Airedale Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight

Airedale Terrier Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.


Let’s Talk Breed Education!

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Official Standard of the Airedale Terrier Head: Should be well balanced with little apparent difference between the length of skull and foreface. Skull: Should be long and flat, not too broad between the ears and narrowing very slightly to the eyes. Scalp should be free from wrinkles, stop hardly visible and cheeks level and free from fullness. Ears: Should be V-shaped with carriage rather to the side of the head, not pointing to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. The topline of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull. Foreface: Should be deep, powerful, strong and muscular. Should be well filled up before the eyes. Eyes: Should be dark, small, not prominent, full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence. Lips: Should be tight. Nose: Should be black and not too small. Teeth: Should be strong and white, free from discoloration or defect. Bite either level or vise- like. A slightly overlapping or scissors bite is permissible without preference. Neck: Should be of moderate length and thickness gradually widening towards the shoulders. Skin tight, not loose. Shoulders and Chest: Shoulders long and sloping well into the back. Shoulder blades flat. From the front, chest deep but not broad. The depth of the chest should be approximately on a level with the elbows. Body : Back should be short, strong and level. Ribs well sprung. Loins muscular and of good width. There should be but little space between the last rib and the hip joint. Hindquarters : Should be strong and muscular with no droop. Tail: The root of the tail should be set well up on the back. It should be carried gaily but not curled over the back. It should be of good strength and substance and of fair length. Legs: Forelegs should be perfectly straight, with plenty of muscle and bone. Elbows should be perpendicular to the body, working free of sides. Thighs should be long and powerful with muscular second thigh, stifles well bent, not turned either in or out, hocks well let down parallel with each other when viewed from behind. Feet should be small, round and compact with a good depth of pad, well cushioned; the toes moderately arched, not turned either in or out. Coat: Should be hard, dense and wiry, lying straight and close, covering the dog well over the body and legs. Some of the hardest are crinkling or just slightly waved. At the base of the hard very stiff hair should be a shorter growth of softer hair termed the undercoat. Color: The head and ears should be tan, the ears being of a darker shade than the rest. Dark markings on either side of the skull are permissible. The legs up to the thighs and elbows and the under-part of the body and chest are also tan and the tan frequently runs into the shoulder. The sides and upper parts of the body should be black or dark grizzle. A red mixture is often found in

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the black and is not to be considered objectionable. A small white blaze on the chest is a characteristic of certain strains of the breed. Size: Dogs should measure approximately 23 inches in height at the shoulder; bitches, slightly less. Both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and boned. Movement: Movement or action is the crucial test of conformation. Movement should be free. As seen from the front the forelegs should swing perpendicular from the body free from the sides, the feet the same distance apart as the elbows. As seen from the rear the hind legs should be parallel with each other, neither too close nor too far apart, but so placed as to give a strong well-balanced stance and movement. The toes should not be turned either in or out. Faults: Yellow eyes, hound ears, white feet, soft coat, being much over or under the size limit, being undershot or overshot, having poor movement, are faults which should be severely penalized. Scale of Points Head Neck, shoulders and chest Body Hindquarters and tail Legs and feet Coat Color Size Movement General characteristics and expression Total 10 10 10 10 10 10 5 10 10 15 100

Approved July 14, 1959


O ften, the Airedale Terrier is referred to as the “King of Terriers”. What does this expression mean? Is it about size or is it about other traits? Many peo- ple think that the word “king” refers to size—specifically that the Airedale is the tallest and/or bulkiest of the breeds in the Terrier Group. Others insist that the expression “King of Terriers” refers to the attitude or self–confidence of the Airedale Terrier. Actually, the answer is that both the standard specified height of the Airedale and his typical confident attitude combine to elevate him to his royal position. From the earliest references to height in English and American breed standards, the Airedale is noted to be about 23 inches tall. While many early breed standards reference weight, the book, Our Friend the Airedale (1933) quoted the Midland Counties [Eng- land] Airedale Terrier Club standard:

“Height about 23 in. to 24 in. for dogs… bitches 22 in. to 23 in.” At this height, the Midland County Standard further specified that “45 lbs is considered the weight of the dog, bitches slightly less—dogs weighting a pound or two over this weight to have preference to those weighing under 45 lb.” In Ameri- ca, the Airedale Terrier breed standard published in 1941 indicates the desired height to be “approximately 23 inches at the shoulder; bitches slightly less.” The American standard was updated in 1959 and remains in place today. It continues to specify height as “approxi- mately 23 inches at the shoulder; bitch- es slightly less.” At the breed standard specified size, the Airedale is the tallest terrier, the “King” of dogs in the Terrier Group. The Terrier breeds closest in height would be the Kerry Blue Terrier (18–19 ½ for a dog and 17 ½ –19 inches for a bitch) or the American Staffordshire

Terrier at “18–19 inches at the shoul- ders for the male and 17–18 inches for the female.” Clearly, if the breeds in the group ring are at their specified heights, the Airedale Terrier will be 3–4 inches taller than any other terrier in the ring. So, if a 23 inch tall Airedale is a King, is a 25 or 26–inch dog more royal? It is very important for the judge to note that the Airedale Terrier breed standard does not give “bonus points” for extra height and in fact, the standard speci- fies that “being much over or under the size limit…is a fault that should be severely penalized.” Variation in height has always existed and there have been periods of favor for smaller or larger Airedales in conformation judging but the standard has remained unchanged on the proper size for the breed. From the earliest books about the breed, it has also been noted that as size increased, the type was often sacrificed. Hol- land Buckley author of The Airedale


