Airedale Terriers

Airedale Terriers

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Breed Notes

The Airedale Terrier, largest of the terrier dogs, is sometimes called the "king of terriers." The breed was developed during the nineteenth century in Great Britain and named for the Aire River in Yorkshire. Various terriers were crossed with the Otter Hound to create a dog that was large enough to hunt fox, weasel, otter, badger and other game. These dogs are swift, agile and powerful swimmers. They are also sometimes used in police work and have been used in war for carrying dispatches and finding wounded soldiers.
An excellent housedog, they are sweet of disposition, devoted to their owners but aloof with strangers. They make excellent companions and are good with children. Considered to be very intelligent and easy to train, they are a determined dog so early obedience training will help make them an excellent family pet. They are very energetic and should be exercised daily.
This breed is of medium size, weighing between 45 and 55 pounds and standing approximately 22 to 24 inches tall. The skull is long and flat but not too broad with little definition of change between the skull and muzzle. The bite should be level or may be a scissors bite. The eyes should be dark and small but not prominent. They should have a look of keenness and intelligence. The ears are half-drop and set on the side of the head with the top of the folded ear coming slightly above the top of the skull. The tail is docked and carried straight up. The coat is tan in color with black markings along the back and sides and may be also along both sides of the head. Their coat is hard, wiry and curly. It needs regular grooming, including brushing at least three times per week.

Name withheld by request of San Diego, CA writes:

A dog the whole family fights over.
I wanted my thirteen-year-old son to have a real fun-loving dog as a child growing up as I did. I grew up with Wirehaired Fox Terriers that were terrific. My son wanted a larger dog. The Airedale seemed to fit the bill. Ours has deeply touched our entire family. She frolics, she loves, she plays, she protects, all with an intensity I have never seen in a dog before. We all wanted her to sleep in our rooms at night, so we rotate her sleeping arrangements to prevent fights. This is agreeable to her as she is extremely flexible and loves each one of us. She loves to be outside, listening for the lizards, rabbits and whatever other vermin lurk beyond our fence. If I could have ten of her I would! of St. Joseph, MO writes:

Greatest personality ever.
My Airedale has the best personality of any dog I have ever owned. She is a true friend and very loyal. She does not know a stranger and loves people. Children are her favorite people because of her playful attitude. She is a very vocal dog and likes to get things going in the neighborhood. It is nothing for her to start barking just to see who else is around.
She does not shed, but has had severe allergy problems throughout her life, which caused her to develop an unpleasant odor. She requires a lot of bathing to keep this under control. Another problem she has lived with her entire life is hip dysplasia, but her sheer enthusiasm for life helped her to cope with this problem.
I recommend the Airedale as a very friendly, companionable dog, but recommend buying from a reputable dealer to avoid health problems. of Evergreen, CO writes:

I'm on my second and third Airedales now. But my first was Prince of the Airedales, King of the Terriers. When my son was an infant we had a 250-pound black bear come onto the porch. As I went to get a gun (I DID NOT end up shooting the bear), I told him, "This is it boy, this is what you are about, stay here, don't let him pass." I will always remember the focused, intent way he stood his ground, that stubby tail just wagging a bit. It all said, "Bring it, bear." Once a bull elk stood across our fence line shaking his antlers at him. He stood steady. Cougars used to come around and he'd face them off. It wasn't that he could really lick 'em. But he sure believed he could. I have his ashes now in a chest, with a reclining Airedale figure on top. I was honored to know him. If you are considering an Airedale I assure you s/he will tirelessly and faultlessly defend your children and property. of Denver, CO writes:

Once you own one (or they own you) you will never want another breed.
There is a reason why people develop almost a missionary zeal over these dogs! They are also the best-kept secret in dogdom &shyp; loyal, kind, gentle, protective, love children, patient, geniuses (human-like qualities) &shyp; I have owned many breeds, but have never loved or been loved as I was by my Airedale female (who by the way, died at the age of thirteen). Trained in the show ring, she also had excellent hunting ability &shyp; yet having caught my neighbor's pet rabbit in a chase, remarkably put her down when commanded to, and the rabbit, aside from being scared, didn't have a scratch on it. And this from a trained hunting dog! I will miss her forever, and still have a framed picture of her winning her AKC championship. Can't recommend this breed enough. of New York writes:

Airedales are a special breed.
This is my first pedigreed Airedale. He is a two-year-old dominant male. We have worked hard at training him, the time has been well worth it. He is protective and loving. He is intelligent and stubborn at times as all Terrier owners will tell you. I have no question in my mind that he would fight to death to keep any of his family from harm. I would strongly recommend researching the breed and being around Airedales before deciding if they are right for your family. Too many are in rescue for all the same reasons. If you make an educated decision you will be rewarded by a magnificant animal whose eyes can tell a story. It has been a joy to get to know our guy and this beautiful breed.

