The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to "Airedale“) is the largest of all terriers and is known as the "King of Terriers." The breed originates from the valley of the River Aire, West Ridin, Yorkshire, and was created to catch otters and rats in the region between the Aire and Wharfe Rivers. The Airedale was bred from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier (now known as the Welsh terrier), the Bull Terrier, the Otterhound, and probably some other Terrier breeds. This dog was bred for hunting purposes and to be an all-around working farm dog.
FUN FACT: Before the German Shepherd became the dog of choice for law enforcement and search and rescue work, the Airedale Terrier often filled this role.
23-24 in (58-61 cm)
40-70 lb (18-32 kg)
The Airedale had proven its worth during World War I when these dogs were used as messengers, sentries, carriers of food and ammunition, scouts, ratters, ambulance dogs, Red Cross casualty, and guard dogs.
FUN FACT: During WWI, the Airedale Terrier named Jack braved the battlefields to deliver a message to British headquarters. The dog was running through the swamp while soldiers were trying to shoot him. Jack completed his mission but suffered a shattered leg and a broken jaw. He passed away shortly after, but because the message he delivered saved his battalion, he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "Gallantry in the Field."
Dog Breed Characteristics
Male dogs weigh 50-70 pounds (23-32 kg) and are about 23 inches (58 cm) tall. Females are slightly shorter and weigh 40-55 pounds (18-25 kg).
Airedale Terrier coat
Airedale’s coat has two layers: a dense, wiry topcoat and a short, soft undercoat. Most of these dogs are tan and black or tan and grizzled (black mixed with gray and white). Ears, head, legs, underbelly, and sometimes the shoulders are tan parts. The Airedale’s coat does not shed a lot, but grooming is necessary, so plan on paying a professional groomer or learn to groom your Airedale yourself. Keep in mind that grooming an Airedale is a delicate process that takes at least 3 or 4 hours to do. Grooming does not have only aesthetic purposes. If not properly taken care of, the coat can get clogged, and thus the skin will not be able to breathe, which advances the appearance of dermatitis. Grooming is not cheap, so make sure to consider that when selecting this breed.
FUN FACT: People allergic to dogs seem to have fewer problems (meaning: not suffering from any symptoms) sharing a living space with a well-brushed Airedale.
Like all terriers, the Airedale has a lot of energy. This dog needs daily exercise and makes an excellent jogging partner. They are very adaptable but not recommended for apartment living. The Airedale needs a yard, secured with a fence, where he can goof around without restrictions. The Airedale loves to play with family members, romping, running, swimming, tossing toys, goofing around, etc. They possess another “terrier feature” – they love digging, chasing small animals, and barking. They are very loyal and protective of their family. Airedales are great with children, and they make excellent family pets. If trained properly, they can get along with other dogs. This hunter may see smaller animals and pets as prey and chase them.
The Airedale is very intelligent, independent, strong-minded, and can sometimes be stubborn. They mature slowly and are often puppyish well into old age. As with other breeds, you should take time and train your Airedale properly. The training needs to start at an early age. Airedales do not respond well to harsh methods, so use positive reinforcement training. When living with this independent and sometimes stubborn breed, you need to establish your leadership from the beginning. It is a smart idea to set your Airedale the rules to live by. Socialization is a must, considering these dogs can be aggressive towards other dogs (when not socialized and trained properly). Take your Airedale to different places and expose them to different sounds, sights, and people, so your puppy can grow into a well-rounded and well-behaved dog.
Airedales have a life expectancy of 11-14 years and, in general, are very healthy and hardy animals. However, they are prone to certain health problems. Like other large breeds, they are more likely to suffer from hip dysplasia. Some of them suffer from skin issues, often caused by a poor diet or allergies. Sometimes these skin issues are a symptom of hyperthyroidism (a disorder of the thyroid gland). Some can develop Progressive Retinal Atrophy (eye disease where there is the gradual deterioration of the retina), bloat, hernia, etc.
FUN FACT: American presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge were among many who owned and fancied the breed.
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