Terrier (4th edition 1913), “The very easiest point of all to obtain is size, and the hardest point, quality. I have never yet known a lasting front ranker who was a big one. “In 1919 RM Palmer, author of All About Airedales (ninth edition, 1919) noted, “A large sized Aire- dale too easily tends to undue length of body, a homely coarseness of head and a plodding action”. Author Gladys Edward Brown ( The Complete Airedale , 1962) remarked, “The standard states that the ideal Airedale should be approximately 23 inches in height but actually a dog measuring this height looks rather small today, the average ranging from 23 ½ to slightly over 24 with an occasional “big ‘un” going 24 ½ . …when an Airedale gets close to 25–inch mark he is really a whooper. Most of the truly tall ones, however, are inclined to be rangey and light in substance, usually lacking in Terrier type as well.” While the Airedale is the tallest Ter- rier in the Group, he is not the bulkiest Terrier. The Airedale Terrier standard does not provide weight information but does specify that “both sexes should be sturdy, well muscled and boned.” The standard describes the body as follows, “From the front, chest deep but not broad,” and the illustrated standard clar- ifies that “seen from the front, the sides of the shoulders are relatively flat and moderately narrow.” This contrasts with

other large Terriers such as the America Staffordshire Terrier with a chest that is specified to be “deep and broad.” The Bull Terrier standard requires that the “chest should be broad when viewed from the front and there should be great depth from withers to brisket.” It would not be uncommon for either or both the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Bull Terrier to weigh more that the Airedale Terrier in the ring. So “King of the Terriers” is not about bulk. Attitude is of major importance in the Airedale Terrier. The breed stan- dard provides no information regarding the desired demeanor for the Airedale but the Illustrated Standard of the Airedale Terrier (2010) does provide information as follows. “As the largest terrier, the Airedale should reflect the ‘King of Terrier’ status with an alert and self-confident demeanor. His head and tail are held high and he is interested in and inquisitive of all situations. He is intelligent and steady and is unafraid of strangers and self-assured in the pres- ence of other dogs.” The personality of the Airedale has been noted from the early 1900s. William Bruette ( The Airedale—His- tory, Breeding, Training , 1916) writes, “…there is something about him strong- ly attractive. It rests in his air of confi- dence and the suggestions of unlimited possibilities…He is the most intelligent

of companions, the biggest and best of Terriers…He is bright, tireless, energet- ic and lively.” RM Palmer noted in 1919 that the Yorkshire men who created the breed wanted in their dog “a keen–bit- ten all–Terrier dog, one that would never flinch in a pinch”. And as we have all heard, in The Airedale for Work and Show (1921) author AF Hochwalt points out that the Airedale “could do anything any other dog can do and then lick the other dog.” Gladys Edward Brown describes the Airedale Terrier as follows. “Tem- perament is completely ignored in the Airedale Standard. Consequently, only a judge’s conscience stops him from putting up a beautiful but shy dog over a bold but less glamorous individual. Although Airedale temperament is less volatile than that of the smallest Terri- ers, a dog should show plenty of ‘Ter- rier Fire’ in the show ring even though it is tempered somewhat by the dignity native to a big dog. The Airedale should show with animation, but without row- dyism or savagery. He should not be meek, but, above all, he must not be shy.” All of these comments help paint the picture of an alert, confident dog standing his ground projecting ener- gy and spirit. A dog that is not shy or aggressive but self-assured—the King of Terriers!”


3. The biggest problem facing you as a breeder. Airedales tend to be easy whelpers and good mothers with an average litter size of about eight pups. There are plentiful fans of the breed to provide loving, high quality pet homes. The biggest challenge of breeding Airedales is to achieve all the desired details specified in the standard. 4. Advice to a new breeder? Find a good mentor and listen to them carefully. Stay off of social media with lots of advice that may or may not be accurate. Realize that achieving your goals will take time. Avoid quick fixes that will leave new problems behind. Realize that maternal ability is passed to the next generation. Think twice about breeding a daughter of a poor mother. 5. Advice to a new judge of your breed? Please look for self confident dogs that show themselves and demonstrate terrier energy and personality. Realize that Airedale ears are mobile. Please spar Airedales to see them at their best.

I live in Selbyville Delaware, 20 minutes from Ocean City Maryland—a nice small town in the country. I am retired after 45 years as an executive in hospital and hospice admin- istration. I am a Registered Nurse by background. 1. Your opinion of the current quality of purebred dogs in general, and your breed in particular. In general both purebred dogs and Airedale Terriers are in good shape. Speaking specifically about Airedales, the breed is in good health, has generally good temperaments and is doing well in the hands of a small group of very dedicated breeders. 2. The biggest concern you have about your breed, be it medical, structural, temperament-wise, or what. Some breed standard points to keep at the forefront of atten- tion include size (standard specifies 23”); head planes and length of loin. I am also concerned that judges are forgetting the importance of a proper coat prepared in the traditional fashion of hand stripping with enough back coat to make a true assessment of quality.



