Airedale Terrier History
The birthplace of the Airedale terrier breed was a valley, also called a dale, named Airedale. It is located in the West Riding of Yorkshire between the Aire and the Wharfe rivers.
During the 19th century working class people decided to create the Airedale Terrier by crossing a Welsh terrier with an Otterhound. In the year 1886 the English kennel club formally recognised the Airedale as a breed alone.
The Airedale terrier was employed extensively throughout World War 1; the dogs would carry messages to the soldiers behind enemy lines and also transport mail. The Red Cross would also use the Airedales to search for wounded soldiers out on the battlefield. The dogs would prove their determination and levels of stamina over and over again; they would be suffering from terrible injuries themselves and yet would still deliver their messages.
They became formidable characters on the hunting scene. Many huntsmen would run their Airedales with a pack of hounds, the hounds would work as the ‘scent’ dogs and would work tirelessly to pick up and keep the scent of the prey, and they would also give chase. The Airedale’s responsibility was to ‘go to ground’ and actually enter the animal’s den and remove it.
The Airedale was the perfect choice for the job because they required a dog that was large enough to tackle the prey but also small enough to enter the animal’s burrow. The dog had to possess a certain element of bravery because it was left on its own to go into the animal’s den, without a human handler.
Modern day sees the Airedale in a very different role from the one it started in, they have become therapy dogs, assistant dogs for the physically challenged and search and rescue dogs. The breed displays a sense of diversity not witnessed in many other breeds of dog.
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