Showsight Presents The Airedale Terrier

JUDGING THE AIREDALE TERRIER

by ANNE BARLOW

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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S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2019 • 269

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