Edited By Scott Boeving

Part 1 A Tool for Judges: Newly Revised Airedale Terrier Illustrated Standard By ATCA Illustrated Committee with April Clyde, President Th e Airedale Terrier Club of America (ATCA) has long recognized that that conformation judges can benefit from breed specific information that expands on the content contained in the o ffi cial breed standard. To help judges acquire this addi- tional information, ATCA o ff ers several options. Formal Judges Education Semi- nars are provided regularly throughout the country and informal ringside men- toring opportunities are readily available at regional and national Airedale Terrier specialty shows . Information about these sessions can be obtained from the club sec- retary whose contact information is found on the ATCA website at Another excellent source of breed spe- cific information is provided by the ATCA publication “ Th e Illustrated Standard of the Airedale Terrier 2012” Th is recently released booklet replaces the original Illus- trated Standard and contains information about desired and undesired breed charac- teristics; pictures and illustrations of Aire- dale Terriers. Within the next few months, copies will be mailed to all approved and provisional Airedale Terrier judges. Th is article o ff ers a preview of the Illustrated Standard and contains pages from the publication on key breed points includ- ing overall breed description; information about head, skull and ear; and information about size and movement. Th e Airedale is a medium-sized, well- boned dog, and at all times a terrier in appearance and attitude. He is a well-

balanced, square dog with height at the withers being about the same as the length from shoulder point to buttock – appear- ing neither short in the front legs nor high in the rear. None of the dog’s features is exaggerated-the general impression is one of moderation blending sturdiness and elegance (neither Welsh Terrier nor Wire Fox Terrier in appearance). Th e male has a masculine appearance without being “common” and the female has a feminine appearance without being fine-boned or looking the least bit fragile. “Bitchiness” in dogs and “dogginess” in bitches is most undesirable. As the largest terrier, the Aire- dale should reflect the “King of the Ter- rier” status with an alert and self-confident demeanor. His head and tail are held high and he is interested in and inquisitive of all situations. He is intelligent and steady and is unafraid of strangers and self-assured in the presence of other dogs. Structure and attitude can be best eval- uated by a controlled “spar” of two or three dogs at a time with enough space between them so they remain on four feet with their necks arched and ears alert. Th e spar a ff ords the judge the opportunity to evalu- ate the topline, tailset, ear carriage and attitude. Th is impression is only revealed during the spar and cannot be duplicated by stacking or baiting the Airedale. Th e

spar should be a mandatory component of judging at specialties and when entries are su ffi cient. Head Should be well balanced with little apparent di ff erence between the length of skull and foreface. Skull Should be long and flat, not too broad between the ears and narrowing very slightly to the eyes. Scalp should be free from wrinkles, stop hardly visible and cheeks level and free from fullness. Ears Should be V-shaped with carriage rath- er to the side of the head, not pointing to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. Th e topline of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull. Hound ears are a fault that should be severely penalized. See Figure 1. Desired Characteristics When viewing the head, the eye should be used as the mid-point and the skull behind the stop should be the same length as the muzzle in front of the stop. Th e head should be long, but in proportion to the rest of the dog—typically a short backed, cobby dog will have a shorter head than a dog of the same height possessing a longer

Fig. 1.

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body and neck. Some refer to the head as being shaped “like a brick”; having a rect- angular appearance when viewed from the front or the side. When viewed from the side, the top of the head from the occiput to nose should appear to form a straight line. Th e underjaw should be strong and the muzzle should give a sense of fullness. Th e sex of an Airedale should be apparent from the head; the dog’s clearly masculine and the bitch’s clearly feminine. When the dog is alert, the inner edge of the ear should lie close to the skull, point- ing toward the ground or outside corner of the eye. Th e ear should have lift, and fold above the top level of the skull. Th e Airedale ear is highly mobile, not fixed in a stationary position. Th e ear is best evalu- ated when two dogs face o ff against each other, see Figure 2.

should be tense so that the ears react. Ears that hang relaxed when the dog faces another are incorrect. Ears with little lift which break at or below the level of the skull give the impression of houndiness. Hound ears are a fault in the Airedale Ter- rier. See Figure 3.

our breed and realize that passions ran just as deep as they do now on what is correct type for an Airedale Terrier. The Standard Head: Flat, and of good width between the ears. Muzzle: Long, and of good strength; the nose being black, the nos- trils large, and the lips free from ‘flews.’ Mouth: Level; teeth large and sound. Eyes: Small, bright, and dark in colour. Ears: Th in, and somewhat larger, in proportion to the size of the dog, that a Fox-terrier’s; carried forward, like the latter’s, but set on more towards the side of the head, and devoid of all long, silky hair. Neck: Strong rather that neat, and free from dewlap and throatiness. Shoulders: Well sloped. Chest: Moderately deep, but not too wide. Hind quarters Square, and showing a good development of muscle. Th ighs well bent. Back: Of moderate length, with short and muscular loins. Ribs: Well sprung and rounded, a ff ording ample scope for the action of the lungs. Legs: Straight, and well furnished with bone. Feet: Round, and with no tendency to ‘spread.’ Tail: Stout, and docked from 4" to 7". Coat: Broken or rough, and close and hard in texture. Colour: A bluish-grey of various shades, from the occiput to root of tail; showing a ‘saddle back’ of same, also a slight indi- cation on each cheek; rest of body a good tan, richer on feet, muzzle and ears than elsewhere. Weight: From 40 to 55 lbs. for dogs, and from 35 to 50 lbs. for bitches.

