Originating in England from the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, the Airedale Terrier was developed in the 1840s and in terms of size, are known as the grandfather of the terriers, due to the breed being the largest of the terrier family. The Airedale was often called the "King of Terriers" and the Waterside Terrier, commonly seen working on land and by the water alongside Otterhounds. They were originally bred to hunt otters, badgers, rats, and weasels and it is believed that the Otterhound and Manchester Terrier were incorporated into the lineage to improve the breed's scent and swimming abilities. Airedale Terriers are also considered to be a working dog, retriever, and great family pet that proved their abilities during World War I as messengers and food carriers.
Known for their distinct black and tan coat, Airedales are a neat, muscular, long-legged terrier with a soft undercoat and a curly, dense, wiry topcoat that lies close to the body. Strong and agile, they excel while hunting in any sort of terrain due to their non-shedding double coat and long legs. Airedale Terriers have symmetrical tan markings on the head, elbows, stomach, and legs up to the thighs, while the sides and upper body are black or dark grizzle. The breed's appearance is finished off by their small dark eyes and small V-shaped ears, giving them an expression of keenness and intelligence. They have a long, broad muzzle with a dark-colored nose. Their tail is a fair length that is carried, but not curled.
The Airedale is known for being an independent, strong-minded breed with a great sense of humor. Like many terriers, they have a natural inclination to dig, chase cats and small animals, and bark, but they are also capable of great affection and companionship. These hard-working terriers are confident, intelligent, and always eager to please. Learning new tricks and commands come easy to them, therefore, too much repetition during obedience training can result in a lack of interest and boredom. Positive reinforcement and trying new tasks in different orders is the best way to have an obedient companion. Lively, yet protective, the Airedale is known to be a reliable watchdog and a great playmate for children, but supervision is needed for small children due to the size and high energy of the breed. Considered to be very active, these loving and energetic dogs can do well in apartments as long as they have access to a large area to play in or an active owner who can take them on daily walks, runs, or hikes. Similar to many breeds in the terrier family, the Airedale is capable of loyalty, devoted companionship, and lots of affection.