As to their gameness, “Stonehenge,” in his “Dogs of the British Isles,” gave them a very bad character indeed, so far as courage was concerned.
“Airedale terriers are a Failure.
The result of my experiences of them is that I find them to have good noses, they will beat a hedgerow, will find and kill rats and rabbits, and work well with ferrets. They are good water dogs and companions, possessing a fair amount of intelligence.
This is the sum total of their excellence. They came to me with a great reputation for gameness, but out of fourteen that I have personally tried at badger and fighting with a bull terrier, I have Never found one game – at least, to my idea of the word.’
‘But any terrier that would do the above work better than another would be worth keeping. Were a dog like he of 45 1b. weight or more to be used at a badger he should kill the poor brute instead of merely “drawing” him.’
This is strong speaking, but this gentleman’s experiences corroborate every word of what has gone before, and the woeful exhibition made by some Airedales when tried at a badger at Wolverhampton last January was literally the laugh of the show.
So far, I am aware that my endeavours to supply information about the origin of the Airedale have not been attended with success, but upon the merits of the breed I can speak with more authority, having had the benefit of the experience of a gentleman who took it up some short time back from the glowing accounts he had heard of its gameness and bottom. The result was most Mortifying.
He could make nothing of the dogs, and was heartily glad to get rid of them. Prom what he tells me concerning Airedales, I have no doubt that they potter about the banks of a river, and take water well, and that they will kill rats, which, as they scale from 401b. to 501b., is not much in their favour.
I think that those individuals who at Wolverhampton show about 1883 made a semi-public exhibition of him against a badger, an animal the like of which the poor dog had never seen before, were extremely badly advised.
As for fighting, any terrier fond of it is a nuisance to his owner and to the owner of any other dog.
For the Airedale terrier was claimed superiority as a worker of the riverside after rats, and as an assistant to the gun in working hedgerows and thick coppices, which, it was said, he could do ‘better than a spaniel and take up less room than a retriever.’
‘I will even go further, and admit that specimens may be produced which will tackle a badger under protest; but not another step will I go in favour of the Airedales as a game, hard-bitten race.
Summing up the merits and demerits of the breed, it must be said of the Airedale that his want of heart, his size, the diversity of types, and tendency to throw back in breeding, are great drawbacks, which his fondness for water, scarcely out-balances.’
Therefore, when we find, as I believe we can, that a wire-haired Scotch, Dandie Dinmont, Skye, Irish, or small bull terrier possesses all the gameness of the Airedale (in addition to which they take up one quarter of the room, and can go to earth), the question only remains, ” Why keep an Airedale ?
A respected Airedale owner who works his dogs says about Raccoons:
“If you have one Airedale in ten that can locate and tree with accuracy and stay.
Make it a squirrel and forget it, out of all the Airedales I have owned only one would have been considered a top squirrel dog. I am talking about a top squirrel hunting dog not a dog that sight chases a squirrel off a bird feeder and trees it by sight only.
The point of all this rhetoric is that I have been asked many many times about the treeing ability of Airedales. I have always considered it their biggest weakness as a hunting dog and I will be quick to point it out.’
This is what the Airedale looked liked when it was bred for hunting and a respectable utility dog to earn its keep, though it was still called a ‘Failure’ by real working dog men in England.
TODAYS Airedale, Otterhound terrier cur underneath it all.
More Standing Around & Barking…
Grit? The cur/pit cross shows more, and thats saying alot…
Hunting Line Airedale Standing Around, Wont pull Fur
A Jagd, Patterdale and Mongrel pull fur, Airedale wont close. See a trend yet?
Closers or Cowards?
4 on 1 and they still wont close. This Coyote gives more than he gets here..
Airedale wont engage even when offered a neck from a nearly dead coyote
Sniffing & barking at a Badger, will not close
From a Well Known Working Breeder. 3 legged Trapped Raccoon.
All Examples of Versatility shown by Deutsch Drahthaars
From dispatching Vermin, treeing, trailing, dead game baying or outpointing a pointer.
And note quietness on a chain gang.
* See Feb 2013 Archives for more stories and photos of other breeds.
Will Even Fetch Coyotes After Dispatching, if Need be.
Putting teeth on fur
Drat and Jagd Terrier
Drahthaar Closing On a Badger
2 Drahthaars & Bulldog Vested and Ready To Boar Hunt
Drahthaars & Jagds Closing On Wild Boar
Refuse icy retrieves? Never!!
A Coon Hunting Drahthaar above.
This same dog also works well in the uplands, duck blind and is a great deer recovery blood tracking dog.
USA- Young Drathaar & Jagds Baying a Hog