Fig. 3. Incorrect – down faced and cheeky.

Part 2 “Evolution”: The First Airedale Standard

In 1880 Vero Shaw’s grand illustrated Book of the Dog was published. Th is is the first dog book to mention our breed by its current name, Airedale Terrier. Th is book also contained the first written breed stan- dard. I thought it would be of interest to many of you to see where we began as a breed by not only including the standard, but also the accompanying illustration of Th under, the dog “chosen” to represent the written standard. Please note that Th un- der was owned by Mr. Reginald Knight, author of this first standard. When pub- lished this caused an uproar amongst the majority of Airedale Breeders who felt Mr. Knight wrote this standard to fit his dog, not having bred the dog to the ideas laid forth by other fellow exhibitors trying to set the “type” for this evolving breed. Th is standard was discounted by the major- ity of breeders upon publication, and in response a new standard was crafted an endorsed by the Kennel Club. It’s funny to read about the “dog game” being played between these two groups over 125 years ago. Th ey sparred as well as the Airedales they showed. Current-day breeders enjoy the look back in time to the formation of

Fig. 2.

Undesired Characteristics Th e head of an Airedale should never be on two planes or angles which will show the dog to be down-faced. Such a head viewed from the side shows the nose point- ing down rather than straight ahead in line with the back skull. Th ere should be no prominent bumps on the top of the skull and no cheekiness seen when the head is observed from either the side or the front. Th ere should be no wrinkles on top of the skull even when the dog is alert or facing another dog. Th e head should be elegant, but the skull should not be so narrow that the head looks weak, or in the case of males, unmasculine. A high or Fox Terrier type of ear which points toward the middle or inside corner of the eye is wrong for the Airedale. A fly- ing ear held away from the head is also incorrect. Airedales should “use their ears” when facing other dogs—the ear muscles

Points for Judging Airedale Terriers, from 1880 Standard

Head (including eyes) 10 Ears 5 Muzzle & Jaws 5 Body 10 Legs & Feet 5 Coat 10 General Appearance 5



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Part 4 The Airedale Terrier – A Hunting Dog?

Part 5 Where Have All The Airedales Gone?

Declaration In December of 1879, “I agree to the above standard, and will base my decisions on it” was signed by the following judges and breeders: W. Lort, Fron Goch Hall; J. Percival, Birmingham; John Inman; S. W. Wildman, Bingley; John Fisher; Edward Sandell; J. Speed; John Crosland, Junr, Wakefield; Charles W. Brinsley; T. Kirby; and Reginald Knight, Chappel Allerton. “ Th e standard having received the support and approval of the above and other judges and breeders, it is to be hoped that others will endeavor to reconcile their views to it, and that the Airedale Terrier will not su ff er, as so many other Terriers have done, from a plethora of types, each judge at the same time advocating his own particular prejudices to the injury of the breed.” Part 3 Proven Versatility By Scott Boeving Th ere is no question that a well- groomed Airedale in the show ring is truly a thing of beauty. On his toes, his alert stature will take your breath away. On the other hand, in World War I, the Airedale Terriers were used as Red Cross dogs, messenger and patrol dogs saving thousands of lives. Over 2,000 Airedales were used in World War II, as well. Our present-day Airedale has all of the ability and intelligence that was prevalent in the beginning, but with more refinement in appearance. And he is still, today, more worthy than ever of his title, “ Th e King of Terriers.”

By Karen Copley

(portions reprinted with permis- sion of The American Airedale) By Lisa Berglin During the last few years we have all seen the decline in our Airedale entries. Many in the fancy chalk this up to various reasons including a downturned economy, busy families, a labor intense breed, hybrid mixes, aging dog enthusiasts and a lack of newcomers into the dog world.

In the mid-1800s, practical Northern English farmers needed a game dog that would go after vermin as well as bring in food for the table. Th us, they developed the Airedale Terrier. Developed to be an independent thinker, an auto-pilot of sorts, he was even able to poach dinner from the local land owners’ stock if requested. Th ey were used to guard, herd and watch the children all in the same day, making them one of the most multi-talented dogs ever bred. Th e Airedale’s introduction into North America in the early 1900s encouraged an expansion of their farm skills and hunt- ing skills to include them in the pursuit of “big game” such as bear and wildcats. Still today, the breed is known for having a very strong hunting instinct, with few dogs better equipped for shooting in the cover or in the open. Th e Airedale’s speed, endurance and imperviousness to climac- tic conditions fit him for almost all hunt- ing conditions. In the March 1921 issue of Outing, the breed was honored for “being an excellent retriever, particularly from the water.” Today the Airedale is an active hunt- ing companion for both large and small game, and all varieties of fowl. Th e Aire- dale has the distinguished title of the original “three-in-one” gun dog equally able to handle upland birds, waterfowl and fur-bearing game. Airedales are currently competing for AKC titles in the Spaniel tests and competitors have obtained many successful titles in the three years that they have been approved to compete. Th e breed also competes in tracking events; AKC Tracking and Non-AKC Sanctioned Fur tracking. Th e fur track- ing events are especially fun for the dogs. Scent is laid, and they must track to find the quarry, usually a caged raccoon. Th e dog finding the raccoon and announcing his find by an excited series of barks her- alds successful completion of the fur track.

