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Hip Dysplasia in Airedale Terriers

If you are considering the adoption of a pet dog and are leaning toward an Airedale Terrier, you need to know the facts on hip dysplasia in Airedale Terriers.

Airedale Terriers

Airedale Terriers make ideal companions for active adults and families with older children. Airedales are friendly, strong, high-energy dogs, handsome and huggable. They aren’t couch potatoes and can remain still and relaxed only for short periods of time. They have loads of energy and love to run, play, fetch and dig holes in your yard.

If you enjoy hiking, hunting, or running, your Airedale Terrier will keep pace with you the entire distance. Airedales make wonderful companions for someone who is active and enjoys exercising with a dog. They’re very responsive to obedience training but can be easily distracted by the sudden appearance of small animals such as cats or squirrels.

Airedales are dependable watchdogs, protective and loyal. They have a piercing bark and lots of acrobatic moves. As puppies they are quite rowdy but mellow some with age—but not that much. They are sweet animals and need lots of love and attention.

Airedales are courageous, intense and extremely curious about other dogs and small animals and need to be kept on a leash in public. They love daily walks and games of fetch, and they are accomplished swimmers.

A healthy Airedale Terrier can live as long as 12 years. These dogs are generally healthy, but some can develop hip dysplasia.

Airedales are named for the valley (dale) of Aire in England, and were bred from hunting and swimming terriers for the purpose of catching otters and other small animals, in addition to curbing the rat population. Airedales are often used as police and military dogs.

Airedale Terriers have large, lean and well-proportioned frames covered in bristly, wiry coats. Their long, flat heads are somewhat narrow with small, dark eyes and V-shaped ears that fold forward. They are usually groomed to have bushy, hanging ears. They have strong necks that slope down to deep chests, short backs and tails that point straight up. Their coats are usually tan with black and/or red markings.

Hip dysplasia in Airedale Terriers

Hip dysplasia is a genetic disease that primarily affects large and giant breeds of dogs but can also affect medium-sized breeds and occasionally small breeds. It is primarily a disease of purebreds, although it can also occur in mixed breeds.

To understand hip dysplasia in Airedale Terriers and the resulting arthritis, you need a basic understanding of how the dog’s hip joint is affected.

The hip joint is comprised of a ball and socket that forms the attachment of the hind leg to the body. The ball portion is the head of the femur and the socket is located on the pelvis. In a normal hip joint the ball rotates freely within the socket. The bones are shaped to perfectly match each other with the socket surrounding the ball. To strengthen the joint, the two bones are held together by a strong ligament. The joint capsule, a strong band of connective tissue, circles the two bones to provide added stability.

Hip dysplasia is linked to abnormal joint structure and a laxity of the muscles, connective tissue, and ligaments that would normally support the dog’s hip joints.

As the disease progresses, the articular surfaces of the two bones lose contact with each other. This separation of the two bones within the joint causes a drastic change in the size and shape of the articular surfaces.

This is what a normal hip joint looks like:

Most Airedales who eventually develop hip dysplasia are born with normal hips, but due to their genetic make-up the soft tissues surrounding the joint develop abnormally. This leads to the symptoms associated with hip dysplasia. The disease may affect both hips, or only the right or left hip.

This is what an abnormal hip joint looks like:

The symptoms of hip dysplasia in Airedale Terriers cause afflicted dogs to walk or run with an altered gait, similar to a bunny-hop. They begin to resist any movement that requires full extension or flexion of the rear legs. They will experience stiffness and pain in their rear legs after exercising and on first rising in the morning. Climbing stairs becomes difficult if not impossible. Some dogs will limp and are less willing to participate in normal daily activities, including walks they formerly enjoyed.

It appears that the amount of calories a dog consumes, especially during its fast-growth period from three to ten months, has the biggest impact on whether or not a dog genetically prone to hip dysplasia will develop the disease.

Obesity can increase the severity of the disease in dogs that are genetically susceptible and the extra weight will intensify the degeneration of a dog’s joints and hips. Dogs who are genetically prone to hip dysplasia and also are overweight, are at a much higher risk of developing hip dysplasia and eventually osteoarthritis.

Exercise can be another risk factor. Dogs genetically susceptible to hip dysplasia may have an increased incidence of the disease if they are over-exercised at a young age. Moderate exercise like running and swimming is best for exercising young dogs.


Because hip dysplasia is primarily an inherited condition, there are no products that can prevent its development.

Through proper diet, exercise, and a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, you can slow, and sometimes halt, the progression of these degenerative joint diseases while providing your dog with relief from its pain. Winston’s provides many of the raw materials essential for the synthesis of the joint-lubricating synovial fluid as well as the repair of articular cartilage and connective tissue.

You might also want to consider providing your dog with an orthopedic bed which distributes the dog’s weight evenly and reduces pressure on its joints. It’s perfect for dogs with hip dysplasia or arthritis.

There are different assumptions on how to prevent the progression of hip dysplasia in Airedale Terriers.

Poor nutrition, inadequate or improper exercise, and increased body weight may all contribute to the severity of osteoarthritis after the hip dysplasia has developed. By watching the calories your puppy or young dog consumes and thereby preventing obesity in your dog, allowing only non-stressful types of exercise, and feeding your dog a daily regimen of Winston’s Joint System, are the best things you can do for your Airedale.

Since 1990, Winston’s Joint System and Winston’s Pain Formula have helped heal over twenty thousand dogs from all over the world. Our staff specializes in hip dysplasia, arthritis and all joint, pain and mobility issues.

There is an excellent chance we can help your dog, so please contact us at: or call our toll free number at 888-901-5557.


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