The beginnings of the Airedale started in the last quarter of the 19th Century. By careful breeding between the old black and tan terrier, the otter hound and the old English white terrier this large terrier evolved.
The people living in Yorkshire near the River Aire wanted a versatile dog and this is definitely what they achieved in crossing the above breeds. They successfully created a breed that would hunt in water and on land, a breed that would be game for anything. A hunter of rats and bigger game, bigger than themselves. Not for going underground like the other smaller terriers but hunting on the land and waterways. Fearless and adaptable. Quite happy after a day out hunting to return home and play with the family's children and guard the home.
This versatility made them the first choice of dog to be used in World War 1 and by police forces across the world. Once the German Shepherd came along their popularity for this type of work waned. At one point early in the last century Airedales were very very popular and this did lead to some indiscriminate breeding and the breed suffered.
Dedicated breeders continued breeding sound stock and started showing them. They were entered under various breed names - Waterside Terrier, Bingley Terrier being just a couple. As their popularity at shows began to grow it was decided that one name should be adopted and thus the breed became known as the Airedale Terrier - the largest of all the terriers - The King of Terriers.
Their popularity grew and many show dogs were exported across the world. They became very popular in the USA and Walt Disney even made a film with the Airedale as the star - The Ballad of Hector. First shown on TV it was then made for the big screen. Presidents had them as pets and John Wayne had one called Duke. They also became popular with hunters and were used for hunting small animals and large - from raccoons to big cats and bears. They proved to be up to the challenge!
In Europe they also became very popular and were used to hunt wild boar and other small and large game.
They are a popular show dog worldwide and also, and more importantly, enjoyed by families as companions in all those countries as well.
The ever versatile
KING OF TERRIERS
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