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.

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