Are Airedales Just Mini Bears? 

August 31, 2023

Airedale dog

Written by Steve Klotzle

Just recently, I welcomed a new addition to my family. To be clear, my wife was the main contributor in this endeavor, but I played a small part. Mainly in getting her ice chips and keeping the dad jokes rolling in – which she really loved as you can imagine. Despite the sleepless nights spent caring for our newborn, I’ve managed to keep my love for my terriers unwavering.

One day, amidst the haze of exhaustion, I encountered an exceptionally talkative woman. You know the type – a simple greeting turns into a full-blown life story about her having 2x belly buttons or something weird like that. She babbled on until the conversation took a turn toward a topic I could genuinely care about: TERRIERS! Seizing the opportunity, I reached into the depths of my well-worn shorts (let’s be honest, who cares about fashion in your 30s?) and proudly presented a snapshot of our Airedale, Caesar. With inner pride, I thought, ‘Check out this handsome boy. This new daddy knows his terriers.’  As I gave her a double eyebrow raise, I raised the photo to her eye level.

Then things took an unexpected twist. Assuming she was a fellow terrier enthusiast due to her earlier dog-related tales, I was taken aback when she exclaimed, ‘Oh my goodness! What a stunning creature! Are they like mini bears?”

I let out one of those sighs where you just let a fart go in an elevator and you don’t want to say anything, but you feel bad and feel like you should fix the situation. I closed my eyes briefly and pondered reality. As I reopened my eyes, I half-winced, perhaps twitched, I was at a loss. I was not sure if I was hallucinating due to lack of sleep or if this was really happening. We made eye contact. It was time to get serious here. As we stared deeply into each other’s souls, I chuckled and said “oh yeah! HA! Wait are you being serious?” This is when I uncovered, she was, and that society was in big trouble.

Since that day, I’ve replayed that interaction multiple times in my mind. And from it, I’ve drawn two conclusions:

  1. That woman might have been missing a few puzzle pieces.
  2. People really aren’t too knowledgeable about Airedales.

As a self-proclaimed Airedale enthusiast, I believe it’s my civic duty to shed light on some of the most fascinating aspects of the wondrous creature known as the Airedale Terrier.

  1. Versatile Working Dogs: Airedale Terriers, often referred to as the “King of Terriers,” are known for their versatility. They were originally bred in the Aire Valley of Yorkshire, England, to excel in various tasks such as hunting otters and rats, as well as working as guard dogs and even police dogs. They can do all sorts of things!
  2. War Heroes: Airedales have a unique history of serving in the military. During World War I, they were used by various armies for tasks like carrying messages, detecting mines, and acting as sentries. Due to their bravery and loyalty, Airedales gained the nickname “War Dogs” and are considered one of the first breeds to be used for military purposes. Seriously look up some of the photos of them serving. It’s awesome!
  3. Largest of the Terriers: Airedale Terriers are the largest breed within the terrier group. Despite their size, they maintain the distinctive terrier traits of determination, energy, and a spirited nature. Their imposing stature makes them an excellent choice for guarding and protection roles, but they’re also known for their playful and affectionate demeanor with their families.
  4. Hypoallergenic Coat: While no dog is completely hypoallergenic, they are a non-shedding breed which means their hair grows like humans, and just like humans they still lose hairs like we do when we brush our hair, but their hair is not falling out when it reaches a certain length or certain time of year like shedding dogs, it grows until cut.
  5. Famous Owners: Airedale Terriers have captured the hearts of many notable individuals throughout history. U.S. Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Warren G. Harding were both proud owners of Airedales. In fact, President Roosevelt’s Airedale named “Rollo” gained such fame that it was often featured in political cartoons of the time. These dogs’ charm and charisma have attracted admirers from all walks of life. John Wayne also owned an Airedale Terrier named Duke!

In conclusion (cue drumroll), Airedales aren’t miniature bears, but they are splendid, loyal, and captivating creatures that anyone would be fortunate to have as a companion.