Airedale terrier

Airedale terrier

Infobox Dogbreed
name = Airedale Terrier

image_caption = An Australian & New Zealand Champion
country = England
altname = Waterside Terrier
Bingley Terrier

nickname = Airedale

King of Terriers
fcigroup = 3
fcisection = 1
fcinum = 7
fcistd =
akcgroup = Terrier
akcstd =
ankcgroup = Group 2 - (Terriers)
ankcstd =
ckcgroup = Group 4 - (Terriers)
ckcstd =
kcukgroup = Terrier
kcukstd =
nzkcgroup = Terrier
nzkcstd =
ukcgroup = Terriers
ukcstd =
The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to "Airedale") is a terrier dog breed originating from Airedale in Yorkshire, England. It traditionally was called the "King of Terriers" because until the advent of the Black Russian Terrier the ADT was largest of the terrier breeds, 40 to 50 pounds. The breed has also been called the Waterside Terrier, because it was bred originally to hunt otters in and around the valleys of the River Aire from whence it gets its name. In England this breed was used as a police dog to help find criminals. As pets these dogs can be very entertaining. They can definitely be difficult to train. They are fun-loving animals. Socializing (contact with other dogs) during the first months of age is specially important in this breed.




Like many terriers, the breed has a 'broken' coat. The coat is hard, dense and wiry, not so long as to appear ragged, and lies straight and close, covering body and legs. The outer coat is hard, wiry and stiff, while the undercoat shorter and softer. Hardest coats are crinkling or just slightly waved. Curly or soft coats are highly undesirable.Because of this coat, Airedales do not significantly shed. Airedales being shown are generally groomed by "stripping": a small serrated edged knife is used to pull out loose hair from the dog's coat.

The correct coat color is a black saddle, with a tan head, ears and legs; or a dark grizzle saddle (black mixed with gray and white). Both are acceptable in the AKC breed standard.


The Airedale's tail is usually docked (surgically shortened) within five days of birth, but this is not a requirement of breed standard authorities. To show an Airedale in the United States, the tail is expected to be docked, while in the UK it is illegal to dock dogs' tails unless it's for the dog's benefit (e.g., the tail is broken, if clipped). Traditionally the fluffy tail was left long.


The Airedale's eyes should be dark in colour, small, not prominent, full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence. Light or bold eyes are considered highly undesirable.|date=December 2007

Some Airedales do suffer from eye diseases, such as congenital retina condition.


Airedales have a normal 'scissor bite', where the top teeth close over the bottom. Airedales' teeth are the largest among terriers, and can inflict a strong bite. The airdale is not aggressive and but when it is the damage can be serious.


According to the American Kennel Club, Airedale terrier males should measure approximately 23 inches in height at the shoulder; bitches, slightly less. There is no mention of a specific weight, although the standard states that Both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and boned. At 23 to 24 inches, a dog should weigh approximately 50 - 70 pounds, being active, agile enough to perform well, while not too small to function as a physical deterrent, retriever or hunter. But some breeders have produced larger Airedale Terriers, such as the 'Oorang Airedale', developed in the 1920s. by David Michael Duffey, Outdoor Life magazine, Volume 168, Number 1,/]

"In Oorang comments #25, page 81, it states unequivocally that "When full grown your Airedale dog will weigh from forty to fifty-five pounds and if a female will weigh slightly less. This is the standard weight, but when required, we can furnish over-sized Airedales whose weight will be from sixty to one hundred pounds."

Because ex-Army captain, Walter H. Lingo tried to fill orders for everyone the Oorang strain size was never standardized. Airedales weighing from 40 to 100 pounds were produced, but for the most part they ran to 50 pounds and 22 to 23 inches at the shoulder.


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 opponent.

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 humor. 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.

Albert Payson Terhune wrote of the Airedale:"Among the mine-pits of the Aire, the various groups of miners each sought to develop a dog which could outfight and outhunt and outthink the other miner's dogs. Tests of the first-named virtues were made in inter-mine dog fights. Bit by bit, thus, an active, strong, heroic, compactly graceful and clever dog was evolved – the earliest true form of the Airedale." He is swift, formidable, graceful, big of brain, an ideal chum and guard. ....To his master he is an adoring pal. To marauders he is a destructive lightning bolt."

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 of exercise.

The Airedale is also a stoic, able to withstand pain and injury, the Airedale's hurts and illnesses often go unnoticed until they become severe and require veterinary attention.



