The Airedale Terrier originated in Yorkshire, England, and is the largest of the terrier breeds. The Airedale can weigh between 50 to 100 pounds. It is sometimes called the “King of Terriers” because of its size or the Waterside Terrier because it was originally bred to hunt otters.
The male Airedale should measure about 23 inches in height and weigh approximately 50 ““ 70 pounds; the female should be smaller. The breed has a hard, dense, wiry coat which lies close to its body. The coat is crinkly or waved, with a soft undercoat. The Airedale does not significantly shed. The tail is usually docked within five days of birth. The Airedale has the largest teeth among terriers and can therefore inflict quite a bit of pain with a bite. The coat color is a black or dark grizzle saddle with a tan head, legs and ears. The eyes are small and dark.
The Airedale is able to endure pain well enough that some illnesses can go unnoticed until it is too late. The median lifespan of the Airedale is about 11.5 years. This breed is prone to health issues such as congenital retina condition, dermatitis, and gastric torsion. The Airedale can also be affected by hip dysplasia.
The Airedale Terrier can be used as both a hunter and a working dog. It has been bred to hunt independently and therefore can be stubborn. Patience and consistency in training an Airedale is necessary and is typically rewarded with obedience. However, oftentimes, the Airedale will pick up things quickly and terminate a training session when he understands what is being taught. Despite a great deal of intelligence when it comes to training, the Airedale lacks a great deal of common sense. The breed is very loyal, loving and strong. They exhibit no lack of energy and need plenty of exercise.
The breed began in the late 1800s and was extensively used in World War I to carry messages to soldiers and transport mail. They hunted down wounded soldiers as well. Prior to the use of the German Shepherd as a law enforcement dog, the Airedale Terrier often filled this role and also did extensive search and rescue work.