Airedale Terrier Dog Brief Background
This nickname is due to the fact that an adult Airedale Terrier weighs anywhere between 50 and 70 pounds or 23 to 32 kilograms. This breed was created by breeding the old English Rough Terrier with the Otterhound, and they were bred to help hunt otters and is also called a “waterside terrier” in some circles due to their watery hunting skill. An Airedale Terrier is normally a tan breed, with a black ’saddle’, but the AKC also recognizes a tan coat with a ‘grizzle saddle’, which is a black, gray, and white mix.
Usually, an Airedale’s tail is docked when they are still a young puppy, but it isn’t a requirement by the AKC or other standards. Another quality of the Airedale is that they do not have the normal pink gums that other dogs do, their gums are black and they also sport some of the largest teeth among any of the other breeds out there today. Due to their high intelligence, the Airedale was used throughout World War I to help carry messages to the trenches and to soldiers who were caught behind enemy lines, as well as to help find the wounded so the Red Cross could help them. This breed was so well known for their valor and intelligence that they were widely used as the breed of choice for law enforcement and search and rescue until the German Shepherd was adopted.
Airedale Terriers are medium-sized dogs that love water and are very playful. They have stiff coats that seem wiry and bristly. Their water-resistant coats come in combinations of dark grizzle and black with markings in red and tan. Airedale Terriers have bushy eyebrows as well as beards and mustaches that make them unique in their appearance. Male dogs average in weight around 50-60 pounds (18-23 kg) and in height around 23-24 inches (58-61-cm) tall. Females are a bit smaller and lighter on average.
Airedales are intelligent, loyal, and friendly pets or companions. They are typically good around children but that usually is attributed to early exposure and socialization with small children. Some of these dogs play rough and may accidentally injure a small child so adult supervision advisable. As long as these dogs feel loved and connected to their families they will remain lovable and protective towards them. Airedales are very responsive dogs and can be highly trained quite easily with gentle yet challenging methods. Repetition may bore these dogs and they may become less responsive than if you vary their tasks and commands. Sometimes these dogs try to dominate the scene if given an opportunity, so training at a young age is important. Airedales make fairly good watchdogs, too.
Grooming requirements are regular but not intensive. Owners are recommended to brush their dogs regularly with a stiff bristle brush to remove dead hair and dirt. These dogs shed very little and only need to be bathed occasionally as needed. It is important to keep excessive hair that grows between the pads of the feet trimmed back as well.
Eye problems, hip dysplasia, and skin infections may develop in some Airedales but basically this breed is quite healthy otherwise. Dry skin conditions may be remedied by altering the dog’s diet. Ask your veterinarian for more information if this problem occurs. The life expectancy of an Airedale is about 10-12 years when they receive proper diets and moderate exercise on a regular basis. These dogs should receive plenty of physical activity including running, playing, or walking. They have a tendency to be diggers so if you leave them alone in a fenced yard you may want to have some diversions for them to entertain themselves with so they don’t dig up your flowerbeds or try to burrow under your fence. Airedales do fine in an urban environment but do need space to romp around.
Airedale Terriers were originally bred and developed about a hundred years ago in Yorkshire, England. They were particularly popular in the Aire Valley and used to hunt otters, badgers, and wolves. They were first called Waterside Terriers and were later crossed with Otterhounds to make them better swimmers. Some of the Airedale's many talents include hunting, tracking, guarding, and competitive obedience drills. In more recent times, these dogs are being used in police and military work as well as being pets and show dogs. They are very spirited and have a strong desire to please their owners and gain their respect.