Official Breed Standard 
Airedale Terrier

Size: Dogs should measure approximately 23 in. (58 cm) in height at the shoulder; bitches, slightly less. Both sexes should be sturdy, well-muscled and well-boned.

Coat and Colour: Should be hard, dense and wiry, lying straight and close, covering the dog well over the body and legs. Some of the hardest are crinkling or just slightly waved. At the base of the hard very stiff hair should be a shorter growth of softer hair termed the undercoat. The head and ears should be tan, the ears being of a darker shade than the rest. Dark markings on either side of the skull are permissible. The legs up to the thighs and elbows and the underpart of the body and chest are also tan and the tan frequently runs into the shoulder. The sides and upper parts of the body should be black or dark grizzle. A red mixture is often found in the black and is not to be considered objectionable. A small white blaze on the chest is a characteristic of certain strains of the breed.

Head: Should be well balanced with little apparent difference between the length of skull and foreface. Skull should be long and flat, not too broad between the ears and narrowing very slightly to the eyes. Scalp should be free from wrinkles, stop hardly visible and cheeks level and free from fullness. Muzzle should be deep, powerful, strong and muscular. Should be well filled up before the eyes. Nose should be black and not too small. Mouth: lips should be tight. Teeth should be strong and white, free from discoloration or defect. Bite either level or vise-like. A slightly overlapping or scissors bite is permissible without preference. Eyes should be dark, small, not prominent, full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence. Ears should be V-shaped with carriage rather to the side of the head, not pointing to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. The topline of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull.

Neck: Should be of moderate length and thickness gradually widening towards the shoulders. Skin tight, not loose.

Forequaters: Shoulders long and sloping well into the back. Shoulder blades flat. Forelegs should be perfectly straight, with plenty of muscle and bone. Elbows should be perpendicular to the body, working free of sides.

Body: Back should be short, strong and level. From the front, chest deep but not broad. The depth of the chest should be approximately on a level with the elbows. Ribs well sprung. Loins muscular and of good width. There should be but little space between the last rib and the hip joint.

Hindquarters: Should be strong and muscular with no droop. Thighs should be long and powerful with muscular second thigh, stifles well bent, not turned either in or out, hocks well let down parallel with each other when viewed from behind. Feet should be small, round and compact with a good depth of pad, well cushioned; the toes moderately arched, not turned either in or out

Tail: The root of the tail should be set well up on the back. It should be carried gaily but not curled over the back. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length.

Gait: Movement or action is the crucial test of conformation. Movement should be free. As seen from the front the forelegs should swing perpendicular from the body free from the sides, the feet the same distance apart as the elbows. As seen from the rear the hind legs should be parallel with each other, neither too close nor too far apart, but so placed as to give a strong well-balanced stance and movement. The toes should not be turned either in or out.

Yellow eyes, hound ears, white feet, soft coat, being much over or under the size limit, being undershot or overshot, having poor movement, are faults which should be severely penalized.

The use of any and all foreign agents for the improvement of dogs in the show ring, such as colouring, dilating the pupil, and stiffening the coat, is forbidden. Such acts are unsportsmanlike and unfair to those exhibitors who live up to the rules.

Scale of Points

Neck, shoulders and chest
Hindquarters and tail
Legs and feet
General characteristics and expression


Source: Taken from the Canandian Kennel Club Book of Dogs Centennial Editions, Second edition, 1988.

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