Bedlington Terrier

Table of Contents

bedlington terrier portrait
Prepare to be swept off your feet by the Bedlington Terrier – the curly-haired cuties that are all about charm, mischief, and impeccable style! With their lamb-like appearance and a personality that's as delightful as their dapper hairdos, these four-legged fashionistas are here to steal the spotlight and your heart!

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

If you’re seeking a loyal, energetic companion with a dash of English charm, then meet the Bedlington Terrier! They’re perfect for active individuals or families who appreciate a dog that’s equal parts playful athlete and affectionate couch buddy. Plus, their unique, lamb-like looks are sure to turn heads at the dog park!

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMEBedlington Terrier
OTHER NAMESRothbury Terrier, Rodbery Terrier, Rothbury’s Lamb
ORIGINEngland
BREED GROUPTerrier Group
BREED SIZESmall
HEIGHT15-17.5 inches
WEIGHT17-23 lbs
LIFESPAN11-16 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSHigh
EXERCISE NEEDSModerate
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYModerate
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELLow
POPULARITY RANK152nd
bedlington terrier standing on green grass
Photo: CaptureLight/Getty Images

Appearance

The Bedlington Terrier is a breed that’s often described as a sheep in a dog’s world. This Englishman is an intriguing blend of elegance and athleticism, wrapped up in a curly coat that’s as unique as they come.

Starting with their height and weight, male Bedlingtons stand about 16 to 17.5 inches tall at the shoulder, while females are slightly smaller, measuring 15 to 16.5 inches. Despite their lithe appearance, they’re sturdy dogs, weighing around 17 to 23 pounds.

One glance and you’ll notice their pear-shaped heads, a distinctive feature that’s narrow yet deep and rounded. Their strong muzzles lack a stop, giving them a smooth, streamlined look. Their expressive eyes gleam with intelligence and curiosity, while their tasseled ears add an extra touch of charm.

Next comes their arched back, a testament to their agility and speed. The Bedlington’s scimitar-shaped tail is another unique characteristic, further accentuating their distinctive silhouette. They possess a confident and springy gait, often catching the eye with their graceful movements.

But perhaps the most striking feature of the Bedlington Terrier is its coat. Crisp and curly, it has a texture that’s both harsh and soft. This might seem contradictory, but it’s this very contrast that gives the Bedlington its iconic “lamb-like” appearance.

Their coats come in blue, liver, or sandy colorations, each of which may have tan points. It’s worth noting that Bedlington puppies are born black or brown, undergoing a dramatic transformation as they mature.

In essence, the Bedlington Terrier is a breed that’s full of surprises. From their pear-shaped head to their lamb-like coat, they’re a testament to the fact that in the world of dogs, there’s always room for a little bit of the extraordinary!

three bedlington terriers on a park
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Temperament

The Bedlington Terrier perfectly embodies the phrase ‘small but mighty’. These dogs are known for their cheerful, playful, and affectionate nature, which makes them an absolute delight to have around. However, there’s more to the Bedlington than just a charming personality. Let’s delve into the world of this charismatic breed.

Bedlington Terriers are often described as blithe spirits – they’re exuberant, lively, and full of joy. They love being the center of attention, and they’ll happily entertain you with their antics. Whether it’s a game of fetch in the backyard or a fun-filled playdate at the dog park, a Bedlington is always up for a good time.

Despite their playful nature, Bedlingtons are also known for their sweet and gentle disposition. They form close bonds with their families, often becoming quite attached to their human companions. They’re affectionate dogs who enjoy the occasional cuddle on the couch, making them excellent companions for those cozy movie nights.

When it comes to strangers, Bedlingtons are generally friendly and welcoming. They’re not the type of dogs to shy away from meeting new people. In fact, they’re often the first to greet guests with a wagging tail and a friendly bark. This trait, coupled with their natural charm, makes them great ambassadors of the canine world.

Bedlingtons are also known for their loyalty. They’re devoted to their families and will go to great lengths to protect their loved ones. Despite their small size, they’re courageous and can be quite protective when the situation calls for it.

However, their independent streak is also worth noting. Bedlingtons like to think for themselves and don’t mind showing off their intelligence. They’re not afraid to take charge, and they can sometimes be a little stubborn. But don’t let this deter you, because this self-assured attitude is part of what makes a Bedlington so endearing.

