Airedale Terrier – Developing History and Reputation

Hello Dog Lovers!

Airedale terrier dogBy hearing the word ‘terrier’, usually a small, hot-blooded, feisty dog is that comes to mind. However, the Airedale Terrier stands out from this line, being a head taller. Perhaps this is the reason the name “King of Terriers” stuck on it. Based on the capabilities of this terrier, it’s a highly versatile working dog.

This versatility doesn’t come at the expense of each sub-skills. So, the Airedale isn’t a type of a bit savvy to everything. On the contrary, s/he provides outstanding performance on every task assigned to them. This capability makes the breed so special and worthy to know closely.

Origin of the Airedale Terrier

Geographically, there is a valley (dale) in Yorkshire, England, between rivers of Aire and Wharfe, named Airedale. The needs of people living within the Aire valley determined the evolution of the breed in the middle of 19th century.

So, it was a versatile usability primary claim against this animal. The intention was to develop a dog which had increased water hunting abilities in addition to a deeper sense of tracking.

In order to meet the different needs, people included various breeds for shaping the breed. Those were the Otterhound, Bull terrier, Old English terrier and probably also the Gordon Setter.

The outcome was a pointy looking canine that turned masterly otter hunter. The duties assigned to him were very diverse: land and sea hunting, both big game and birds. Additionally, they used it for cattle and sheep herding, house guarding and vermin control.


1864 was the year when people held a dog show championship from scratch, sponsored via Airedale Agricultural Society. These dogs were categorized beneath completely different names; Bingley, Rough Coated and Waterside Terrier.

Later, this breed gained the Airedale Terrier name by Dr. Gordon Stadles in 1878. However, the stock began to show an increasingly standardized image. And the breed gained registered status under this name in Great Britain in 1886.

Terrier lovers commenced to show these canines in ringside competitions as well. To adding to the considerable beauty looking of the Airedale version, people crossed it with the Irish Terrier, too.

Via the early 1900s, “Master Briar” was the properly recognized – and champion – Terrier. Consequently, people acknowledged this dog as the father of the Airedale Terriers known today.


Dogs produced by “Master Briar” extremely influenced this breed within the USA. These canines gained good reputation as robust hunters, excels themselves at hunting huge preys.

According to the stories spreading about their bravery, Airedales accounted to acquire Panthers they followed into caves. In the meantime, a dozen hounds – helpers in hunting – waited outside.

Furthermore, Airedales captured 500-pound bears on their own.

Airedales at War

Soldiers used the versatility of Airedale during the first World War as well. These canines served as ambulance dogs, carried meals plus ammunition. They were applied as messengers, rattlers, sentries, scouts, Red Cross casualty helpers, sled dogs and guard animals.

Of course, there are many stories of Airedales delivering their messages regardless of horrible wound. For instance, one Airedale dog named Jack, gained the posthumous Victoria Cross for “Gallantry in the Field” for salving a battalion.

Did you know that Theodore Roosevelt, Warren Harding, and Calvin Coolidge – US Presidents – had Airedales? Furthermore, John Wayne the Hollywood film-star also owned this breed.

Nevertheless, following the first World War, the stock of Airedale Terrier declined. At present they represent a not-so-frequent breed to encounter. However, their excellent repute stays on the same level.

Continued with Appearance and Temperament next time,

Alex Sparrow

Alex Sparrow

Alex Sparrow

Alex Sparrow is a nature enthusiastic for more than seven decades. He was writing nearly 400 articles, reports so far about how to live with your dogs harmoniously.
Alex Sparrow