by Linda Baake Jarvis
Theodore Roosevelt said the Airedale Terrier "can do anything any other dog can do -- and then lick the other dog, if he has to." This very well sums up this smart, versatile breed. We don't recommend Airedales for first-time dog owners: they are intelligent and get bored easily, so training involves a strong commitment and consistency on your part, using positive reinforcement. Otherwise your Airedale might think he owns you!
The Family Guardian
Airedales were bred to hunt and to defend their domain from "varmints." We think that's why Airedales are good at protecting their owners' homes. If they bark or act ferociously, there's usually a good reason why.
Sue Oury here: One of my Airedales defended my neighbor from a badger that was in her vegetable garden. Our dog, 'Calamity Jane' came tearing around the corner and got between my neighbor and the badger to protect her.
That's right, Sue. Linda Baake Jarvis here: They bark and make a ruckus when a stranger comes to the door. But if you accept the visitor, your Airedale immediately becomes friendly. They're excellent judges of character and have a natural ability to discriminate between friend and foe.
As the largest terrier breed, Airedales might look imposing, but they're devoted to their families and can be trusted with children. Both the dog and the child should be taught to respect personal boundaries and to be gentle with each other. Consistent, gentle direction is important.
Caring for the Airedale's Textured Coat
Taking care of the Airedale's distinctive black and tan fur depends on whether you want to show your dog or just enjoy him as a pet.
Sue here: Show dogs need to be hand-stripped twice a year, which involves plucking out the old hair and sculpting the new growth. It's truly an art form. Luckily for the standard pet owner, their Airedale's coat can be maintained with a weekly brushing and a trip to the groomer's for clipping every three to four months.
Linda here: They shed very little, which makes them very suitable as house dogs for people who hate cleaning up dog hair.
A Bright Jack of All Trades
What sports, jobs and activities suit an Airedale? The answer? Just about anything: hunting, agility competitions, service, obedience training. They have many talents, so training is always intellectually stimulating for the smart and experienced dog owner! Visit the Airedale Terrier Club of America Inc., website to find out more about these versatile dogs. And, please adopt your Airedale from a reputable breeder who certifies the puppies for temperament and also certifies that the dog's parents are free of hip dysplasia.
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Pets | Dogs: Airedale Terrier: The Dog Breed for Smart People