Finally, it’s important to note that Bedlingtons are generally good with children. They’re patient and tolerant, making them suitable for families with kids. Their playful nature also means they’re likely to get along well with older children who can match their energy levels.

bedlington terrier standing in front of a house
Photo: No-longer-here/Pixabay

Ideal Environment

Finding the perfect environment for a Bedlington Terrier is like setting the stage for a lively and captivating performance. These charming dogs are versatile, adaptable, and full of character, making them suited to a variety of homes and lifestyles.

Ideal Owner

Firstly, let’s talk about the ideal pet parent. Bedlington Terriers thrive with owners who appreciate their playful and affectionate nature. They love being part of the family’s activities, and they’re happiest when they’re included in the day-to-day hustle and bustle. So, if you’re someone who enjoys having a loyal sidekick, a Bedlington might just be your perfect match.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, Bedlingtons can be quite sociable. They generally get along well with other dogs, especially when they’ve been socialized from a young age. However, their terrier instincts might kick in around smaller pets, so supervision is recommended.

Physical Environment

As for the physical environment, Bedlingtons are surprisingly flexible. They’re equally at home in a city apartment as they are in a suburban house with a yard. What matters most is that they have enough space to express their lively personality. They’re not overly demanding when it comes to exercise, but they do enjoy a good romp or a brisk walk.

Bedlingtons appreciate a peaceful environment. While they’re certainly capable of joining in the fun, they also value their quiet time. A calm, relaxed atmosphere allows them to recharge and show their softer, more affectionate side.

Climate Adaptability

In terms of climate adaptability, Bedlingtons are fairly resilient. Their thick, curly coats provide some protection against the cold, but they’re not designed for extreme temperatures. In colder climates, a cozy dog sweater can help keep them warm.

On the flip side, they can tolerate heat reasonably well, but it’s important to avoid strenuous activity during the hottest parts of the day. Always make sure they have access to shade and fresh water.

bedlington terrier lying on a fur rug
Photo: alkir/Getty Images

Grooming

Think of grooming a Bedlington Terrier as a fascinating journey rather than a chore. This breed, with its distinctive lamb-like appearance, requires a unique grooming regimen that will allow you to bond with your pet in an exciting way.

Coat Care

Let’s begin with their coat. Bedlington Terriers have a thick, curly coat that doesn’t shed excessively yet needs regular upkeep. It’s recommended to brush their coat once or twice a week using a slicker brush or comb. This not only keeps their coat soft and healthy but also helps prevent matting and tangling.

Every six to eight weeks, it’s time for a haircut. The grooming style unique to Bedlington Terriers involves clipping the body hair short while leaving the hair on the head and legs slightly longer. This gives them their characteristic appearance. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, a professional groomer with experience in the breed can be invaluable.

Dental Care

Moving on to dental care, Bedlington Terriers, like all dogs, are prone to gum disease and tooth decay. Therefore, daily brushing is highly recommended. Using dog-friendly toothpaste can make this task easier and more enjoyable for both of you. Regular vet check-ups are also necessary to ensure good oral health.

Nail Trimming

Nail care is another important aspect of grooming. Their nails should be trimmed once or twice a month, depending on how quickly they grow. If you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, that’s a sign they’re too long. Use a good-quality nail clipper made for dogs, and be careful not to cut into the quick, as it can cause pain and bleeding.

Additional Grooming Tips

In terms of ear care, check their ears weekly for any signs of infection such as redness, bad odor, or unusual discharge. A gentle wipe with a cotton ball dipped in a vet-approved cleanser should suffice.

Looking at their eyes, regular checks can help spot any early signs of irritation or infection. Gently wiping the corners of their eyes with a soft, damp cloth can help remove any dirt or buildup.

Lastly, don’t forget the paw care. Regularly inspect their paws for any signs of injury or infection. Keep the fur between their pads trimmed to prevent any dirt accumulation.

bedlington terrier puppy standing on green grass
Photo: SergeyTikhomirov/Getty Images

Exercise

Living with a Bedlington Terrier is like having a small, energetic bundle of joy in your life. Known for their lively disposition, these dogs love to play and run around. Their exercise needs are moderate but consistent.

Exercise Amount & Types

Plan on at least 30 minutes of exercise per day for your Bedlington Terrier. This could be one long walk or two shorter walks. Remember, walks aren’t just for exercise – they’re also an opportunity for your dog to explore the world, so let them sniff around!

In addition to walks, Bedlington Terriers also enjoy playing games. Fetch or Frisbee can be a great way to burn off some energy while also providing mental stimulation. These dogs are swift runners, so any game that allows them to sprint will be well-received.

