“A CURVY TOPLINE IS PARTICULARLY OFFENSIVE...HE SHOULDN’T BE CONFUSED WITH THE LOCH NESS SEA MONSTER!”
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 headmeets 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
274 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A PRIL 2019
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