Bedlington Terrier Breed Guide

Bedlington Terriers are graceful, lithe dogs with the appearance of a lamb. Their woolly coat is a unique mixture of soft and hard hair that stands out from the skin. It is not wiry, but it's definitely crisp, and it tends to curl on the face and head. While the coat is dark early in life, it fades in adulthood to a pale bluish-gray, liver, or sandy color. The Bedlington Terrier has small, almond-shaped eyes, large and well-defined nostrils, and a long and tapering jaw. These dogs measure 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder and weigh 17 to 23 pounds. With good care, this breed can live up to 15 years.

The Bedlington Terrier has small, almond-shaped eyes, large and well-defined nostrils, and a long and tapering jaw.

Bedlington Terriers are muscular and athletic and are known for their speed and endurance. They are also lovable, affectionate animals and make good housedogs. They enjoy being the center of their human's universe.

This breed is softer, calmer, and generally sweeter than other terriers. Because of its unusual coat, rounded head, and general body shape, this breed may be mistaken for a lamb from a distance.

Loving and gentle dogs, Bedlington Terriers make great companions for people of all ages. These dogs are not generally mischievous or fussy and they usually get along well with other pets in the household. These dogs do well in apartments because of their small size and quiet nature.

Bedlington Terriers are adaptable, affectionate, and compassionate, and they love spending time with family. They are energetic playmates for children, without being rough or rambunctious. They need daily playtime and walks to ensure health and happiness, but they should not be left outside alone for long periods. These dogs need to be in the company of their humans.

Because this breed craves attention and likes cuddling, it may not be a good fit for people who prefer very independent dogs. These dogs have a great sense of humor and like to be the center of attention; they will not be happy in households where they get little individualized attention or where their family is away from home for extended periods.

Bedlington Terriers are fairly healthy dogs, but they are prone to some health and genetic conditions. Certain eye problems, including progressive retinal atrophy, retinal dysplasia, and distichiasis are more common in these dogs than in some other breeds. Distichiasis is a condition in which an eyelash arises from an unusual and abnormal location on the eyelid. In some cases, the lash may grow in an abnormal direction. Patellar luxation is also fairly common in Bedlington Terriers.

Two more severe disorders to affect this breed include renal cortical hypoplasia and copper toxicosis, or copper storage hepatopathy. In renal cortical hypoplasia, the cortex of the kidneys fails to develop properly, resulting in improper toxin filtration and eventual kidney damage. Copper toxicosis is genetic disorder that prevents the proper processing of copper, resulting in copper accumulation and liver damage. Both parents should be cleared of copper processing disorders through a DNA test before adoption or purchase of a Bedlington Terrier puppy.

In the absence of severe genetic disease, and with proper nutrition, routine veterinary care, and regular exercise, Bedlington Terriers can live about 15 years. Even in cases where serious genetic disorders exist, early detection and treatment help ensure a comfortable, happy life.

Bedlington Terriers are generally well behaved and don't often exhibit serious behavioral problems. They are excellent watchdogs and are highly trainable. Barking may be the only real concern with these dogs, and this behavior is usually correctable with training that involves positive reinforcement and play rewards.

It's beneficial to keep these dogs busy with daily chores. This breed excels at casual and organized dog sports and loves hiking, obedience, flyball, agility, and other activities. They love to run and chase, and therefore need a safe outdoor area for exercise. Neglecting these dogs may result in digging behaviors, but long walks and vigorous, interactive play can help channel excess energy into a positive direction. To ensure a completely happy Bedlington Terrier, assign them the job of seeking out and scaring off rodents.

As inside dogs, Bedlington Terriers may become depressed or destructive if left alone outside. They are fairly clean and controlled indoors and do well even in small homes. When outside, confine these dogs to a fenced yard to protect neighborhood cats and other small animals and to prevent accidents and injuries.

While daily maintenance of the Bedlington Terrier's coat is minimal, properly cutting this breed's hair may require professional guidance. In most cases, it is best to start these dogs out with a professional groomer, and then the owner can take on more grooming duties at home as he or she becomes comfortable with daily care and coat trimming techniques.

The coat should be combed once or twice each week, and scissoring to shape the coat is necessary at least every other month. These dogs shed, but the shed hair tends to stick to the coat and is easily removed with a glove, damp washcloth, or brush. Shed hair rarely makes a mess on furniture or clothing. The teeth should be brushed frequently to freshen breath and prevent dental diseases from developing.

During grooming sessions, the ears should be checked for redness, odor, wax build-up, discharge, debris, and other signs of problems. Bathing should be infrequent and only when absolutely necessary, as frequent baths and conditioners will soften the coat too much. This breed is prone to tear stains, but watery eyes and stains are minimized by wiping with a damp cloth. Products are also available to help prevent tear stains from developing.

Bedlington Terriers were named for the Bedlington Mining Shire in Northumberland, England. This is the location where the breed was first developed and they quickly became a favorite of local miners.

In early 1800s, these dogs were used to get rid of rats and other vermin. They may also have been used to hunt. Additionally, coal miners raced the breed for sport because of the Bedlington Terrier's impressive speed and endurance.

Bedlington Terriers have been called many names over the years, with most reflecting their unusual coat and appearance. "Gypsy dog," "broken-coated terrier," and "linty-haired terrier" are just a few of the nicknames this breed has received.

The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Bedlington Terrier in 1886.