Airedale Terriers are some of the best-loved dogs, known for their intelligence, versatility, and personality. Known as the “King of Terriers,” the Airedale is the largest of all terrier breeds. Though these animals make excellent life companions, they may not be well-suited to air travel. The problem is not with their health, physiology, or personality—it is with their size. Airedale Terriers are often far larger than what most commercial airlines allow to fly in the cabin under the seat. However, Airedales are friendly, relatively quiet, and easily trained, making them excellent candidates for cargo travel. If you plan to fly with an Airedale Terrier, it is imperative to purchase the correctly-sized kennel. These dogs can be energetic, and a too-small kennel may be enough to send them into a barking fit.
Size and Travel Options: Standard Airedale Terriers stand at around 23 inches and weigh between 50 and 70 pounds. This exceeds most in-cabin flight limitations by around 11” and 35 to 55 pounds. Their size prevents owners from using approved pet carriers, and they will rarely fit under a seat. Similarly, you may have trouble bringing your Airedale Terrier on other types of transit, including subways, trains, and some taxis. If they don’t fit in an approved carrier that can be placed in the available stowage areas, the dog is likely to be prohibited from travel. If you plan to bring your Airedale along, we recommend pet taxis, rideshare services, and/or personal car use. If you would like to bring your Airedale on a flight, he will likely need to ride as checked baggage or shipped as cargo. Luckily, these dogs are extremely easy to train and excited to learn, making cargo preparation a breeze for most owners.
Health and Physiology: Airedale Terriers have a lifespan of 11-14 years, making them excellent companion animals. They are very active and spirited, requiring at least one hour of intense physical activity every day in order to stay healthy. If you plan to fly with an Airedale, we recommend providing two or three hours of intense physical activity the day or morning before your flight in order to decrease energy levels. Airedale Terriers may also suffer from colonic disease, so it is essential to visit a veterinarian prior to your flight. To that end, these dogs are often prone to canine hip dysplasia, a common condition in dogs their size. This skeletal disease may impact the Airedale’s ability to stand or hop, causing pain in the hip joints and eventual joint degeneration. In every case, but especially if you are traveling with an older dog, ensure your kennel is the correct size for him to lie down. Extended periods of standing may cause extreme pain and stress.
Personality as a Travel Companion: The Airedale Terrier, though incredibly energetic, is one of the smartest dog breeds in the world. They are remarkably friendly, spirited, and courageous, meaning most will develop their own, individualized personality. They require regular exercise and a lot of attention, often disliking alone time unless occupied by a toy or food. Airedale parents should always supervise their pets when in the presence of other dogs or children, as this breed’s high energy is not always appreciated. They love mental stimulation and physical challenges; training an Airedale to fly in cargo is relatively easy, but it is easiest to do so while young. If trained correctly, these animals can make excellent travel companions. If they are not trained, their energy and curiosity may hinder their ability to travel.
All in all, a well-trained Airedale Terrier is an excellent travel companion, but owners should reflect on the dog’s personality and energy when determining their ability to fly. Train the animal to cope with the stress and limited space of air travel and remember to exercise him before the flight. Be prepared to pay an additional fee if you fly him as cargo, and brainstorm additional strategies to accommodate your Airedale’s curiosity and energy while on the trip. With the correct preparation, an Airedale will make an excellent vacation partner.