Living with the ‘King of Terriers’

  1. Where do you live? What is your occupation? How many years in dogs?
  2. Do you have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs?
  3. What is it about the Airedale Terrier that makes the breed
    so appealing?
  4. Can you speak to the breed’s versatility? Its trainability?
  5. Do you compete in Performance Events with your dogs?
  6. How much care does the Airedale’s coat require for the show ring?
  7. Any suggestions when it comes to sparring in the ring?
  8. What are some best practices for keeping an Airedale in
    good condition?
  9. Any advice for someone thinking about sharing life with the “King of Terriers?”
  10. Just for fun: Do you have a humorous tale you can tell about your experiences showing Airedales?
    Is there anything else you’d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate.

 

Anne Barlow

I live in the Austin, Texas, area and currently own a boarding kennel. I’ve been in dogs for 40 years!

The dogs (breeding, showing, judging) are an all encompassing part of my life. I do have many other interests that I wouldn’t consider hobbies. I’ve been a fan of horse racing since I was a little kid, love Astro’s baseball and all Baylor sports.

What is it about the Airedale Terrier that makes the breed so appealing? For me it is their appearance, personality, size and gameness.

Can I speak to the breed’s versatility? It is a very versatile breed, but not every dog excels at every sport. I have competed with mine in conformation, agility, obedience, barn hunt, scent work, coursing ability, fast cat. I have also put CGCs and Trick Dog titles on several of mine.

How much care does the Airedale’s coat require for the show ring? A lot! You’ve caught me at a time when I am conditioning two bitches for the shows. About 8-10 hours a week for both of them combined.

Any suggestions when it comes to sparring in the ring? Every judge should spar this breed—I only take two at a time out and try and keep them three feet or so apart.

What are some best practices for keeping an Airedale in good condition? Mine spend a great amount of time outside October-May. They are in rock hard condition as they are constantly up and down and they are out with three to four pack-mates at a time. But walking them is another option and they love to go where you do.

Any advice for someone thinking about sharing life with the “King of Terriers?” Before you buy one, be sure you understand that this isn’t a Labrador or a Golden. Their daily motivations for doing everything is very different—they are independent thinkers and independent hunters. So while they are happy to make you happy it is often when they feel like it not necessarily when you want them to. But this is also a very individual trait. I’ve got several that are very easily trained and compliant. And a couple that look at you when you tell them to do something like they are thinking, “I’ll get around to that when I feel like it.” I find mine are impossible to train as far as counter surfing. They know they aren’t supposed to do it and simply wait until I leave the kitchen. It doesn’t matter how many times they are caught in the act and corrected; they keep doing it.

 

April Clyde

I have lived continuously with Airedale Terriers since 1979. Along with my husband, Todd Clyde, I have an active breeding program that has produced BIS winners; #1 Airedale Terriers in US and in England; Westminster winners; multiple successful performance dogs and countless beloved family pets. I have served on the Airedale Terrier Club of America Board for the past 23 years and have held numerous positions including President. I have been the breed JEC for about the last 20 years. In addition, I co-authored our most current Illustrated Breed Standard and led the development of the Airedale Terrier Versatility Award program. I served as an AKC Delegate for the California Airedale club for about five years. I am active in local all-breed clubs serving as Assistant Show Chair and an officer. I currently am an AKC conformation judge and I judge all Terrier breeds and four Non-Sporting breeds.

I live in Selbyville, Delaware. I am retired from a 40-year career as a health care executive in 2017. I grew up with Poodles (all three sizes) as family pets and acquired my first Airedale Terrier in 1979. I have lived with Airedales continuously since then. I began exhibiting in conformation in about 1983 and bred my first litter in 1986. I began to judge the breed in 2006.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I enjoy reading, traveling and playing poker.

What is it about the Airedale Terrier that makes the breed so appealing? The blend of Terrier and Hound that created the breed has produced a dog that is alert, active and protective, but is also sweet and comical. They are true companions who love to be with their owners and be a participant in whatever their owner wants to do. They love active sports such as hiking and hunting, but also enjoy a quiet evening at home. Airedales are smart, trainable, healthy and confident.

