The Airedale, also known as the “King of Terriers,” is the biggest terrier breed. The dog breed was developed in Yorkshire’s Aire Valley to hunt rats and otters in the area between the Aire and Wharfe Rivers. They were competent sporting dogs that later developed into excellent working dogs, demonstrating their value during World War I.
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The Airedale Terrier is a delightfully playful breed that is intelligent, outgoing, and self-assured. However, novice pet owners and apartment dwellers should exercise caution. These dogs require a lot of exercise because to their high energy levels, and their intensity may be too much for novice dog trainers. However, if you are able to match the breed’s physical requirements and give them room to run, especially in the form of a large yard with a tall, secure fence, you will be rewarded with a joyful, affectionate friend for the entire family—even children!
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Check out the facts and traits about the Airedale Terrier dog breed below!
Overview of Airedale Terrier
A courageous Airedale Terrier named Jack risked the battlefields to carry a message to British headquarters during World War I. Jack sustained a broken jaw and damaged leg while running through a half-mile of swamp while artillery was being rained down upon him. Sadly, he died not long after finishing his assignment. Amazingly, the message he was delivering helped save his regiment, and he was given the Victoria Cross posthumously for “Gallantry in the Field.” The bravery and courage shown by Jack still apply to Airedales today.
Jack-like dogs were designed to be multi-purpose canines with the alertness of terriers but the ability to swim and scent prey. Today, Airedale Terriers compete in agility, obedience, and hunt tests. They have the distinction of being both a sporting and working dog.
Even if it’s only amusing kids, with whom he gets along great, they love life the most when there is work to be done. (However, interactions between children and dogs should always be under the supervision of an adult.)
The Airedale has a propensity for digging, chasing, and barking, much like all terriers do. He is a great jogging partner because he is so energizing. He enjoys going for daily walks and playing in the yard.
The independent nature of the Airedale must be mentioned whenever the breed is discussed. This dog is smart and independent, not always waiting for instructions from his owner. The Airedale Terrier is not the breed for you if what you want is an extremely obedient pet that waits for your every command. Living with an Airedale, though, can be a good fit for you if challenges excite you.
It’s important to note that the Airedale Terrier is intolerant of any harsh treatment and will harbor resentment toward the offender. He has high prey drive, which at times makes him challenging to control, and can be aggressive against other canines and animals. It is stated that the Airedale ends battles rather than starting them. A securely secured yard and consistent, encouraging obedience training are also necessities.
It comes as no surprise that the Airedale makes a great watchdog. He will fiercely and courageously defend his family against intruders. To those who have been invited into his home, he is cordial.
Do not be misled; the Airedale has a lively and funny side as well. He likes playing with his family, romping around, tossing toys, stealing filthy socks, taking food off the kitchen counter, and generally getting into trouble. He also appreciates the companionship of his family. He develops slowly and remains frequently young-looking long into old age.
The breed of Airedale is intriguing. He is bold, athletic, fashionable, and silly. According to many owners, having two Airedale Terriers is the best option.
Facts About Airedale Terriers
- Airedales, like any Terriers, have a predisposition for digging (often in the middle of a lovely flower bed), chasing small animals, and barking.
- The Airedale Terrier is a dedicated hoarder of human artifacts. He will grab almost anything to add to his collection of treasures, including socks, underwear, and kid’s toys.
- Because it is a working dog with strong energy, the Airedale Terrier requires daily exercise. Throughout his life, the man is often energetic and busy. He requires a house with a sizable, fenced yard because apartment living is unsuitable for him.
- Another favorite behavior of Airedales is chewing. When you are gone from home, you should leave him in a box or secure kennel with robust toys because he likes to gnaw on everything.
- Although the Airedale is an independent dog, he appreciates being a family member. He is not intended to be a backyard dog and is happiest while with his owners indoors.
- Since they get along well with kids, Airedale Terriers are sometimes referred to as dependable babysitters. Dogs and kids should never be left unattended, though.
