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Is An Airedale For You?

There are more than 100 varieties of purebred dogs recognized by the American Kennel Club. Choosing one to suit your particular needs can be difficult. The following information may help you determine if an Airedale is the dog for you.

Although the Airedale's virtues are many and its faults few, Airedales are not for everyone. While not considered large dogs, their exuberance, strength and determination can make them a handful.

Like many breeds, Airedales seem to do best when they are a regular part of the family, not totally relegated to the outdoors. A fenced yard is almost a necessity.

Airedales are said to be born mischief-makers. While not malicious, they enjoy a good time and may entertain themselves for hours at your expense. Airedales are quite intelligent and can work successfully at obedience if proper motivational training methods are used.

Upkeep for an Airedale is similar to most breeds: daily food and water, routine vaccinations and preventative medications, such as heartworm and parasite control. In addition, the Airedale's non-shedding coat will require periodic grooming. In most cases, you can do the grooming yourself. Many breeders will gladly teach you the basic steps or direct you to grooming services.

Airedales come in a range of temperaments and attitudes. Be honest with breeders about your expectations, your facilities and your needs. They will help you determine if an Airedale is right for you and can help match one to your home.

Characteristics of the Breed

The Airedale is a medium-sized dog -- the largest and hardiest of the terrier family. According to American Kennel Club breed standards, male Airedales should measure approximately 23 inches in height at the shoulder with bitches (females) slightly less. For their size, Airedales have a good deal of solid heft with very little unneeded bulk. While there are no weight standards, a typical female will weigh about 45 to 55 pounds, and a large male with good proportion can exceed 24 inches and 65 pounds.

Terriers are essentially "varmint dogs," small in stature, intelligent, fearless and tenacious. The word "terrier" is derived from the Latin word "terra" meaning "earth." Their specialty -- to seek out rodent or predator prey and drive them below ground -- was very useful in days gone by. Through careful breeding, this developed skill became a natural instinct.

In fact, Airedales have been referred to as the “original and still the only three in one gun dog.” They can be trained to hunt for fur like hounds, hunt waterfowl like retrievers or hunt upland birds like spaniels.

As an all around useful dog, the Airedale has no superior. Airedales are extremely adaptable and, through a keen intelligence and great desire to please, can be taught to handle a number of different jobs that are usually done by specialized breeds. In one dog you will find a good-tempered baby sitter, an affectionate and protective companion, a performance dog to show in obedience and or agility or an adaptive

and eager hunter.