Can I speak to the breed’s versatility and trainability? The breed has the mental sharpness and physical stamina to successfully compete in a wide variety of dog sports including obedience, agility, rally, tracking, dock diving, fast cat, barn hunt, scent work, trick dog, therapy dog and anything else their owner can think of! They are also natural hunters of small furry game (groundhogs, rabbits, etc.) and can be trained to bird hunt activities such as upland hunting and water retrieving. They are eligible to compete AKC Spaniel Hunt Tests, AKC Fur Tracking and Trailing Tests and AKC Retriever Hunting Tests. We have many dedicated Airedale Terrier owners who compete successfully in all of these tests. In addition, our parent club (ATCA) offers special awards for Airedales who have achieved titles in multiple venues of competition. Fortunately in our breed, our conformation dogs are also either performance dogs themselves or have littermates who participate in performance activities.

Do I compete in Performance Events with my dogs? I have titled dogs in obedience, ATCA Fur Hunting and Barn Hunt. I have participated in Scent Work and Agility, but have not yet titled dogs in those areas.

How much care does the Airedale’s coat require for the show ring? A lot! The Airedale show coat is all hand-stripped and it is a labor of love and dedication! A specials dog will typically have eight hours of coat work every week while competing. The Airedale trim must be sequenced properly and kept up while the dog is being shown. Retired show dogs are often clipped and most family pets are also clipped.

Any suggestions when it comes to sparring in the ring? Sparring is a very important tool for the judge to evaluate Airedale temperament and type. Sparring has nothing to do with aggression or fighting. It is a means to see the dog stand his ground with tail and ears up, alert and ready for action. Airedale Terrier enthusiasts treasure seeing their breed sparred and they often remark, “It takes my breath away.” No amount of “free baiting” or stacking can replicate the appearance of an Airedale on a spar. Any judge who would like to learn this valuable evaluation tool can contact several Terrier breed mentors who can provide guidance and a demonstration on how it is done.

What are some best practices for keeping an Airedale in good condition? All of our Airedale Terriers are very athletic and in great muscle tone. We have large paddocks for the Airedales to run in and because they have a pretty wide temperature tolerance, they get good outside exercise almost every day. We pair a male and a female together and they love to romp and play. We don’t find any need for “road work” or treadmill use.

Any advice for someone thinking about sharing life with the “King of Terriers?” Plan early to acquire an Airedale. Most are sold from waiting lists and there is a large demand for pet Airedales in many areas of the country. Work with an experienced breeder if you are interested in a show potential Airedale. Learning the coat work is challenging and requires dedication on the part of both the teacher and student. For that reason, most Airedales are handled by professional handlers. We do have some outstanding non-professional handlers in the conformation
ring too.

 

Linda Baake Jarvis

I have shown Airedales as Lynaire Kennels. I have bred over 40 champions, including a Best of Breed winner at Montgomery and the 2019 Westminster winner. I have served on the board of the Airedale Terrier Club of America for 25 years and served in many offices including President, VP, and Secretary. I live with my husband, James, and nine Airedales, and own a boarding kennel in New Bern, North Carolina, also named Lynaire.

I’ve been involved in dogs for 37 years, and have owned a boarding kennel for 25 years.

Do I have any hobbies or interests apart from breeding and showing dogs? I enjoy reading, traveling, and photography.

What is it about the Airedale Terrier that makes the breed so appealing? Their clownish behavior, intelligence, and regal appearance.

Can I speak to the breed’s versatility and trainability? Airedales involved in agility, rally, obedience, hunting and working are easy to train, but get bored easily. You must make it fun.

Do I compete in performance events with my dogs? I have done obedience with my dogs.

How much care does the Airedale’s coat require for the show ring? A lot! Once in coat, you must work two to three hours a week.

Any suggestions when it comes to sparring in the ring? We must spar Airedales. It shows them pulled together at their best, showing Terrier spirit—and it can be done safely!

What are some best practices for keeping an Airedale in good condition? Exercise, working the coat weekly.

Any advice for someone thinking about sharing life with the “King of Terriers?” Get ready for fun, challenges, and love.

A humorous tale I can tell about my experiences showing Airedales? My first show Airedale was shown by Bobby Fisher—he taught her to pee on command. One day he asked her to pee on Peter Green’s shoe—she did!

 

Bruce & Caron Jones

We live in rural North Carolina, in a town called Pittsboro. Bruce is a retired contractor and now a full-time breeder and owner of Airedales. Caron works as a Certified Nurse Midwife delivering babies for a Duke-Affiliated practice. Total years in dogs: 40 years starting in Sporting dogs and switched to Airedale Terriers exclusively over 25 years ago.

