The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®) was the first humane society to be established in North America and is, today, one of the largest in the world.
Our organization was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Headquartered in New York City, the ASPCA maintains a strong local presence, and with programs that extend our anti-cruelty mission across the country, we are recognized as a national animal welfare organization. We are a privately funded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, and are proud to boast more than 2 million supporters across the country.
The ASPCA’s mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh in 1866, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.”
The Furry Critter Network
Working Terrier Breed Description
Airedale Terrier, Bingley Terrier, Waterside Terrier
Approximately 10-12 Years
Average of 9 Puppies
AKC Terrier, Terrier
The Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA) wants you to be an informed Airedale buyer. This information has been prepared to provide a brief general description about the appearance and temperament of the properly bred Airedale Terrier. The Airedale is a medium-sized, well-boned, squarely-built dog, and at all times a terrier in appearance and attitude. He should stand alert with head and tail held high, be interested and inquisitive, and show an intelligent, steady quality. Airedales are an elegant but sturdy dog, well-balanced and square, with height at the withers being about the same as the length from the front of the shoulder to the buttock. None of the dog's features should be exaggerated. The male has a definitely masculine appearance without being "common or cloddy". The female has a feminine appearance without being fine-boned or looking the least bit fragile. The ears should be alert and the expression eager and intelligent. The tail is carried up and adult Airedales should be self-confident, unafraid of people or other dogs. Intelligent puppies may display a more cautious attitude. Airedales are more reserved in temperament than many of the other terrier breeds, but should not act in a shy or spooky manner when approached by strangers.
In North America there is a divergence of opinions on these matters, particularly with regard to size. We wish to emphasize that there is only one type or standard size of Airedale Terrier. According to the AKC standard, "Dogs should measure approximately 23 inches in height at the shoulder; bitches slightly less. Both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and boned ... An Airedale much over or under the correct size should be severely penalized (In the show ring)". The source of the diversity of opinion seems to be rooted in history. Airedales were first brought to this country from England in the early 1880's. Their exploits as determined messengers in World War I, made the Airedale a hero. Their reputation combined with their personable temperament produced a meteoric rise in popularity, and by the early 1920's, the Airedale was the most popular breed of dog in America. As a consequence, breeders more interested in money than in preservation of proper breed characteristics and standards flooded the continent with dogs of diminishing quality, widely varying sizes and notably inferior temperaments. Lovers of the breed have stood by their favorite, steadily improving breed quality over the years. Today's properly bred and cared for Airedales have all the intelligence and ability originally found in the breed, but in a more stylish, yet majestic look. He is today, more worthy than ever of his title; "King of the Terriers."
Head: Well proportioned, without wrinkles. Long, flat skull. Stop hardly visible. Flat cheeks. Powerful jaws. Tight lips.
Ears: Small, v-shaped, carried to the side of the head. Topline of folded ear should be slightly above level of the skull.
Eyes: Small, dark color. Very lively expression.
Body: Must not be too long. Muscular neck without dewlap. Chest well let down. Ribs well sprung. Muscular loin. Short, strong, straight back.
Tail: Set high, carried gaily, but not curled over the back. Typically docked.
Hair: Hard, dense, wiry, not so long as to appear shaggy. Hair is straight, dense, and lies close to the skin. Undercoat is shorter and softer.
Coat: Saddle and top of the neck and tail are black or grizzle. All other areas are tan. Ears are often darker tan and a black mixture is often found around the neck and sides of the head. Some white hairs on the front feet are permissible.
Size: Dog: approx. 58 to 61 cm (23-24 in).Bitch: approx. 56 to 59 cm 22-23 in).
Weight: Approx. 20 kg (44 lb).
Airedale, a valley in the West Riding of Yorkshire, named for the River Aire that runs through it, was the birthplace of the breed. In the mid-19th century, working-class people created the Airedale Terrier by crossing the old English rough-coated Black and Tan Terrier with the Otterhound and an assortment of other breeds. In 1886, the Kennel Club of England formally recognized the Airedale Terrier breed.
In 1864 they were exhibited for the first time at a championship dog show sponsored by the Airedale Agricultural Society. They were classified under different names, including Rough Coated, Bingley and Waterside Terrier. In 1879 breed fanciers decided to call the breed the Airedale Terrier, a name accepted by the Kennel Club (England) in 1886.
Well-to-do hunters of the era were typically accompanied by a pack of hounds and several terriers, often running them both together. The hounds would scent and pursue the quarry and the terriers would "go to ground" or enter into the quarry's burrow and make the kill. Terriers were often the sporting dog of choice for the common man. Early sporting terriers needed to be big enough to tackle the quarry, but not so big as to prevent them from maneuvering through the quarry's underground lair. As a result, these terriers had to have a very high degree of courage to face the foe in a tight, dark underground den without the help of human handlers.
