The Standard is the physical “blueprint” of the breed. It describes the physical appearance and other desired qualities of the breed otherwise known as type. Some characteristics, such as size, coat quality, and movement, are based on the original (or current) function for the dog. Other characteristics are more cosmetic such as eye color, but taken together they set this breed apart from all others. The Standard describes an ideal representative of the breed. No individual dog is perfect, but the Standard provides an ideal for the breeder to strive towards.
The AKC has placed a condensed version of the Standard for the Airedale Terrier online.
For many novice dog fanciers these standards are intimidating, abstract, and subjective. One good way to begin to understand this standard is to read books, such as “The New Airedale Terrier”, and study the pictures and drawings while reading the standard. Also, take a copy of the standard to dog shows and watch the breed. Talk to as many breeders as possible. Over time an “eye” for the breed will develop if you continue to question and compare the animal in front of you against the standard. The Airedale Terrier Club of America has a nice pamphlet, complete with sketches that is helpful in understanding the breed standard.
Airedale personality, as described in “Your Airedale”, is “cocky and brash, as he nonchalantly goes about his business with a swashbuckling air.” He will protect his family to the death if need be. He is very patient with children, only moving away when he tires of their rough and boisterous play. He is very strong willed, while being gentle and affectionate with his family. The Airedale’s curiosity is such that he will investigate any situation until he is satisfied. He is definitely a thinker. Airedales are people-oriented dog, where his owner is, there he wants to be.
Choosing to own a Airedale is a wonderful, rewarding decision, but remember that a sense of humor is an absolutely necessary qualification for an Airedale owner.