Airedale Terriers in UK, USA, and Canadian surveys had a median lifespan of about 11.5 years, Dog Longevity Web Site, Breed Data page. Compiled by K. M. Cassidy. Retrieved July 5, 2007] which is similar to other breeds of their size. Dog Longevity Web Site, Weight and Longevity page. Compiled by K. M. Cassidy. Retrieved July 5, 2007]

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%) Kennel Club/British Small Animal Veterinary Association Scientific Committee. 2004. Purebred Dog Health Survey. Retrieved July 5, 2007 ] . 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%) Airedale Terrier Health Survey 2000-2001. Airedale Terrier Club of America in collaboration with L. Glickman from the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine.. Retrieved March 27, 2007 ]


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.

An Airedale's coat was originally designed to protect the dog from its predators. So, the coat was designed to come out in the claws of the predator the dog was designed to hunt, leaving the dog unharmed. Because of this, some forms of skin dermatitis can respond to hand stripping the coat. Clipping the coat cuts the dead hair, leaving dead roots within the hair follicles. It is these dead roots which can cause skin irritations. However, hand stripping removes these dead roots from the skin and stimulates new growth. Hence this process can assist with some forms of skin irritations.

Gastric torsion, or bloat, affects Airedale Terriers. 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. They will eat up to 4-6 cups of food and are carnivores.


Airedale, a valley (dale) in the West Riding of Yorkshire, between the Aire and the Wharfe Rivers, was the birthplace of the breed. In the mid-19th Century, working class people created the Airedale Terrier by crossing the old English rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier (now known as the Welsh Terrier) with the Otterhound. In 1886, the Kennel Club of England formally recognised the Airedale Terrier breed.

In 1864 they were exhibited for the first time at a championship dog show sponsored by the Airedale Agricultural Society. They were classified under different names, including Rough Coated, Bingley and Waterside Terrier. In 1879 breed fanciers decided to call the breed the Airedale Terrier, a name accepted by the Kennel Club (England) in 1886.

Well-to-do hunters of the era were typically accompanied by a pack of hounds and several terriers, often running them both together. The hounds would scent and pursue the quarry and the terriers would "go to ground" or enter into the quarry's burrow and make the kill. Terriers were often the sporting dog of choice for the common man. Early sporting terriers needed to be big enough to tackle the quarry, but not so big as to prevent them from maneuvering through the quarry's underground lair. As a result, these terriers had to have a very high degree of courage and pluck to face the foe in a tight, dark underground den without the help of human handlers.

During the middle of the nineteenth century, regular sporting events took place along the Aire River in which terriers pursued the large river rats that inhabited the area. A terrier was judged on its ability to locate a "live" hole in the riverbank and then, after the rat was driven from its hole by a ferret brought along for that purpose, the terrier would pursue the rat through water until it could make a kill. As these events became more popular, demand arose for a terrier that could excel in this activity. One such terrier was developed through judicious crossings of the Black-and-Tan Terrier and Bull-and-Terrier dog popular at the time with the Otter Hound. The result was a long-legged fellow that would soon develop into the dog we recognize today as the Airedale Terrier. This character was too big to "go to ground" in the manner of the smaller working terriers; however, it was good at everything else expected of a sporting terrier, and it was particularly adept at water work. This big terrier had other talents in addition to its skill as a ratter. Because of an infusion of hound blood it was blessed with the ability to scent game and the size to be able to tackle larger animals. It became more of a multipurpose terrier that could pursue game by powerful scenting ability, be broken to gun, and taught to retrieve. Its size and temperament made it an able guardian of farm and home. One of the colorful, but less-than legal, uses of the early Airedale Terrier was to assist its master in poaching game on the large estates that were off-limits to commoners. Rabbits, hare, and fowl were plentiful, and the Airedale could be taught to retrieve game killed by its master, or to pursue, kill, and bring it back itself.

The first imports of Airedale Terriers to North America were in 1880s. The first Airedale to come to American shores was named Bruce. After his 1881 arrival, Bruce won the terrier class in a New York dog show.

The patriarch of the breed is considered to be CH Master Briar (1897-1906). Two of his sons, Crompton Marvel and Monarch, also made important contributions to the breed. AIREDALE TERRIEROfficial U.K.C. Breed Standard, History]

First Canadian registrations are recorded in the Stud Book of 1888-1889.

In 1910, the ATCA (Airedale Terrier Club of America) offered the Airedale Bowl as a perpetual trophy, and continues to this day. It is now mounted on hardwood pedestal bases, holding the engraved plates with the names of hundreds of dogs that have been awarded Best of Breed at the National Specialties.

