Scratch Dog or Not – Are Airedale Terrier Dogs Hypoallergenic?

The amount of people suffering from allergies in the USA is increasing every day. Allergic reactions occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance these can include food, pollen, dust, chemicals and the proteins found in pet dander, saliva and urine.


When considering which dogs are hypoallergenic there are certain breeds which shed less, don't drool and produce less dander and while no dog is totally allergy-free many people find, with certain precautions, the hypoallergenic Airedale Terrier can cohabit with those who suffer from low to moderate allergies.

Is It True, Are Airedale Terriers Hypoallergenic?

The truth is, no dog is completely sneeze-free but the good news is, that YES, the Airedale Terrier is classed as hypoallergenic and is less likely to trigger an allergic reaction than most other breeds.

What does hypoallergenic actually mean?

There is so much controversy over this word and yes, it is misleading. Most folk presume it means a product, food or dog will be perfectly safe for an allergy sufferer, unfortunately this is not the case. A hypoallergenic skin cream may be perfectly fine for some sensitive skins and bring others out in a nasty rash and the same applies to dogs. An Airedale Terrier may be a perfect itch-less addition to some homes and not others. Hypoallergenic means a lower risk to sufferers not no risk at all.

3 Reasons why the Airedale Terrier is a choice breed among allergy sufferers

  • Like several terriers, the Airedale has a "broken coat" a double coated breed they have a soft undercoat and wiry dense outercoat which captures dead skin particles and loose hairs stopping them becoming airborne.
  • The Airedale Terrier shedding doesn't cause many problems for the allergy sufferer, like the hypoallergenic Poodle and Schnauzer they only shed dander every 21 days unlike some breeds that do so every 4-5 days.
  • Although all terriers have a tendency to bark, he is not as yappy as some meaning his saliva which can be one of the main triggers of a reaction is not constantly being sprayed around the home.

Airedale Terriers and allergies - What should I do?

Even though the Airedale Terrier is low-shedding and produces little dander allergic reactions can and do occur. If you or a family member suffers from pet allergies it is essential to do your research before bringing a canine companion into your life.

​Many families can live with the symptoms by taking precautions and/or medications but if you have a young child with an allergy, serious reactions or one that causes respiratory problems you may need to accept a pooch-free existence.

Do plenty of research, the internet, of course, is a great source of information but there are lots of conflicting views so nothing beats spending time with your breed of choice. You could try:​

  • Contacting the Airedale Terrier Club of America they will happily put you in touch with local clubs or supply information on events in your area this will enable you to spend time with the breed, see what if the experience is sniffle-free and also see if this breed is compatible with your lifestyle.
  • Get to know your local groomer, many hypoallergenic dog breeds need professional grooming including the Airedale, while it is not advisable to be there while the dog is being groomed initially, she may be willing to introduce you to visiting dogs.

5 Ways to Reduce the Risk of An Allergic Reaction from Your Pooch

  • You spend over a third of your time in the bedroom so it is advisable to keep this space dog-free. Allergens love soft furnishings and the bedroom is just full of hiding places for those pesky particles.
  • Wipe down any surfaces that your dog brushes against daily with a damp cloth a good tip is to use a little fabric conditioner or dryer sheets as they repel dust.
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    Vacuum regularly and use a cleaner with a HEPA filter this will get rid of allergens that are stuck to the floor, rugs or furniture.
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    Airedales need professional grooming 3-4 times a year but brushing them 2-3 times a week will keep allergens down. Invest in a dog grooming mask to prevent exposure to hair, dust and dander.
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    Wash your hands every-time you come into contact with your dog or carry a hand sanitizer, while the allergens may not cause much reaction on your palms it's a different story if you rub your eyes or nose.

All about the Airedale Terrier - Origin of the Breed

The Airedale is known as the "king of terriers" and for good reason. The largest of the terrier group they are a relatively modern breed that originated in Yorkshire, England during the 19th century by crossing the now extinct Old English Black and Tan Terrier with the larger Otterhound.

Too large to "go to ground" like smaller working terriers the Airedale however excelled in every other aspect required for a sporting terrier and the inclusion of the hound characteristics meant he could also use his nose and be taught to retrieve making him a multi-purpose dog.