Name withheld by request of New Zealand writes:

Gentle and lovely family dog.
Slightly determined, but faithful and loves his owners. The Airedale fits in beautifully with the family routine. All he asks is to be kept warm. He doesn't mind being clipped, but please don't do it when the weather is about to turn cold! One thing he is determined about is NOT to wear a "pet shop" coat. He really likes to be picked up by the stronger members of the family and will sit on a lap and put his two front paws on his owner's shoulders when asked for a "cuddle." A little picky about food. Very well-mannered and doesn't like to eat in front of people. Waits until you go inside before tackling his meal. A social fellow! Loves to play with other dogs and is just lovely with children. Next to a walk or a play in the dog park, his best loved pastime is to stretch out in the sun for a sleep. Likes riding in the car, but will split your eardrums if he spots a cat from the car window. of Pueblo, CO writes:

Great dog.
My female Airedale is eight months old, and the usual puppy problems (being too rough in play, jumping on people, chewing things up, digging holes) are being ironed out, slowly but surely! House-training was amazingly fast.&shyp; three or four weeks of scolding for "going" in the house, and praise for "going" outside and one day, she just was totally housebroken, at less than five months of age. That was just one sign of her obvious intelligence, which enables her to learn tricks, and sit, stay, etc., very easily. But like many reviews/accounts of this breed make clear, she often makes her own decisions, which might occasionally be contrary to what you want her to do or not to do!
Having had smaller Terriers, I wanted a larger Terrier breed that could offer a bit more guard/protection qualities than say, a Scottie (which are fabulous watchdogs, but you can only do so much if you weigh twenty pounds!). After much research, the choice was obvious. And they are all they are "cracked up" to be: bright, fast, strong, protective without being overly-aggressive, tolerant and loving with her family, including small kids, overall a beautiful, impressive dog.
One last note, re. size, I wanted a dog around 45 to 50 pounds, and in looking at Airedales, I was dismayed to find a trend towards people breeding "large size" Airedales, often WAY over the breed standard. So if looking at this breed, look at the parents if possible, or you could end up with one up to 90 + pounds (male) or 75 + (female). Breed standard is, I think, 45 to 65 pounds. Unless it will be an outdoor dog, on a farm or something, a dog much over the 50-pound range is a little much, in my opinion, I was able to find a bitch who is about 50 pounds. of Green Bay, WI writes:

Airedale Terriers make great companions.
They are not an easy breed like some breeds can be, they are not for the faint of heart as they are very strong willed and intelligent beyond belief. They will make up their own fun if you don't keep them challenged and entertained, left to their own devices what they find humorous you can find pretty exasperating. Digging holes, jumping fences, chasing little furry critters, etc. But to my knowledge and experience no breed can provide the depth of warmth combined with the desire and commitment that an Airedale can. They are a spectacular animal with such a physical presence and athletic ability and an intelligent mind to match.
I tell everyone, if you want a dog that will fetch get a Labrador, if you want a dog that will decorate your lap then get a little lap dog, but if you want a dog that will invigorate your life and make you laugh everyday then consider an Airedale. Only consider an Airedale after researching this breed carefully and only after talking with other owners and breeders. Many end up in shelters before their first year, if you can make it through the trying puppyhood you WILL be rewarded with a lifelong friend. And one more thing, there are no bad dogs just bad owners. You will only get out of your dog what you are willing to put into it. Again, Airedales are not for the faint of heart but for the brave of heart! of Florida writes on 5/6/01:

Great dog but train early.
My very first dog was an Airdale and I've had two since and they just don't compare. The one problem with my Airedale was that we got him when he was two and he had been in three home before me. He was a very free spirit and combine that with amazing intelligence and you can see the problem. He used to test my invisible fence to find the weekest areas. He would also jump my six foot fence. We were always afraid when he would escape because sometimes he would come back with blood in his coat. We thought he was fighting but later we would start to see signs for missing cats and then one day he killed a cat right in front of the seven year old owner. Thankfully it was an old cat and the mother wasn't too upset but we did have to get rid of him. We gave him to a farm and it has been a little over a year since we gave him away and I am already trying to get another Airedale. You can probably tell by the score that even with all the problems he caused he was still the most unbelievable dog. I loved him. of Pueblo, CO writes on 3/11/01:

