watch in the yard

Airedale Terriers are large terrier dogs, often called the “King of Terriers”. Does this have anything to do with whether or not they make good guard dogs?

The fact that these dogs are large while also being courageous, energetic and alert can make them good guard dogs, allowing you to rely on them to protect your family. Below, you can go through some reasons that make these dogs suitable as guard dogs.

What Makes Airedale Terriers Good Guard Dogs?

Airedale Terriers are great guard dogs. What makes them good for this purpose?

These dogs are often used personally as well as professionally for guarding and watching over things. There are numerous characteristics of these dogs that can make them suitable for such jobs, some of which you can go through here.


Airedale Terriers are larger than any other terrier breed. They measure around 23-24 inches in height and are about 40-50 pounds in terms of their weight.

In general, this makes them medium-sized, but still pretty large to be able to tackle others on their own. Thus, if you want them to watch over your home and family, their size can make them more than capable of guarding you.

Depending on individual distinctions, it is possible for your dog to weigh more or less while still being lean and healthy enough to guard you.

Energy Level

Airedale Terriers are usually quite energetic, which means that they enjoy running and playing around. They also need plenty of exercise on a daily basis, which can serve to make them healthy and muscular enough to guard and protect you.

They are also always willing to fight, even if just playfully. This can help them release some of their energy as well.

This can make them pretty reliable when it comes to holding their ground against an intruding person or animal.

Given the amount of energy that these dogs have, they are unlikely to become lethargic and drowsy when you need them to guard over something. This is what makes them so successful even as professional guard dogs.


Airedale Terriers are quite strong. This comes about due to their build as well as their lifestyle, provided that you give them a balanced diet and plenty of exercise every day.

Combine this with their size and energy and you can certainly expect your dog to guard you well, even if there are some intruders in the house.

The strength of these dogs not only comes from their physical abilities but also from their mental strength. These terriers have strong willpower and can usually see a task through, making them highly dependable.


Airedale Terriers are extremely vigilant and alert, making them naturally protective. Even the slightest disturbances or changes in their surroundings can make them sharpen up and investigate the cause behind the shift, especially if something is unfamiliar to them.

In this sense, if your dogs sense some kind of trouble around you, they are likely to make you aware of it, sometimes even trying to chase or sniff after it. They might even growl and bark at intruders or try to attack them, so make sure you know how to get them to call it quits when required.

This is another reason that makes them successful guards and watchdogs for investigative and police work.


These dogs are quite cautious and careful as well, so if they sense an unfamiliar, unfriendly or hostile presence around them, they are unlikely to become friendly with them.

They are usually quite guarded when it comes to being around strangers, which might be bothersome when you have guests over, but can serve to be pretty useful when there are intruders or potential burglars in your house.

If they notice or sense something wrong or off, you can rely on them to let you know about it.

Barking Level

Airedale Terriers are quite vocal and can bark frequently and loudly whenever they wish to communicate something with you. Usually, this is not too excessive and even then, you can train your dog out of it.

However, whenever you need them to scare off an intruder or alert you about some kind of danger or threat, they will end up barking aloud.

On a regular basis, this might not be a bother since they usually stop barking. It is only when something seems wrong that the barking can become excessive.


These terriers were bred for the purpose of hunting and as working companions on farms. This makes their protective and guarding instinct quite sharp given that they used to travel in packs while also having to protect the farm animals and the property from intruders.

Hunting also required them to identify and sometimes fight with other animals while listening to their pack leader and looking out for the other dogs in the pack. This instinct is something that these dogs continue to retain, which can help explain why they are so protective and reliable.

In particular, once you form a connection and bond with the dogs, they are likely to first ensure that new people and creatures around you are trustworthy before letting their guard down.

Provoked Aggression

Usually, these dogs are not too aggressive and can behave quite affectionately. Even with strangers, once they become comfortable in their presence, they will act calmly.

However, if the stranger or another creature provokes aggression in them, they will not hesitate to express their aggression towards them. They might bark and growl at them while also trying to attack them in an extreme situation.

Thus, if there happens to be suspicious around them, such as an intruder, they will attack them and act aggressively, sometimes even biting them to get rid of them.


In terms of how Airedale Terriers behave and react, it is essential to examine some of their temperamental characteristics, many of which also make them suitable as guard dogs.

Apart from being affectionate, loving, playful and vigilant, these dogs are also highly independent and stubborn. They often do not back down until they are satisfied and can act on their own instincts.

They also enjoy being alone, so if you need to leave your dog to guard your house while you are asleep or out, you can certainly do so. Given that they are also quite adaptable, they can quickly understand a situation and figure out how to act.

These dogs are extremely brave, courageous and fearless too, so they will not cower against a threat.


In terms of intelligence, these dogs rank 37th based on Stanley Coren’s rankings in his book, The Intelligence of Dogs. This places them higher than usual, especially in comparison to some other working dogs.

Thus, when it comes to solving problems, reacting to new situations, herding, guarding or even obeying commands, these dogs are quite quick and efficient. They can easily understand what you expect from them and carry it out accurately.

This is another reason that they can act as a good, sturdy and reliable presence in your house. Training them can also become easier because of their intelligence.


Loyalty is certainly something you can expect from Airedale Terriers. Once they form a strong bond with you and start recognizing you as an important part of their pack or family, they are bound to protect you and watch over you no matter what.

Recognizing one of you as the leader can also allow them to obey your commands properly. Even when they are around children, they will end up protecting them from strangers and other animals they might view as a threat, especially if this is their first time coming across someone.

It might take some time to get them used to kids, but it can help if your dog is young and new too.

Training Airedale Terriers to Become Good Guard Dogs

Airedale Terriers are instinctively good guard dogs and tend to have great intuition and alertness when it comes to the things going on around them. Thus, even without enough training, they are likely to protect you if they have a strong bond with you.

However, you can still train them to finesse their skills and help them learn new behaviors. This way, they can become better at alerting you and obeying your command whenever there is a threat around you.

This can particularly help if you want to rein them back and stop them from attacking someone.

Make sure you let them know who the leader is so that they can become loyal and listen to you. Rely on positive reinforcement and never on punishment or aversion to train them into certain behaviors.

You can also call a professional trainer.

The Bottom Line

It is clear that Airedale Terriers are good guard dogs due to their size, strength, high energy, vigilance, caution, barking level, instinct, temperament, loyalty and intelligence.

Usually, as soon as you form a strong bond with Airedale Terriers, you can expect them to guard your home and family, although you can also train them to strengthen this behavior and quality in them.