Page 23 - ShowSight Presents - The Airedale Terrier
P. 23

                 There are two more very important places we should see curves on an Aire- dale and those occur on the back end of the dog. The Airedale’s tail “should be set well up on the back” and behind that tail there should be plenty of junk in the trunk! In other words, nice buns out behind that tail. The point of his buttock should extend well beyond his tail which creates a good rounded rear end when viewed from the side. If the angle of the pelvis is too steep the point of the buttock is low- ered resulting in a low tailset and flat butt with no shelf behind the tail—a straight line when viewed from the side. Addition- ally, the Airedale’s “stifles should be well bent” which contributes greatly to his abil- ity to drive off his rear. So you should see the curve of the butt flow into the curve of the stifles. Straight stifles impair his ability to move effortlessly and cover ground. But neither should the Airedale be “overdone” in the rear with his thigh and second thigh too long and his stifles too well bent. This results in a dog that moves high in the rear when viewed from the side. And one that can’t move himself in a straight line com- ing at you—a sidewinder.
Try a simple exercise by closing your eyes and reversing the important straight lines into curves and vice versa. Not a pret- ty picture! Certainly not the picture of a well put together elegant Airedale.
The exclamation mark to his structural elegance is his Terrier attitude and pres- ence—the panache that makes a beauti- fully put together dog one you can’t take your eyes off of! The Airedale is described as the “King of Terriers” primarily due to his attitude and poise. He should present a commanding presence in the ring and be willing to stand his ground when fac- ing a competitor. Please spar this breed! It is the best way to see the “King of Ter- riers” temperament tested and no amount of stacking, baiting and cajoling can make an Airedale look his best—he can only do that on his own. He should never back down from another dog, nor should he be overly aggressive toward them either. He should appear comfortable and confident in his surroundings.
Regarding his tail, “it should be of good strength and substance and of fair length”. I believe that the standard is try- ing to describe a docked tail that is long enough to provide balance and an overall square appearance to the dog. The breed has always been shown in this country with a docked tail, it is our custom. Please preserve it. An undocked tail on the
Airedale is very unsightly and ruins the overall appearance of the dog. What about size? The standard states that “dogs should measure approximately 23 inches at the shoulder and bitches slightly less”. But that “being much over or under the size limit is a fault which should be severely penal- ized.” You will likely never encounter an adult Airedale that is much under the standard height (especially in the Specials ring) but you will likely see exhibits from time to time that are simply too large. We don’t have a disqualification for height so feel free to use dogs that are somewhat tall- er than 23 inches if all else suits your eye. Just don’t penalize a 23 inch dog for “being too small” when in the ring with ones that are 24 inches or taller if everything else about that dog makes you say “yes”. And don’t reward a bigger dog simply because he is larger. Ideally, the coat “should be hard, dense, and wiry”, the jacket should be “black or a dark grizzle” with the rest of the dog a “tan” color. Conditioning and presentation are an important part of the Airedale’s appearance and presenting an
Airedale in a properly stripped coat is a must. You should not reward scissoring or clippering on any part of the body with the exception of the underbelly which is usually clippered.
Remember, the Airedale was bred to hunt over ground and in the water so he should move effortlessly, with good reach and drive. His front paw should easily extend beyond his nose when in full stride with good exten- sion behind. Look for the front and back feet to meet in the middle of the dog while in stride. I saw a number of long backed dogs this past Montgomery and their feet placement while in stride made this all the more evident. You will see bouncy toplines on the long backed dogs, too. Going away from you his hocks should move parallel to each other and not close together. Coming at you “the forelegs should swing perpendicu- lar from the body, free from the sides, the feet the same distance apart as the elbows”. In summary, he should move around the ring in a powerful purposeful way with no excess movement anywhere on the dog. He should be a tight efficient package in motion.

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