Dog Health & More
Known as the "King of Terriers," the Airedale is indeed the largest of all terriers. The dog breed originated in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, and was created to catch otters and rats in the region between the Aire and Wharfe Rivers. An able sporting dog, he became an ideal working dog as well, proving his worth during World War I. Intelligent, outgoing, and confident, the Airedale possesses a wonderful playful streak that delights his owners.
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During World War I, a hardy Airedale Terrier named Jack braved the battlefields to deliver a message to British headquarters. Running through a half-mile of swamp, artillery raining down on him, Jack suffered a shattered leg and broken jaw. Sadly, he passed away soon after he'd completed his mission. Incredibly, the message he was carrying saved his battalion and he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for "Gallantry in the Field." The bravery and courage exhibited by Jack holds true for today's Airedales.
Dogs like Jack were bred as a multi-purpose dog who had the keenness of a terrier, but could swim and smell prey. Airedale Terriers have the distinction of being both a sporting and working dog, and today compete in agility, obedience, and hunt tests.
They enjoy life the most when there is a job to be done, even if it is simply entertaining children, with whom he gets along splendidly. (Nevertheless, an adult should always supervise interactions between kids and dogs.)
Like all terriers, the Airedale has a penchant for digging, chasing, and barking. He is full of energy and makes an excellent jogging companion. Daily walks and romps in the yard are among his favorite activities.
You can't talk about the Airedale without mentioning his independent streak. This is an intelligent dog who thinks for himself and does not always wait for direction from his owner. If you want a highly biddable dog that awaits your every command, the Airedale Terrier is not the breed for you. However, if you are stimulated by challenge, living with an Airedale may suit you.
It's worth mentioning that the Airedale Terrier is unforgiving of any harsh treatment and will hold a grudge against the aggressor. He can be aggressive to other dogs and animals, and has a strong prey drive, which makes him difficult to handle at times. It is said that the Airedale doesn't start fights — he finishes them. Consistent, positive obedience training is a must, as is a securely fenced yard.
Not surprisingly, the Airedale is an excellent watchdog. He will protect his family from intruders with fierce and brave loyalty. However, he is friendly to invited guests in his home.
Make no mistake: The Airedale isn't all business — his flipside is comical and playful. He enjoys the company of his family, and he loves romping and playing, tossing toys, stealing dirty socks, grabbing food off the kitchen counter, and just generally creating mischief. He matures slowly, and is often puppyish well into old age.
The Airedale is a fascinating breed. He's courageous and athletic, stylish and silly. Many owners say that the only thing better than one Airedale Terrier is two.