He’s staying with us over christmas and new years.
He’s a lovely Airedale.
The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to “Airedale”) is a breed of the terrier type that originated in Airedale, a geographic area in Yorkshire, England. It is traditionally called the “King of Terriers” because it is the largest of the terrier breeds. Bred from a Welsh Terrier and an Otter Hound, the breed has also been called the Waterside Terrier, because it was bred originally 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.
Airedale Terriers being judged at a dog show.
The Airedale is the largest of the British Terriers. They weigh 25–30 kilograms (55–66 lb) and have a height at the withers of 58–61 centimetres (23–24 in) for dogs, with females slightly smaller. The American Kennel Club standard specifies a smaller dog. Larger ADTs, up to 55 kilograms (120 lb) can be found in the New World. They are often called “Oorangs.” This was the name of a kennel in Ohio in the early 1900s.
Like many terriers, the breed has a ‘broken’ coat. The coat is hard, dense and wiry, not so long as to appear ragged, and lies straight and close, covering body and legs. The outer coat is hard, wiry and stiff, while the undercoat shorter and softer. The hardest coats are crinkling or just slightly waved. Curly soft coats are highly undesirable.
Airedales being shown are generally groomed by hand stripping where a small serrated edged knife is used to pull out loose hair from the dog’s coat. With regular grooming, the Airedale may shed very little. Although the Airedale often appears on lists of dogs that do not shed (moult), this is misleading. Every hair in the dog coat grows from a hair follicle, and has a cycle of growing, then being shed, then being replaced by another hair in the same follicle. The length of time of the growing and shedding cycle varies by breed, age, and by whether the dog is an inside or outside dog. It may be that “there is no such thing as a nonshedding breed.”
The “correct” (according to the AKC breed standard) 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).
This Airedale’s tail is natural (undocked).
The Airedale’s tail is usually docked (surgically shortened) within five days of birth, but this is not a requirement of breed standard authorities. To show an Airedale in the United States, the official AKC standard states “The root of the tail should be set well up on the back. It should be carried gaily but not curled over the back. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length”., while in the UK it is illegal to dock dogs’ tails unless it is for the dog’s benefit (e.g., if the tail is broken). Traditionally the fluffy tail is left long.
Airedale terrier males should measure approximately 24 inches in height at the shoulder; bitches, slightly less. There is no mention of a specific weight, although the standard states that both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and boned. At 23 to 24 inches, a dog should weigh approximately 50 – 70 pounds, being active and agile enough to perform well, while not too small to function as a physical deterrent, retriever or hunter. Some breeders have produced larger Airedale Terriers, such as the ‘Oorang Airedale’, developed in the 1920s.
Ex-Army captain and Airdale breeder Walter Lingo’s monthly magazine “Oorang Comments” (#25, page 81), stated unequivocally that “When full grown your Airedale dog will weigh from forty to fifty-five pounds and if a female will weigh slightly less. This is the standard weight, but when required, we can furnish over-sized Airedales whose weight will be from sixty to one hundred pounds.”
Because Lingo tried to fill orders for everyone, the Oorang strain size was never standardized. Airedales weighing from 40 to 100 pounds were produced, but for the most part they were approximately 50 pounds and 22 to 24 inches at the shoulder.
An Airedale’s head
The Airedale can be used as a working dog and also as a hunting dog. Airedales exhibit some herding characteristics as well, and have a propensity to chase animals. They have no problem working with cattle and livestock. However, an Airedale that is not well trained will agitate and annoy the animals. Strong-willed, with the tenacity commonly seen in terriers, the Airedale is a formidable opponent.
The Airedale Terrier, like most Terriers, has been bred to hunt independently. As a result, the dog is very intelligent, independent, strong-minded, stoic, and can sometimes be stubborn. They rank 29th in Stanley Coren’s The Intelligence of Dogs, being of above average working/obedience intelligence. The Airedale is a dog with a great sense of humor. For those who can laugh along with their Airedale, the dog can provide a unique and entertaining company. For those who don’t appreciate being outsmarted by their dog, owning an Airedale can be a trying experience. Patience and consistency in training will be rewarded as the Airedales have been known to reach great heights in competitive obedience, dog agility, and Schutzhund. Airedales need an owner that can be creative in teaching what is expected. Airedales usually get bored easily and need a trainer that has the ability to make working fun and exciting. Changing the routine or taking a play-break is much more productive than trying to force the Airedale. If children and Airedale are both trained correctly, Airedales can be an excellent choice for a family dog.