The breed arrived in the USA during the 1880s, Bruce the first Airedale on American shores went on to win the terrier class at a New York dog show less than a year later. The breed was recognized by the AKC in 1888 and the Airedale Terrier Club of America was founded in 1900.​

​Airedales were often used during the World War 1 to carry messages and transport mail, afterwards their popularity increased dramatically, during the 1920s they were the most popular breed in America with no less than 3 US presidents including, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge and Warren Harding, whose dog Laddie Boy was the first celebrity "white house pet," owning the breed.

Nowadays their popularity has decreased, but they are still prized throughout the world as a versatile working dog and cherished family pet.​

General Appearance

This medium-sized hypoallergenic dog stands between 22-25 inches at the shoulders with females being at the lower end of the scale. A healthy Airedale should weigh between 44-60lbs.

There are some breeders in North America who breed larger Airedales often referred to as Ootangs these can weigh up to 130lbs and stand between 26-29 inches at the withers some Airedale breeders also produce miniature Airedale Terriers, although these are rare.

Whichever Airedale Terrier you chose it will have a dense wiry coat and be tan colored with a black or grizzle saddle.

They have a square stance, long-legged, deep-chested, with a long flat head and twinkling dark eyes. The ears should fold over into a point and their tail if not docked should be erect and carried over the back.​


Airedale Terriers are an intelligent, high energy dog that need plenty of both physical and mental stimulation to prevent behavioral problems. They are courageous, fearless and very protective of their families making them excellent guard dogs.

Like all terriers, the Airedale Terrier temperament involves a strong prey drive they were bred to hunt and many do not do well with small animals. They also put activities such as barking, chasing and digging high on their list of favorite pastimes (so a quiet command needs to be taught early on in any training regime). They get on well with older children but have a dominant streak so are not recommended for younger children unless brought up with them by an experienced owner.

​Airedales are a thinking breed and can quickly work out how to manipulate an owner but they benefit from firm, consistent training, they love to swim and excel in obedience, agility and schutzhund.

With early socialization and proper training the Airedale is a great addition to the family especially one where there is an allergy sufferer​.

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Like all terriers, the Airedale is a hardy dog with a lifespan of around 10-13 years, they are not prone to a great long list of genetic conditions like some breeds but there are some you need to be aware of including:

  • Allergies - Many wire -haired breeds like the Airedale are unfortunately susceptible to allergies.
  • Hip Dysplasia (especially in the larger versions of the breed)
  • Heart Disease - This breed can be prone to heart murmurs.
  • Eye Problems - Not too common in the breed but approximately 8% may suffer cataracts as they get older.
  • Cerebellar ataxia - Caused by a recessive gene the symptoms of this hereditary brain condition usually occur between 6-12 weeks.
  • Gastric Torsion/Bloat - Common in deep-chested breeds this is something to watch out for if your dog gobbles his food.

Like their owners many dogs suffer from allergies especially breeds with wiry coats like the Airedale and you may find you have more in common with your canine companion than you think.

The Airedale Terrier can suffer from numerous skin conditions particularly Dermatitis which can lead to your pet scratching, licking areas excessively, soreness and hair loss.

​Like their human counterparts, it is vital to establish the cause of the allergic reaction to prevent the problem and again as with us the causes can be food related, contact allergies or inhalation of airborne substances like pollen or dust.

If you think your four-legged friend has an itch problem discuss with your vet who will conduct certain tests you may find you need to change to a hypoallergenic dog food, use a special hypoallergenic shampoo or even share your antihistamines.​


The Airedale Terrier usually does well on a high-protein grain-free premium quality dog food. It is essential to feed your dog the correct diet to provide the nutrients required through the various stages of their life. Many websites state that you must feed a young dog puppy food for the 1st year however, it is recommended to stop at 6 months with the Airedale as it can lead to hyper-growth which can result in hip problems later in life.

An adult Airedale should be fed twice a day and it is important not to free-feed this breed as they can be territorial and dominant, maintaining your position as the provider of food shows them who is the boss.

If your pooch suffers from allergies as mentioned above you may need to feed one of the specialist hypoallergenic dog foods available and be careful also what treats you feed any including corn, dairy, wheat etc. should be avoided.