The Airedale was extensively used in World War I to carry messages to soldiers behind enemy lines and transport mail. They were also used by the Red Cross to find wounded soldiers on the battlefield. There are numerous tales of Airedales delivering their messages despite terrible injury. An Airedale named 'Jack' ran through half a mile of enemy fire, with a message attached within his collar. He arrived at headquarters with his jaw broken and one leg badly splintered, and right after he delivered the message, he dropped dead in front of its recipient. A History of the Airedale Terrier by Catherine Miskow] Dogs by Amanda O'Neill, page 56]

Lt.-Colonel Edwin Hautenville Richardson was responsible for the development of messenger and guard dogs in the British Army. He, along with his wife, established a War Dog Training School at Shoeburyness in Essex, England. In 1916, they provided two Airedales ( Wolf & Prince )for use as message carriers. After both dogs proved themselves in battle, Airedales were given more duties, such as locating injured soldiers on the battlefield, an idea taken from the Red Cross.

Before the adoption of the German Shepherd as the dog of choice for law enforcement and search and rescue work, the Airedale terrier often filled this role.

In 1906, a dog trainer named "Lt. Colonel Edwin Hautenville Richardson" tried to interest the British Police in using dogs to accompany officers, for protection on patrol at night. When Mr.Geddes, Chief Goods Manager for Hull Docks in Yorkshire, was convinced after he went saw the impressive work of police dogs in Belgium. Geddes convince Superintendent Dobie, of the North Eastern Railway Police, arrange a plan for policing the docks. Airedale Terriers were selected for duty as police dogs because of intelligence, good scenting abilities and their hard, wiry coats that were easy to maintain from mud and grime.

At the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war in 1904, the Russian embassy in London contacted Lt. Colonel Richardson for help acquiring dogs for the Russian Army, trained to take the wounded away from the battlefields. He sent terriers, mostly Airedale Terriers, for communication and sanitary services. Although these original imports perished, Airedale Terriers were reintroduced in Russia in the early 1920s for use by the Red Army. Special service dog units were created in 1923, and Airedale Terriers were used as demolition dogs, guard dogs, police tracking dogs and casualty dogs. AIREDALE IN RUSSIA]

Two Airedales were among the dogs lost with the sinking of the Titanic.

The Airedale, Kitty, belonged to Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, the real-estate mogul.

The second Airedale belonged to William E. Carter of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Mr. Carter was the owner of the Renault automobile in which Jack and Rose trysted in the movie "Titanic". Carter, his wife and two children survived the sinking.

During the 1930s, when airedales were farmed like livestock, American breeders developed the Oorang airedale.

Capt. Walter Lingo, of LaRue, Ohio, developed the Oorang Airedale strain. The name came from a line of bench champions, headed by King Oorang 11, a dog which was said to have been the finest utility dog. King could retrieve waterfowl and upland game, tree raccoons, drive cattle and sheep, and bay mountain lions, bears, and wolves. King even fought one of the best fighting bull terriers, and killed his opponent. He also trained in Red Cross work, and served the American Expeditionary Force at the front in France.

Lingo simply wasn't satisfied with the average strain of Airedale, and after an incredible series of breedings, for which he brought in great Airedales from all over the world, he created the "King Oorang." At the time, Field and Stream magazine called it, "the greatest utility dog in the history of the world." The Oorang Kennel Company continued until Walter Lingo's death in 1969. Jerry Siebert, an Airedale breeder in Buckeye Lake, Ohio, followed in Lingo's footsteps, and bred "Jerang Airedales." There is a kennel in Tennessee that claims to have original Oorang Airedales. What's an Oorang]

Dogs of close to 100 pounds and upwards, carry the medical and behavioral problems associated with the 1930s airedale. Airedale]

After the First World War, the Airedales' popularity rapidly increased thanks to stories of their bravery on the battlefield and also because Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding owned Airedales. President Harding's Airedale was named Laddie Boy.

President Roosevelt claimed that "An Airedale can do anything any other dog can do and then lick the other dog, if he has to."

1949 marked the peak of the Airedales' popularity in the USA, ranked 20th out of 110 breeds by the American Kennel Club. The breed has since slipped to 50th out of 146.

Marion Robert Morrison, otherwise known as John Wayne, grew up in Glendale, California. His neighbors called him "Big Duke," because he never went anywhere without his Airedale Terrier, "Little Duke". He preferred "Duke" to "Marion," and the name stuck for the rest of his life. John Wayne Bio]

The Airedale Terrier was recognized by United Kennel Club in 1914. AIREDALE TERRIEROfficial U.K.C. Breed Standard, History]

The Airedale Terrier, because of its joyful disposition and energy, was one of the first breeds, along with the Giant Schnauzer and the Rottweiler, used to create the Black Russian Terrier.


"The Airedale Terrier Today", written by Janet Huxley, 176 pages, published by Ringpress Books, September, 2001, ISBN-10: 1860541429 / ISBN-13: 978-1860541421, cites the Airedale as a police dog and as a dispatch bearer in war.

