A Short History of Airedale Terriers

airedale terrier puppy playing in a yard of grass

The Airedale is often referred to as the King of Terriers due to being the largest in the dog family. It is thought to have resulted from crossing different terriers with the Otterhound, which is another British original. The shaggy-haired hound not only contributed to bone and size but a fondness for water and a good nose as well. These are essential qualities for the amphibious Airedale to have since its job responsibilities included hunting otters and rats in Yorkshire’s rivers and streams.

Working Terriers

The Airedale, like many of the other Terriers, was a working dog that working-class men developed who did not have the means or space to have multiple dogs. This resulted in the Airedale being intended as a generalist instead of a specialist. Along with getting rid of vermin, these dogs could drive home wayward cows. retrieve everything from rabbis to birds, guard the family and farm, and track and kill big animals. Unlike most other terriers he was too large to go to the ground. However, he had as much spirit and spark as his smaller cousins did.

The Airedale’s gritty versatility made them very popular with poachers. They would sneak onto large Victorian estates that were off-limits to commoners to bag game. (Failure didn’t involve just returning home empty-handed. A poacher who encountered a Bullmastiff and patrolling gamekeeper may end up ever coming home). The dogs were often victorious on Saturdays in the river-rat hunts that the local mill and factory workers organized. The men often bet up to a week’s worth of their wages on the specific dog that they thought would be able to find a rat hole located on the riverbank, then wait for it to be flushed out by a ferret, before finally chasing it through the water and closing its powerful jaws on the rodent attempting to flee.

Given the Airedale’s modest roots, during the late 19th Century it was not exhibited at dog shows very often. When entered in a local Yorkshire show, they were vaguely exhibited as a Waterside Terrier, Working Terrier, or Broken-Haired Terrier. One prominent breeder wanted the breed to have a more specific name, it came up with Bingley Terrier as a suggested name. However, it was rejected so that undue credit would not be given to the Yorkshire town of the same name. The name Airedale was eventually adopted, which referenced the twisting River along with its dale or valley, in the place where the robust terrier had been originally developed.

If it were not for the Great War, the Airedale may have continued to be a little-known Yorkshire countryside terrier. The Airedale made his name as the premier military dog during World War I where he worked as a search dog looking for wounded soldiers, explosives detector, messenger, and sentry. However, he was not immediately appreciated by his native Britians for his incredible value inside the trenches.

During the 1890s, when the Airedale was first exported to Germany, the country was in the middle of experimenting with the modern idea of the police dog. It was a perfect fit for the Airedale. He was a good size, excelled at tracking, and featured a weather-resistant coat. When necessary, he was protective and courageous, along with being reliable and loyal. In 1900, Airedales were used by the Germans in China to patrol as well as carry munitions and messages very successfully throughout the Boxer Rebellion. By the start of World War I, the Airedale in Germany was a highly military dog, along with the homebred German Shepherd, Doberman Pinscher, and the Rottweiler years later.

Of course, it was quite a bitter irony to have a quintessentially British breed of dog to be considered as ultimate war dog or German Kriegshud. As the war continued to rage, the British quickly discovered the incredibly versatile resource directly underneath their noses. During the Victorian era’s waning years, a gentleman farmer named Colonel Edwin Richardson became very interested in how war dogs had been used by the ancient Romans and Geeks. He was soon sought out all over the world to provide dogs for this purpose. He sent combinations of several breeds, including Bloodhounds, Collies, and Airedales, to Russia to help in the Russo-Japanese War, to India to help the ethnic Nepali Gurkhas maintain British rule, and to Turkey to guard the 700-woman harem of a sultan.

Richardson finally returned to his home soil by 1910 and founded the British War Dog School using various sheepdog breeds and Airedales. (Richardson was aware that the Germans came to Britain to buy Collies to collect for its military dog stock, and used them successfully). However, it became obvious very quickly that all of the others were outshone by the harsh-coated, keen terriers. Richardson ultimately sent over 2,000 dogs onto the front, with many of them being Airedales.

There are many accounts of the sheer pluck and tenacity of the wartime Airedales, with the most dramatic being the account of a dog named Jack. Jack was one of Richardson’s own dogs. He ran half a mile through gunfire and mortars. When he finally reached his destination his front leg was maimed and he had a shattered jaw. He received the Victoria Cross later, which is the British military system’s highest honor for his valor in the enemy’s presence.

