Breed Type: Terrier
Weight: 50-65 pounds for Males and 40-45 pounds for Females
Height: 22-24 inches for Males and 22-23 inches for Females
Coat type: Smooth but has hard wiry hair.
The Airedale Terrier is a breed of the terrier which originated in Airedale, in Yorkshire, England. The breed was traditionally called the "King of Terriers". It has also been called the Waterside Terrier, because it was bred initially to hunt otters in and around the valleys of the River Aire which runs through Airedale. In England, this breed has also been used as a police dog.
In the mid-19th century, working class people created the Airedale Terrier by crossing the old English rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier which is now known as the Welsh Terrier with the Otter hound. The breed was exhibited for the first time at a championship dog show sponsored by the Airedale Agricultural Society in 1864. In 1879, breed fanciers decided to name the breed as Airedale Terrier. This name was also accepted by the Kennel Club, England in 1886 and in the same year, this breed was formally recognized by the Kennel Club of England. The first Airedale to come to American shores in 1880's was named Bruce. In 1881, Bruce won the terrier class in a New York dog show.
The first Canadian registration of the breed was recorded in the Stud book of 1888-1889. In 1910, the Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA) offered the Airedale Bowl as a perpetual trophy to this breed. The Airedale was extensively used in World War I to carry messages and transport mails to soldiers behind enemy lines. They were also used by the Red Cross to find wounded soldiers on the battlefield. After the First World War, the popularity of Airedales' increased rapidly. The Airedale Terrier was recognized by United Kennel Club in 1914 and in 1949 the breed ranked 20th out of 110 breeds by the American Kennel Club. The breed has now slipped to 50th out of 146.
The Airedale Terrier weighs 20–33 kilograms and generally has a height of 23-24 inches for males. Females are slightly smaller in comparison to male dogs. An oversize Airedale, weighs up to 45.5 kilograms, is called the Oorang - after a kennel in Ohio. This breed has a broken coat, which is hard, dense and wiry. Its coat lies straight and close, covering body and legs. The outer coat is hard, wiry and stiff, with medium length. It is generally found in black and tan colors, and the undercoat is usually short and soft in texture.
According to the AKC breed standard, the desired coat color of Airedale Terrier is either black saddle, with a tan head, ears and legs or a dark grizzle saddle that is black mixed with gray and white. The Airedale's eyes are generally dark in color, small in size, not prominent which is full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence. The Airedale Terrier is generally available in tan color having black or grizzle-colored saddle.
Airedale Terriers are known be fun-loving and are a favorite amongst children but they need to be supervised in their company. Active, intelligent, loyal, playful and yet sometimes stubborn, these dogs do not bark much. They are often patient with children and are tolerant of other pets. Their training determines whether they try to dominate other dogs or not. They pick up commands quickly while being trained. This breed needs variety in their training program as routine tasks bore them and they may refuse to perform tasks. This is an alert and energetic breed, which is not at all aggressive but fearless.
The Airedale has a great sense of humor and can provide a unique and entertaining company. It is said about Airedale bitches that they are not good mothers, as they abandon their puppies. These dogs love to be in the middle of the family activities. Airedales are also known for expressing exactly what they are thinking, unlike other breeds. The Airedale can be seen as a reliable and protective family pet. They are very energetic, and need plenty of exercise. The Airedale is also stoic and easily able to withstand pain and injury.
Airedales can be seen affected by hip dysplasia. Some Airedales also suffer from eye diseases, such as congenital retina conditions. They also have a propensity towards dermatitis. Gastric torsion, or bloat, is found in most of the Airedale Terriers. Bloat can turn and block the stomach, causing a buildup of gas. Bloat can even be fatal; it can lead to cardiovascular collapse. Signs of bloat are stomach pain, vomiting, and increased salivation. Bloat usually occurs when the dog is exercised too soon after eating.
Airedales, unlike other breeds of dogs, need little grooming. To pluck their hair twice a year can work with them. However, intensive grooming is required if you are using them as show dogs. If regularly groomed, the Airedale may shed very little. Airedale Terriers love to play catch games and swimming. These dogs need to go for a walk thrice a day. Playing in the yard also helps to keep them fit and happy.