While at Montgomery County last year, the ATCA Historian was able to talk to other Airedalers from di ff erent countries and they, too, reported the same problems. Sensing some concern, but not know- ing the depth of the problem, our histo- rian decided to compare three di ff erent indicators of breed numbers. Th e period compared included from the year 2000 to the year 2010. Th e first was Montgomery County Entries. While the numbers tend to “put us to sleep” they are paramount in importance for future considerations. Our breed entries dropped a whopping 52% in comparing the entries separated by just 10 years. Digging deeper, I counted the ATCA membership from our last 2 year books – each book covering ten years end- ing in Year 2000 and Year 2010. Th e drop there was 24%.

Mr. Knight’s Standard of the Airedale Terrier

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Now to the statistic that is potentially harmful to our very breed. Th e number of Airedale litters registered with AKC. Th at dropped by 38% in the last decade. You may ask, “Why does that number mat- ter?” Th is is the opinion from our club his- torian’s view. Over the last few decades the Airedale breed has enjoyed a steady growth in the numbers of breeders and dogs pro- duced. However, this has not always been the case. We have risen from near obscu- rity at the turn of the century; to number one breed status in the Twenties to a pre- cipitous drop back down in numbers in the 30s. Along with the breed’s numbers drop- ping, so did the ATCA membership as well as the show entries. Airedales as a breed began recovering after WWII and by the 60s were steadily climbing back. How this was achieved, and how our modern world di ff ers from that time, challenges me to be the proverbial “canary in the coal mine” about this looming issue that could a ff ect our breeds future. Even during the lowest of population lows, Airedales have always been blessed with breeders who had the same diehard tenacity and stubbornness of the breed we love. Pockets of those breeders, located all around the world, hunkered down, and even when showing became an una ff ord- able luxury, and membership to a breed club too expensive, they kept on having litters. Th ey probably could only breed somewhat locally and on a smaller scale, but somehow they kept their lines going. So while the breed contracted in numbers, the breeders who remained were forced by economics and geography to stay close to home in their stud dog choices. Th ey may not have lived close to a Crufts or West- minster winner, maybe the best they could do was a littermate, a son or daughter, possibly a grand kid to add that “Flyer”

to their pedigree. When times got better there were plenty of diverse lines to help restart the breed again. Th ey exited the downturn, continuing on with the same healthy vibrant breed which has continued to this day. Now, in the last decade we have seen a decline in the litters produced which in and of itself is not the biggest concern. It’s what I call the new “Double AA” addition to the equation, Airplanes and Artificial Insemination, that’s potentially troubling. Th ese wonderful new technologies can allow the Airedale gene pool to be shared in such a way that if our numbers continue to decline, we may lose the diversity that carried the breed through the downturns of the past. Today, when we all fall in love with the same beautiful dog from the magazine, all of us around the world has the ability to use him. No longer are we forced to pick only a related dog, we can have “THE” dog! Th is is not a huge prob- lem when the breed has a diverse and large group of breeders doing their “own” thing, but if we were to drop to 1930’s breed numbers and have but a few likeminded breeders who all love the same bloodlines, who’s to say what shape the Airedale breed will come out on the other side. I’m not sure anyone really knows. However, diver- sity is what will keep a breed healthy even when numbers plummet. “...much of the valuable breed knowledge is PRESERVED THROUGH MENTORSHIP.”

Additionally, much of the valuable breed knowledge is preserved through mentorship. Th e challenge is finding men- tors willing to invest the time and e ff ort to be a mentor. Many exhibitors quickly learned the value of engaging an expe- rienced breeder/exhibitor and remain engaged to learn the basics, only to lose focus, to result in keeping their knowledge at only the basic levels. A teachable spirit is definitely required on the part of the one being mentored. So, it is up to us, the breeders of today, to take a serious look at what we have in our home and kennel, and value what makes us di ff erent from a genetic standpoint. In a time now when many older breeders have or are considering leaving the hobby; is there anyone in the wings who will continue their lifelong breeding program? Do they have anything that most would consider an” unusual or rare “pedigree? Maybe those lines should be saved or incorporated somehow? Th e answers to these questions do not come easily, but the decisions of today, will directly a ff ect our breed tomorrow. Th at is why I wanted to start the conversation now. A frank and honest discussion of the future of our breed may be warranted in the next decade, and it is my hope that today’s article will at least get you think- ing that far down the road. I hope our breed does not end up on the rare breed list someday, but if it does, I hope the ones who continue to love the Airedale as much as we do today, will thank us for keeping the breed as beautiful, healthy and diverse as it was in its “heyday.” Th e future is now. Do your part. Cel- ebrate and preserve what makes your line of dogs unique and special. Th e result will be a healthy, vibrant, versatile breed for decades to come.

