The Airedale Terrier (often shortened to “Airedale”) is a breed of the terriertype that originated in Airedale, a geographic area in Yorkshire, England. It is traditionally called the “King of Terriers” because it is the largest of the terrier breeds. Bred from a Welsh Terrier and an Otterhound, the breed has also been called the Waterside Terrier, because it was bred originally to hunt otters in and around the valleys of the River Aire which runs through Airedale. In the United Kingdom this breed has also been used as a police dog.
The Airedale is the largest of the British Terriers. The American Kennel Club standard specifies a smaller dog. Larger Airedales, up to 55 kilograms (121 lb) can be found in North America. They are often called “Oorangs.” This was the name of a kennel in Ohio in the early 1900s.
They are an alert and energetic breed, “not aggressive but fearless”. It has been claimed that the large “hunting” type or Oorang Airedales are more game than the smaller “show” type Airedales. The large type are usually used for big game hunting and as family guardians or as pets, but usually do poorly in AKC conformation shows.
The Airedale can be used as a working dog and also as a hunting dog. 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.
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 sometimes be stubborn. If children and Airedale are both trained correctly, Airedales can be an excellent choice for a family dog. Airedales can do well with cats and other small animals, especially when they are raised with them.
A very hardy breed, although some may suffer from eye problems, hip dysplasia and skin infections.