A few years ago there appeared at the dog shows in the north of England a big, useful-looking sort of a Terrier whose ancestors were a cross of the old border Terrier, the Bull Terrier, and the Otter hound. They were known sometimes as the Waterside Terrier, on account of their fondness for that element, inherited from their Otter hound ancestors. Later they were known as the Bradford Terrier. These dogs were so workmanlike in appearance and had such appealing countenances that they attracted the attention of the public, and a club was formed that promoted their interests and eventually settled upon the name of Airedale Terrier, as they were very numerous in the valley of that river.
Since then the breed has grown very rapidly in public favor, and deservedly so, for they possess many sterling qualities. The Airedale is the largest of the Terrier family, and will do anything in the way of hunting vermin but go to earth. This their size precludes. They have excellent nose, and will hunt all sorts of game, make splendid rabbit and partridge dogs, can be trained to trail wounded deer, and are used successfully in bear hunting.
The Airedale takes to water like a Spaniel, and will retrieve ducks in all kinds of weather. As companions they are unexcelled, displaying the utmost devotion to their masters and an interest in all of their affairs. They are wideawake about a house, and take naturally to horses. No more useful breed exists for a country home.
In buying one of these dogs do not take one that is shy or listless. Don’t accept one which is soft, scanty, or long-coated. Don’t take one which is weak muzzled or chiseled out below the eye. Don’t choose one with a long back or heavy shoulders. Don’t take one which is out at the elbows or is not perfectly straight in front or clean in bone. Don’t accept one which is light-eyed. Don’t pick one with weak ankles or splay feet. Don’t have anything to do with one which has a poor mouth or which lacks in gameness. Don’t choose one which weighs under 38 pounds.
The chief points to look for in the selection of Airedale puppies at from two to four months old and after, are: A long, level head, strong muzzle; small, dark eye; narrow skull; neat, small, V-shaped drop ears; a long neck, narrow shoulders, short body, deep chest, straight forelegs, and hard, dense coat.
The standard description and points printed below give readers a clear outline of what a perfect Airedale Terrier ought to be:
HEAD (value 5).-Long, with flat skull, but not too broad between the ears, narrowing slightly to the eyes, free from wrinkle; stop hardly visible, and cheeks free from fullness; jaw deep and powerful, well filled up before the eyes; lips tight.
EARS (5).-V-shaped, with a side carriage; small, but not out of proportion to the size of the dog. NOSE (5).-Black.
EYES (5).-Small and dark in color, not prominent, and full of Terrier expression, with teeth strong and level.
NECK (10).-Should be of moderate length and thickness, gradually widening toward the shoulders and free from throatiness.
SHOULDERS AND CHEST.-Shoulders long and sloping well into the back; shoulder blades flat, chest deep, but not broad.
BODY AND BACK (10).-Short, strong, and straight; ribs well sprung.
HINDQUARTERS (10).-Strong and muscular, with no drop; hocks well let down.
TAIL.-Set on high and carried gaily, but not curled over the back.
LEGS AND FEET.-Legs perfectly straight, with plenty of bone; feet small and round, with good depth of pad.
COAT.-Hard and wiry, and not so long as to appear ragged; it should be also straight and close, covering the dog well over the body and legs.
COLOR (10).-The head and ears, with the exception of dark markings on each side of the skull, should be tan, the ears being of a darker shade than the rest, the legs up to the thighs and elbows being tan; the body black or dark grizzle.
SIZE.-Dogs, 40 to 45 pounds weight; bitches, slightly less.
SCALE OF POINTS.-Head, 5; eye, 5; color, 10; ears, 5; body, loins, and hindquarters, 20; jaw, 10; nose, 5; teeth, 5; legs and feet, 10; neck and shoulders, 10; coat, 15. Total, 100.