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T he Airedale Terrier is an elegant but sturdy dog. So begins the opening sentence under the general character- istics section in “The Airedale Terrier: the Official Standard Discussed and Clarified” first published many years ago by the ATCA. I open with that sen- tence because it has guided my thought processes in regards to what I look for in both my breeding program and while judging the breed. An Airedale has to have the size and substance to do his original job as a hunter of small game but he should be striking to look at, too. Sturdiness is, I think, the easier of the two terms to visualize and describe. The right amount of bone and muscle for the dog’s size and enough of it for him to do his job. He was bred to hunt on land and in the water so in my opin- ion, the Airedale should be strong, solid, hard muscled, with “skin tight, not loose” in order to more safely tan- gle with prey. The Airedale standard addresses what I consider to be sturdi- ness in several other places: he should have “strong and muscular hindquar- ters”, “muscular loins”, a “foreface that is powerful, strong, and muscular”, “strong teeth”, forelegs “with plenty of bone and muscle”, “thighs long and powerful, muscular second thighs”. The Airedale is indeed a lot of dog in a medium sized package. Elegance is a little more difficult to describe and apply to that sturdy dog we just talked about! To me, the Aire- dale should fill your eye, make you look at him! I believe what makes the Aire- dale structurally elegant comes about from properly placed graceful curves and straight lines on his body—and if those curves are where the straight lines should be and vice versa he quickly becomes common and cloddy looking. So, where on the Airedale’s

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body should there structural straight lines be and where should there be structural curves that conform to the breed standard? First the straight lines. The straight lines that are a MUST in this breed start on the head. His head and expression are a hallmark of breed type. When looking at the Airedale’s head, from the side or directly down from above, you should see straight lines. From the side look for a level skull, one that is “long and flat”, a head that has a “hardly vis- ible stop”, a muzzle that follows the planes of the skull and that has “little apparent difference in length” from the skull. Often aptly described as a brick. Looking down from above, his skull and flat cheeks flow evenly into his muzzle—a brick from on top, too! If the Airedale is “down faced” with his nose pointing more at an angle to the ground or is “cheeky” with prominent cheek muscles, curves have replaced straight lines and the hallmark head disappears. It should be noted that the Airedale’s teeth should be large—he is a predator. When you cup his jaw in your hand it should feel solid and strong and should easily fill your hand. His bite has to be crushing to the prey he hunts. There should be no lightness in his jaw, small canines or missing teeth. We do not have a disqualifica- tion in our standard for any reason but obviously a dog that hunts for a living should ideally have full dentition and those teeth should be large enough to mean business!

A bit about expression. The Aire- dale has a “small dark eye full of Terrier expression” and his ears should be “car- ried rather to the side of the head, not pointing to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the head...the topline of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull”. These ears should not look like Fox Terrier ears which are set higher on the head with tips point- ing more to the center of the eye. Ear sets of this type make for a very foreign and incorrect expression on an Aire- dale. His ears shouldn’t be large and houndy either. The next straight line, seen in pro- file, is on the front of the dog. Start- ing where the underside of his jaw meets the front of the neck and runs down to his toes. You should not see a prominent keel or fore chest on the Airedale. If you do, once again a curve has replaced a straight line and is incorrect, ruining the classic silhou- ette. On to the topline and to straight lines that are very crucial. The Aire- dale’s back should be “short, strong and level”! No dips in the back. His croup should be level! Never should there be a rounding or curving of the croup. This results in a low tailset when the “root of the tail should be set well up on the back”. An Airedale with a curvy topline is particularly offensive as that topline indicates a plethora of serious structur- al faults. He shouldn’t be confused with the Loch Ness Sea Monster! The Airedale’s underline should be a straight line running from the elbow

up slightly to where the loin joins the hip. This straight line should be gradual and continuous—no acute angles or curves. And lastly, when looking at the Airedale when standing in front of the dog, his flat shoulder muscles should blend into his “perfectly straight fore- legs”. The shoulder muscles should not curve noticeably out from the body and back into the elbow area—this results in a cloddy, heavy, loaded appearance in the front. On to the properly placed structural curves. The Airedale’s shoulder blades should be “long and sloping well into the back”. The well laid back shoulder allowing for a slightly arched neck “of moderate length”—a curve starting where the head meets the neck and flow- ing smoothly into the shoulders. Shoul- der blades that don’t slope well into the back and have little layback cause the neck to end in an abrupt sharp angle as it meets the shoulder blade—resulting in a straight line where there should be gentle curve. Again, an important aspect of the Airedale’s signature sil- houette is ruined when the shoulder blades are steep and don’t allow for the arched neck’s smooth transition into the back. There are two more very important places we should see curves on an Aire- dale and those occur on the back end of the dog. The Airedale’s tail “should be set well up on the back” and behind that tail there should be plenty of junk in the trunk! In other words, nice buns out behind that tail. The point of his



buttock should extend well beyond his tail which creates a good rounded rear end when viewed from the side. If the angle of the pelvis is too steep the point of the buttock is lowered resulting in a low tailset and flat butt with no shelf behind the tail—a straight line when viewed from the side. Additionally, the Airedale’s “stifles should be well bent” which contributes greatly to his ability to drive off his rear. So you should see the curve of the butt flow into the curve of the stifles. Straight stifles impair his ability to move effortlessly and cover ground. But neither should the Airedale be “overdone” in the rear with his thigh and second thigh too long and his stifles too well bent. This results in a dog that moves high in the rear when viewed from the side. And one that can’t move himself in a straight line coming at you—a sidewinder. Try a simple exercise by closing your eyes and reversing the impor- tant straight lines into curves and