World's best dog but puppies from hell.
An adult, trained Airedale is irreplacable as a companion. We owned one for thirteen years and We still miss him. As a puppy, he ate the walls, the furniture, and the floor. He learned to open the refrigerator and we had to get a child lock for it. We started the basic obedience training at eight weeks - sit, down, and walking on lead without pulling-making a game of it and offering treats and lots of praise as a reward. We both worked, and although I was able to come home for lunch, he physically wasn't able to hold it until about six months. Leaving him outside at that time wasn't an option, as we lived in a bad neighborhood, and the children would throw stuff at him, plus he dug craters and ate the wood fence. In spite of that, he loved kids, the smaller the better. He was very protective without being overly aggressive, especially when my husband was away. He normally slept on the floor,on my side, but slept ON my husband's side of the bed when my husband had to be away from home. He liked other dogos, but would respond to aggression. He was gentle with me, playful with my husband, and had a wonderful sense of humor. A very joyful personality. We own cats, parrots, and a small mutt, and never had a problem, although I'd read of those who did. Possibly because we respected him and trained early. Airedales were popular in our area a few years after we got him. We would routinely see them free, six to 18 months after a litter was advertised. After about eighteen months, they settle down. They are VERY ACTIVE dogs who need to be with their people. They are compulsive about "helping". They are not a breed to chain up or kennel. They're VERY people oriented. If you have the patience to outlast the puppyhood, you'll have the companion of a lifetime. We did.

Name withheld by request of New Zealand writes on 10/12/00:

Your best friend.
I fell in love with the Airedale as a child. We purchased a bitch from a reputable breeder and she was a fantastic companion, and awesome possuum hunter. Unfortunately she died of tetanus when she was only two, but the only breed we could ever replace her with was another Airedale. Our second Airedale is now 12 and still hunts possums with enthusiasum. I gave them a four star rating, as they are difficult to train in some respects (this is the terrier showing through). But I think this adds character and shows that they actually have a great brain. Ours is brave, loyal, fantastically good with children, intelligent and I love the way she is not really dependent on us. If she doesn't want to get attention from us she is aloof. She respects us and I could never want for a better dog. I do believe however that they do need space and I wouldn't consider keeping an Airedale in town - the neighbours cats wouldn't last long, and they have the most powerful bark! Overall, Airedales are a breed that are not raved about enough! of Ireland writes on 1/23/00:

The finest breed known.
I have owned quite a few breeds and each have their strong points,but terriers are something special especially male Aireales. They can do anything other breeds can do. In addition they seem to be partially human, their eyes denoting their character. of The Netherlands writes on 11/14/99:

It's the only dog I interact with.
When you own an Airedale Terrier you most certainly experience his humor, his wit, his loyalty. He will always love you, and when you need his love the most,he will feel the need and gives his love unconditionally. I am now owner of a pup, but I have owned two other ADT's and as a fact when
the female knew she was going to die and I knew too and she came to me and we hugged all night long till the other day when life ended for her. It was her goodbye to me. I am crying while I am writing this down. There's no other dog for me than an ADT. of Star City, IN writes on 10/10/99:

Most versatile dog in history
As an owner/breeder of Airedale Terriers, there is nothing these dogs can't do. I have twp that are in Schutzhund, and have more drive than the German Shepherds or the Rotts, and are less threatening looking, so people don't suspect they are a "protection dog", giving the owner an advantage. They were used as war dogs before any other breed. They are used as search and rescue dogs because they are able to think on their own, and might find something others would miss. They are used to hunt, especially big game like bear and cougar, because they won't back down and run away in fear. Nothing scares an Airedale Terrier. They are great for the active apartment dweller, or the farmer. They are used for therapy dogs, no other breed can give a heartfelt hug like an Airedale Terrier. They have a wire coat, and although needs regular grooming like any other breed, they don't shed, and have a minimum amount of dog odor. Their loyalty, undying love, willingness to serve their owners, ability to think on their own, and intelligence that rivals our own, along with the lack of dog hair on the furniture are some of their great qualities, but their great versatility, and sense of humor make them the greatest of all dogs. No other breed smiles like an Airedale Terrier, or touches the heart like one either.

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