The Airedale Terrier is known as “The King of the Terriers” for he is the largest and hardiest of all the terriers and has no superior as an all-round useful dog. The Airedale Terrier had its origin in the valley of the Aire in England. The now extinct English Terrier had the nerve and fire for dry land hunting, but was lacking the “nose” and also needed a coat that was water repellant for water work. A cross between the English Terrier and the Otterhound was the solution to this problem. These ancestors of our present day Airedales looked slightly different and in fact were called Waterside Terriers and then Bingley Terriers. It was in 1879 that classes for Airedale Terriers were first provided at shows. Recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1888, the Airedale reached its greatest popularity in the United States in 1920. Today, the Airedale is rated in the top third of all breeds recognized by the AKC in the United States.
The Airedale Terrier is a medium-sized dog; The American Kennel Club approved Airedale Terrier Standard states that dogs should measure approximately 23 inches in height at the shoulder, with bitches slightly less. There may be slight variations in size but the large size that is sometimes advertised is not correct. Both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and well boned.
The outer coat should be hard, dense and wiry and there should be a shorter growth of softer hair underneath called the undercoat. All Airedales are black and tan, with the black forming a saddle over the back. Slight variations in shade are allowed. Movement is the crucial test of conformation…it should be free and the legs should be placed so as to give a strong well- balanced stand. The toes should point straight ahead.
AIREDALE TERRIER CHARACTERISTICS
The Airedale Terrier is extremely adaptable and through his keen intelligence and great desire to please his owner he can be taught to do any of the jobs for which other breeds have been developed. The properly trained Airedale has proven himself as hunter, herder, and guard in military and police work. He is truly a Jack of all Trades! The Airedale is, by nature, interested and inquisitive. He should also have intelligence and steadiness that gives him dignity and good sense that set him apart from some of his yappier and scrappier cousins. For all his courage, the Airedale is a sensitive, responsive dog.
He will return many times over the care, affection and training invested in him; and he will develop a high sense of responsibility for his family and his home. When standing alert and “on his toes”, with head and tail high, the Airedale gives no doubt about his ability to stand his ground and guard his family without exaggerated threats of aggression. His ability as a watchdog comes through his devotion for his owner and not through viciousness, but his reputation is such that questionable strangers will hesitate to cross his doorway. With an Airedale at your side you will feel a companionable security that is without measure.
He is patient and gentle with a child. However, both the child and the Airedale need firm rules. Given total freedom, the Airedale and the child can get into lots of trouble. Few breeds manage to be as stylish, noble, athletic, protective and goofy as an Airedale. Once you’ve owned one, the only thing better is two, or three, or more.
AIREDALE TERRIER DAILY CARE
The Airedale Terrier requires a well-balanced, high quality diet. Regular visits to the veterinarian help to maintain good health. Exercise is of vital importance. A brisk walk in the morning and evening will help him burn those unwanted calories and keep him fit. Airedales enjoy playing frisbee, flyball, working agility courses, obedience work and other activity in which you are involved.
The Airedale’s coat is relatively easy to maintain. Quarterly visits to a quality grooming salon, along with regular twice-weekly brushing and/or combing will keep your Airedale neat and clean. Letting the coat grow naturally will turn the Airedale into a very shaggy dog.
AIREDALE TERRIER TRAINING
Airedale Terriers are eager and quick to learn. The challenge is to stay on your toes and know what you want your Airedale to do. The Airedale tends to learn a task in the first or second try, then becomes bored when asked to repeat the same task again and again. However you choose to train your Airedale, you must remain calm, in control and most importantly, positive. With positive training and reinforcement, your Airedale will enjoy learning and be ready to accept any challenges you present to him.