Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Airdale terrier part otterhound

The otterhound donated the size and the love of the water, and 
all the terrier blood made him a terrier in spite
of his size. From the very beginning the breed
had the advantage of having an object. The
Yorkshireman wanted a big, strong, dead game,
water-loving terrier. That furnished a standard
to breed to, and they got what they wanted.

When the fame of this dog first spread from
the valleys of his birthplace, he was pretty well
established as to type, and once taken up by the
dog showing fancy and a standard drawn up
the type was soon firmly fixed. Since his first
introduction to the world he has changed, be-
coming somewhat larger. The seers and wise
men of English dogdom raised a great hullabal-
loo when this giant among terriers appeared, say-
ing that no dog over twenty pounds could be a
terrier because a terrier must go to earth. The
dog, however, was mainly terrier in blood and
so very certainly terrier in characteristics that
he was classed with the family. Maybe it is out
of respect to the authorities of the early days
of the dog fancy that we have gradually dropped
the terrier in his name, and though it is a part
of his official title, still the dog is universally
spoken of as the Airedale.

This, however, was not his original name, for
in early days he was called the " waterside ter-
rier," and his official debut at the English dog
shows was in classes for " broken-haired working
terriers." Both titles were felt to be too indefi-
nite, and " Stonehenge," the sporting authority,
suggested " Bingley terrier," from the town in
the heart of the district where the breed origi-
nated. Local jealousies prevented any one town
giving its name to the breed, and there was quite
a war waged till some unrecorded genius sug-
gested that, as the birthplace of the breed had
been in the valleys of the Aire River and its little
tributaries, Airedale was the best name. So Aire-
dale he became, having an official christening at
the Otley show in the late seventies.

Besides adding some ten pounds to his weight
and getting a distinctive and pleasing name, the
Airedale has changed in other ways since he took
his light from under the bushel basket. His
head has lengthened, following the tendency of
all terrier breeds. His shoulders, legs, and feet
are worlds better now than they were years ago,
but coats have suffered. The wire jacket has
improved, but the woolly undervest has been sac-
rificed, though now more and more attention is
being paid to this by breeders and judges.
The honor of having brought the first Airedale
to America is generally ascribed to Mr. C. H.

The history of the airedale terrier

THE Airedale is a product of the middle of
the nineteenth century and was manufac-
tured in Yorkshire. The streams that
tumble down the deep vales of that Midland
county are the homes of hundreds of crafty,
hardbitten otters; there are thieving foxes and
very game, but very rascally badgers in snug
dens in the hills; many a swift English hare lives
in the broad game preserves. The hardy York-
shireman of 1850 his sons and grandsons to-day
are real " chips of the old block " loved nothing
so much as a hunt after the vermin, with possibly
a rat killing contest with " a couple o' bob " at
stake of a Saturday night, and sometimes, on
moonless nights, when game keepers were asleep,
a little trip after the filling for a rabbit pie.
Now, you cannot do these things without a dog
that is brainy, game, obedient, and as much at
home in water as on dry land; so they just nat-
urally set to work to make themselves such a dog.
All this we know positively, but when it comes


to saying anything definite about how they made
that dog, which we now call the Airedale, you
begin to deal in traditions as conflicting as theo-
ries on the Martian canals and speculations as
vague as old wives' tales. Taking all the yarns
and guesses and boiling them down to an average,
we find that the Airedale, so most people think,
was originally a cross between a tan-grizzle ter-
rier, now extinct or absorbed in other breeds, but
once common in the Midlands, and the otter-
hound, a big, wire-coated water dog of the blood-
hound type, that comes in all colors of Joseph's
famous coat, but mainly white with black and tan-
nish markings. To this cross were added dashes
of bull terrier, which breed was, at that time,
just coming to the fore with its deserved reputa-
tion for grit, and Bedlington terrier, a light-
weight, top-knotted dog from the North of Eng-

Probably there were sprinkles of the blood of
the collie and of all terriers found at the time
between the Midlands and the Scottish Border-
land. All these (fox, Manchester, Welsh, Old
English, and Dandy Dinmont) were then more or
less indefinite as to type and uncertain as to
breeding, which helps materially in making con-
fusion worse confounded. Just how and why this
strange, indefinite mixture should have resulted


in the Airedale no one can say.

picking a airedale puppy

In picking out a puppy select the bright little 
chap to whom you are naturally attracted I am
advising the " dog owner " who knows the breed
well enough not to be interested in any litter not
of orthodox breeding. Only in case of doubt
need you pay attention to show points. If it
comes to a question of that pick the dark eye,
small ear, long head, short back, straight legs.
Do not worry about size or color or coat, nor
must a novice expect to be able to " pick the win-
ner " of a litter. Go to a reputable breeder and
pay as much as you can afford. You can take
his advice, for all dog breeders are not crooks
and grafters, but like any other kind of a busi-
ness transaction knowledge is very valuable to
the purchaser.

May I plead the case of the bitch as a com-
panion? Nine out of ten want a dog, but a bitch
has many advantages. She is usually more
clever, a great deal more affectionate and faith-
ful, much less given to roaming from home, and
should one ever want to raise some puppies she
may prove a valuable investment.