Our hobbies outside of the dogs include building relationships with newcomers to the breed and mentoring them to show and do agility. We are also avid travelers to beaches, fishing, cruising and have been to almost every state in the US except four of them (which is a future goal).

What is it about the Airedale Terrier that makes the breed so appealing? The Airedale Terrier is the most unique animal on the planet as these dogs are lovable, comical and serve their owners in such an inquisitive manner. They are always ready to do anything you want: hike, go for walks, play ball, go bye-bye in the car, go to Lowe’s and walk around while you buy household needs. They never ask for anything, but, on occasion, they actually mimic talking to you. They make sounds so that you understand what they want.

Can we speak to the breed’s versatility and trainability? The breed, overall, is highly versatile as you can do agility, hunting, trick dog, coursing, barn hunting, farm dog and dock diving. Airedales were used in World War I to search for enemies and they were attached to the front of a paratrooper. They are smart and can be trained easily. These dogs are exceptionally smart and learn by themselves how to open doors, ring a bell to go out, unlatch gates, provide security and enter through dog
door openings.

Do we compete in Performance Events with our dogs? We compete mostly in conformation events. We have championed over 16 dogs and completed four Grand Champions, one Agility title, one Therapy Dog, Multiple Canine AKC Canine Good Citizens and, in October of 2019, won the Montgomery County Bowl: winning Best of Breed every day, including Hatboro 1 and 2 and Devon, with GCH TNC’s Gone with the Win of Singing Hills Scarlett (2019). Other Big Wins include: Best of Opposite Sex (2015) with GCHB Darbywood’s Baraboo of Singing Hills, WB (2015) Hatboro 1, Westminster Select Bitch in 2018.

How much care does the Airedale’s coat require for the show ring? The Airedale’s coat for showing requires experience and learning how to maintain a coat is a lifelong work. The saddle needs to be stripped, so it takes about two to three months to strip-out the coat and to bring in a new coat. Once the new coat is in, a tool called a rake or stripping knife is used to roll the coat, taking out the undercoat and bringing in new coat. The fine trim work is very tedious having to go to the skin to bring in new hair at the right time. The furnishings are hard to work on some dogs as they are thin and break off. Details of the expression and eyebrows are really the hardest parts to achieve. These are artistic touches that an amateur takes years to learn. The coat has to have shampoo and cream rinsing every two weeks to work the area.

Any suggestions when it comes to sparring in the ring? Sparring is easy for Airedales to learn. The biggest mistake is for the owner or handler to move too close to other dogs causing a fight. Dogs pull themselves up and stack in a beautiful position when sparring with their tail wagging and basically saying, “I am not backing down.” They are to look fearless and stunning like they are on guard; and to jump into the role by not backing down.

What are some best practices for keeping an Airedale in good condition? The best way to keep an Airedale in shape is to feed on a structured schedule, have plenty of exercise where they can run and chase a ball, play with others and, perhaps, a treadmill (if weather is not permitting) or on the road.

Advice for anyone thinking about an Airedale: All Airedales are different and they do represent “King of the Terriers.” We breed for temperaments meaning our dogs are safe with children, other animals and are highly intelligent which makes them easy to train.

The Airedale breed is one of the hardest dogs to show due to the grooming work along with the training of the dog. It is common to see professional handlers showing a majority of these dogs. It is very important to join the Airedale Terrier Club of America to mingle with other Airedalers, since learning to groom and show, and knowing the rules, are very important.

Here are some important comments about our breed: Airedales are losing their movement as our gene pool is getting smaller and smaller. An Airedale should have good front and rear movement, but often times the fronts are off as well as some of the rears.

We need to breed-up, including movement. Some breeders are not focused on movement since they say, “Airedales are a head breed.” Actually, that could not be further from the truth. Older breeders having health problems (and those who have passed) are no longer breeding. Our breed will become extinct if we do not improve these flaws.

