Do Airedale Terriers Make Good Guard Dogs? – Are They Protective?

Airedale Terriers may not be top ranking on AKC’s list of top breeds (ranking at 60 out of 196), but it’s true to say they aren’t called ‘The King of The Terriers’ for nothing.

The Airedale is the largest of all the terrier breeds and is known for their size, strength and tireless spirit.

This docile and patient breed is considered to be friendly, clever and courageous. They can make wonderful family dogs and are great with children.

Airedales are an athletic breed of dog that display great hunting skills and can often be described as fearless. Which brings us to our main topic.

Do Airedale Terriers make good guard dogs? Are they protective? Are they dangerous or aggressive?

Let’s take a closer look at this fascinating breed and find out if this bold and brave pooch could make a good guard dog for your home.


Are Airedale Terriers Good Guard Dogs? 

Airedales are a great option for guarding your home.

They are highly alert and responsive dogs and you can be sure they will always be the first to discover that something isn’t quite right such as strange noises or unfamiliar sounds.

They are renowned for their brave and fearless personalities and will happily confront any intruder trying to get into your home.

This highly intelligent breed is built for the job and many owners choose an Airedale for security and protection.

Airedales tend to be much larger and stronger than other members of the terrier family and have an independent nature that allows them to be great watchdogs.

Airedale Terrier Breed Details Table

Size Medium (but the largest of the terrier breeds
Average Height 23 Inches
Average Weight 50 – 70 Pounds
Average Lifespan 11 – 14 Years
Used as a messenger in WWI thanks to their fearless nature ability to complete all missions, even if hurt or injured.
Personality Courageous, Clever, Friendly, Energetic
Coat Length Short
Coat Colors Black and Tan / Black, Grey and White (some have red mixed into the black fur known as grizzle)
Grooming Requirements Weekly grooming is sufficient
Energy Levels High Energy Levels
Exercise Requirements Several walks a day in addition to playtime
Trainability Easy to train and intelligent. Obedience training is a must.
Barking frequency Not big barkers unless there is a threat, but true to the terrier breeding love to dig and chew.
Barking Levels Low Level – not particularly loud


Airedale History 

Although Airedales make such great family companions, historically they were used on British farms.

In WWI they were used extensively as a messenger and were chosen for this task thanks to their ability to complete missions successfully, even if they were injured or hurt in the line of duty.

Airedales originated from England in the 19th century and the breed was created by crossing Old English black and tan terriers with the otter hound plus a variety of other breeds over the years.

They were officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1886.


Are Airedale Terriers Protective?

Yes, Airedales can be very protective over their families and loved ones in particular small children.

This is one of the reasons why they make such great all-round family dogs.

You will always be able to rely on this breed to identify danger early on and they are more than happy to sound the alarm to alert others.

This is a very loyal breed of dog that finds outsiders coming into the family home a potential threat.

They can be particularly protective over children however due to their size, strength, boldness and high energy levels this can often be a bit too much for very small children.


Are Airedale Terriers Dangerous Or Aggressive?

It is fair to say that Airedale Terriers are not a dangerous breed of dog however they can at times become quite aggressive in nature.

This is mostly due to their hunting instincts and bold personality however it is uncommon to see this breed become aggressive towards family members.

Aggression from this breed will usually stem towards unfamiliar outsiders and other animals however the main goal is to keep the family safe and once they understand there is no threat this behavior usually subsides.

How Will an Airedale Terrier React If Someone Tries To Burglar Your Home?

Trying to burgle the home of an Airedale Terrier is a big mistake and one a thief doesn’t usually make twice!

This breed is highly alert to any unfamiliar noises and activity and it is unlikely a burglar would even get through the front door without your Airedale sounding the alarm.

Airedales can become very aggressive towards intruders. They will bark, growl and bare their teeth until you remove yourself far away from the property.

If you are unlucky enough to get too close to them biting is not out of the question. Based on the fact they come from a unique hunting background, they are likely to cause some serious bite wounds.

Next time try the home of a Basset Hound or Old English sheepdog instead who will both welcome you with open arms!


How Will an Airedale Terrier React If Someone Is Aggressive To Their Owner & Loved Ones?

Airedales are very protective of their owners and loved ones. If they feel like their trusty humans are in danger they will be sure to jump in and sort the situation out.

Sounding the alarm as a warning to the family is usually their first move however this bold and fearless breed will not think twice about attacking the enemy if they felt the need to do so.


Are They Intelligent?

Yes, Airedale Terriers are very intelligent dogs and are known to be easily trainable. They pick things up pretty quickly and have great memories.

Like with most intelligent dog’s breeds, they can get bored and stale very easily and therefore you must provide them with a variety of training methods to keep them engaged and on point.

They love to learn new things however obedience training is likely to be required since they are renowned for being very stubborn. That being said, they are eager to please and keen to take their intelligence to a new level.


Are They Good With Other Pets?

Although Airedales make great family dogs this isn’t quite so true around other pets.

