Airedale Terrier (often shortened to "Airedale")
is a large and versatile terrier dog breed originating
from Airedale in Yorkshire, England, in the UK. It is
often called the "King of Terriers" because
it is the largest of the terrier breeds, 50 to 70 pounds
(23-32 kg). The Airedale was bred originally to hunt
otters. It was also called a "Waterside Terrier"
because of this connection to hunting otters.
Like many terriers, it has a 'broken' coat, which requires
regular hand stripping to maintain the coat and distinctive
square terrier shape. A broken coat is a harsh, wiry
topcoat with a soft, fur-like undercoat. Broken-coated
breeds do not shed their coats as much as smooth coated
breeds, and are therefore less likely to cause allergic
reactions in people prone to dog allergies.
Stripping is the correct process
for grooming an Airedale, using a small serrated edged
knife to pull out loose hair from the dog's coat. Airedales
who aren't being shown are often clipped with electric
clippers. This process, while easier on the dog and
the groomer, softens the coat and fades the color, and
sometimes causes skin allergies for the dog. This is
because the loose hair that would normally moult is
cut, so the roots remain within the hair follicles.
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. However, to show an Airedale in the United
States, the tail is expected to be docked. In the UK
it is illegal to dock dogs tails unless it's for the
dogs benefit ie. the tail is broken.
Airedales generally have black
gums, a condition that would indicate asphyxiation in
many other dog breeds. Additionally, Airedales' teeth
are the largest among Terriers.
The Airedale can also
be used as a working dog and also as a hunter and retriever.
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. The Airedale Terrier is typically
an independent (stubborn), strong-minded dog with a
great sense of humour. For those who can laugh along
with their Airedale, patience will be rewarded as they
have been known to reach great heights in competitive
obedience, dog agility, and Schutzhund. They are also
very loving. The Airedale is also a reliable and protective
family pet. Due to Airedale stubborness, they can often
be difficult to train, and require constant re-inforcement,
or they may soon forget. Young Airedales exhibit a general
lack of common sense, and require much training. They
are also very energetic, and need plenty of exercise.
The Airedale is relatively
free of inherited diseases except for hip dysplasia
in some lines. Airedales, like most Terriers, have a
propensity towards dermatitis. Allergies, dietary imbalances,
and under/over-productive thyroid glands are main causes
for the Airedales' itchy skin. Dogs of this breed usually
live for around twelve years, but have been known to
last until the age of seventeen.