Funny story about Airedales

Butterfly No More; by Bruce and Taylor, the Airedale

The summers here in North Carolina can be long and hot. Around mid-summer we have the large yellow butterflies show up in large numbers. The Airedales enjoy chasing them across the grass fields which goes well with their hunter instincts. However, try as they might, the butterflies are used to being pursued and have proven to be totally elusive. Some years back we had Taylor who at the time was a young 11-month-old pup. Her enthusiasm and determination when it came to chasing butterflies was above and beyond the other Airedales as many of them had come to realize if they had not bagged one in five or so years it probably was not going to happen for them. One hot, humid day I watched Taylor chasing one butterfly relentlessly. As she chased it around the field I was spraying down the concrete runs in the kennels. I saw the butterfly come within about 30 feet of where I was at. For years I had hunted, which involved shooting at moving targets. All I can say is that when they came by me my years of hunting instincts must have kicked in. I quickly spun around and swung my spray nozzle just ahead of the butterfly and let go a quick blast of water. The sun was bright and the tight formation of water droplets glistened in the morning sun as it was at the top of its arc. A split second later the blast of droplets hit the intended target knocking the butterfly just a little off its flight path. This was all Taylor needed as she leapt five feet in the air bringing it down in her mouth. The butterfly fluttered as she held it. Immediately, all of the other dogs gathered around her in a circle as they could not believe what they were witnessing. How was it this skinny Airedale pup had accomplished something in her short existence that they had yet to achieve? The older dogs began to taunt her, so I carefully removed the captured trophy from her mouth. Since this was a once-in-a-lifetime event, I decided it would be only fitting to preserve the quarry by doing a taxidermist’s mount that involved enclosing it in a nice picture frame with a soft white matte as the background. At the bottom of the display we identified both the quarry and the hunter with a nice inset plaque. We hung it in our trophy room along with all the other animals and fish. After that day Taylor was looked upon by the other dogs as a bigger than life legend. The older Airedales who had picked on her now followed her around the fields apparently hoping to learn more about her hunting skills. Many years have passed since that hot summer day, but it is still as fresh in my memory as if it happened last week. As hot as the summers are here, the winter nights are also cold, damp, and long. Often those nights will find me in the trophy room with several of our houseguest Airedales. With all of the many different mounts to look at they are always drawn to the butterfly mount and stare at it often. It’s like they still remember the day Taylor bagged the ultimate quarry.

 

 

Nancy Nykamp

Nancy Nykamp lives in Great Falls, Virgnia, with her husband, Ken, and their children: Olivia, James and Hugh. She takes great pride in being a third generation Airedale owner, and carrying-on the Meadowaire kennel name which was established in the 1950s by her parents. She enjoys breeding, training and showing her Airedales, and supports her children as they routinely participate in conformation shows and Airedale Club events.

I am a third generation Airedale owner/breeder. My grandparents owned Airedales, my parents bred, raised and showed Airedales under the kennel name “Meadowaire,” and now my children, husband and I are carrying on the Meadowaire tradition. I live in Northern Virginia, just outside of DC. I am a retired U.S. Army Officer, and presently serve as a Senior Executive in the Department of Homeland Security.

Besides breeding and showing dogs, I am very active in Scouts with my children. I am also a strong advocate for the advancement of women and children. I serve on the Boards for Women Executives at TSA, and Women in Homeland Security. In this capacity, I sponsor: youth STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) opportunities; activities to help prevent Domestic Violence; and LGBTQ events during Pride Month.

What is it about the Airedale Terrier that makes the breed so appealing? Airedales have always appealed to me because they are practically perfect in every way! They are smart, loyal, clever, and charismatic.

Can I speak to the breed’s versatility and trainability? Airedales are highly versatile and highly trainable, and can do most anything. They are easy to train, as long as the trainer keeps in mind that they can get bored rather easily.

Do I compete in Performance Events with my dogs? In addition to conformation, I have trained Airedales in obedience, rally and as therapy dogs. Next challenge—agility or maybe dock diving!

How much care does the Airedale’s coat require for the show ring? Getting an Airedale in show condition is a bit of a lift. Once in good show condition, it typically takes me four to six hours a week to maintain.

Any suggestions when it comes to sparring in the ring? Keep sparring natural. Let your Airedale lead and lean into the spar, and focus on the other dog. Always keep a respectful distance between dogs.

What are some best practices for keeping an Airedale in good condition? It’s important to keep your Airedale physically and mentally fit through regular exercise, training and play. This is important throughout the Airedale’s life, and especially true for Airedales on the show circuit.

Anyone who is thinking about sharing their life with the “King of Terriers” should be ready for a dog that can and will do anything with style. A style that is very versatile, from highly regal to downright clownish!

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