The breed standard indicates that fully grown Airedales will be approximately 22-24 inches at the shoulder. A breeder boasting that they breed extra large or “Oorang” Airedales might be a red flag, as purposefully breeding dogs outside of the breed standard can be an ethical grey area, and demands an exceptionally well-informed breeder with a specific purpose and exceptionally high breeding standards. Sometimes breeders who breed for a very specific trait such as size or coloring select their breeding stock based primarily on size rather than overall health or fit-ness to be bred, and genetics research shows these single-goal breeding methods can dramatically transform a breed’s health, temperament, and overall appearance in just a few generations.
“Oorang” Airedales trace their lineage to the darkest point in the history of the breed: During the 1930’s Airedales were the number one most popular breed in America and England. In the American southwest, Airedales were bred on farms in large quantities. As this type of factory-breeding continued, Airedales of that decade became larger, developed aggressive tenancies, and began exhibiting genetic problems. Because of the changes to the breed created by these breeding practices, Airedale Terriers soon fell out of popularity and remain, currently, as a somewhat rare breed. Generations of careful breeding and relative unpopularity have returned the Airedale to the medium-large, even-tempered, working-minded, and healthy dog the original nineteenth-century breeders intended.
Dogs sold as “Oorang” Airedales today are often descended from those extra-large airedales of the 1930’s and may carry the genetics carrying the medical and behavioral problems that are all but extinct from today’s Airedales that are bred to standard by responsible breeders.
“Oorangs” Airedales are not infrequently surrendered to rescue. If you have you heart set on a larger Airedale, consider adoption.