They can be aggressive and territorial around other dogs which can make going out for walks interesting, to say the least.

However, they do generally get on well with other dogs in the household once they have been living together for a while and get to know each other well.

Other small pets such as rabbits and rodents are not a great choice to be housed with your Airedale since they were bred for hunting and may decide to attack or chase them if given the opportunity.

It is also not a given that this breed will get on well with cats and therefore careful and slow socialization is required. However, once the two have spent a significant amount of time together it is likely they will get on well.

Check out this video of an Airedale sounding the alarm when they hear sirens outside and consider it a threat to the household.


Do They Bite?

Airedales are not known biters and usually do not show this side of them unless there is a significant threat to them or their loved ones.

If they have been trained early from a young age then biting unnecessarily should not be an issue and therefore this breed is not considered to be dangerous for children to be around.

Airedales are much more likely to bite another dog than a human since they more often than not find other canine’s a threat. This can sometimes be an issue when going out for walks which is why some owners choose to use a muzzle.

Do They Need To Be Socialized Early?

Yes, it is always a good idea to socialize Airedales from an early age. This is an intelligent breed that can be trained quite easily however, training from puppy age always receives the best results.

Once Airedales get passed about 2 years old they become very set in their ways and it can be much harder to reverse their mindset.

This is a breed that is considered to be strong-willed and independent. Once this mindset kicks in training can become challenging. Obedience training is a necessity for Airedales.


How Can I Create a Strong Bond with My Airedale Terrier So That They Protect My Home?

To create a strong bond with your Airedale, proper training is vital.

This is a loving, friendly sociable dog that likes to please however they are extremely stubborn and independent which can pose its challenges. Providing training from an early age is key.

Over time you will notice that Airedales become a lot closer and loving towards family members and the home.

Through their eyes, they see this as ownership and therefore become much more protective. Spending lots of quality time with this breed can create a great bond which will just get stronger over time.

Dedicating time for plenty of fun exercise, playtime and understanding each other’s style of communication will also help grow the bond.


What Is Their Energy Like?

Airedales are a high energy breed. They require plenty of exercise and playtime which is key to keeping them happy and healthy.

They are the biggest of all the terrier breeds and require plenty of activity and mental stimulation. It is recommended that you take your Airedale out for a couple of energetic walks per day in addition to a moderate length play session to let out all that pent up energy that needs to be released.

A lack of exercise for this breed can result in destructive behavior. This level of energy and maintenance does not suit everyone and you may need to carefully consider whether this is the right breed for your family.


Do Airedales Need A Large Area To Live and A lot Of Exercise?

Airedales prefer to live in a large living area where they have enough space to run, jump and play.

A medium to large house works best with plenty of space for them to run around and let off some steam in a backyard or garden.

Apartment living does not work so well for this breed and being cooped up all day could present some behavioral problems such as destruction in the home. Think scratched sofas and torn up carpets.


Do Airedales Bark A Lot?

No, in general, Airedales are not renowned for being noisy dogs and do not bark unnecessarily.

They are a reasonably quiet breed however it is true to say that if a threat is present they certainly know how to ramp up those vocal cords.

This breed can tell straight away when something isn’t quite right and will happily alert the household by sounding the alarm (barking)


Check out this video of an Airedale sounding the alarm when they hear sirens.


What Are The Cons of Owning an Airedale?

  • They need plenty of exercise (twice a day) and can become destructive if they have nowhere to release that energy.
  • This breed is not ideal for apartment living
  • Does not necessarily get on well with other animals and can become aggressive
  • Very small children may find this breed a little overbearing


Pros of Airedale as a Guard Dog and Pet

  • Lifetime loyalty – they will be by your side until the end
  • Will protect your family and home – excellent watchdogs
  • Easy to train – especially from an early age
  • Minimal grooming requirements (once a week)


Key Takeaways

  • Training from an early age is highly recommended for this breed. Once they get passed a certain age they become very strong-willed and set in their ways which can be more difficult to rectify.
  • Provide plenty of exercise (at least twice a day). This is a highly energetic breed that is likely to become destructive if they have built up too much energy and don’t have a release for it.
  • Introduce new people or animals into the household gradually. Airedales are a protective breed and can easily become aggressive to outsiders.
  • If you have small children in the household monitor their interaction with your Airedale closely. This breed can often become a bit overbearing for youngsters.
  • Airedales love to bond with their owners, so always ensure you spend an adequate amount of quality time with this breed and understand their communication style and triggers to really get the most out of the partnership.



Overall, Airedale Terriers make wonderful guard dogs. They are a great breed choice to fit in well with family life and will be one of the friendliest and courageous dogs you will ever come across.

This sociable breed loves nothing more than quality time with the family and loved ones. They are fiercely loyal and will be by your side no matter what.

So, do Airedale terriers make good guard dogs? Yes, they absolutely do! Airedales may not get on that well with outsiders or other animals they aren’t familiar with, but you can be sure you have a companion that is in it for the long haul, that will be willing to give you the world and guard you with their life.