- Plan on paying a professional groomer to take care of your Airedale’s necessary grooming, or learn how to do it yourself.
- For the Airedale to learn appropriate canine manners, training and socialization are crucial. He may get aggressive if he is not used to other dogs and people.
- Never purchase a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, a puppy mill, or a pet shop if you want a healthy dog. Find a reliable breeder who checks her breeding dogs to ensure that they are healthy and free of hereditary illnesses that they could pass on to the puppies.
Airedale Terriers History
The Airedale has the distinction of being the Terrier breed with the greatest size. Although no one had a plan in mind at the time, the first effort to create the Airedale Terrier was made in 1853. In an effort to produce a well-rounded sports dog that could hunt rats on land and otters in rivers, an Otterhound and a Rough-Coated Black and Tan Terrier were crossed.
The first crossbreeding resulted in a canine with terrier-like alertness, the ability to swim, and the ability to sense prey. Within 12 years of the initial crossbreeding, the canine had evolved into a well-liked sporting terrier. The hybrids were known as Waterside or Bingley Terriers.
The first dog show ever conducted in the Aire Valley took place in 1864, and the Waterside Terrier participated in the Broken-Haired Terriers class (the name Waterside or Bingley Terrier was not first used until 1879). Hugh Dalziel, the author, praised the Bingley Terrier as “par excellence… an exceedingly good one” after evaluating the dog at a show. His remarks sparked immediate interest in the breed and an outcry from its supporters who objected to Dalziel’s identification of Bingley as the breed’s birthplace.
At this point, a number of dog enthusiasts came to the conclusion that the Waterside or Bingley Terrier ought to be called the Airedale Terrier. It is thought that Dr. Gordon Stables, who had judged the dogs a year before Dalziel, came up with the real name first, though it is challenging to confirm this. Dalziel once more had the chance to judge the Airedale Terrier in 1880, and he made reference to the dog by that name in his report.
There was a lot of uncertainty at initially because the name Airedale Terrier was not well-known or accepted. The three names of the breed were divided into classes at various shows, but it wasn’t until 1886 that the Kennel Club of England recognized the Airedale Terrier as the official name of the breed.
The Airedale Terrier Club of America was established in 1900, and in 1910 the organization started awarding a perpetual trophy at parent club events. The pedestal and bowl of this trophy, known as the Airedale Bowl, are inscribed with the names of the victors.
Throughout World War I, Airedale Terriers served in a variety of roles, including messengers, sentinels, transporters of supplies like food and ammunition, scouts, ambulance dogs, ratters, Red Cross casualty dogs, sled dogs, and guard dogs. The war produced tales of the bravery and loyalty of the Airedale Terrier and spurred interest in the breed. Many people owned and admired the breed, including former presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge.
The Airedale Terrier was the 20th most popular dog by the American Kennel Club in 1949, but its popularity has since declined. The rising usage of German Shepards in jobs that Airedales have historically performed has contributed to some of this loss.
Males average 50 to 65 pounds and are 23 inches tall. Women are 40 to 55 pounds heavier and slightly shorter.
Airedale Terrier Health
Although Airedales are generally in good health, they are susceptible to several health issues like all breeds. Not all Airedales will contract one or more of these illnesses, but if you’re thinking about getting one, you should be aware of them.
Find a reputable breeder who will provide you with the health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents if you are purchasing a puppy. Health certifications attest to a dog’s having undergone testing and being declared free of a specific ailment.
You can anticipate to see health certificates for von Willebrand’s disease, hypothyroidism, hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and thrombopenia from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), thrombopathia from Auburn University, and normal eyes from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) in Airedales. You can visit the OFA website (offa.org) to validate health certifications.
- Allergies: Dogs frequently suffer from allergies, and the Airdale is no exception. Food allergies are treated by removing particular foods from the dog’s diet. Contact allergies are brought on by a reaction to a substance applied topically, such as bedding, flea powders, dog shampoos, and other chemicals. Inhalant allergies are brought on by airborne allergens like pollen, dust, and mildew. The course of treatment depends on the underlying reason and may involve dietary changes, medication, and environmental modifications.
