The largest of all terriers, the Airedale Terrier, originated from the Valley of the Aire in West Riding, Yorkshire, and is believed to be a cross of older terrier breeds and an otter hound. The Airedales were created by miners who sought to find a dog that could out-fight, out-hunt, and out-think the other dogs. This is how they came to possess traits such as quickness, intelligence, and excellent guarding ability. Because of these traits, they require the following special care.
- An Airedale Terrier puppy should be trained early on, with socialization and obedience training being stressed, because of the tendency to be "other dog aggressive." Harsh training methods should not be used, as Airedales don't respond well in that type of atmosphere.
- Discuss how long to keep an Airedale Terrier on puppy food with the breeder. Airedales are susceptible to hip dysplasia, and it's thought that there is an increased risk with dogs that are fed puppy food too long. Once the switch is made to adult dog food, Airedales have been known to do well with lamb and rice.
- Airedale Terriers should be taken to a groomer on a regular basis to be clipped. Airedales that are shown are stripped, but the process is time-consuming, making it very costly, which is why this practice is usually restricted to show dogs. At home they should be brushed with a pin brush every day, since they don't shed on their own.
- Airedale Terriers are very family-oriented dogs. They prefer to be inside with their families, but they also need a big outdoor area in order to play and get their required exercise. A large fenced-in yard is a wise choice. Sometimes a yard doesn't provide enough exercise space, and Airedales will require daily walks as well.
- Crate training an Airedale Terrier when inside has many benefits, but the safety of a home and the Airedale is paramount to all. Many times, after he is used to it, an Airedale will see his crate as his "den", and a place for him to relax and be safe.
Above all, Airedale Terriers are very smart, and also very personable. Because of this, they should not be left on their own too often. They are very likely to become bored and lonely, since their main directive is the love and protection of their family. An Airedale can become as much of a part of a family as he is asked to be. He will be loving and playful, while always keeping a constant guard.