The Airedale Terrier is a breed that evolved in the mid to late 19th century by crossing the old Black and Tan terrier with the Otterhound and, some say, the old English White Terrier which accounts for the white on the chest and feet of some Airedales.
They were bred by working men in the Yorkshire dales. The idea was to breed a versatile dog that could do everything - a one breed fits all concepts. Their versatility and intelligence made them very popular dogs for use during war time, in police forces as well as hunting large (from wild boar to grizzly bear) and small (rats, otter, marten, raccoon) game. It was said that Airedales could do anything another dog could, and still lick the other dog.
They are known as the “King of Terriers” being the largest of the terriers, males standing at approx. 23”-24” at the shoulder. Airedales make good all-round family pets, however, they won’t just sit back and let the world go by. They want to be in on everything which means early and consistent training otherwise their natural exuberance can get out of hand and you will have a delinquent at 9 months of age (or even earlier!). If you take yourself too seriously then an Airedale is not for you - they are the jokers of the dog world.
They are a strong breed, fairly quick and agile. They take to agility and obedience well, although they respond better to training if done on a reward basis and also if they feel they are doing it of their own accord rather than being told to - a technique that owners learn very quickly if they want results! Their hunting nature can mean that they conveniently go deaf when out on walks and leave exasperated owner’s way behind and out of sight, so early recall training is also a must. They are fun dogs to live with, loyal companions, intelligent, courageous and reliable plus the added bonus of not shedding their coat. A wiry coat, black and tan or grizzle and tan in colour which needs regular grooming plus hand trimming or clipping. Do not over exercise in the early growing months but once finished they do need and enjoy regular exercise.
Airedales are overall a healthy breed. Hip dysplasia can be a problem and all breeding stock should be x-rayed and hold a BVA/KC certificate. Airedales have a high pain threshold so owners do need to be aware of changes in the mood/character of their pets.
Skin irritation (e.g. Eczema) can become a problem if the coat is not regularly groomed and the diet is incorrect.