In addition to its other roles of working dog, playmate, hunting dog and watchdog, the Airedale Terrier also makes a great show dog. They have come a long way since the days when they were bred just to hunt otters.
There are different categories in which the owners show their Airedale. One of the first ones is usually conformation. Conformation relates to how well the dog looks and performs. Having your Airedale professionally groomed is one of the most important things for the show ring as the AKC has specific requirements of what the breed standards for each dog should be. Some owners choose to do the grooming themselves to save money and as a way to bond with their Airedale. Airedales love attention from their owners, but unless you are sure of how to properly strip or clip their hair, you are better off having it done professionally.
In addition to conformation, many Airedale Terriers do well in basic obedience. With the stubborn streak and high energy level, it takes a lot of hard work and patience to have a well-behaved dog, but many do actually succeed in this area. The obedience part consists of the basic commands of heel, come, down and stay. The dog has to obey these commands with the owner by their side as well as from a distance.
The Airedale is highly regarded in Germany where they are trained in Schutzhund, which is something that a few select breeds are currently in. Schutzhund is a discipline that consists of three different canine skills: obedience, tracking and protection. They can be Schutzhund I, Schutzhund II or Schutzhund III Champions. This particular discipline is fun and challenging for the dog as well as the owner.
There are also many hunting trials that owners have their Airedale Terriers participate in to keep up on their great hunting abilities. Competing is a great way to see how well the dog will get along with other dogs. The testing is fun and is for novice as well as experienced hunters. One test is where the Airedale has to find and flush out two birds, find and retrieve a shot bird on land and retrieve game from the water.
As athletic and active as the Airedale Terrier is, it's not a surprise that they successfully work with Search and Rescue groups in Europe. Another competition that Airedale competes in is agility. Many feel that they had the active Airedale Terrier in mind when they developed the agility competition. Agility is a series of running and jumping in, through and around different obstacles at different heights. This is one competition that the Airedale not only enjoys doing, but loves practicing for as well! This is a great way to spend quality time with your Airedale in the 'one on one' way they enjoy the most.