Whichever food you decide on keep an eye on their weight. An Airedale which does not have the vigorous exercise some do, may become overweight which can cause serious health issues later in life.

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Finding A Good Airedale Terrier Breeder

So, you have decided the hypoallergenic Airedale Terrier is the right breed for you and your family. You now have two options you can either search for Airedale Terrier puppies for sale or decide to adopt a rescue dog. If you go for the former there are some things you need to look out for before parting with your hard-earned cash.

Temperament and health are key so it is important you do your research and do not buy on impulse (the number 1 reason dogs are given to shelters). Do not be tempted to buy Airedale puppies from a store or puppy mill.

A responsible hobby breeder puts the welfare of their litters and the continued development of the breed above all else and will happily work with you to match you to the right puppy.

Good Airedale breeders will normally belong to the Airedale Club of America or a local breed organization this participation keeps them abreast of new developments, modern breeding practices, events etc, and shows an interest in the breed, not the credit card.

A good tip is to choose Airedale Terrier breeders that are involved in some form of competition with the breed either showing, agility or working this competitive arena encourages breeders to produce the best dogs possible and they will be known in breed circles so will have a reputation to uphold.

Talk to as many people as possible, attend an Airedale event to try and find recommendations for a local breeder. You could check with the ATCA or go online to find owners who have received healthy, happy pups with good temperaments from the breeders you may have short-listed. It may take a little time and patience but your new part will be part of your life for over a decade, so it pays to get it right.​

3 Red Flags to Look Out for When Searching an Airedale Terrier Breeder

  • Avoid any breeder that makes untrue or misleading statements either on the website or advert.
  • Do not entertain an Airedale breeder who is willing to home a puppy before 8 weeks of age.
  • Do not pay an exorbitantly high deposit a couple of hundred dollars is fine but if anything goes wrong (which it can for allergy sufferers) you may not get the money back.

Adopting an Airedale from a Rescue or Shelter

While it may be difficult to find a purebred Airedale terrier at your local shelter (You may find an Airedale mix) there are several hundred, both full-grown Airedales and puppies that come into breed specific Airedale Terrier rescue organizations across the USA every year. These regional rescues can be found on the official adoption website of the ATCA. Many are looking for volunteers which is a great way to get involved with the breed before committing to ownership.

Let dispel a myth here, not all dogs that are given up to rescue organizations have behavioral issues. Many find themselves in this unfortunate situation through no fault of their own, perhaps their owner has passed away or can no longer give them the care they need, maybe they were rescued from a dodgy breeder, perhaps they got lost and never reclaimed.​

Whatever the reason, the volunteers at these Airedale rescues will do their very best to match you with the right dog for you be it a purebred Airedale or Airedale Terrier mix and all dogs deserve a second chance of a loving, happy home, don't they?​

How Much Will an Airedale Terrier Set You Back?

An Airedale puppy price will vary from state to state, depending on the sex and conformation lines. Expect to pay more for champion working and show lines. For a quality purebred puppy, you will be looking at $750-$2000.

Adopting an Airedale dog is the cheaper option, expect to pay anything from $75 upwards, but it is essential to know as much about the dog's health as possible when adopting an older dog or you could be faced with costly vet's bills further down the line.​

​For this amount of money, you should receive a confident well-adjusted puppy, written information on diet, care, health and vaccination records, pedigree and sales contract. You should have the results of any genetic screening and in the Airedale's case this should include hips and eyes at the very least.


It's a Wrap

Not for everyone, this self-assured, loving, smart dogs are always full of beans and need lots of exercise as well as mental stimulation and consistent training to prevent the typical terrier traits becoming an issue.

They can be territorial and were bred to hunt so wave goodbye if they see a squirrel while off-leash. They make excellent watchdogs being fiercely protective of their beloved family and love human companionship.

They are playful, and get on well with older children. although as with any breed they should never be left alone with any child. Their hypoallergenic coat means they are usually not a scratch dog for their owners but as they are prone to allergies can get a bit itchy themselves.

In short, for an active family with someone who suffers from low to moderate allergies the hypoallergenic Airedale Terrier is a definite winner!​

John Devlin

Husband, father and avid dog lover. Currently the proud owner of George a pedigree Golden Retriever that barely leaves my side. However, cute this sounds a little break from the dog hairs every now and then would be nice!

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