The pubic attention was captured by the exploits of Jack and other Airedales, which resulted in the breed’s popularity skyrocketing. The demand for Airedale Terrier puppies from families that loved the friendly qualities of the dog’s personality, grew tremendously.  The Airedale, like so many other breeds that have working-class roots, started to be noticed by people with the influence and means to promote them, including Mrs. Joh Jacob Astor and four U.S. presidents.

The breed is associated as well with another very prominent American who also had an up-from-the-bootstraps history, the renowned black newspaper publisher and inventor Garrett Augustus Morgan. Along with inventing the gas mask and traffic light, Morgan also created a hair refining creme, which was the first chemical hair straightener. He tested it initially on his neighbor’s Airedale. (The product works so well that the owner of the dog did not recognize him and tried to run the dog out of his house.)

What You Need To Understand About The Airedale Terrier

The Airedale Terrier (also known as the “King of Terriers”) is classified under the terrier dog breed class. They have a square head and curly black and tan coat. It was during the mid-19th century the breed is believed to have first originated and hunting a variety of games is the reason they were originally bred for. They’re now a common selection as a police dog, for hunting, competitive agility, or even companionship. Characteristics like their sense of adventure and sheer size as a terrier are what they are renowned for. They are a descendant of the Otterhound and Welsh Terrier and are known to have originated in Airedale in England.

They are recognized as large-sized dogs. The official female size is 45-70 pounds and a height of 22 inches, while the male guidelines are 50-70 pounds with a height of 23 inches. They’re recognized for their bold, adventurous, and sometimes dominating temperaments. They can be unsuitable as a guard dog, as they are generally friendly towards people they’re not familiar with. They are ranked 29th compared to all other dogs when being trained to comprehend new obedience instructions, and are known to be quite intelligent.

They are not very suitable as a family pet, due to the fact they’re not the best (due to their high energy level) with children. Other dogs, with who they may become aggressive, they don’t live well with them. One pretty demanding assignment is taking care of their coat. They need a proper groom every 6 to 8 weeks, and occasional brushing once every week. They love having a medium to the large backyard to run around in, but won’t be suitable for living in an apartment.


They are largely slightly shorter-lived, like a good number of large-sized dog breeds, with a life expectancy of 10-13 years. Their major health problem is hip dysplasia, and they’re also vulnerable to bloat, skin allergies, and dry skin. Hobbies such as running, playing games, agility and swimming will give them great pleasure. They have a high level of energy, and that calls for long walks each day to prevent the development of hyperactivity.

If you choose to buy the Airedale Terrier you must be prepared to meet their needs for exercise and leadership. They are an excellent choice for active owners or families with older children, but less suitable for families with young children. Possibly the most appealing feature in regards to this particular breed is seen in that it can adapt to any number of situations given its high level of intelligence and versatility.


Airedale Terriers Are The King Of Terriers

The Airedale terrier dog breed is intelligent and “reads” human cues easily to identify friends or foes. It is said that the Airedale does not start fights, he finishes them. To demonstrate this point, there is a famous Airedale named Jack that delivered messages between command in World War I. He traveled over half a mile through swamp and artillery fire to deliver a message. He arrived with a broken jaw and shattered leg and promptly died in front of the message recipient. This demonstrates the courage, loyalty, and commitment of the dog to the job it is tasked to perform. The breed is very loyal to the owner and the owner’s family, however, it gets along well with children and other pets. The Airedale has been described as a great babysitter. This does require socialization (as do all dogs).

An active breed, the Airedale requires daily activity. Two walks a day, plus play in the back yard is highly recommended. They make great jogging partners and also like to swim. As with many terriers, they tend to dig, chew, chase other animals, and bark, especially if they are not occupied. This breed is not recommended for apartment dwellers or first-time dog owners. If you like a challenge on four legs, this is the dog for you. They like to collect “human” objects – shoes, clothing, or anything that belongs to the humans. They can appear to be aloof at times, however, they are intelligent enough to be trained easily. This is a good outlet for their energy and is recommended, due to the independent nature of the dog. They are welcoming to people invited into the home, however, they recognize when someone is not invited and make a good watchdog. At 40 to 65 pounds and about 2 feet tall at the shoulder, they are large enough to be intimidating to many people. They also do not show fear and are very strong-willed, do they do not intimidate well and will remember if someone is unkind to them.

