Description: The Airedale Terrier is the largest terrier, with the dog measuring 22 to 24 inches at the withers and weighing 55 to 70 pounds. The bitch is somewhat smaller, being 22 to 23 inches at the shoulder and having a weight of 40 to 45 pounds. The Airedale Terrier has a square stand, with a long head and the tail is usually docked. The Airedale has a double coat, with a hard guard coat over a fine, dense undercoat. The coat can be either tan and black or tan and grizzle. This dog has a life span of 10 to 12 years. The Airedale Terrier is also called the King of Terriers or simply Airedale.
History: The Airedale Terrier originated in the Airedale Valley in Yorkshire, England. This was first a dog of the working class and was created by breeding smaller terriers, like the Welsh Terrier, with the Otterhound to increase the size of the dog. This larger dog was good at hunting larger game and was used also to provide protection to homes and farms. This breed performed heroically during WWI in delivering messages and also in locating wounded soldiers so they could be evacuated to hospitals.
Temperament: The temperament of the Airedale Terrier is that of a good-natured dog that enjoys being near its human family. This is a loyal and playful dog that can sometimes be difficult to train because of its tendency to clown around. Although the Airedale loves children, it can be a little too rowdy for small ones. Early socialization is necessary if there are other household pets, and this dog's prey drive may never be eradicated around such animals as guinea pigs and hamsters.
Health Issues: The Airedale Terrier can be subject to hip dysplasia. Another serious concern is bloat, which occurs when the stomach twists and seals itself off. As nothing can move through the system, the dog will perish unless given veterinary attention immediately. Keeping the dog quiet after eating, and serving several small meals will sometimes help. The skin of this dog can be subject to irritation and infections. The Airedale Terrier can also suffer from eye problems such as cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy.
Grooming: The coat of the Airedale Terrier should be brushed once a week. However, the dense undercoat should be stripped twice a year. This can be done by hand at home or by a professional groomer. It is sometimes necessary to cut away superfluous hair from between the toes. If the dog has been running outside, it should be checked for ticks or plant matter that may have become embedded in the fur. Wash the muzzle after the dog has eaten.
Living Conditions: The Airedale Terrier is a dog that needs to be close to its human family, it has been developed as a dog that would interact with people, and it is not suitable for kennel life. As this dog is fairly large and needs exercise, it is not a good dog for living in an apartment. The Airedale Terrier is best in a house with a yard. It should be given a fairly long walk every day and get some of its exercise demands met by play with the family.
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