During the middle of the 19th century, regular sporting events took place along the River Aire in which terriers pursued the large river rats that inhabited the area. A terrier was judged on its ability to locate a "live" hole in the riverbank and then, after the rat was driven from its hole by a ferret brought along for that purpose, the terrier would pursue the rat through water until it could make a kill. As these events became more popular, demand arose for a terrier that could excel in this activity. One such terrier was developed through judicious crossings of the Black-and-Tan Terrier and Bull and Terrier dogs popular at the time with the Otter Hound. The result was a long-legged fellow that would soon develop into the dog we recognize today as the Airedale Terrier. This character was too big to "go to ground" in the manner of the smaller working terriers; however, it was good at everything else expected of a sporting terrier, and it was particularly adept at water work. This big terrier had other talents in addition to its skill as a ratter. Because of its hound heritage it was well equipped to pick up the scent of game and due to its size, able to tackle larger animals. It became more of a multipurpose terrier that could pursue game by powerful scenting ability, be broken to gun, and taught to retrieve. Its size and temperament made it an able guardian of farm and home.
The Airedale was extensively used in World War I to carry messages to soldiers behind enemy lines and transport mail. They were also used by the Red Cross to find wounded soldiers on the battlefield. There are numerous tales of Airedales delivering their messages despite terrible injury.
Lieutenant Colonel Edwin Hautenville Richardson was responsible for the development of messenger and guard dogs in the British Army. He, along with his wife, established the British War Dog School at Shoeburyness in Essex, England. In 1916, they provided two Airedales (Wolf and Prince) for use as message carriers. After both dogs proved themselves in battle, Airedales were given more duties, such as locating injured soldiers on the battlefield, an idea taken from the Red Cross.
Before the adoption of the German Shepherd as the dog of choice for law enforcement and search and rescue work, the Airedale terrier often filled this role.
In 1906, Richardson tried to interest the British Police in using dogs to accompany officers, for protection on patrol at night. Mr. Geddes, Chief Goods Manager for Hull Docks in Yorkshire, was convinced after he went and saw the impressive work of police dogs in Belgium. Geddes convinced Superintendent Dobie of the North Eastern Railway Police, to arrange a plan for policing the docks. Airedale Terriers were selected for duty as police dogs because of their intelligence, good scenting abilities and their hard, wiry coats that were easy to maintain and clean. They were trained in Hull to attack people not in uniform which could cause problems for their handlers when off duty. The first four dogs began patrols in Hull Docks in 1908, and the scheme was later extended to other docks policed by the North Eastern Railway Police.
At the beginning of the Russo-Japanese war in 1904, the Russian embassy in London contacted Lt. Colonel Richardson for help acquiring dogs for the Russian Army, trained to take the wounded away from the battlefields. He sent terriers, mostly Airedale Terriers, for communication and sanitary services. Although these original imports perished, Airedale Terriers were reintroduced to Russia in the early 1920s for use by the Red Army. Special service dog units were created in 1923, and Airedale Terriers were used as demolition dogs, guard dogs, police tracking dogs and casualty dogs.
After the First World War, the Airedales' popularity rapidly increased thanks to stories of their bravery on the battlefield and also because Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding owned Airedales. President Harding's Airedale, Laddie Boy, was the "first celebrity White House pet". President Harding had a special chair hand carved for him to sit on at very important Cabinet meetings. In the 1920s, the Airedale became the most popular breed in the USA.
This rustic breed is strong, energetic, and full of life. Possessing legendary courage, the speedy Airedale Terrier is always on the alert. He forms a close bond with his owner and is gentle with children. The breed can be dominant, even aggressive with other dogs. The Airedale Terrier has many skills. He is a strong swimmer and is used to hunt ducks and otters as well as boar and deer. He will also valiantly protect his owner and his property. As a working dog, this breed serves in the army and works with police as well as search and rescue teams.
If the Airedale Terrier is to be kept as a house dog, he must have long walks every day. Brushing two times per week is required. This breed should be professionally groomed three times per year.
The Airedale can be used as a working dog and also as a hunter. Airedales exhibit some herding characteristics as well, and have a propensity to chase animals. They have no problem working with cattle and livestock. However, an Airedale that is not well trained will agitate and annoy the animals. Strong-willed, with the tenacity commonly seen in terriers, the Airedale is a formidable opponent.
