Bedlington Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

This graceful, lithe dog has a distinctive silhouette. Its arched loin and racy outline give it great speed and agility. A wolf in lamb's clothing, the Bedlington is unrivaled in its ability to chase and fight agile but tough quarry. Its gait is light and springy. Its coat is a mixture of hard and soft hair standing off the skin, affording good protection as well as outstanding appearance.

The Bedlington is among the softer terriers, not only in looks and feel but in temperament. It is companionable, demonstrative and loyal. It enjoys its creature comforts and is a fairly quiet house dog. Even though it will seldom initiate a fight, it will not allow itself to be intimidated by other dogs and can be a scrappy fighter when pushed. It will give chase to small animals outdoors, but it can usually coexist with them indoors.

AKC RANKING 118

FAMILY terrier

AREA OF ORIGIN England

DATE OF ORIGIN 1800s

ORIGINAL FUNCTION killing rat, badger, and other vermin

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 16.5 Weight: 17-23

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 15.5 Weight: 17-23

OTHER NAME Rothbury terrier

Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Shy

Friendliness toward strangers Very friendly

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs High maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Bedlington needs daily exercise in a safe place; it loves to run and chase. Its needs can be met with a good long walk or vigorous romp. This is not a breed that should live outside. Its coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus scissoring to shape the coat every other month. Hair that is shed tends to cling to the other hair rather than shedding.
• Major concerns: copper toxicosis
• Minor concerns: retinal dysplasia, renal cortical hypoplasia, distichiasis
• Occasionally seen: patellar luxation
• Suggested tests: DNA for copper toxicosis, eye
• Life span: 12 – 14 years
One of the most unusual members of the terrier group is the Bedlington terrier. It is an English product, hailing from the Hanny Hills of Northumberland. Its exact origin is obscure, but in the late 18th century a strain of game terriers was developed that became known as Rothbury terriers. In 1825, Joseph Ainsley of the town of Bedlington bred two of his Rothbury terriers and christened their offspring a Bedlington terrier. Occasional crosses to other breeds arguably included the whippet (for speed) and Dandie Dinmont terrier (for coat), but no documented evidence of such crosses exist, and some breed historians assert that such crosses were never made. Whatever the process, the result was an agile game terrier that was effective on badgers, foxes, otters, rats and even rabbits. By the late 1800s, the breed had stepped into the show ring as well as into the homes of the more elite. At one time the liver color was more popular, although the blue has since passed it in popularity. The Bedlington's lamb-like appearance draws many admirers, but the emphasis on show trimming eventually dampened the breed's popularity as a show dog. With more easily available grooming tools and instructions, the Bedlington has regained much of its popularity with the public.