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Early yesterday morning, I delivered ducks to the Hunting Working Airedale Club for their Nationals, held near Chillicothe, OH. I've been helping the club with that for probably 5 years now. I stayed to watch a few run - essentially a simple Junior Hunter water series. Earlier this year, AKC also approved entry of Airedales in AKC Hunting Tests. You'll never see an Airedale running a field trial, but, you know, to my way of thinking, as long as the owners are having fun with their dogs and their dogs are having fun, that's most important.
 

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They’ve actually been eligible to run AKC retriever hunt tests for over two years but I’ve not heard of any that have gone beyond JH. They were allowed into then-AKC spaniel, now AKC flushing HTs 10-12 years before that. Always amused at the thought of bear bite dogs (‘Dales) “handling” birds—

MG
 

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Having had an Airedale, I can tell you honestly that the dogs are probably laughing all the way to the bird.
 
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In his first job while still in college a long, long time ago, my husband worked with and hunted with a fellow who had great Airedale pheasant dogs (they didn't like water very much though.) Hunting birds with Airedales started back in the UK. The most famous hunting Airedales might be Walter Lingo's back in the 20's/30's. Lingo was from Ohio and owned the Oorang Indians football team. The team, with the great Jim Thorpe as a player, was used to promote the Airedale breeding operation.

King Oorang Airedales - Ohio History Central
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In his first job while still in college a long, long time ago, my husband worked with and hunted with a fellow who had great Airedale pheasant dogs (they didn't like water very much though.) Hunting birds with Airedales started back in the UK. The most famous hunting Airedales might be Walter Lingo's back in the 20's/30's. Lingo was from Ohio and owned the Oorang Indians football team. The team, with the great Jim Thorpe as a player, was used to promote the Airedale breeding operation.

King Oorang Airedales - Ohio History Central
Thanks for posting. I had no idea. Ridgeway (poultry) hatchery is located in LaRue. Ridgway Hatcheries, Inc. I live just over an hour from LaRue and have been there a few times. It's just west of the Big Island Wildlife Area, a popular duck hunting spot.
 

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"Soft mouth" and "terrier" aren't concepts I would immediately link in my mind, but I am happy to see breed fans trying to retain any kind of performance capability. For most breeds, that's an uphill battle in the face of the overwhelming dominance of the conformation ring, which seems hell-bent on turning dogs into bizarre caricatures of their former selves. So many show-dominated breeds have become barely functional at existing, much less doing anything useful.

I am not familiar with the mind-set of the Airedale world, but I still "associate" with the poodle world, where there is a substantial group of poodle lovers trying to promote breeding for performance. I back their efforts, but I also feel they try too hard to keep performance lines and show lines merged together. If you want to retain working ability, I think you are better off letting the show dogs drift off into their own strange world of "head pieces", "front assemblies", and endless grooming. Fans of performance labs and Goldens are very fortunate to have large populations of performance-line dogs distinct from the show lines.
 
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