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IGP with an Airedale Terrier - What is he thinking?

Alfred is the only person in Canada that participates in IGP with Airedale Terriers and his dog Hector is the only titled Airedale in Canada (IGP2, FPr3).  We asked Alfred a number of questions regarding IGP with Airedales.

1. How did you start your journey into the world of IGP?


My daughter Emma was nine when we went on a family holiday to a farm in Portugal. Emma fell in love with the two dogs at the farm and begged us to get a puppy. Searching for a hypoallergenic breed, we decided on getting an Airedale Terrier. Apart from looks and temperament, the idea that ‘you should not get an Airedale if you don’t want to be outsmarted by your dog’ somehow appealed to us.


Our first Airedale, Odin, was a wonderful but rambunctious dog. As he got older, Hector entered our house. When Hector was six months old, I attended a puppy class where Hector was nicknamed the “Wild One”. He was more interested in humping the nine-year-old chocolate brown Labrador of the instructor, and causing mischief, than the simple exercises we had to do. From a young age I had been fascinated by highly trained dogs and I was keen to find a more challenging environment for him. I contacted K9Force where Hector has thrived from the day he entered the club. But still now, whenever he sees a chocolate brown Labrador…

2. How did you choose a kennel for your second dog, Hanzo?


Most Airedales active in IGP are from German kennels. Keen to understand better the capabilities of Airedales in IGP, I visited the National Championships for Airedales near Hannover in 2021. When I decided on a new puppy, I had seen some of the top dogs in action. The German Airedale IGP world is a small one where everybody knows everybody, and I contacted people whom I had met to find out what litters were planned before they appeared on I prepared an introduction letter, including my credentials in IGP and lots of pictures of Hector in action. I also said that I would travel to Germany to take the puppy to his new forever home in Canada, which was very much appreciated by the breeders. It certainly paid off as I think Hanzo (Hattori Hanzo of King’s Aire) is such a capable puppy, with a really excellent sports pedigree. I couldn’t have wished for a better sport dog. It took some seven months from deciding on a second sport dog to bringing Hanzo home to Canada. Flying an eight-week puppy from Germany to Canada is a whole different story, but I also cracked that….


3. Is there an individual training approach for each of your dogs? How much do your dogs differ in training?

Both Hector and Hanzo have high play and food drives, are focused trackers and love being on the training field.  Hector had the “bad luck" that he was my first competition dog and as we often say at our club:“The dog is not the problem”. With Hanzo, I know better how exercises should be executed and I take more time in building fundamentals. If there is a difference, I would say that Hanzo is more serious, whilst Hector is always looking (often successfully) for some mischief, much to the amusement of the rest

of the club.

4. When you trial, you look so relaxed, what's your secret?


I am actually quite anxious when our turn to enter the field approaches, but also very focused on the task ahead. I think about nothing else.  When I step on the competition field, I take about ten deep breaths, that calms me down.  Hector is sort of similar, always very loud and excited when we prepare to compete, leading on occasions to frowns from judges and my coach. However as soon as we step onto the field, he is all business (as one judge said “a completely different dog”) and he really lives up to the occasion… at least most of the time.


5. What advice would you give to aspiring athletes who want to do IGP with an Airedale terrier?


Airedales can do very well at IGP, Hanzo’s great-grandfather successfully participated four times in the FCI World Championships, with place 7 as his best performance. Airedales are fun dogs to train, and many people comment that they look so happy on the training field.  I could not have wished for nicer IGP partners than Hector and Hanzo.  So, I would say go for it, but, if possible, get an Airedale from a reputable German working kennel. Working-lines are built more agile than show-lines and generally have higher food and play drives. Although Hector comes from a show-line, he is the high drive puppy from two high drive parents and only one of two show-line dogs that successfully achieved working titles at our club (out of 17 dogs).


K9Force (2023, August). IGP with an Airedale Terrier - What is he thinking?

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