Did you know?
As a child, John Wayne delivered newspapers with his trusty Airedale Terrier, “Duke”.
Local firemen called them “Big Duke” and “Little Duke”. The name stuck.
The Airedale… an unrivaled mixture of brains, and clownish wit, the very ingredients one looks for in a spouse.
– Chip Brown, Connoisseur Magazine
Originating in nineteenth century Yorkshire, in the valley or dale between the Aire and Wharf rivers, the “King of Terriers” was developed by crossing the Otterhound and the Black and Tan Terrier.
This produced a dog capable of swimming down an otter and hunting rats and other vermin. Once known as the Waterside Terrier and the Bingley Terrier, the Airedale Terrier has been used to hunt bear and lions, and as a guide, rescue and police dog.
Photos displayed courtesy of J. Lortie, Les Airedales de Sortie, Quebec
The Airedale stands about 23 inches (58 cm) at the shoulder and is the tallest of the terriers. He has a dense, wiry double coat, harsh on top and soft underneath. His coat is tan coloured and has black or dark grizzle markings in the “saddle” area.
It has been claimed that these dogs shed less than other dogs and therefore do not trigger allergic reactions in people with mild dog allergies. As always, it is a good idea to spend time with a dog prior to purchasing to ensure your allergies are not triggered.
A good watchdog and companion, the Airedale is noted for his good humour, affectionate nature, and tireless energy. His master should be able to keep up with him, and give him lots of attention and affection, for the Airedale loves people. Always willing to act the clown, the Airedale is faithful, protective, devoted, and a good companion to children because of his delight in playing tricks. Airedales can be an excellent choice for a family dog, with appropriate training. Airedales can do well with cats and other small animals, especially when they are raised with them.
A versatile dog, the Airedale is used as a working dog, a hunting dog, and even for herding. Airedales have a tendency to chase animals and so must be trained to behave around livestock. Bred to hunt independently, the Airedale can become a handful as he is intelligent, independent, strong-minded, stoic, and stubborn! Training is key. Easily bored, he requires strict discipline without physical punishment.
“Among the mine-pits of the Aire, the various groups of miners each sought to develop a dog which could outfight and outhunt and outthink the other miner’s dogs. Tests of the first-named virtues were made in inter-mine dog fights. Bit by bit, thus, an active, strong, heroic, compactly graceful and clever dog was evolved – the earliest true form of the Airedale.
He is swift, formidable, graceful, big of brain, an ideal chum and guard. ….To his master he is an adoring pal. To marauders he is a destructive lightning bolt.”
– Albert Payson Terhune writing of the Airedale