vice versa. Not a pretty picture! Cer- tainly not the picture of a well put together elegant Airedale. The exclamation mark to his struc- tural elegance is his Terrier attitude and presence—the panache that makes a beautifully put together dog one you can’t take your eyes off of! The Airedale is described as the “King of Terriers” primarily due to his attitude and poise. He should present a commanding pres- ence in the ring and be willing to stand his ground when facing a competitor. Please spar this breed! It is the best way to see the “King of Terriers” tempera- ment tested and no amount of stacking, baiting and cajoling can make an Aire- dale look his best—he can only do that on his own. He should never back down from another dog, nor should he be overly aggressive toward them either. He should appear comfortable and con- fident in his surroundings. Regarding his tail, “it should be of good strength and substance and of fair

length”. I believe that the standard is try- ing to describe a docked tail that is long enough to provide balance and an over- all square appearance to the dog. The breed has always been shown in this country with a docked tail, it is our cus- tom. Please preserve it. An undocked tail on the Airedale is very unsightly and ruins the overall appearance of the dog. What about size? The standard states that “dogs should measure approximate- ly 23 inches at the shoulder and bitches slightly less”. But that “being much over or under the size limit is a fault which should be severely penalized.” You will likely never encounter an adult Airedale that is much under the standard height (especially in the Specials ring) but you will likely see exhibits from time to time that are simply too large. We don’t have a disqualification for height so feel free to use dogs that are somewhat tall- er than 23 inches if all else suits your eye. Just don’t penalize a 23 inch dog for “being too small” when in the ring

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Everyone knew Shirley was a gourmet cook and I could tend bar quite well. It was always a great opportunity to talk dogs and often to see new youngsters. I’ve been living in rural central Massachusetts for 35 years. When you’ve been “in dogs” all your life it’s difficult to imag- ine anything else. But I do enjoy painting, reading, traveling and dining out with friends. I have been involved with Airedales all my life and am the third generation with the breed. In 1957 I began exhibit- ing in obedience at age 14, breeding my first litter in 1965. I have competed in confirmation for 50 years and judged many sweeps including Montgomery which was quite an honor. With my partner Shirley, we bred over 70 champions in the US, Canada and Europe. Limiting the Airedale to only three words is impossible but intelligent, mischievous and independent will have to do. No single trait describes the Airedale as it must be square and balanced without any exaggerations. However when I evaluate youngsters I hope to keep, the tail must be set well up on the back with a good amount of butt behind. The shoul- ders must we well laid back sloping into the withers and the neck must blend into the shoulders smoothly, never abruptly. My family were my original mentors and then i met people especially handlers at shows who helped with grooming and showing. There were few mentors and no clinics run by the breed club back then. We were pretty much on our own. Without doubt the Airedale commands the ring as the larg- est in the group, the leader of the line, bright of color espe- cially outdoors, sharp of eye, and attitude. The Airedale is a relatively healthy breed and always has been. While some problems are present such as hip dysplasia.

most are found to be environmental rather than inherited. Much information is available to help prevent or limit health problems. And todays breeders are willing to share such information with others. I have always especially valued a breed win at a specialty and particularly one at Montgomery. Isn’t it really all about competing against your own breed? Over time traits change in importance and there are of course many reasons for this. Winners, especially at Mont- gomery will tend to influence stud selection for the following year especially if there is an exaggerated trait deemed to be correct. This trait such as straight shoulders and long necks will slowly predominate among the winners causing move- ment problems, dipped top lines and shoulder damage in dogs competing in events. These dogs move poorly and pass structural problems on to their progeny. Stove pipe necks are incorrect. Airedales are a square breed of moderation and judges need to avail themselves of every opportunity to watch these dogs perform activities for which they were bred. Breeders, handlers and judges are all equally responsible for structural changes in all breeds. We have to remember that winning isn’t everything. While there have been many humorous incidents in the dog sport, an early one is often remembered. I kept a male from my first litter in 1965 and was persuaded to show him at the Terrier Specialty that preceded Westminster. I remem- ber following Tom Gately into the ring and was watching him set up his dog. Meanwhile, my fellow lifted his leg on Judge Percy Robert’s pearl grey suit! Percy then said “he’s a nice pet and would be best kept at home”! The dog had a short career.

Judging the Airedale Terrier, continued from page 274 276

with ones that are 24 inches or taller if everything else about that dog makes you say “yes”. And don’t reward a bigger dog simply because he is larger. Ideally, the coat “should be hard, dense, and wiry”, the jacket should be “black or a dark grizzle” with the rest of the dog a “tan” color. Conditioning and presenta- tion are an important part of the Aire- dale’s appearance and presenting an Airedale in a properly stripped coat is a must. You should not reward scissoring or clippering on any part of the body with the exception of the underbelly which is usually clippered. Remember, the Airedale was bred to hunt over ground and in the water so he should move effortlessly, with good reach and drive. His front paw should easily extend beyond his nose when in full stride with good extension behind. Look for the front and back feet to meet in the middle of the dog while in stride. I saw a number of long backed dogs this past Montgomery and their feet place- ment while in stride made this all the more evident. You will see bouncy toplines on the long backed dogs, too. Going away from you his hocks should move parallel to each other and not close together. Coming at you “the fore- legs should swing perpendicular from the body, free from the sides, the feet

the same distance apart as the elbows”. In summary, he should move around the ring in a powerful purposeful way

with no excess movement anywhere on the dog. He should be a tight efficient package in motion.





