Breed Organization Airedale Terrier Club of America Website: http://www.Airedale.org Native Country Great Britain Other Names Airedale Terrier, Working Terrier, Bingley Terrier Life Expectancy Approximately 10-12 Years Litter Size Average of 9 Puppies Breed Group AKC Terrier, Terrier
Breed Appearance The Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA)
wants you to be an informed Airedale buyer. This information has
been prepared to provide a brief general description about the
appearance and temperament of the properly bred Airedale Terrier.
The Airedale is a medium-sized, well-boned, squarely-built dog, and
at all times a terrier in appearance and attitude. He should stand
alert with head and tail held high, be interested and inquisitive,
and show an intelligent, steady quality. Airedales are an elegant
but sturdy dog, well-balanced and square, with height at the withers
being about the same as the length from the front of the shoulder to
the buttock. None of the dog's features should be exaggerated. The
male has a definitely masculine appearance without being "common or
cloddy". The female has a feminine appearance without being
fine-boned or looking the least bit fragile. The ears should be
alert and the expression eager and intelligent. The tail is carried
up and adult Airedales should be self-confident, unafraid of people
or other dogs. Intelligent puppies may display a more cautious
attitude. Airedales are more reserved in temperament than many of
the other terrier breeds, but should not act in a shy or spooky
manner when approached by strangers.
In North America there is a divergence of opinions on these matters,
particularly with regard to size. We wish to emphasize that there is
only one type or standard size of Airedale Terrier. According to the
AKC standard, "Dogs should measure approximately 23 inches in height
at the shoulder; bitches slightly less. Both sexes should be sturdy,
well muscled and boned ... An Airedale much over or under the
correct size should be severely penalized (In the show ring)". The
source of the diversity of opinion seems to be rooted in history.
Airedales were first brought to this country from England in the
early 1880's. Their exploits as determined messengers in World War
I, made the Airedale a hero. Their reputation combined with their
personable temperament produced a meteoric rise in popularity, and
by the early 1920's, the Airedale was the most popular breed of dog
in America. As a consequence, breeders more interested in money than
in preservation of proper breed characteristics and standards
flooded the continent with dogs of diminishing quality, widely
varying sizes and notably inferior temperaments. Lovers of the breed
have stood by their favorite, steadily improving breed quality over
the years. Today's properly bred and cared for Airedales have all
the intelligence and ability originally found in the breed, but in a
more stylish, yet majestic look. He is today, more worthy than ever
of his title; "King of the Terriers."
Breed Description Head: Well proportioned, without
wrinkles. Long, flat skull. Stop hardly visible. Flat cheeks.
Powerful jaws. Tight lips. Ears: Small, v-shaped, carried to the side of the head.
Topline of folded ear should be slightly above level of the skull. Eyes: Small, dark color. Very lively expression. Body: Must not be too long. Muscular neck without dewlap.
Chest well let down. Ribs well sprung. Muscular loin. Short, strong,
straight back. Tail: Set high, carried gaily, but not curled over the back.
Typically docked. Hair: Hard, dense, wiry, not so long as to appear shaggy. Hair
is straight, dense, and lies close to the skin. Undercoat is shorter
and softer. Coat: Saddle and top of the neck and tail are black or
grizzle. All other areas are tan. Ears are often darker tan and a
black mixture is often found around the neck and sides of the head.
Some white hairs on the front feet are permissible. Size: Dog: approx. 58 to 61 cm (23-24 in).Bitch: approx. 56 to
59 cm 22-23 in). Weight: Approx. 20 kg (44 lb).
History The Airedale Terrier, "King of Terriers," was
created around 1850 by breeders in Yorkshire in the valley of Aire
who crossed the Otterhound with the Old English Black and Tan
Terrier (now extinct). The goal was to produce a dog capable of
hunting otter and rodents. The Airedale Terrier was recognized by
The Kennel Club in 1886. During World War I, the breed was enlisted
as a messenger, attack dog, and sentinel. The Airedale Terrier was
introduced in France in the 1920s.
Behavior This rustic breed is strong, energetic, and
full of life. Possessing legendary courage, the speedy Airedale
Terrier is always on the alert. He forms a close bond with his owner
and is gentle with children. The breed can be dominant, even
aggressive with other dogs. The Airedale Terrier has many skills. He
is a strong swimmer and is used to hunt ducks and otters as well as
boar and deer. He will also valiantly protect his owner and his
property. As a working dog, this breed serves in the army and works
with police as well as search and rescue teams.
Health Airedale Terriers in UK, USA, and Canadian
surveys had a median lifespan of about 11.5 years, which is similar
to other breeds of their size. In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the
most common causes of death were cancer (39.5%), old age (14%),
urologic (9%), and cardiac (7%) . In a 2000-2001 USA/Canada
Health Survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (38%),
urologic (17%), old age (12%), and cardiac (6%). Airedales can be
affected by hip dysplasia. Like most terriers, they have a
propensity towards dermatitis. Skin disorders may go unnoticed in
Airedales, because their hard, dense, wiry coats. Itchy skin may be
manifest as acral lick dermatitis (caused by licking one area
excessively) or acute moist dermatitis or "hot spots" (an
oppressively itchy, inflamed and oozing patch of skin, made worse by
intense licking and chewing). Allergies, dietary imbalances, and
under/over-productive thyroid glands are main causes for skin
conditions. Gastric torsion, or bloat, affects Airedales. Bloat can
turn and block the stomach, causing a buildup of gas. Bloat can be
fatal, it can lead to cardiovascular collapse. Signs of bloat are
gastric distress (stomach pain), futile attempts at vomiting, and
increased salivation. Bloat usually occurs when the dog is exercised
too soon after eating.
Advice If the Airedale Terrier is to be kept as a
house dog, he must have long walks every day. Brushing two times per
week is required. This breed should be professionally groomed three
times per year.
Function The Airedale can be used as a working dog and
also as a hunter. 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
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 be stubborn.
The Airedale is a dog with a great sense of humour. 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 can often be
difficult to train. Being smart, Airedales pick up what is wanted
from them very quickly; being smart, they do not want to keep
repeating what they learned and can try to terminate a training
session at the point when they "got it". Changing the routine at
this point or taking a play-break is much more productive than
trying to force the Airedale to continue as they are a stubborn
bunch. Airedales require constant reinforcement, or they may decide
to start ignoring commands. When training is resumed, they can
quickly recover their acceptance of the command. Airedales are a
stoic and intrepid breed and as a result, young Airedales exhibit a
general lack of common sense and require training. For the same
reasons, they need socializing with other dogs early.
They are also very loving, always in the middle of the family
activities. Airedales are also known for expressing exactly what
they are thinking, unlike more aloof breeds. The Airedale is also a
reliable and protective family pet. Airedales are exceedingly loyal
and strong dogs; there is one story of an Airedale taking down a
bear to protect its master. They are very energetic, and need plenty