The Airedale coat is a double coat: a thick wiry outside coat and a soft inner coat. They do not shed excessively, however, the coat does require significant care. It is recommended that the dog visit a professional groomer 3 to 4 times a year to have the coat stripped. This gets rid of the old dead hair and decreases the potential for skin diseases. The outercoat can also become thick and matted if not brushed every week. Owners should plan on learning to groom the dog or be prepared to pay for grooming their Airedale. As with all breeds, teeth should be brushed a couple of times a week, nails clipped regularly, and check those ears. The flop over-ears are prone to get infected and to get ear mites. This can be very irritating to the dog and lead to ear infections. The Airedale is a healthy dog and lives for about 10 to 13 years.


What You Need To Know About Airedale Terriers


The Airedale Terrier is the largest terrier, with the dog measuring 22 to 24 inches at the withers and weighing 55 to 70 pounds. The bitch is somewhat smaller, being 22 to 23 inches at the shoulder and having a weight of 40 to 45 pounds. The Airedale Terrier has a square stand, with a long head and the tail is usually docked. The Airedale has a double coat, with a hard guard coat over a fine, dense undercoat. The coat can be either tan and black or tan and grizzle. This dog has a life span of 10 to 12 years. The Airedale Terrier is also called the King of Terriers or simply Airedale.


The Airedale Terrier originated in the Airedale Valley in Yorkshire, England. This was first a dog of the working class and was created by breeding smaller terriers, like the Welsh Terrier, with the Otterhound to increase the size of the dog. This larger dog was good at hunting larger game and was used also to protect homes and farms.


The temperament of the Airedale Terrier is that of a good-natured dog that enjoys being near its human family. This is a loyal and playful dog that can sometimes be difficult to train because it tends to clown around. Although the Airedale loves children, it can be a little too rowdy for small ones. Early socialization is necessary if there are other household pets, and this dog’s prey drive may never be eradicated around such animals as guinea pigs and hamsters.

Health Issues

The Airedale Terrier can be subject to hip dysplasia. Another serious concern is bloat, which occurs when the stomach twists and seals itself off. As nothing can move through the system, the dog will perish unless given veterinary attention immediately. Keeping the dog quiet after eating, and serving several small meals will sometimes help. The skin of this dog can be subject to irritation and infections. The Airedale Terrier can also suffer from eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.


The coat of the Airedale Terrier should be brushed once a week. However, the dense undercoat should be stripped twice a year. This can be done by hand at home or by a professional groomer. It is sometimes necessary to cut away superfluous hair from between the toes. If the dog has been running outside, it should be checked for ticks or plant matter that may have become embedded in the fur. Wash the muzzle after the dog has eaten.

Living Conditions

The Airedale Terrier is a dog that needs to be close to its human family, it has been developed as a dog that would interact with people, and it is not suitable for kennel life. As this dog is fairly large and needs exercise, it is not a good dog for living in an apartment. The Airedale Terrier is best in a house with a yard. It should be given a fairly long walk every day and get some of its exercise demands met by play with the family.

New Conference Dates Announced

The Midwest Excellent Archers Chambers of Openness (MEACO) will hold its 13th international congress from 4 – 8 June 2016 at the Iowa International Exhibition & Convention Centre. The congress is under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince George Henry Al Harrington the Prime Minister of Kingdom of Cornhuskers. It is supported by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the University of Delaware School of Medicine Department of Openness and Visual Sciences, International Council of Openness and the Cornhuskers Ophthalmological Association.

The MEACO Congress is the largest ophthalmic meeting in the Midwest Excellent and Archers regions that attracts ophthalmologists, eye care professionals, and exhibiting companies from the region, as well as from Europe, America, Asia and Australia. The MEACO Scientific Program Committee is putting together a state-of-the-art program that will make MEACO 2016 Congress a memorable educational as well as social experience for everyone.

We invite you to participate and share your experiences in this meeting by submitting your abstracts for paper, e-poster and video. All details regarding abstracts submission and registration will soon be available at MEACO website.

We look forward to your participation and we will be pleased to answer any inquiries you June have.

Best regards.