- Hip Dysplasia: In those with hip dysplasia, the thighbone does not fit tightly into the hip joint. Dogs can exhibit lameness and pain in one or both of their hind legs, although not all of them do. (X-ray screening is the most accurate method of issue diagnosis.) In either case, as the dog aged, arthritis might appear. If you’re buying a puppy, ask the breeder for documentation confirming the parents have had hip dysplasia testing and are healthy. Dogs with this condition shouldn’t be bred.
- Hypothyroidism: This is a thyroid gland disorder. Epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin diseases are thought to be caused by it. Diet and medicine are used to treat it.
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): A group of eye conditions known as Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) cause the retina to gradually deteriorate. Affected dogs initially develop night blindness; as the illness worsens, they begin to lose their daytime vision. Many affected dogs adjust to their diminished or lost vision well, as long as their environment doesn’t change.
- Umbilica Hernia: This birth defect causes internal organs or abdominal fat to protrude against the abdominal wall close to the umbilicus. Small hernias don’t necessarily need to be addressed. When a puppy reaches the age of six months, some minor hernias close on their own, and some dogs can live their entire lives with little hernias without experiencing any problems. Surgery for large hernias is usually performed together with the dog’s spaying or neutering. A more catastrophic condition, in which an intestine loop falls into the hernia and poses a major threat of strangling the intestine, is prevented by surgery.
- Von Willebrand’s Disease: Von Willebrand’s disease is a blood condition that impairs the clotting process and can affect both people and dogs. Symptoms of the condition include nosebleeds, bleeding gums, prolonged bleeding following surgery, prolonged bleeding during or after heat cycles, and occasionally blood in the stool. This condition cannot be cured and is typically diagnosed between the ages of three and five. Treatment options include cauterizing or suturing wounds, giving blood transfusions before to surgery, and avoiding certain drugs.
- Hemorrhagic Gastroenteritis: This condition results in blood-filled vomiting and diarrhea. The cause of this illness, which manifests itself quite suddenly, is unknown. Since many different diseases have symptoms that are similar to the one being diagnosed, diagnosis is an elimination procedure. Gastroenteritis with hemorrhage requires immediate medical attention. The dog needs treatment with intravenous fluids to stay hydrated, even though it ran its course within a few days. If the dog dehydrates, his red blood cell count will climb until the blood thickens and becomes slow-moving. Disseminated intravascular coagulation, another disease that can lead to death, can be brought on by this. Additionally, antibiotics and anti-ulcer drugs are used to treat the disease.
- Cancer: Canines can get cancer just like humans do. There are numerous distinct forms of cancer, and each patient’s response to treatment is unique. Tumors are surgically removed for some types of cancer, treated with chemotherapy for others, and treated surgically and medically for still others.
Airedale Terrier Personality
The Airedale is an energetic, athletic, and independent dog with a lot of drive, energy, and endurance. He has a propensity for digging, chasing, and barking, which are traits common to terrier breeds. Owners who are not familiar with the personality of the Airedale breed may find these features annoying.
If you’re considering about getting an Airedale, ask yourself if you’re prepared to put up with his predisposition for possibly unwanted habits and if you’re willing to face the difficulties that come with his independent personality. If you decide you are, you will love the Airedale’s energetic, playful, and occasionally humorous nature.
Because he is an active breed, the Airedale requires a lot of exercise. Avoid leaving him alone for extended periods of time since he can get bored and engage in the aforementioned damaging habits. Repetitive activities will bore the Airedale, so keep training fun and varied. Treats and other forms of positive reinforcement work best for motivating him; drill-and-jerk training techniques should be avoided.
The Airedale is a trustworthy watchdog that takes pride in guarding his family. Although he is nice with his family and friends, he can be a fierce protector.
In the end, a variety of elements, such as inheritance, training, and socialization, have an impact on temperament. Puppies with good dispositions are interested and playful, approachable, and want to be cuddled. Select a puppy that is in the midst of the pack rather than one that is bullying its littermates or cowering in a corner.
