Charming and friendly, the unmistakable Bedlington terrier has many fans and for good reason. These intelligent and characterful dogs are people-orientated and easy to train. They are quite lively but not to the extent of most terriers and make excellent pets for inexperienced owners. But Bedlingtons need to be kept entertained and require intensive grooming.
Which breed group is the Bedlington terrier in?
Breed group: Terrier
Bedlington terrier breed history
As with many breeds, the exact details of the Bedlington terrier’s development are unknown. These dogs evolved in the Bedlington area of Northumberland where they were favoured by poachers and miners for hunting and ratting. Wealthy estate owners became aware of the Bedlington’s talents and began recruiting the poachers who owned them to control vermin on their properties.
Lord Rothbury was particularly fond of the breed which became known as the Rothbury terrier. Its ancestors were probably a variety of terriers including the dandie dinmont, Kerry blue and soft coated wheaten. There may also be whippets in the bloodlines as Bedlingtons boast long legs and slightly arched backs.
It was Joseph Aynsley of Bedlington who named the breed after the town. The breed was recognised by the Kennel Club in 1948 and remains popular as a hunting dog, show dog and family pet.
Bedlington terrier breed characteristics
There’s no mistaking Bedlington terriers! These appealing dogs have a unique and endearing appearance. It’s their wedge-shaped head which principally sets them apart, but those cute looks belie the impressive athleticism of these dogs. Bedlingtons are deceptively strong and muscular. They have long, tapering necks, sloping shoulders, curved backs and powerful back legs. Those distinctive heads are covered in curly hair and features silky top-knots. Their eyes are triangular and alert, ears are moderate in size, set low and hang flat to the dogs’ heads.
Bedlingtons are also distinguished by hare-like feet with closed pads. Tails taper to the tips and are held curved. Coats are thick and low-shedding. They feature a noticeable kink, especially around the face and head. Acceptable colours are blue, blue & tan, liver, liver & tan, sandy and sandy & tan.
Small in stature but generally extremely confident, Bedlington terriers are lively and friendly. They are intelligent dogs which like to be kept busy but are calmer than many terriers. They possess strong prey drives and they are fast on the feet. Recall training is therefore a must!
- Lifespan: 12-14 years
- Height: up to 44cm
- Weight: up to 10.5kg
- Surprisingly athletic
- Wedge-shaped head
- Curved back
- Dense coat in several colours
- Relative calm
- Strong prey drive
- Fleet of foot
- Like to dig
Health issues with Bedlington terriers
Bedlington terriers are prone to a number of hereditary and congenital conditions which are as follows:
- Copper toxicosis
- Cushing’s disease
- Reproductive issues
- Heart murmur
- Retinal Dysplasia
- Entropion (Eyelids Folding Inwards)
- Blocked Tear Ducts
- Dry Eye
- Primary lens luxation (PLL)
What is the Bedlington terrier bred for?
The Bedlington was evolved as a hunter which was proficient at controlling vermin.
What sort of owners does the Bedlington terrier suit?
Less hyperactive than many terriers and very friendly, Bedlingtons are excellent family pets. They are good choices for older people and are easy to train. However, they do need a generous amount of exercise and are easily bored. For these reasons, they are best suited to active owners who can devote the time to keeping them entertained. They require a very secure garden as they love to dig and they may bark a little too much. Owners should also be prepared to groom Bedlingtons continuously as their coats are prone to matting.
Bedlington terriers are highly intelligent dogs which are eager to please and so can excel at obedience tests. They are wonderful pets for first-time owners as long as someone in the family can be at home with them throughout the day.