It is the consensus of opinion among well-informed breeders of the Airedale Terrier that this dog originated in the valley section of the Aire River, Yorkshire, England, from a cross of the old English Terrier (a black-and-tan wire-hair) and the Otter Hound. Frequent crosses of the parent stock were made, resulting in a gradual improvement in size and strength until a new type, first known as the Waterside Terrier, was evolved. Later in the breed’s development it is reported that matings were made with individuals of the Irish Terrier and pit Bull Terrier breeds. The resulting terrier soon became very popular as a sporting dog in England and was named “Airedale” from the district in which it originated.
The Airedale’s head and ears, with the exception of dark markings on each side of the skull, should be tan. The legs up to the thighs and elbows are tan, and the body is black or a dark grizzle, a black saddle being preferred. There is no standard height adopted for the Airedale, but mature specimens stand approximately from 22 to 24 inches. Mature males should weigh from 40 to 45 pounds, females slightly less. Weight is one of the important points of the Airedale standard, most good individuals topping the 45-pound limit slightly.
The Airedale Terrier is a sturdy, well-knit dog, possessing plenty of bone for its size, intelligence, endurance, gameness, and speed. It is favored by many as an ideal companion and is a splendid watch dog, in addition to its utility as a working terrier. As a working terrier the Airedale is particularly good in water and aboveground, but is ordinarily too large to work well underground. This breed of late years has found great favor with dog lovers and fanciers in the United States and to-day stands as one of the most widely distributed and popular breeds of dogs in America.