where informed buyers meet responsible breeders


Oorang Airedales

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.

airedalebreed historybreedingoorange

Raain • April 6, 2016

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  1. joanne gust May 5, 2017 - 3:14 pm Reply

    I have a rescue of perhaps a very large airdale. He is 16 months and weighs 105 pounds. They said he has papers but did not purchase the papers. He looks to me like a cross between airdale and Irish wolfhound. He has long tail does not shed but needs grooming every other day. He is a wonderful dog, very social but protective of me in the home. I would like to have him cut in airdale format but he looks so much like irish wolfhound I worry. Any comments or suggestions appreciated.

    • Mike MacDonald September 26, 2017 - 10:02 pm Reply

      I can tell you that if Dennis does get in a fight, Wolfhounds generally fight defensively, But if he goes for the middle of the other dogs back, it is serious as this is how they kill wolves. They’ll bite a wolfs back to kill it. In any dog fight, I suggest grabbing just ahead of the hind legs under the belly and squeezing real hard. This makes it difficult for the dog to bite hard and give you some control while keeping your hands out of the way. Realizing they can’t bite hard, they let go.
      Dog parks are the best. Most people that have had bad experiences aren’t able to understand what is really going on between the dogs..and the dogs aren’t telling. Most confrontations last only seconds with little or no damage.
      Over-reacting people hysterically screaming only escalates things.

  2. Mike MacDonald September 21, 2017 - 5:47 pm Reply

    I purchased my fourth Airedale and the last two I had, had best buddies that were Irish Wolfhounds. I think you have two great breeds in one. Airedales don’t mellow out until 2 to 2.5 years old. Wolfhounds are great dogs and the five I’ve known were all even tempered and mild. The play well with each other but are intimidating to other dogs because of their size, not their attitude. I’d be very interested to know how this dog works out for you.
    Mike MacDonald

    • joanne gust September 26, 2017 - 11:04 am Reply

      Dennis is probably one of the best dogs I have had. He is intimidating to people and other dogs at the dog park until they know him. They are than the first to tell newcomers he is the best. I would hope any breeding of Airedales and Irish Wolfhounds would be done sensibly because of the size. I would like to obtain another like Dennis. He needs a big playmate.

  3. dale brogden October 23, 2017 - 12:54 pm Reply

    i had a airedale rottweiler mix body style was rott but had airedale hair. best dog i ever owned, no dog that tried him stood a chance,very gentle but if challenged was a hand full.

  4. Karen Schmit October 6, 2018 - 4:18 pm Reply

    Every Oorang Airedale I have ever owned has been a wonderful dog and family member with no health issues. What we have above is the high fashion airedale breeders crying foul claiming temperment issues etc. To each their own, I will own a Oorang Airedale any time over a AKC standard bred dog.

  5. Anton December 18, 2018 - 9:35 pm Reply

    Lot of conjecture and possible one or two whoppers in this article. Factory farms or puppy mills generally produce smaller dogs, as they are mostly chronically inbred, undernourished, strict selection is never a criteria. However if the “Oorang” was produced and it most likely was using outcrossing with different breeds then the larger dogs produced could in fact be much much more genteicaly robust and possibly far healthier than the original Airedale. Of course they could have also been diluted over the years and weakened by too much line breeding causing chronic inbreeding. Whose to say, this article presents a very biased opinion on the matter. However what is certainly true is that the rarer a breed becomes as in todays standard Airedales, the more of genetic disaster they become. You get genetic bottle necks as the numbers are too small to diversify effectively. Of course the eugenicists, rife amongst dog breeders particularly show breeders obsessed with purity mean they never outcross to different breeds anyway ever so the dogs go down hill rapidly anyway, no other way for them to go.
    I find the idea therefore of an Airdale outcross what ever it’s size far more interesting than a pedigree standard Airdale. Certainly given the relative rarity that the breed has become. You are more likely to get a genetic disaster if it isn’t some sort of intentional outcross today.

    The only Airedale I ever met was stone deaf and a complete dud, it constantly had a runny nose and looked half asleep. Of course this is just anecdoatal evidence but it sure made me think twice about ever wanting one.

  6. Kirby Lauren March 28, 2019 - 1:08 pm Reply

    Looking for a large Airedale. Any recommended breeders?

  7. Margaret Goodyear May 11, 2019 - 1:29 pm Reply

    We have had three Oorang Airedales, all rescues and absolutely wonderful dogs. We had a standard Airedale initially who was a truly lovable dog. She, too was a rescue and it took time to bring out her nature, but with time she evolved into a member of the family for 16 1/2 years. The Oorgangs don’t live quite as long, most close to 12 years and are the perfect dogs for our family.

  8. Omer Kishanov June 9, 2019 - 11:10 am Reply

    A well bred ooorang is a great family protector…..much more stable temperament then the fox terriers show breeders try to put off as Airedales .The show lines are snappy….i had both so I know….There should be recognised 2 types …you have 3 types of poodles….3 types of schnuazers…..why not 2 types of airedales. The AKC does not rule how a breed should look….whos standard? A 55 lb. Show male is too small. How can that dog fight off a wolf……it cant!

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