The kennel owner, turning now to him, will, I
take it for granted, read all he can lay his hands
on that treats of the Airedale, go to shows, visit
kennels, and talk, think, and dream Airedale.
If he is to have a small kennel I advise his buying


one or two good young bitches. Puppies are a
chance and old bitches, however famous, are poor
breeding stock. Buy young winning bitches,
proved mothers and of desirable blood lines and
you will have the best possible start along the
road of kennel success. It is as rocky a thor-
oughfare as the proverbial one to Dublin, full of
all sorts of disappointments and maybe even
losses, but its pleasures and its gains are sure to
come to the man who follows it in the right spirit.

The large kennel owner is either going into it
for pleasure, where he will have a check book to
help him, or for a business. In the former case
he will probably leave much on the shoulders of
his kennel manager, and I am writing on Aire-
dales not the servant problem. If he is going
to make a business of raising Airedales that is
his business, not the author's.

To all Airedale buyers let me again say that
it pays to know all you can about the breed and
to buy the best you can afford. The " biggest
and best terrier " has been tried by so many dif-
ferent people in all parts of the world and has
won such unanimous praise that his admirers can
recommend him to anyone, anywhere, for any-

Airedale terrier owners

The dog owner does not as a rule think it 
worth while to post himself on the history and
points of the breed. He has heard the praises
sung of " the biggest and best terrier," and has
decided that he is the dog he wants. If that is
all he wants let him get some friend to give him
an Airedale puppy or let him buy one as cheaply
as he can, but he is going to lose half the pleas-
ure of owning a good dog of a good breed.
Merrinac, the best known maitre d'armes in
France, once said to a party of American fencers
that it was the romance of the sword that made
fencing so fascinating to its devotees, and there
is romance in the history of the Airedale that
weaves its charm round an Airedale owner.
Whatever we know well is interesting and won-
derful, and a knowledge of the Airedale's past
and his points, which is an absolute necessity to
the kennel owner, adds one hundred per cent, to
the dog owner's pleasure.
The wise dog owner then will learn all he can
about his breed. "Book larnin' " is good, but
better still are talks with all sorts and conditions
of Airedale owners and a visit to an Airedale
kennel or the ringside at a dog show when the
breed is being judged. No men ride their hob-
bies harder than dog fanciers, and all will talk
and from all can something be learned.
When one has learned something about Aire-
dales let him then buy his dog. It is best to buy
a dog about six months old old enough to be
over puppy ills and not too old to learn new
tricks. A puppy of that age, over distemper and
house broken, is as satisfactory as it is possible
for a pup to be. Bringing up a terrier puppy is
hard on one's shoes, the ladies' hats, and every-
one's disposition, but it is much more satisfac-
tory to train him yourself in the ways you would
have him go.

more history on the airedales

By birth and breeding the Airedale is a sport- 
ing terrier. A dog bred originally to do the
work of a vermin destroyer, he has taken nat-
urally to all kinds of game. In the Rockies, he
is used on bear, and he has won a name as a dog
of exceptional brains, unfailing courage, and re-
markable stamina at work from which no fool,
coward, or weakling comes home to supper. On
the farms of New England, he is cherished as an
exterminator of wood-chucks, moles, rats, and
vermin of this class. He hunts all the way down
the scale from the giant " silver tip " to the
mouse in the pantry mountain lions, wolves,
panthers, lynx, wild cats, foxes, coons, skunks,
rabbits, mink, what not, each and all he hunts
with equal gusto and success. Is it any won-
der that though the Airedale is only a little over
half a century old his fame has spread from pole
to pole?

The Airedale is a dog that no one can know
well without becoming his friend, but all his
friends do not know him well. For this reason,
and because so much depends upon one's first
dog, it seems particularly necessary to give some
advice to intending Airedale purchasers, whom
we may divide into dog owners and kennel own-
ers. By a dog owner I mean one who wants an
Airedale or two as a companion, guard, and all-
round dog. Kennel owners are those who intend
keeping, breeding, and showing or hunting sev-
eral dogs.

Some history on the airedale terrier

Americans who have been interested in the dog 
have been blessed with enough of this world's
goods to buy what they want, and almost with-
out exception, they have been inspired with the
best fancier ideal, that of breeding their own

This has given us a breeding stock second only
in numbers to that of Great Britain in the hands
of men who could and would use the material to
the best advantage. Accordingly, the American-
bred Airedale is noted the world over as a show
dog, and in no other country has the breed's
sporting possibilities been so fully tested as here
in the United States.

More thoughts on the Airedale Terrier

When running he sweeps along with the free open
stride of a galloping thoroughbred, with his head
often carried low, but his tail always high.

Very often the man wanting a dog for hunting,
for a guard, for a pal turns up his nose at all the
finely enumerated details in which the standard
describes the fanciers' ideal of Airedale perfec-
tion. He is wrong, for, as the advertisements
say, " There's a reason." Take the double coat
for example. The Airedale was originally bred
to be a water dog. The wiry coat sheds water
like a duck's back, and the undercoat keeps him
warm in all weather. With the kind of a jacket
for which the standard calls an Airedale can swim
the river, scramble out, shake himself, roll over,
and be dry. Moreover, such a coat is a perfect
armor against all kinds of thorns, claws, and
teeth. The long, clean head with its strong mucles
means a jaw with plenty of room for big,
strong teeth and muscles to shut those teeth as
quickly; and as surely as a spring trap.

Of course, not one Airedale in a thousand
comes within seventy-five per cent, of being all
that the standard describes. The average, how-
ever, is high in America; much higher here than
anywhere else in the world, except England, and
our best can even hold their own with the cham-
pions from the land of the breed's creation.