Named after their place of origin in the valleys of the river Aire in England, Airedale Terrier dog breed is known for its hunting ability not only on land but also extending to water. That makes its other name, Waterside Terrier quite fitting. Being the largest among terrier breeds, it also gets the title, “King of Terriers.” Besides being excellent hunters and retrievers, they can also become good work dogs herding sheep and cattle with proper training. They also go by the name Bingley Terriers.
Airedale Terriers were bred with a view to combine the hunting abilities of both English Terrier and Otterhound parents. The terriers were already favored by Yorkshire hunters for their ability to take on preys such as foxes that were as large as themselves or even larger. They were excellent as retrievers too. Otterhounds were used for hunting otters in the river, but when these skills were added to those of the terrier, they got an excellent breed for both uses.
This dog later found favor with the general population of the Aire Valley as a family dog that would offer them protection from poachers, but at the same being not a very expensive dog to keep. They were officially bestowed with their present name in 1878. Master Brier is remembered as a champion that made the breed popular even in the US.
After World War I their popularity rose sharply in the United States, probably fueled by stories of their successful service in the battlefield as message carriers. They were used to look for injured soldiers too. Quite a few Airedales found favor with several American Presidents, and the credit of being the first dog in the white house goes to an Akita.
Measuring about 2 ft at the withers, and weighing 60-65 pounds, they are good sized dogs. Females are smaller in size. A black and tan color combination, in a characteristic pattern, is valued in this breed. They sport a black saddle while the head, limbs, and the underside of the body remain tan. They have a mixed coat of short fur and long curly hair. A soft inner coat is often present beneath the wiry outer coat.
Airedale Terrier dog breed is characterized by its boldness and intelligence. Training is important to make these stubborn, as well as adventurous, dogs into loyal and obedient companions and good guard dogs. They are playful, and when patiently trained, they make good family pets. They have a destructive streak which comes into play when the dog is bored. That makes it the wrong breed to be left indoors to guard the house when the family is away.
Grooming and exercise
These terriers need quite a bit of grooming. Their long and wiry coats have to be brushed and combed at least 3 times a week. The dog may also require a good trim every other month.
A fair amount of physical exercise and mental stimulation is necessary to keep this energetic dog in good spirits. Taking it out for long walks and some outdoor games will meet these requirements. They can remain outdoors all through the day even during winter since their thick coats offer considerable protection from the cold. However, it is better to bring them indoors at night.
Common health issues of Airedale Terrier dog breed
Serious breed-specific diseases are not very common in these tough hunting dogs used to braving the wind, rain, and cold of the English countryside. Coronary heart disease may affect some dogs. Thyroid gland problems may be present too. Airedale Terriers are among the breeds that run the risk of gastric torsion or twisting of the stomach, which is a serious condition and a medical emergency.