AIREDALE: The Airedale was bred in England by crossing a Welsh Terrier (?) and an Otter Hound and was used for hunting otter, small rodents and fox. That's something to think about before you bring a beautiful Airedale puppy into your home. Do you have other dogs, cats, dare I say - rodents? Be sure to do your homework with this breed.
Appearance: Black and tan/tan and grizzle. About 22-24" at the shoulders and weighs around 55-65 pounds (some sites say 45 lbs). They have a rough outer coat, a soft undercoat and with regular grooming, a "non-shed" coat.
Note: In the 1930's some breeders were breeding extra large Airedales, called Oorangs (Oorang was the name of a kennel in Ohio). These dogs weighed in the 120 pound range, which is far outside the breed standards stated above. Oorangs were not only large, but they developed aggressive behavior and genetic problems. You can still find these XL Airedales today, so choose your breeder carefully.
Breed Standards - The American Kennel Club
Breed Information - Airedale Breeder
Rescue - National Airedale Rescue
Owner Reviews - Hoflin Owner Reviews
Frequently Asked Questions - Your Pure Bred Puppy FAQ
What's good/bad about them - Your Pure Bred Puppy - Temperament
Just a great article - A Comic With Heart
Trivia - Presidents: Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge all owned Airedales. Also, John Wayne never went anywhere without his dog, Duke. The dog became known as 'Big Duke' and John (birth name, Marion) was dubbed 'Little Duke'. John preferred Duke to Marion and so the nick name stuck. Big Duke, of course, was an Airedale.
Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds sums up the Airedale this way - (five star maximum)
* * * * - Energy level
* * * - - Exercise requirements
* * * * - Playfulness
* * * - - Affection level
* - - - - Friendliness toward dogs
* * - - - Friendliness toward other pets
* * * - - Friendliness toward strangers
* * * - - Ease of training
* * * * - Watchdog ability
* * * * - Protection ability
* * * * - Grooming requirements
* * * - - Cold tolerance
* * * - - Heat tolerance
My two cents: The King of the Terriers is a great looking dog - but there's much more to the tallest terrier than just a pretty face. Choose your breeder well. Be sure you can meet the exercise requirements for this active pooch and don't plan to leave it home alone all day. If you have children or small pets, consider a puppy over an adult dog. This may not be the best breed for an inexperienced dog owner.
As for me, I've always had an interest in the Airedale; it likes water, is a very good watchdog and from what owners say, is a great companion. I think this would be an excellent choice for my future boat-dog (see my article Dog's Ahoy!). If I get my way (I'm not too sure the husband will go for this large dog, a large dog = large clean-up), it will definitely be on my short list.