|Sensitivity to strangers|
|Affection for family|
|Suitable for first-time owners|
|Ease of grooming|
Known as the “King of Terriers,” the Airedale is indeed the largest of all terriers.
As the largest of its breed, the Airedale Terrier has been called “the King of Terriers”. Used primarily as a hunting dog, it proved to be a brave friend in World War I, “serving” with the army.
This dog must be trained through patience and consistency. Since it loves playing, it is an excellent playmate for children. This is an active dog, so if you decide to own one at home, be prepared for long walks which your furry friend will love. It has a guardian instinct, and this often leads it to be trained as a guard dog. Some of the adjectives that describe it are faithful, loyal, and tenacious. It can enjoy an apartment life. Also, it is a non-shedding breed, so it won’t cover your house with hair.
Airedale Terrier: Origins and History
The Airedale Terrier is a British dog breed recognized by the Kennel Club, the AKC and the FCI (Standard No. 7, Group 3, Section 1). It originated in the valley of the River Aire, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. In fact, its name (dale) means valley.
On the other hand, the word Terrier comes from the Latin word terrarius meaning “of earth”. This term is used to identify some dog breeds.
The Airedale Terrier was selected in the 19th century by fishermen on the Aire River, who crossed Otterhound specimens with the Black and Tan Terrier, a now extinct breed. Since then, it has been used mainly to hunt otters, to eliminate rodents and sometimes it was also used as a retriever.
The first official report of its existence dates back to 1879, but its name was Bingley Terrier. The following year, Gordon Stables, a show judge, proposed changing the breed’s name to Airedale Terrier.
After the Elizabethan time, Terriers were less and less popular. They became dogs intended for the lower social classes, while the richer social classes used sighthounds for hunting. This, however, has not been detrimental to the development of the Terrier, whose varieties have multiplied over the years.
Airedale Terrier: Weight and Physical Characteristics
The Airedale Terrier is known as the “King of Terriers” partly for its size. It is a muscular and active dog. The back is short, and hindquarters are not that long.
- Males are 23-24 inches (58-61 cm) tall.
- Females are 22-23 inches (56-59 cm) tall.
They weigh from 44 to 55 lbs (20-25 kg). The Airedale has a long, flat skull, V-Shaped ears that fold over, small dark eyes. The breed standard states that the correct coat color is either a black saddle, with a tan head, ears, and legs; or a dark grizzle saddle (black mixed with gray and white). Grizzle that is a mix of red hair in the black, often on the area of back before the tail are often the best and harshest coats. Its coat is hard, dense, and wiry with a softer undercoat.
Airedale Terrier: Temperament, Personality, and Use
Certainly, we have to emphasize this breed’s big bravery, a characteristic that seems to be common to all terriers, big or small. The Airedale Terrier is a fearless and stubborn dog, but this should not lead us to think that it is an aggressive dog. Actually, it is really loyal and faithful. It adapts easily to family life.
It is also a highly sought-after dog because it does not shed its coat. Its protective instinct is so strong that it will not hesitate to protect those who live with it. This should be taken into account if you decide to have a dog of this breed.
It loves playing; therefore, it gets along very well with children. The Airedale Terrier can be aggressive with other dogs, like the German Shepherd, and it is not a great choice for families with cats, either. However, Airedales can get along with other pets as long as it is properly socialized and trained. In Germany it has been considered for years as an excellent defense dog (if well trained, of course) along with the German Shepherd, the Boxer, the Doberman, the Schnauzer, and the Rottweiler.
The Airedale Terrier in England, the United States, Canada, and Ireland
The Airedale Terrier is primarily a working dog. It works mainly as a sheepdog and hunting dog. Its natural instinct is to hunt individually. During this activity it has proven to be a smart and very intelligent dog. However, it is used as a companion dog and as a guard dog in England, Ireland, Canada, and the United States.
Black Airedale Terrier
Airedales are often confused with Black Russian Terriers because of their coat color, which can be black or very dark gray. This confusion is legitimate considering that the Black Russian Terrier is a breed recognized by the FCI since 1984 and created in Russia at the end of the 1940’s through the selection of crosses between some breeds, including the Airedale Terrier.
To be more precise, the crossbreeding was between the Rottweiler, the Giant Schnauzer, the Airedale Terrier, and the Newfoundland, with a genetic prevalence of the latter. The purpose of the breed’s creators was to develop a large, courageous, strong, and easy-to-train working dog with protective instinct. It had to be multitasking and adaptable even to harsh weather conditions. Let’s not forget that this breed had to survive the Russian climate.
Airedale Terrier: Training
Airedales need a firm trainer to train them from the time they are young dogs. Once trained, however, it does not cause problems and obeys very well. It matures slowly, so you should not expect too much from it before it has reached 15 months of age.
Training is not particularly complicated, partly because this breed is known to be a disciplined dog. However, it is not a dog willing to repeat an exercise over and over again. If it gets tired, it ends the game on its own initiative. If used for otter hunting, it must be trained to swim. It adapts well to apartment life, but it needs long daily walks due to its natural necessity to be active.
Airedale Terrier: Health, Life Span, and Feeding
This breed stands out for being a dog that is always in good health. There is no evidence that Airedales suffer from any particular pathology. We are talking about a hardy dog. It is a hardy dog. If provided with a doghouse and a healthy diet so that its body can cope with winter temperatures, it can live perfectly well outdoors.
Life expectancy of this breed is 12 years. However, it is recommended that the diet is not very rich in meat to avoid the development of eczema, as this breed is particularly prone to it.
Airedales need a regular hair shaving. It is recommended to do so at least twice a year. It is a dog that does not have a shedding period. This means that it loses very little hair, obviously if you groom it regularly.
Airedale Terrier: Price, Breeders, and Puppies for Sale
The starting price is around 800-900 dollars, about 700 English pounds, depending on the breeder and, obviously, on the pedigree of the dog. If you adopt a puppy, a reliable breeder will provide you with a veterinary certificate which states that the animal has been dewormed and is completely healthy.
You can always ask for the pedigree, which is essential: it allows you to check the purity of the dog’s breed. An animal with a pedigree has certain characteristics of its breed that differentiate it from the rest.
Now that we have clarified all the most important aspects, you can go in search of your new 4-legged friend, who is surely waiting for you.
Airedale Terrier: Curiosities
The Airedale Terrier was one of the first dogs recruited by the British Army during World War I: It served as a messenger in the trenches of Flanders and as an important aid to the Red Cross during the war. It was also used as a research dog in India, Africa, and Canada.
An Airedale Terrier named Jack received a commemorative decoration for bravery shown in battle. Recruited by the forces, the Airedale Terriers were part of the German and British police.