North American Working Airedale Terrier Association

Chronicle of the Airedale in the Schutzhund Sport from 1894-1994








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Reprinted from Der Terrier May 1994
translated by Maugh Vail

Owners and friends of the Airedale Terrier founded in 1890 the "Club for Rough-Coated Terries" - later, along with other Terrier breeds, to become the Club For Terriers.

In 1902, the Ariedale Terrier was put inot service as the first Criminal-Police Service Dog under the direction of Franz-Friedrich Laufert, from Schwelm.

The Airedale was used as a Messenger Dog and was also as a Medic Dog in the Boxxer Rebellion in China (1899-1900), in the Russian-Japanese War (1904-1905), and in the first and Second World Wars. The Airedale excelled in courage, readiness, reliaibility and loyalty. In Switzerland, the Airedale is used today as an avalanche dog. After the second World War, the Airedales was used as a police service dog in some districts - especially in Lower Saxony. The recent former KFT performance events judge, Bruno Lanke, was head of the school for Service Dogs in Lower Saxony.

In the '80's Airedale Terrier groups participated three times in international (Schitzhund) contests in Amsterdam with towering success.

But then....Our Airedale Terrier was from June 1983 to 1985 no longer classified as an international Working Dog!

Without any official notification or prior notice, the executive Committee of the KFT learned second-hand that, at their general meeting the FCI decided that the Airedale Terrier would no longer be counted among the international working dogs.

The reason was very simple. The countries, from an international perspective, that used Airedales as working or utility dogs, were in the minority about 1 to 10.

Out club leaders had asked several times in writing the VDH (Verband Fur das Deutsche Hundewesen - similar to AKC) intervene on behalf of the KFT. A new proposal to the FCI in 1984 was refused by a large margin. Only after the concerted action with other European countries, where the Airedale was considered as a working dog, was there some success.

The final decision of the FCI in June 1985 went somewhat as follows, that the current breed clubs of individual countries should decide for themselves whether their breed - in our case the Airedale Terrier - would be allowed to be classified as working dogs. For in the past two years - since 1983 - the Airedale was no longer a working dog, neither at the international nor at the individual country level. Thus Airedales could not participate in any trials at these levels.

At this opportunity I must express out gratitude to all the organizations and countries that came to our support in this matter. These organization were: The Swiss Airedale Terrier Club and The Airedale Terrier Special Club of Austria. Also the KFT leadership at that time should be thanked for their initiative in getting the Airedale Terrier restored to its working dog status so that it would be once more possible to participate in international and national trails and contests.

Due to the restoration of the Airedale Terrier to the status of a working dog, it was now once again possible to participate in the national qualifying trails. Because they placed well, some Airedale Terriers with their handler took part in the FCI World Championships with good success.

The introduction of the breed acceptance test improved the selective breeding program of the Airedale Terrier immensely, and this has been a great advantage for the entire breeding program. A second improvement was to require HD x-rays.

Because of these measures, in the course of the years, we have seen good results in local club trials, regional qualifying trials and also in the KFT National. The Airedale has also demonstrated a towering ability in trails and they have qualified for the German Championship Trial as well as other inter-European contests.

The decision to have an annual Tracking Dog (FH) championship gave the Airedale Terrier and also other KFT Terrier breeds the opportunity to nurture their most natural ability (i.e. nose work). The present status is a number of about 30 participants in the Club Championship Trial and Club Tracking Dog championships - after having qualified, of course, in their respective regional trials. This is a proud!

After the reunification (of Germany) the performance accomplishments of the Airedale Terrier have become even better due to the inclusion of very good working dogs from the new member-lands of the German Republic (i.e. the East German provinces).

As to the overall results of the Airedale Terrier breeding program, it can be said that the finest and most conscientious breeders place great emphasis on performance, temperament and conformation. The scope of the "performance breeding" (requires titled parents) has definitely increased. There is a good balanced between the VDH and the AZG (Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Zuchtvereine und Gebrauchshundeverbande, i.e. working federation of breed organizations and working dog organizations).

I look to the future with calm assurance and definitely believe that there wil be further positive developments for our Airedale Terriers in the Dog Sport arena. I hope for the future success for all those that participate.

Rolf Bohrlock
Performance Judge Representative