Male vs. Female Airedale Terrier: 3 Key Differences

Written by Drew Wood
Updated: October 15, 2023
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Airedale terriers have been called the “king of terriers,” and it’s easy to see why. They are certainly one of the most distinctive, regal-looking of all terriers. Originating in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England in the 19th century, their original purpose was to hunt otters and vermin. They attracted global attention for their heroic role in both World Wars. In addition to working as guard and messenger dogs, they also played a lifesaving role as “mercy dogs.” In that role, they ran around battlefields and through trenches to find wounded soldiers, bringing first aid supplies, guiding paramedics to victims, and comforting those who were dying.

It’s not surprising that after the war Airedales gained great popularity as sporting dogs and loyal family pets. If you’re planning on opening your home to an Airedale, you’ll have to decide whether to adopt a male or a female. In this article, we share crucial information about the breed: specifically, some male vs. female differences.

Airedale Terrier Face

Airedale terriers have distinctive, aristocratic faces.

©Angela Montillon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

General Characteristics of Airedale Terriers

Size and Appearance

Airedale Terrier standing in the park

Check out this curly-cue tail! People who crop their tails miss out on this adorable curl.


Airedale terriers weigh anywhere from 50-80 pounds and, with their long legs, stand 22-24 inches tall. This makes them a medium-sized dog, but still by far the largest of all terriers. They have long boxy faces, mustaches, and neatly folded ears. Their tails are often cropped – a controversial procedure – but if they are left to grow naturally, they develop a dramatic curl. Their coat is distinctive. It has a wiry, coarse texture wound into tight curls. The color is tan with black markings. No question about it, from head to tail, Airedales have a uniquely appealing look.


Airedales have typical terrier characteristics like boldness, stubbornness, and tenacity. They’re friendly, playful, and loyal to their human family and get along well with children. They’re energetic and need regular attention and exercise. Airedales are also very intelligent, so this makes them easy to train, but it also means they can get bored without attention and stimulation. Airedales are good, vigilant guard dogs, considered better at this job than many other breeds. One of the downsides of the breed is that they have some aggressive tendencies toward other animals, especially dogs of the same sex.

Male/Female Differences in Airedales

Types of terrier dogs

Female Airedales mature more quickly than males. By a year old, females are over their puppy behavior.

©Grisha Bruev/

There are not very many outstanding differences between male and female Airedales, aside from a slight size difference and some temperament considerations:

  • If you’re looking for a smaller dog, keep in mind that males tend to be a few inches taller and 10-15 pounds heavier than females.
  • Females mature and calm down from their puppy craziness faster than males, who may never really stop being “goofy.”
  • Despite the stereotype of male dogs being more aggressive, with Airedales, females are particularly noted for same-sex aggression. Moreover, fights between females can be more serious and dangerous. If you are bringing more than one Airedale into your home, experts recommend one male and one female, as same-sex pairs may fight.

General Male/Female Dog Differences

airedale terrier puppy laying the grass

Airedale terrier puppies are great with children. They can be quite playful and rambunctious.


In addition to the Airedale-specific characteristics mentioned above, “dog people” have observed some general differences between male and female dogs. These are worth keeping in mind as you consider which sex will be the best companion in your situation. Note these are not hard and fast rules, but just very general tendencies. Everyone can think of examples of dogs that might fit these characteristics to a greater or lesser degree.

  • Females tend to be more easily trainable and compliant with instructions.
  • Male dogs can be more attention-seeking and affectionate, while females may be more independent and emotionally self-sufficient.
  • Male dogs are reputed to have more aggressive tendencies; females can have more of an anxious temperament.
  • Males wander off more than females, particularly if there are females in heat somewhere nearby.
  • An unspayed female will attract unwanted attention from male dogs. All dogs should be spayed or neutered unless the owner plans to breed the dog and has thought carefully through the implications of that choice.
  • Male dogs have more noticeable genitalia and more of a tendency to mount other dogs and objects when the mood strikes.

Where to Learn More

Even looking like an ungroomed scruff-monster, an Airedale terrier can’t help but be beautiful.

©Ioan Bodean, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

Airedale terriers are beautiful dogs with winning personalities. They’re playful, affectionate, intelligent, and vigilant watchdogs – you really can’t go wrong with this breed. Male or female can be a great choice depending on your lifestyle. Consider, for example, the sex of any current dog you have and get the opposite sex to avoid fights. Do you want an independent dog that does her own thing? Maybe a female would work better for you. Do you want a pup that follows you around the house, staring into your soul while you’re watching tv? You might prefer an emotionally needy male dog! Do your homework by researching reputable breeders and talking to current owners.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © otsphoto/

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About the Author

Drew Wood is a writer at A-Z Animals focusing on mammals, geography, and world cultures. Drew has worked in research and writing for over 20 years and holds a Masters in Foreign Affairs (1992) and a Doctorate in Religion (2009). A resident of Nebraska, Drew enjoys Brazilian jiu-jitsu, movies, and being an emotional support human to four dogs.

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