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Airedale Health


Airedales, in general, are very healthy and hardy animals. Some do have health problems, but in many cases, these are only minor.

Airedales, like all other larger breeds, have occurrences of hip dysplasia. These cases are not common but the possibility should be addressed.


When selecting a puppy, always question the breeder about the condition of the parents’ hips. Many breeders have preliminary hip x-rays done at a year of age (these x-rays cannot be sent in for an OFA number), prior to beginning a “show” career.

Airedales, like many terriers, may have “itchy” skin. This could be a sign of many things. Sometimes it is nothing more than a dietary problem, and sometimes it is a symptom of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. All of the above can normally be treated and controlled easily. “Itchy” skin may also be a symptom of allergies. These allergies may be food or other. My experience has been that the first place to start is with the diet. Some Airedales do better on a quality lamb and rice food, others do not.

Always take the time to keep your Airedale’s ears clean and dry (this helps prevent infections or irritations.), toenails trimmed, teeth cleaned (doing this at home on a regular basis can prevent gum disease and other dental problems, and it is good practice for trips to the vet) and remember to keep the hair trimmed between the pads.

Always consult with your veterinarian and breeder about any health concerns.

Hunting and Working


Airedales, as previously mentioned, are used for hunting and working in many areas.

In an effort to promote and maintain the hunting abilities for which the Airedale was originally bred, a Hunting/Working Committee was formed by the Airedale Terrier Club of America in 1985. This committee holds an annual workshop in conjunction with hunting tests. The workshop has assisted both novice and experienced hunters in developing the skills Airedales need to be successful gundogs.

These trials are conducted in accordance with ATCA-approved hunting tests and titles. These tests are being continually revised and improved to tap even deeper into the talents of the breed. Currently, there are Junior and Senior Hunting Dog titles in flushing (JHDF and SHDF), retrieving (JHDR and SHDR), and the more traditional fur test (JHDFur and SHDFur).

The members of the H/W Committee are working with hunting judges and instructors from other breeds with AKC recognized Hunting titles to develop AKC recognized hunting titles for Airedales. Hopefully, in the future, Airedales will be able to obtain AKC Hunting titles.

The Upland Bird tests require the dog to find and flush two birds, retrieve a shot bird on land, and do short water retrieve. (JHDF and SHDF)

The Hunting Dog Retriever test brings contestants to a line from which the dog is expected to remember or “mark” the fall of birdshot in the field. Upon a command from the handler, the dog should retrieve the bird. The next phase is to repeat the retrieve, except from the water.

To obtain the SHDR title, the dog is required to mark one duck shot over the water, and while waiting to be released, see another duck down. The dog must then retrieve both birds. The HDFur test requires the dog to follow a track of raccoon scent, locate a caged raccoon in a wooded area, bark, or “bay,” to declare the find.

For more information, please contact:

Steve Gilbert – ATCA
H/W Committee Chairman
100 Hawthorne Drive
Lima, OH 45805
(419) 991-7430.

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