Airedale Terrier Breed Magazine - Showsight

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.


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