"Pet Owner's Guide to Airedale Terriers" written by Janet Huxley, March, 1999, Ringpress Books Ltd., ISBN-1860540090, 80 pages

"The Airedale Terrier", written by Irene E. Hayes, 1980, published by W & G Foyle Ltd., ISBN-0707106346

"The New Complete Airedale Terrier", written by G. B. Edwards, published by Howell Books, ISBN-08 76050054

"Your Airedale Terrier", written by Barbara Strebeigh and Pauline I. McCready, June, 1977, published by Denlingers Publishing Ltd., ISBN-08 77140405, 160 pages

"Airedale Terrier", written by Hugh Owen, July 20 2000, Interpret Publishing, ISBN-1902389476, 176 pages

"Airedale Terriers (Complete Pet Owner's Manuals)", written by Dorothy M. Miner, April 1 1998, published by Barron's Educational Series (Paperback), ISBN-10 0764103075, 120 pages

"Airedale Terriers: An Owner's Companion", written by Mary Swash and Donald Millar, December, 1991, published by Trafalgar Square Publishing, ISBN-10-185223315X, 176 pages

"Watch Dogs: Their Training & Management", written by Lieut.-Col. E.H. Richardson, published by Vintage Dog Books Breed Classic, ISBN-1846640407

"International Grand Crown", written by Larry Wertan, published by Boxer Books

"Walking with my Airedale", written by Donald Millar, published by Orphans Printing Press, ISBN-1 903360 00 5

"A gentleman from France: An Airedale hero", written by Clarence Hawkes, 1924, published by Lothop, Lee and Shepard/Norwood Press

"Derry, Airedale of the Frontier", written by Hubert Evans, 1928, published by Dodd, Mead and Company

"Pal: The Story of an Airedale", written by Alexandra C. Jenkins, 1930, published by D. Appleton and Company, New York, 96 pages

"Pete", written by Tom Robinson, 1941, The Viking Press

"Two Gentlemen and a Lady", written by Alexander Woollcott, Illustrated by Edwina Woollcott, 1928, 121 pages

"Airedales the Oorang story", written by Bryan Cummins, June 2001, published by Detselig Enterprises Ltd., ISBN-1-55059-212-2, 170 pages, tells the story of the Oorang Kennel operation in LaRue, Ohio, run by Walter Lingo
* [ A Short History About the Aire-dale (âr'dal)Terrier]
* [ A History of the Airedale Terrier, by Catherine Miskow]

External links

* [ Planet Airedale] The Global Airedale Terrier Club, with hundreds of pictures of Airedale Terriers from around the world.
* [ North American Working Airedale Terrier Association]
* [] Information about Airedale terriers
* [] Airedale Terrier Information & Referral Resource
* [ The Airedale Terrier Club of America, Inc.]
* [ Airedale Terrier Club of America's Hunting & Working Committee] Airedale Terrier in the field, as a flushing/retrieving dog for upland birds, and as a retriever of waterfowl
* [ The Airedale Terrier Club of Canada (ATCC)]
* [ Greater Denver Airedale Terrier Club]
* [ Lone Star Airedale Terrier Club] The Texas and Southwest AKC-Licensed Airedale Club
* [ National Airedale Terrier Association] the National Airedale Terrier Association (NATA), as a breed club, serves the interests of Airedalers throughout the United Kingdom
* [ Airedale Terrier Club of New England]
* [ Airedale Terrier Club of Scotland]
* [ The Southern California Airedale Association (SCAA)]
* [ South of England Airedale Terrier Club]
* [ Twin Cities Airedale Terrier Club (TCATC)]
* [ The Airedale Terrier Club of Victoria (Australia)]
* [ West of England and South Wales Airedale Terrier Club]
* [ Airedale Rescue] Airedale Rescue and Adoption of the Delaware Valley
* [ Airedale in Russia]
* [ The Airedale Terrier by Albert Payson Terhune] , from Nature Magazine, published in the October, 1925 issue (Vol. VI, No. 4),
* [ To Aire is Divine]
* [ Airedale Terrier, Long Live the King] Article published in Dog & Kennel Magazine (Pet Publishing Inc.), September 21 2007 edition, by American Nature Association , 1214 16th Street, Washington, D.C.
* [ Beautiful Joe, the Airedale] Novel about Beautiful Joe, an Airedale raised in Meaford, Ontario, who fell victim to an abusive master. The book, a bestselling novel of 1894, was written by Nova Scotia author Margaret Marshall Saunders
* [ Nonprofit, all-volunteer group dedicated to rescuing surrendered, abandoned, neglected or abused Airedales.] Covering 13 Midwestern states and Ontario, Canada, ATRA rehomes 300 dogs every year.

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