So THIS is a question i get a lot: Can you describe the differences between breeds? This is a tricky question because wrapped up into every dogs unique disposition is breed traits, sex (hormones if they aren't fixed), personality, how they have been treated/trained. So keep that in mind as I answer below. Just like people everyone is unique and different, but every breed has characteristics that ring true throughout most in their breed. Below are some of the differences I have seen in my experience. Lakelands are the newest breed to us and we have had less experience and experience around a less number of Lakeland terriers than we have with Airedales and Welshs, but we enjoy getting to know them better and learn more about them everyday!
Please utilize the magical powers of the internet as well! Be sure and check out http://www.akc.org/dog-breeds/ as they have pages for each breed, along with breed standards.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN AIREDALE, WELSH, & LAKELAND TERRIERS: SIZE: So lets just get the easiest difference out of the way first
Airedales: OUR Airedales Average about 60-65lbs average. Males can push 70.
Welshs: About 20-23lbs average
Lakelands: About 15-18lbs average
COLOR: ok another easy one :)
Airedales: Black & Tan (There are lighter and darker black and tans)
Welshs: Black & Tan (there are lighter and darker black and tans)
Lakelands: There is a variety of colors, AKC recognizes 12 different colors and color combinations. Solid colors and also with the saddle like the Airedale and the Welsh.
PERSONALITY These 3 breeds are SO SO similar!! I feel that Airedales especially are know for their comedic personality. We have had Airedales the longest and have had more Airedales in my lifetime than any other breed. They are a breed that you have for life! We were EXTREMELY nervous when we got our first Welshs and Lakelands, but WOW we have been BEYOND THRILLED with all 3 breeds. We are in love with them! Each breed, but most importantly each individual dog!! ANYHOW, I say that because I get A LOT of Airedale people looking for a "smaller" Airedale. SO FROM THE MOUTH OF A ONCE "AIREDALE ONLY" FAMILY: DON'T BE AFRAID, ALL 3 OF THESE BREEDS ARE AMAZING AND WILL NOT DISAPPOINT!!
All 3 of these breeds have that humorous, ornery, brilliant, stubborn, comical, human-like personalities! It can be so hard to describe their differences because just like all Airedales are similar in ways but yet are so different due to their personalities, Welshs and Lakelands are the same way of course!
One of the main differences i have noticed is that Welshs and Lakelands both have a little bit of that "small dog personality" that Airedales don't have, but it actually seems to sort of all even out due to the size differences. They both do more barking than Airedales typically do though (Airedales definitely can LEARN to bark more from other barking dogs). Another thing is that I have noticed Welsh puppies are definitely higher energy puppies than the Airedales! Believe it or not! But again thats definitely something that sort of evens out because of size. A 4 month old welsh might have more energy, but she cant jump up and reach whats on the counters like a 4 month old Airedale. At the time i am writing this, we have not yet had a litter of Lakeland puppies, so I cannot speak of how much energy they have as puppies. Other than the 2 female lakeland puppies we purchased for ourselves, they are SWEET AS CAN BE! They love people and are very affectionate and like to cuddle. Those two are actually probably right in the middle of an Airedale puppy and a Welsh puppy energy wise.
Keep in mind that terriers were bred to hunt varmints, they have instincts to hunt and go after critters! They DEFINITELY can be taught not to go after cats and other animals, but you have to realize that instinct is there and be prepared to teach them this and ideally expose them to other animals as puppies. Lots of past buyers have cats and other animals. I myself have a cat, some of the dogs actually truly enjoy her verses just tolerating her. They still will always have to chase her when she runs, but they won't hurt her. Also keep in mind, terriers are TERRIERS, they are sometimes little TERRORS! :) All 3 breeds are brilliantly smart!! Actually probably too smart for their own britches! You will catch yourself laughing at all 3 breeds, at the ornery things they do and the looks they give you and the things they do! They are all terriers and terriers being so smart and active can also be very independent, so its important for a terrier owner to establish they are the alpha. Also, all 3 breeds can get bored easily, and can get rowdy and destructive if they don't get enough exercise and mental stimulation. You TRULY cannot go wrong with any of these 3 breeds.
Airedales are soooo funny!! Its something you really cannot describe to people that have never had an Airedale, but if you are a past Airedale owner you know exactly what I mean!! They are ornery, loving, loyal, protective, courageous, majestic, loving , goofy, brilliant and SOOO human like. They truly are the king of the terriers and I think they know it!! They don't care if they are half your size they love to plop right on top of you and cuddle up. They definitely draw attention wherever you go, people often come up and ask what kind of dog they are. They are smart and know what they can get away with. They are great watch dogs, and while they are a friendly breed they definitely will protect your home from strangers. They are loving and endearing and will welcome you home everyday and make you feel like a moviestar! They can be quite the bed hogs, and may wake you now and then with their groans :) They are an amazing and unique breed.
Welshs are sooo ornery, loving, spirited, vivacious, entertaining, and sweet! Lakelands and Welshs are very similar, but Welshs I would say are a bit more feisty. Their feistiness is so endearing though!! Welshs are very loving and devoted, they definitely think they are a big dog and can protect you from anything and anyone! They are typical terriers full of energy and will keep busy. But they also have such incredible intuition, and perceptiveness and are very aware of their surroundings and environment and what they are supposed to do (even if they decide to do it anyways :)) They are real "big brother" type dogs, they want to take care of you, check things out for you, comfort you, and protect you.
So Lakelands are the newest breed to us, and here is what I have noticed right off the bat. THEY ARE SOOOO SWEET AND CHARMING!!!! They are PEOPLE dogs!! They are very affectionate and really really enjoy being around people and giving everyone kisses!! They really like to sit on your lap! But they also are very adventurous, confident, ornery and curious! I will update this more as I get to know the breed characteristics better! :)
I will ONCE MORE just say that on top of all of these breed traits comes, individual personality, training, socialization, environment, etc. From each breed, I have had personalities of all kinds, I have had the most laid back, sweet, sensitive, caring dogs that I could trust with a newborn to treat with delicacy and care. In fact I have a couple dogs from each breed that LOVE my 1 year old daughter whose learning to walk, and actually allow her to use them as a "walker" :) And I have also had the outgoing, energetic, bounce off the walls, HILARIOUS, goof balls that I would need to supervise with a newborn for fear of them licking and bouncing all around them.
Hope this helps a little bit!! I would encourage you to explore our Youtube channel, there are videos of all our adults and puppies for you to watch and observe!