One unique trait about Bedlington Terriers is their love for digging. Providing a safe space for them to indulge in this instinct can be a fun and satisfying form of exercise. Just make sure it’s an area where you don’t mind a few holes!

Dog Sports

Bedlington Terriers are also known for their agility. They excel in dog sports such as obedience, agility trials, and terrier races. Participating in these activities not only provides physical exercise but also helps to keep their minds sharp.

Exercise Precautions

Remember, every dog is an individual. Your Bedlington Terrier might need more or less exercise than the average. Always monitor your dog’s behavior and adjust their exercise routine as needed. The goal is a happy, healthy dog who is a joy to live with.

group of bedlington terriers on a park
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Training

Bedlington Terriers are intelligent, quick learners with a dash of independent spirit. This combination makes training an interesting journey.

These dogs are highly trainable. However, their intelligence means they can be stubborn at times. They might decide that they know better than you! Don’t worry. A little patience and consistency will go a long way.

Start training your Bedlington puppy the day you bring them home. Even at eight weeks old, they can absorb information. Don’t wait until they are six months old to begin training or you may deal with more stubborn behavior. Begin with basic commands like “sit”, “stay”, and “come”.

Positive reinforcement is key. Bedlington Terriers respond well to treats and praise. Make training sessions fun and your dog will be eager to learn. Remember, short, frequent training sessions are more effective than longer, less frequent ones.

Socialization is another important part of training. Expose your Bedlington Terrier to a variety of people, places, and situations. This will help them grow into a well-rounded, confident adult dog.

Despite their cute appearance, Bedlington Terriers were originally bred for hunting. They have a high prey drive and can be aggressive towards other animals. Training can help manage this behavior. A strong recall command is essential. You’ll also need to supervise interactions with other pets, especially smaller ones.

bedlington terrier standing on a beach
Photo: mick blakey/Getty Images

Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding a Bedlington Terrier is an essential part of their care and contributes significantly to their overall health. So, what should you feed this fluffy companion?

Bedlington Terriers, like all dogs, need a balanced diet full of quality ingredients. Look for dog food that follows AAFCO guidelines – this ensures your dog gets necessary nutrients. High-quality protein should be the first ingredient, whether you choose dry kibble, wet food, or a raw diet. Chicken, beef, or fish are excellent protein sources.

Puppies need to eat more often, about three to four times a day. Once your Bedlington Terrier reaches adulthood, you can reduce feeding to twice a day. The amount will depend on their size, age, and activity level. Always follow the feeding guidelines on the dog food package and adjust as necessary.

Treats are a great training tool, but remember they are just that – treats. They should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories. Choose low-calorie options to avoid overfeeding.

Bedlington Terriers have a propensity for gaining weight. Monitor their body condition and adjust food intake to prevent obesity. Regular exercise also helps keep them at a healthy weight.

Don’t forget about water! Your Bedlington Terrier should always have access to fresh, clean water. This is particularly important during hot weather and after exercise.

Lastly, it’s best to stay away from people’s food. While it might be tempting to share your dinner with those pleading eyes, many human foods are unhealthy for dogs. Some can even be dangerous.

bedlington terrier's face close up
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Health

Bedlington Terriers are a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of 11-16 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Here are some common health issues associated with this breed:

Copper Toxicosis: This is a genetic condition where the liver cannot properly process copper, leading to accumulation and possible liver damage.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a common condition in many dog breeds where the hip joint doesn’t fit together perfectly, which can lead to arthritis over time.

Eye Conditions: Bedlington Terriers can be prone to eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and retinal dysplasia.

Kidney Disease: Some Bedlington Terriers may develop kidney issues, particularly later in life.

Patellar Luxation: Also known as “slipped stifles,” this is a common problem in small dogs. It can cause lameness and arthritis.

Now, don’t let this list scare you – these issues are not guaranteed to occur in every Bedlington Terrier. Regular check-ups with a vet can help detect any potential problems early.

To keep your Bedlington Terrier healthy, a balanced diet is crucial. Feed them high-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs. Avoid overfeeding to prevent obesity – an overweight dog is more likely to have health problems.

Regular exercise is also vital. It helps maintain a healthy weight and keeps their joints flexible. Plus, it’s a great way to bond with your furry friend!

Vaccinations are another key aspect of maintaining your dog’s health. They protect against serious diseases, so make sure to keep up with your vet’s recommended vaccination schedule.

