The Airedale Terrier is know as the 'King of Terriers'. It is the largest of the terrier breeds standing up to 24 inches in height, with bitches only slightly shorter, and should weigh around 55-65 lbs. Their coat is tan in color with a black saddle and often black on the top of their tail and black around the neck. They have a square appearance while standing and have an energetic and alert air about them. Some Airedale Terriers in America can be even larger, they're know as Oorang Airedales, these originated in the 1930's but they are not true Airedales, in the past they were cruelly bread to be larger and they can not only be aggressive but have genetic problems.
History: The Airedale Terrier originated from Yorkshire in England, between the Aire and Whafe rivers. They started life as a cross between the Welsh terrier and an Otterhound, in 1886, the English Kennel Club officially recognized them as their own breed. They were first shown though in 1964, but were classified under different names such as the Rough Coated, Bingly and Waterside terrier, but they adopted the name Airedale Terrier when they joined the Kennel Club. They were originally used as hunting dogs and sporting dogs especially in ratting (where they would sniff out a rat, chase it down and kill it). They were also used during World War 1 to deliver messages on the front lines and as police dogs in 1906.
Temperament: The Airedale Terrier is a strong, independent and intelligent dog, that can occasionally be stubborn. They have a great sense of humor and thanks to their high intelligence can be trained to an exceptionally high standard if you have the patience to work with them, however it takes a trainer with a creative mind to really train an Airedale as they can easily get bored. They make great family pets as they are loyal, loving and enjoy being in the middle of family activities.
Health: Airedale Terriers have a life span of around 11.5 years, which is about average for a dog of their size, though they can suffer from hip dysplasia, eye problems and skin conditions. Because of their thick coat a skin condition can often be hard to notice with this breed, so look out for 'hot spots' where the dog scratches or licks excessively. They are also susceptible to bloat, this is often caused by exercising the dog too soon after eating, bloat causes the stomach to either block or twist witch causes a build up of gas, this can be fatal if not treated immediately. In a 2000-2001 survey the most common causes of death were cancer (38%), urologic (17%), old age (12%), and cardiac (6%)[
Grooming: Because of their harsh wiry coat the best method of grooming an Airedale Terrier is hand stripping, this should be done by a professional where they use a serrated blade to pull out the loose fur. This encourages the new hairs to grow and keeps the coat looking superb. However for a pet dog you can simply use clippers as you would with most other dogs but this method can soften the coat and cause discoloration over a long period of time. The most noticeable traits are the eyebrows and the moustache, these are left long as part of the Airedales look, they should also be brushed on a daily basis, although they are commonly referred to as a non-shedding breed this is not true, and daily brushing will help keep the coat at its best.
Living Conditions: Airedale Terriers are not suited to apartment living as they are very active dogs, they need at least an average sized garden and long daily walks to burn off the excess energy they have, Airedales that are not exercised enough can often become bored and can find highly mischievous ways to amuse themselves. They need a lot of attention and often love to run, swim and play ball.