Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier

Airedale Terrier has a broad range of skills – they can hunt birds, retrieve downed birds, and track and tree mammals, both large and small. Airedale Terriers were also the first breed used as police dogs in both Great Britain and Germany, and in wartime, served as guards and messengers. They were prized by both law enforcement and military because they retained their training well and would work through harsh conditions and discomfort.

The Airedale Terrier breed was developed in Aire, England, probably from the English Terrier. Some experts feel the Otterhound was crossed with the English Terrier to help create a waterproof coat and to add to the first breed’s hunting abilities. After the mid-1800s, the breed was known as the Working Terrier, Waterside Terrier, and Bingley Terrier. Male Airedales stand about 23 inches tall at the shoulder, with females slightly shorter. Both males and females are well-muscled and sturdy, with an athletic appearance. The black and tan coat is wiry with a slight wavy texture. Airedales stand tall, on straight front legs, with their heads held high. The ears are V-shaped, folded at the side of the head, and alert. The eyes are dark and expressive, with an alert, intelligent expression. The tail is carried high.

The Airedale’s coat requires daily brushing and combing to keep it clean and free of debris. The coat grows continually, and a visit to a professional groomer every six to eight weeks is necessary to keep the coat looking as it should. Airedales competing in conformation dog shows are hand-stripped (rather than having the hair cut with clippers). If you wish to show your dog, ask your dog’s breeder to show you how to do this type of grooming. Athletic, active dogs, Airedales need vigorous daily exercise. A casual walk morning and evening is nowhere near enough for a young, healthy Airedale. Instead, these dogs need a brisk jog or run alongside a bicycle, a twenty-minute game of tennis ball fetch, or a workout on the agility course (or all of the above) every day.

Airedale Terriers are intelligent dogs and retain what they have learned quite well. Airedale Terrier puppies should attend puppy kindergarten classes to begin their training. The socialization in these classes is also important. Airedales can be hardheaded when they get bored, and very stubborn if the training is not fair. You must figure out what motivates your dog, and keep one step ahead during the training process. Keep the training fair and structured and lots of fun, and the Airedale Terrier will always be looking for more to do. The Airedale today is a strong, active, and very physical dog. The breed retains its hunting instincts, so a gopher or squirrel in the yard could cause great excitement. They have excelled in many sports, including obedience, agility, tracking, search and rescue, and carting. Many are still used for hunting. As hunters, Airedales should not be trusted with small pets, and interactions with the family cat should be supervised. Although Airedales can be great family dogs, they are rambunctious and must learn to behave around small children.

The primary health concerns include hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism.


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  1. Jason says:

    An intelligent, tough dog, the Airedale terrier tolerates pets it grows up with and generally gets along well with other dogs and children.

    The Airedale Terrier is known as the “king of terriers” partly for his size. They range in height about 23 inches and in weight from 45 pounds for a small female, to 70 pounds for a large male (20 to 32 kilograms).

    The Airedale has a classic terrier head with virtually no stop (forehead), v-shaped ears tipped over and a straight back with an erect docked tail. The outline is quite square and these dogs are sturdy.

    Coloring for the Airedale is black and tan, with a classic terrier coat of dense, harsh hair with a softer undercoat. A grown out coat will look almost curly. The coat and color stay sharpest with hand stripping of the dead hair. Pet Airedales that are clipped may appear gray and tan.

    The blending of hound and terrier has softened the personality of the Airedale a bit. These are still tough dogs but usually get along better with other dogs than many of the terrier breeds. Airedales are tolerant of other pets they are raised with and generally get along well with children, though they can be a bit rambunctious for small children.

    Airedales are somewhat aloof to strangers at first, and need early socialization and training. Airedales are very intelligent dogs, but have a bit of stubbornness or independence. They require a firm, but gentle hand from early puppyhood. Most Airedales are not big barkers, but true to their terrier heritage they can be serious diggers and chewers. Airedales need human interaction to be happy.
    Living With:

    Airedale terriers can vary greatly from being quite finicky eaters to being prone to obesity. This breed is active and needs plenty of daily, regular exercise. Combining training with exercise is often a good move as Airedales thrive on mental and physical stimulation. Airedales tend to live about 12 .

    You can count on your Airedale to sound an alarm for danger and he will have the courage to back up that alarm. They can be quite protective of their families, especially small children. Early socialization is important. Airedales can be quite stoic, and owners must be cautioned to be aware of any injuries.

    Grooming can vary quite a bit. Keeping an Airedale in show coat requires skillful hand stripping every couple of months. Most pet owners elect to go with clipping the curly coat down once or twice yearly. With the clipped coat, a quick brushing once or twice weekly is adequate.

    The Airedale terrier traces its ancestry back with many of the other terriers to the extinct black and tan terrier. These feisty dogs were bred to hunt vermin of any size or shape. They were somewhat lacking in scenting skills and swimming ability though, so in the 1800s near the area of the River Aire these terriers were crossed with otter hounds to create the “king of terriers”: the Airedale terrier.

    Probably some crosses were made with Irish and bull terriers as well to help create this tough, good-sized hunter. Airedales not only hunt vermin, but have been successfully used on large game and as defense and security dogs. Most American Airedales trace their ancestry back to CH Master Briar, a British dog brought over to the United States near the turn of the century.

    Airedales can still be seen today working as hunting dogs for both large and small game, in police work, and as wonderful family companions. Airedales are seen in agility and obedience competitions as well.

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