Interesting facts about Airedale Terriers

The Airedale Terrier also called Bingley Terrier and Waterside Terrier, is a dog breed of the terrier type.

It is named for the Aire valley, or Airedale, in Yorkshire, England.

Intelligent and courageous, powerful and affectionate, though reserved with strangers, it has been used as a wartime dispatch carrier, police dog, guard, and big-game hunter.

It is nicknamed “king of the terriers.”

The Airedale is the largest of all terrier breeds. It stands about 58 cm (23 inches) and usually weighs from 18 to 23 kg (40 to 50 pounds).

It has a boxy appearance, with a long, squared muzzle – in profile, the line of the forehead extends straight to the nose.

Its coat is dense and wiry, with a black saddle and with tan legs, muzzle, and underparts.

The Airedale can be used as a working dog and also as a hunting dog. Airedales exhibit some herding characteristics as well, and have a propensity to chase animals. They have no problem working with cattle
and livestock.

The Airedale was bred from the Old English Black and Tan Terrier (now known as the Welsh Terrier), the Otterhound and probably some other Terrier breeds, and has contributed to other dog breeds, such as the
Yorkshire Terrier.

Originally bred to serve as a versatile hunting and all around working farm dog, in Britain this breed has also been used as a war dog, guide dog and police dog. In the United States, this breed has been used to hunt big game, upland birds, and water fowl, and serve in many other working capacities.

In the mid-19th century, working-class people created the Airedale Terrier.

In 1886, the Kennel Club of England formally recognized the Airedale Terrier breed.

The first imports of Airedale Terriers to North America were in the 1880s. The first Airedale to come to American shores was named Bruce. After his 1881 arrival, Bruce won the terrier class in a New York dog show.

When the first Airedale was exported to Germany in the 1890s, that country was experimenting with the modern concept of a police dog. The Airedale fit right in: A handy size, he had a weather-resistant coat and excelled at tracking; in addition to being loyal and reliable, he was also courageous and protective when necessary.

In the waning years of the Victorian era, gentleman farmer Col. Edwin Richardson had become very interested how the ancient Greeks and Romans used war dogs, and in short order he was sought out internationally to provide dogs for that very purpose. He dispatched combinations of several different breeds – Airedales, Collies and Bloodhounds among them – to Russia during the Russo-Japanese war – to Turkey to help guard a sultan’s 700-woman harem, and to India to aid ethnic Nepali Gurkhas in maintaining British rule there.

Two Airedales were among the dogs lost with the sinking of the RMS Titanic. The Airedale “Kitty” belonged to Colonel John Jacob Astor IV, the real-estate mogul, who also died in the sinking. The second Airedale belonged to William E. Carter of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Carter, his wife and two children survived the sinking.

During World War I, the British military employed Airedale Terriers as sentries and couriers. Airedales carried messages between commanding officers and troops in the trenches. They also stood watch on the front lines and warned the troops when the enemy was approaching. The Red Cross also used Airedales as rescue dogs during the war.

An Airedale named “Jack” ran through half a mile of enemy fire, with a message attached within his collar. He arrived at headquarters with his jaw broken and one leg badly splintered, and right after he delivered the message, he dropped dead in front of its recipient.

After the First World War, the Airedales’ popularity rapidly increased thanks to stories of their bravery on the battlefield and also because Presidents Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, and Warren Harding
owned Airedales. President Harding’s Airedale, Laddie Boy, was the “first celebrity White House pet”. President Harding had a special chair hand carved for him to sit on at very important Cabinet meetings. In the 1920s, the Airedale became the most popular breed in the USA.

President Warren Harding acquired Airedale, a six-month-old puppy named Laddie Boy, on the day after his inauguration in 1921. The terrier famously sat on his own hand-carved chair during cabinet meetings and
received reams of press coverage, beginning the modern tradition of having the idiosyncrasies of the First Pooch covered relentlessly by the press, from his bone-cake birthday parties to his thoughtful fetching of Harding’s errant golf balls. For his part, the 29th president had a thousand miniature bronze
statues of Laddie manufactured, and distributed them to his political supporters.

The dog Myrtle Wilson buys in The Great Gatsby is said to be an Airedale, but Nick Carraway notices it has white paws.

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