The Airedale breed originated in the Valley of the Aire, in West Riding, Yorshire England. The earliest breeders of Airedales were of a competitive mind, wanting to develope a dog that could outthink, outfight, and outhunt other breeds of dogs. The Airedale that was developed can not only catch mice and rats, but has hunting as well as herding intincts and can be trained as a service dog. Airedales are bred for their stamina, courage, tenacity, and spirit.
It is believed that the Airedale was developed in the 1800's using a combination of the "Old English Black-and-Tan Terrier, Broken-Coated Working Terrier, and Otterhound.
The first Airedale to came to America in 1880. The 1920's were the Airedales most popular years. During this time both President Warren Harding and Teddy Roosevelt had Airedales while in the White House.
Airedales were used in both World Wars to take messages from one camp to another and for search and rescue of missing or wounded soldiers. Todays Airedale Terrier competes in Agility, Obedience, Tracking, Hunting, and conformation. You will also find the Airedale used as therapy and service dogs.
The Airedale is the largest of the Terriers, often being referred to as the "King Of Terriers". An adult male will typically stand 23-24 inches tall at the shoulder, and weigh around 65 pounds. Females are slightly smaller. The Airedales should have a hard wiry black and tan coat. When properly groomed the Airedales coat will be almost shed free. Eventually, if the coat is not hand stripped or clippered when it grows long it will fall out in clumps. To keep an Airedale in an attractive coat it will need to be hand stripped weekly or clippered every 6-10 weeks. Clippering will often result in the loss of the rich black and tan color as well as the loss of the wiry texture..
An Airedale Terrier is a curious, independent, and strong willed dog who is often a clown. They are a thinking animal who will sit and puzzle over a situation until they solve it. When they are solcialized and taught good manners as a pup they make excellent family pets. If unsocilized an Airedale will develope numerous behavior problems and become an unpleasant dog to be around. As a new owner you will have to be the "Boss". Once you establish this with your new family member you will find that your Airedale responds well to positive motivation. The Airedale is a smart dog who after preforming the required task several times can become bored and will respond with a " I know it, don't you" attitude. Short frequent training sessions are best.
It is always important to ask about health issues when considering the purchase of any purebred dog. For the Airedale breed you will want to ask about hip and elbow dysplasia, heart issues, allergies, renal function, eyes, and cancer. Overall Airedales are a healthy breed, but unfortunately every once in a while an Airedale will have health problems.