I t is in the details that breed type is stamped on Terriers, and Airedale Terrier aficionados place great emphasis on expression as an essential breed-specific characteristic. As noted by Gladys Edwards Brown (GEB) in her hallmark book, The Complete Airedale, “Expression is a combination of several factors: size, shape, color and placement of the eyes; size and carriage of the ears; together with the general shape of the head and it is sparked by the glow with- in.” The physical components of expression can be examined individ- ually and then united with the spark from true Terrier temperament. First, examining the eye, it is interesting to note that descriptions of the proper eye are almost unchanged from early written standards of the breed. For example, in All About Airedales (Palmer, 1911), the author quotes an early Airedale Terrier breed standard, which was published in Dogs of All Nations in 1905. The standard specifies, “Eyes – small, dark in color, not prominent but full of terrier expression.” Amazingly, the current AKC Airedale Terrier Standard uses almost the exact same words: “Eyes – should be dark, small, not prominent, full of terrier expression, keenness and intelligence.” Over the years, other authors have added additional words, to paint a more detailed picture. It has been stated that the eyes should be full of fire and have a fierce, keen-eyed gaze known as the “look of eagles.” Others have described the expression as “hard-bitten,” with the dog seeming to look right through you. The Airedale Terrier’s official standard does not include information about the shape of the eye, but experts have noted that the eye should not be round. GEB writes, “Rather they are oval, sometimes giving a somewhat trian- gular appearance, but not so exaggerated as the Bull Terrier.” The Airedale Terrier Club of America’s Illustrated Standard describes the eye as “almond.” While descriptions of shape vary, the elements of “small and dark”—and the nearer to black the better—are consis- tent. It should be noted that perception of the color and shape of the eyes can be altered by the presence of dark pigmentation or “mascara” around the eye, which makes the eye look larger. The look of eagles or the hard-bitten expression that authors mention is not a physical characteristic, but is the intense gaze and alertness of a Terrier with proper temperament. It is best observed when the Airedale is looking at another dog; just one more of the many reasons for judges to spar Airedale Terriers!



The ears, too, play a large part in creating the Airedale Terrier expression. Again, current descriptions of the proper ear are consistent with early written remarks. In books from the 1900s, the ear is described as small, but not out of pro- portion to the size of the dog; V-shaped, carried close to the cheek, with the topline of the folded ear above the level of the skull. Today’s standard states, “Ears: Should be V-shaped with carriage rather to the side of the head, not pointing to the eyes, small but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. The topline of the folded ear should be above the level of the skull.” The ATCA Illustrated Standard reminds us that the ear is highly mobile, not fixed in a stationary position. The ear is best evaluated when two dogs face off against each other. When eyes and ears are not as described above, expression will appear atypical. One writer has noted, “Nothing can so distract from the correct terrier expression as large, light eyes and houndy ears.” The Airedale Terrier standard lists seven faults, and two are related to expression: “Yellow eyes, hound ears… faults which should be severely penalized.” The final component to proper Airedale Terrier expression is the “glow within” or true Airedale temperament. The Aire- dale should project an intelligent, steady, self-confident nature combined with keen awareness and interest in his surround- ings. We fanciers say, “He owns the ground he stands on.” He is not aggressive nor is he passive, but instead is ready for any action that comes his way. He should never be fearful, and in the show ring, he should recover quickly from any unusual occurrence such as a fence falling or tent flapping. When he faces another dog, his gaze should intensify and become hard- bitten. A soft or sad expression is improper, and if the Aire- dale you are examining “needs a hug” or has a gentle, pleading expression, look elsewhere for your winner! Correct Airedale expression is essential for breed type and for your BOB winner. It should be easy to spot the winner. He is standing on his own with head held high, ears breaking above the level of his skull and tight against his cheeks. His small, dark eyes are taking everything in and he’s projecting energy and confidence. While his owner has trained him to stand steady for examination, you can see his spirit on the spar. His expression reveals that he is the King of the Terriers!

April Clyde acquired her first Airedale in 1979. The dog was “just a pet” but she caused April’s love for the breed. April decided she would like to show Airedales as a hobby and purchased her first show potential pup from Harbor Hills Airedales in 1983. While “Carrie” didn’t work out as a show dog, April met very supportive fanciers in the local Airedale club, and she learned to trim, show, and breed. April’s original kennel name was Buckshot, and she owner-handled her dogs to their championships, a few Group One awards, and National Specialty Awards of Merit. She became very involved in club work, especially for the National Breed Club. In addition to holding several parent club offices, including President, April has been the ATCA Judges Education Chair for 20-plus years. April married Todd Clyde in 2003, and the couple established Longvue Airedales from the last remaining Buckshot females. After much hard work and a lovely import from Saredon Airedales, they began to establish a line of Airedale Terriers that excelled in the show ring and also produced outstanding family pets. April and Todd are proud that their line has produced multiple BIS winners; Westminster and National Specialty winners, and several #1-ranked Airedales. Many of their top dogs have been breeder/ owner-handled by Todd. April began judging dogs in 2006 and now judges the Terrier Group and many dogs in the Non-Sporting and Toy Groups. She’s retired from a long career as a healthcare executive and, between showing, judging, breeding and club work, she never has a spare moment!


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