Always meet at least one parent to make sure they are pleasant and comfortable around you. Usually, the mother is the one who is available. It’s also beneficial to meet the parents’ siblings or other family members to get a sense of what the puppy will be like as an adult.
The Airedale needs early socialization, or being exposed to a wide variety of people, sights, noises, and experiences, when they are young, much like every other dog. Your Airedale puppy’s development into a well-rounded dog is facilitated through socialization.
He should start by enrolling in a kindergarten class for puppies. Regularly hosting guests, taking him to crowded parks, dog-friendly shops, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will all help him hone his social skills.
The Airedale Terrier has the activity and stamina required of a working dog. He need daily exercise, including at least one stroll (two is preferred), along with some fun in the backyard. The Airedale enjoys retrieving, playing, swimming, and having fun. He makes a fantastic jogging partner and frequently wears out his owner.
For the Airedale, training and socialization, starting with puppy lessons, are crucial. Socialization is the process by which puppies or adult dogs learn to be friendly and get along with other dogs and people. Take your Airedale with you to a variety of locations to combine socialization and training, such as the pet supply store, outdoor gatherings, and lengthy strolls through crowded parks. (Even if you don’t think there will be many kids in your house, it’s still crucial to expose him to kids at an early age.) A good spot to take an Airedale is somewhere there are lots of people to meet and places to see.
Additionally, the Airedale Terrier should be crate-trained. It not only helps with housebreaking, but it also gives him a secure cave in which to unwind. The majority of training goes extremely smoothly with Airedales as long as you keep in mind that they have their own minds. In the middle of the summer, if you ask him to sit or remain in direct sunshine, he’ll almost certainly choose to do it in the shadow.
The most effective method of training an Airedale is positive reinforcement. There is a very good possibility that you will have a free-thinking Airedale that is also well-trained if you approach training with a positive, enjoyable attitude and if you have a lot of patience and flexibility.
1.5 to 2.5 cups of premium dry food should be consumed every day, split between two meals.
NOTE: The amount of food your adult dog consumes is influenced by his size, age, build, metabolism, and degree of activity. Like people, each dog is unique, thus they don’t all require the same amount of food. A very active dog will require more than a couch potato dog, which should almost go without saying. The kind of dog food you purchase also matters; the better the food, the more effectively it will nourish your dog and the less you will need to shake into the bowl.
Instead of constantly leaving food out, feed your Airedale by measuring it out and feeding him twice a day. Give him the hands-on and eye tests if you’re not sure if he’s obese.
Look down at him first. There should be a waist visible. After that, lay your hands on his back with your thumbs down his spine and your fingers stretched outward. Without exerting much pressure, you should be able to feel his ribs but not see them. He needs less food and more activity if you can’t.
See our recommendations for selecting the best food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog for more information on feeding your Airedale.
Coat Color And Grooming
The Airedale Terrier’s elegant coat is made up of two layers: a topcoat that is dense and wiry and an undercoat that is short and soft. The majority of Airedale Terriers have a certain coat pattern: the dog’s body is primarily tan (ears, legs, head, underbelly, and occasionally the shoulders), and the back and upper sides are either black or grizzled (black with gray and white flecks). On occasion, the black may have a red speck and the breast may have a little white star.
The Airedale Terrier does shed occasionally throughout the year, though not to an extraordinary extent. Once or twice a week brushing keeps the coat in good shape, as does the occasional bathing (over-bathing is not advised because it softens the harsh terrier coat).
The typical owner has their family Airedale professionally groomed three to four times a year to give him a nice appearance (an untrimmed coat is thick, curly, and unmanageable). The family Airedale does not need to have his coat trimmed. Clippers, a technique known as stripping (in which the coat is thinned and shortened using a sharp, comb-like tool called a stripping knife), or a combination of the two are used to trim the coat.
It is expensive to hire a professional groomer to take care of your Airedale, so keep that in mind while choosing this breed. Although it’s difficult and time-consuming, highly determined owners can learn how to trim their pets themselves.
