Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grit & Airedale Wisdom

I get requests every now and then from young fellers that they are wanting an Airedale with the over the top aggressive traits, essentially a Pitbull that looks like an Airedale. While grit can certainly be a good thing it can also be too much of a good thing. For hunting dogs it needs to be tempered and used smartly in the right dose. I try to explain to them that aggression is something that can be overdone and while one has to admire a dog going at it head on with something like a bear, getting themselves killed or busted up is not practical not to mention all the time and effort that went down the drain put in raising up and training a hunting dog from a pup.

Another consequence of these aggressive high wired dogs is dog on dog aggression which in my opinion is about the worst fault a hunting dog can have.  For most of these young guys preaching will just not work, many times this type of thing will end up having to be a live and learn experience. When the Vet bills start piling up and dogs have to be buried, and your hunting buddies start avoiding you like the plague attitudes about wanting to own the baddest dogs in the land start to change. The fact of the matter is this over the top grit thing is just not necessary to produce a top of the line hunting dog.

Below is some Airedale Wisdom by an early old time Airedale breeder and hunter James Keefe, from my hunter's perspective it is short but sweet as they say. A lot of knowledge and in the woods experience shows in those paragraphs and I strongly agree with his statements.

Al Kranbuhl


"The Airedale has so many good qualities and shows up so differently under varying conditions, that a person who watches closely is always finding new virtues and attractive traits in them. Their gameness is now fully acknowledged universally, their fidelity and love for one master alone is unquestioned. Their keenness of nose, eye and ear is proverbial, and their value for hunting all kinds of game and as watchdogs and companions is becoming better known every day."

"One of the greatest virtues and one that makes them reliable and safe is their aloofness and their certain tact and quality of minding their own business. Most people seem to think that a game-gritty dog is necessarily "scrappy" but this is not at all true, at least not with Airedales. The owner of an Airedale is not in hot water all the time on account of dog fights and on the other hand does not have to worry much if a fight is started for he will find Mr. Airedale very much alive and it is generally the hospital for the other dog usually the aggressor in the beginning."

James Keefe

Old hunting photo of a short coated Airedale and a Bobcat that was bagged.

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