Nicknamed the king of terriers, the Airedale terrier is the largest of the terrier breeds, an adult airedale in peak condition will weigh between 19 and 25 kilos, and have a height of 58-61cm. They originate from the Airedale valley, North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom, the airedale was bred from the Welsh terrier, the Bull terrier, the Otterhound and several other terriers, for hunting and to work as an all round farm dog
An alert and energetic breed, they are fearless but not aggressive, they make a good domestic pet. Like a lot of terriers the Airedale has a broken coat which is hard and wiry, black and tan its coat is medium length with a harsh top coat and a soft under coat. The coat is hyper allergenic, so it doesn’t normally cause any allergic reactions for humans.
Most Airedales require regular clipping, as they do not shed their hair, any loose hair can be removed by hand. Traditionally the Airedales tail is fluffy and erect, it is presently illegal in most European countries to dock a dogs tail, unless it is necessary for health reasons. This as resulted in the emergence of a Spitz tail in some dogs, this should change over time with selective breeding, and the slightly curled tail set high on the back should become common again.
The Airedale can be used as a working dog or as a hunting dog, they have some herding characteristics as well and have a tendency to chase animals, generally Airedales have long puppy hoods, and they can be difficult to train when young. They are independent, very intelligent, strong-minded and sometimes stubborn, they are an excellent choice for a family dog, very loyal to their owner, they are good with children, and other animals like cats, if they are raised together.
Similar to other dogs of their size they have an average lifespan of 11 – 12 years, they are a very hardy breed, although they can suffer from skin infections, eye problems and hip dysplasia, skin infections can go unnoticed because of their hard dense wiry coats. The coat was designed to come out in the claws of any predators it might be hunting, leaving the dog unharmed, due to the dogs stoic nature any injuries can go unnoticed for a time, as the dog won’t show any obvious signs of pain or distress, so owners need to be aware, and look out for anything irregular.
The Airedale terrier was extensively used during World War I, to carry messages behind enemy lines and transport mail, there are numerous tales of Airedales delivering their messages despite suffering terrible injuries, they were also used by the Red Cross to find wounded soldiers on the battle field. Before the German Shepherd became the main dog used in law enforcement, the Airedale terrier was often used in this role.
A good strong loyal and reliable dog the Airedale terrier is ideal as a family pet or for a number of working tasks, an excellent all round dog you can’t go wrong with.