The Airedale Terrier, like most Terriers, has been bred to hunt independently. As a result, the dog is very intelligent, independent, strong-minded, stoic, and can be stubborn. The Airedale is a dog with a great sense of humour. For those who can laugh along with their Airedale, the dog can provide a unique and entertaining company. For those who don't appreciate being outsmarted by their dog, owning an Airedale can be a trying experience. Patience and consistency in training will be rewarded as the Airedales have been known to reach great heights in competitive obedience, dog agility, and Schutzhund. Airedales can often be difficult to train. Being smart, Airedales pick up what is wanted from them very quickly; being smart, they do not want to keep repeating what they learned and can try to terminate a training session at the point when they "got it". Changing the routine at this point or taking a play-break is much more productive than trying to force the Airedale to continue as they are a stubborn bunch. Airedales require constant reinforcement, or they may decide to start ignoring commands. When training is resumed, they can quickly recover their acceptance of the command. Airedales are a stoic and intrepid breed and as a result, young Airedales exhibit a general lack of common sense and require training. For the same reasons, they need socializing with other dogs early.
They are also very loving, always in the middle of the family activities. Airedales are also known for expressing exactly what they are thinking, unlike more aloof breeds. The Airedale is also a reliable and protective family pet. Airedales are exceedingly loyal and strong dogs; there is one story of an Airedale taking down a bear to protect its master. They are very energetic, and need plenty of exercise.
Airedale Terriers in UK, USA, and Canadian surveys had a median lifespan of about 11.5 years, which is similar to other breeds of their size.
In a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (39.5%), old age (14%), urologic (9%), and cardiac (7%). In a 2000–2001 USA/Canada Health Survey, the most common causes of death were cancer (38%), urologic (17%), old age (12%), and cardiac (6%). A very hardy breed, although some may suffer from eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections.
Airedales can be affected by hip dysplasia. Like most terriers, they have a propensity towards dermatitis. Skin disorders may go unnoticed in Airedales, because of their hard, dense, wiry coats. Itchy skin may be manifest as acral lick dermatitis (also known as lick granuloma; caused by licking one area excessively) or acute moist dermatitis or "hot spots" (an oppressively itchy, inflamed and oozing patch of skin, made worse by intense licking and chewing). Allergies, dietary imbalances, and under/over-productive thyroid glands are the main causes of skin conditions.
An Airedale's coat was originally designed to protect the dog from its predators—the coat was designed to come out in the claws of the predator the dog was designed to hunt, leaving the dog unharmed. Because of this, some forms of skin dermatitis can respond to hand stripping the coat. Clipping the coat cuts the dead hair, leaving dead roots within the hair follicles. It is these dead roots which can cause skin irritations. However, hand stripping removes these dead roots from the skin and stimulates new growth.
Gastric dilatation volvulus, also known as bloat, affects Airedale Terriers. The stomach can twist and block the esophagus, causing a buildup of gas and leading to cardiovascular collapse and death. Signs of bloat include gastric distress (stomach pain), futile attempts at vomiting, and increased salivation. Bloat usually occurs when the dog is exercised too soon after eating. They will eat up to 4-6 cups of food at a time.
Due to the breed's stoic nature, injuries can go unnoticed for a time as the dog will not give obvious signs of pain or distress like whining. For example, the first indication of a cut on the foot might be limping or favoring that foot a few days after the actual injury, so owners should be aware of their pets usual movement to spot irregularities. Excessive licking of a spot may also indicate a problem other than the skin conditions listed above.
"Don't Shop ... Please Adopt"
If you can’t find the pet you’re looking for on Petfinder, don’t give up. Some shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds, so don’t be afraid to ask! There are also breed-specific rescues for just about every breed, and most of them post their pets on Petfinder. (Petfinder can even e-mail you when a pet that fits your criteria is posted — just click “Save this Search” at the top of your search results page.)
Jeff Gold, Founder, Rescue Me! Animal Rescue Network
Jeff Gold lives in Watkinsville, Georgia on the same property as Rescue Me's Animal Rehabilitation Center, with 18 rescue animals. Shown with him in the photo to the left are Maggie, Izzie and Cortez. In 2003, after learning there was nobody doing boxer rescue work in Georgia, Gold founded Boxertown, an organization which helped find homes for over 500 boxers during its first two years. Based upon this success, Gold came up with the vision for Rescue Me! ― a network which helps all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals find good homes, anywhere in the world. RescueShelter.com is also a free service of Rescue Me! and provides the world's largest and most up-to-date directory of animal rescue organizations for all breeds of dogs, cats and other animals, including a comprehensive directory of wildlife rehabilitators in over 150 countries.