Country of Origin: England
Date of Origin: 1800s
First Use: Hunting
* Dogworld, September, 2001
The Airedale Terrier is an aristocratic guardian of estates, exuberant otter hunter and family friend. This canine jack of all trades combines the tenacity of a terrier with the companionability of a retriever. Keep in mind this is a strong-willed, energetic breed with a mind of its own.
Compared with many dogs, the Airedale is a relatively young breed. This giant terrier was conceived in the mid-1800's in the Valley of the Aire in West Riding, Yorkshire, in England.
The breed was first called the Waterside Terrier, then the Bingley Terrier, after a town in the district. This brought an uproar in the surrounding towns. Around 1880 the breed was finally dubbed the "Airedale Terrier".
With the Airedale's acceptance into the Kennel Club, breeders worked to improve its conformation and showmanship, while maintaining the breed's temperament and working ability. The first Airedale, Bruce, arrived in the United States in 1881 and within 10 years the breed had won a place in American dog fanciers' hearts.
Airedales' exploits in World War I are legendary. They were often used as messengers, and are unparalleled in their ability to deliver information across swampy terrain. They also were used by the Red Cross to carry brandy and bandages to wounded men in the field. Some even carried pieces of soldiers' uniforms back to base, then lead rescuers to the downed men. The United States took advantage of the Airedale's talents during World War II, when an Airedale member of the first platoon of the American Canine Corps was said to be so intelligent and proficient that he took the place of five men on guard duty.
The Airedale's heroic toughness appealed to men who loved dogs, but the breed also caught the eye of many women of the day, who were drawn by his regal good looks, sweet temperament and innate desire to guard home and family. An Airedale, Laddie Boy, was a companion to President Warren Harding, living in the White House, had his own personal chair and attended cabinet meetings.
The Airedale has a muscular body and smooth, free movement of a hunting dog. They are an impressive swimmer, and their hard, dense, wiry coat is considered an asset when hunting in chilly waters. The outer coat is complemented by a soft undercoat that keeps the dog warm in all kinds of weather. This breed is generally of good health but tend to be stoic, ignoring and/or hiding pain from their humans.*
World War I Messenger
Soldier and Airedale
Major Roland F. Wooten USAAF w/ Sgt. Monk Hunter
(the Major's Airedale)
First Lady with Laddie Boy
Laddie Boy being shown his White House portrait
World War II British War Dog
About the Airedale Terrier