In order to get rid of tartar formation and the bacteria that lurk inside it, brush your Airedale’s teeth at least twice or three times every week. Even better than twice-daily brushing is prevention of foul breath and gum disease.
If your dog doesn’t wear his nails down naturally, trim them once or twice a month to avoid unpleasant tears and other issues. They are too lengthy if you can hear them clicking on the floor. Because dog toenails include blood veins, cutting them too short can result in bleeding, which may make your dog uncooperative the next time the nail clippers are pulled out. Therefore, get advice from a veterinarian or groomer if you are unfamiliar with clipping dog nails.
Every week, you should check his ears for redness or an unpleasant smell that could be an infection. To help avoid infections, clean your dog’s ears when you examine them with a cotton ball soaked with a mild, pH-balanced ear cleaner. Simply wipe the outer ear; avoid inserting anything into the ear canal.
As soon as your Airedale puppy is old enough, start exposing him to brushing and examinations. Dogs are sensitive when it comes to their feet, so handle his paws frequently and examine his lips. Lay the framework for simple veterinarian checks and other handling when he’s an adult by making grooming a rewarding experience full with praise and rewards.
Check your pet’s feet, nose, mouth, eyes, and skin for sores, rashes, or infection-related symptoms including redness, tenderness, or inflammation when you groom them. Clear eyes without any redness or discharge are ideal. You can identify any health issues early on thanks to your thorough weekly exam.
Good Family Pet
The playful Airedale is a terrific choice for a family pet. He may even grow protective of the kids in the house in some circumstances, but for very small children, his size and level of activity may be too much
In order to prevent biting or ear or tail tugging on either party, you should always teach kids how to approach and touch dogs. You should also carefully supervise any interactions between young children and dogs. Teach your youngster to never try to steal a dog’s food or approach a dog when he or she is eating or resting. Regardless of how nice they are, dogs and children should never be left unattended.
If properly socialized and taught, the Airedale gets along nicely with other dogs in his home. However, he can become hostile toward unknown dogs that he regards as a threat. A predator by nature, the Airedale is particularly likely to pursue animals he sees as prey, such as cats, rabbits, gerbils, and hamsters.
Frequently Asked Questions about Airedale Terriers:
Are Airedale Terriers good family pets?
Airedale Terriers can make excellent family pets. They are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and playful nature. However, it’s important to note that Airedales have a strong prey drive and may not be the best fit for households with small pets or young children. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure they become well-rounded family members.
How much exercise do Airedale Terriers need?
Airedale Terriers are an energetic and active breed that requires regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy. They benefit from daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. Aim for at least an hour of exercise each day, which can be broken down into multiple sessions. Providing them with a securely fenced yard where they can safely run and play is also beneficial.
Are Airedale Terriers suitable for first-time dog owners?
While Airedale Terriers are intelligent and trainable, they may not be the ideal choice for first-time dog owners. They are a strong-willed breed that requires firm and consistent training. Airedales can be independent and may challenge inexperienced owners. It’s generally recommended that first-time dog owners consider breeds with more manageable temperaments before considering an Airedale.
How do I groom an Airedale Terrier?
Airedale Terriers have a distinctive wiry coat that requires regular grooming. They should be brushed at least two to three times a week to prevent matting and remove loose hair. Airedales also require regular hand-stripping to maintain their coat’s texture, or alternatively, they can be professionally trimmed. Additionally, their nails should be trimmed regularly, and their ears checked and cleaned to prevent infections.
Do Airedale Terriers have any common health issues?
Like all dog breeds, Airedale Terriers can be prone to certain health conditions. Some common health issues seen in Airedales include hip dysplasia, allergies, hypothyroidism, gastric torsion (bloat), and certain types of cancer. Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, exercise, and responsible breeding practices can help minimize the risk of these health problems. If considering getting an Airedale Terrier, it’s essential to choose a reputable breeder who tests their breeding stock for potential genetic issues.