Dubbed the King of Terriers, the Airedale has the attitude of royalty with the determination of the working class.
In the 1800s, terriers in the River Aire region were crossed with Otterhounds to produce a dog adept at otter hunting. Later crosses were made to the Irish Terrier and Bull Terrier.
But otter hunting was just the start. The Airedale has been used to hunt big game, was one of the earliest breeds used as police dogs, and they served as military dogs in World War I. The first White House celebrity dog was an Airedale named Laddie Boy owned by Warren G. Harding.
The Airedale is the tallest terrier.
Airedales are rough and ready---especially rough on toys and ready for a game!
The Airedale is a fairly large dog. As such, he has a somewhat greater predisposition to hip dysplasia compared to smaller dogs. Feeding a diet formulated for large breed puppies during the first year of life will help decrease the possibility of hip dysplasia. These diets allow the puppy to grow more slowly, while still achieving the same adult size---just a little later. Joint supplements, such as glucosamine chondroitin, are also important for protecting joint health throughout life, especially in active dogs.
It's also important to prevent your adult Airedale from getting overweight, which can add stress to the joints. When dieting a dog, you must make sure he gets enough vitamins. We suggest supplementing with a good multi-vitamin, probiotics and, if the coat is dry, a fatty-acid supplement.
Although not terribly common, Airedales can develop bloat or gastric torsion, a condition in which the gases accumulate in the stomach and can't escape. The stomach may then twist, totally cutting off any ability for anything to leave the stomach. The dog's stomach enlarges as gases continue to accumulate, and the dog is restless and tries unsuccessfully to vomit. This is an extreme emergency that needs immediate veterinary attention to save the dog. Nobody knows exactly how to prevent it, but many veterinarians advocate feeding an anti-gas pill with every meal.
Many people opt to have their Airedale professionally groomed. Even so, you'll need to groom at home between visits. Comb the coat weekly to remove dead hair. Bathe as needed. Use a deodorizing shampoo if your tends to get smelly. If your dog tends to scratch, use an avocado oil or oatmeal based shampoo. Or use a color-enhancing shampoo. If you're ambitious, you can try to pluck dead hairs out with your fingers---but most pet owners prefer to just have the coat clipped short.
Check your Airedale's ears weekly. Apply an ear cleanser any time the ears start to accumulate dark secretions. Some ear wax is healthy; a lot is not. If you must apply ear medication, use the ear cleanser first to remove thick secretions that would block the medication from reaching the surface of the canal.
Brush the teeth daily.
Clip the nails every two weeks or so using a heavy-duty dog nail clipper.
Airedales don't like to admit to aches and pains. But sometimes age-related arthritic changes make it tough. Besides any intervention recommended by your veterinarian, a soft cushion to lie on and glucosamine chondroitin supplements added to the diet can help soothe aching joints, and keep him as young in body as he is in spirit.