Lastly, don’t underestimate the power of love and attention. A happy dog is often a healthy dog. Provide plenty of affection, socialization, and mental stimulation for your Bedlington Terrier.

bedlington terrier sleeping on grass
Photo: No-longer-here/Pixabay

History

The Bedlington Terrier has a rich and intriguing history that dates back over two centuries. This unique breed originated in the mining town of Bedlington, Northumberland in North East England. Initially bred to hunt, these dogs were versatile workers, excelling in catching vermin and even larger prey like badgers and foxes. Their bravery, agility, and endurance made them a favorite among the miners in the 1800s.

Despite their petite size and gentle appearance, these dogs were known for their formidable hunting skills, earning the descriptive phrase, “Head of a lamb, heart of a lion”. In the early 19th century, they were known as the Rothbury Terriers, named after the parish of Bedlington. It was only around 1825 that the breed was renamed as the Bedlington Terrier, honoring the place of their origin.

In popular culture, Bedlington Terriers have made several appearances. They’ve been featured in various books and movies, showcasing their distinctive looks and endearing personalities. Even celebrities like fashion designer Alexander McQueen and actress Anne Heche have been proud owners of this breed, further elevating its status.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Bedlington Terrier quite early on – in 1886, marking its official entry into the world of pedigree breeds. However, despite its long history and charming characteristics, the Bedlington Terrier isn’t as well-known as some other breeds. As of now, it holds the 152nd rank on the AKC’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds.

Despite their ranking, Bedlington Terriers are cherished by those who know them. Their unique appearance, coupled with their lively nature and loyalty, makes them fantastic companions. They also show their mettle in various dog sports, including agility and obedience trials, proving that they’re not just about looks but also performance!

Parent Club

The parent club for the Bedlington Terrier breed in the U.S. is the Bedlington Terrier Club of America (BTCA). The BTCA is a long-established organization committed to the preservation and promotion of the Bedlington Terrier breed. They provide resources on breed information, care tips, and events.

To learn more about the BTCA, you can visit their official website.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

You can check the Bedlington Terrier’s breed standard set by the American Kennel Club (AKC) here.

bedlington terrier puppy
Photo: slowmotiongli/Getty Images

Acquiring

If you’re considering bringing a Bedlington Terrier into your home, there are a few key points to keep in mind. First, make sure your lifestyle suits this energetic and playful breed. They need regular exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy.

If you opt to buy, always choose a reputable breeder. A responsible breeder prioritizes the dogs’ health and temperament over profits. However, consider rescuing a Bedlington Terrier instead of buying. Many wonderful dogs are waiting for their forever homes in rescue centers.

The American Kennel Club and the Bedlington Terrier Club of America can provide resources and guidance if you’re interested in rescuing. These organizations are committed to ensuring that every Bedlington Terrier gets a loving home. Remember, whether you choose to buy or rescue, you’re gaining a loyal companion and a lifetime of memories!

FAQs

Are Bedlington Terriers expensive?

Yes, Bedlington Terriers can be quite expensive due to their rarity and the cost of maintaining the breed’s health standards. The price can range from $1,500 to $2,500 for a well-bred puppy from a reputable breeder.

Do Bedlington Terriers bark a lot?

While every dog is unique, Bedlington Terriers are generally not excessive barkers. However, they can be vocal when they sense danger or when they’re bored or anxious.

How rare are Bedlington Terriers?

Bedlington Terriers are fairly rare, especially outside of their native England. They rank 152nd out of 199 breeds on the American Kennel Club’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds.

Is a Bedlington Terrier a good pet?

Absolutely! Bedlington Terriers make wonderful pets. They are intelligent, affectionate, and playful. They enjoy being part of the family activities and get along well with children and other pets.

How much exercise does a Bedlington Terrier need?

Despite their calm demeanor, Bedlington Terriers are energetic dogs that require at least 30 minutes of regular exercise. A daily walk, coupled with some playtime in the yard or a park, is usually sufficient.

Are Bedlington Terriers hypoallergenic?

Yes, Bedlington Terriers are considered a hypoallergenic breed. Their unique woolly coat sheds very little, making them a good choice for those with allergies.

What health issues do Bedlington Terriers have?

Bedlington Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but like all breeds, they can be prone to certain genetic conditions. These include copper toxicosis, eye problems, and kidney disease. Regular check-ups with a vet can help detect and manage these issues early.

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