Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier Image courtesy of No-longer-here

Welcome to our article on the delightful and charming Bedlington Terrier. If you’re a dog lover, then this breed is sure to capture your heart with its unique appearance and endearing personality. In this guide, we will explore the history, characteristics, and notable aspects of the Bedlington Terrier breed. Whether you’re considering adding one to your family or simply curious about this beloved canine, we hope this post will provide you with valuable insights and information. So, let’s dive in and discover the fascinating world of the Bedlington Terrier!

History and Origins of the Breed

The Bedlington Terrier has a rich and intriguing history that dates back several centuries. This section will delve into the origins of the breed and shed light on how it came to be what it is today.

Origins in the Northumberland Region

The Bedlington Terrier takes its name from the mining town of Bedlington in Northumberland, England. This region was known for its coal mines, and it is believed that the breed was developed by crossing various local terrier breeds with Whippets and Dandie Dinmont Terriers.

Early Use as a Versatile Working Dog

Originally, Bedlington Terriers were bred for their exceptional hunting and vermin-catching abilities. They were highly valued for their versatility, being equally skilled in hunting rats, rabbits, and other small game. Their ability to fit into narrow tunnels and their determination made them excellent workers in the mines as well.

Recognition as a Breed and Popularity

In the mid-19th century, the Bedlington Terrier began to gain recognition as a distinct breed. The first breed standard was written in 1877, and the breed was officially recognized by the Kennel Club in 1898. Over time, their popularity expanded beyond their working roles, and they became sought-after companions and show dogs.

Influence of Other Breeds

The exact lineage of the Bedlington Terrier is a subject of debate among enthusiasts. It is believed that some breeds, such as the Otterhound and the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, may have contributed to the breed’s development and characteristics. These influences have shaped the breed’s appearance and temperament as we know them today.

Modern Bedlington Terriers

Today, Bedlington Terriers are cherished as family pets, show dogs, and even therapy dogs. Their distinctive appearance and gentle nature make them a beloved choice for many dog lovers around the world. The breed continues to evolve, with breeders striving to maintain its unique qualities while ensuring the health and well-being of future generations.

In the next section, we will explore the size and appearance characteristics of the Bedlington Terrier.

Size and Appearance Characteristics

The Bedlington Terrier is a breed known for its distinctive appearance and elegant stature. In this section, we will explore the size, physical features, and overall appearance characteristics of this delightful breed.


The Bedlington Terrier is a medium-sized breed, typically weighing between 17 and 23 pounds (7.7 to 10.4 kilograms) and standing about 15 to 17.5 inches (38 to 44 centimeters) tall at the shoulder. While they may appear delicate, their sturdy build and muscular frame give them a surprising strength and agility.

Head and Facial Features

One of the most recognizable features of the Bedlington Terrier is its unique head shape. They have a narrow, pear-shaped skull that tapers towards the muzzle. The eyes are small, almond-shaped, and usually dark in color, which adds to their intelligent and alert expression. The breed is known for its distinctive topknot of hair on the head, which adds to its unique charm.

Coat and Colors

The Bedlington Terrier has a dense, double coat that is both soft and crisp to the touch. Their coat is typically curly or wavy, giving them a distinctive appearance. The breed comes in various colors, including blue, liver, sandy, and sometimes even white. The coat requires regular grooming to maintain its appearance and prevent matting.

Lamb-Like Appearance

Often described as having a “lamb-like” appearance, Bedlington Terriers have a gentle and graceful presence. Their arched back, muscular hindquarters, and slender legs contribute to their elegant and athletic build. When in motion, they demonstrate a smooth and effortless gait.

Unique Terrier Characteristics

While the Bedlington Terrier may not have the typical terrier appearance, it still possesses some inherent terrier traits. Their ears are set high, small, and fold over, giving them a distinctive look. Additionally, their strong jaw and sharp teeth make them proficient chewers and capable of catching small prey when needed.

In the next section, we will explore the life expectancy of Bedlington Terriers and discuss factors that can influence their overall health and longevity.

Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of a Bedlington Terrier is an important consideration for potential owners. In this section, we will discuss the average lifespan of this breed, as well as factors that can influence their longevity.

Average Lifespan

On average, Bedlington Terriers have a lifespan of around 12 to 16 years. However, it’s essential to note that individual dogs may vary, and several factors can impact their overall life expectancy. With proper care, nutrition, and regular veterinary check-ups, Bedlington Terriers can live long and healthy lives.

Genetic Factors

Like any other breed, Bedlington Terriers can be prone to certain genetic health conditions that may affect their lifespan. Responsible breeders aim to eliminate or reduce the incidence of these conditions through careful breeding practices and health testing. Potential owners should seek out reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs.

Exercise and Weight Management

Regular exercise and weight management play a vital role in a Bedlington Terrier’s overall health and longevity. These dogs have moderate exercise needs and should be provided with daily walks, playtime, and mental stimulation. Keeping them at a healthy weight can help prevent obesity-related health issues and promote a longer lifespan.

Nutrition and Diet

Proper nutrition is crucial for the well-being of Bedlington Terriers. Feeding them a balanced and high-quality diet that meets their specific nutritional needs is essential. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best diet plan for your Bedlington Terrier, considering factors such as age, activity level, and any specific health conditions.

Regular Veterinary Care

Routine veterinary care is essential for maintaining the health and longevity of Bedlington Terriers. Regular check-ups, vaccinations, dental care, and preventive measures against parasites can help identify and address any potential health concerns early on. Early detection and treatment of health issues can significantly impact a dog’s lifespan.

Environmental Factors and Lifestyle

The environment in which a Bedlington Terrier lives can also affect their lifespan. Providing a safe and stimulating environment, free from hazards and potential toxins, is crucial. Additionally, a loving and attentive lifestyle, with plenty of mental and social stimulation, can contribute to their overall well-being and potentially extend their lifespan.

While the Bedlington Terrier is generally a healthy breed, it is essential to be aware of their specific health considerations. In the next section, we will delve into the temperament of Bedlington Terriers, exploring their personality traits and behavior patterns.


The Bedlington Terrier is known for its unique temperament, combining intelligence, loyalty, and a gentle nature. In this section, we will explore the typical temperament traits and behavior patterns of the Bedlington Terrier breed.

Gentle and Affectionate

Bedlington Terriers are renowned for their gentle and affectionate nature. They form strong bonds with their families and thrive on love and attention. These dogs often enjoy being close to their humans, whether it’s cuddling on the couch or following them around the house. Their affectionate nature makes them excellent companions and family pets.

Alert and Watchful

Despite their gentle demeanor, Bedlington Terriers have a strong sense of alertness and make excellent watchdogs. They are keen observers of their surroundings and will quickly alert their family to any potential threats or intruders. Their sharp hearing and intuition make them reliable and attentive guard dogs.

Intelligent and Trainable

Bedlington Terriers are highly intelligent dogs, making them easily trainable. They are quick learners and enjoy mentally stimulating activities. Positive reinforcement training methods work well with this breed, as they respond best to praise, treats, and rewards. With consistent and patient training, Bedlington Terriers can excel in obedience, agility, and other canine sports.

Socialization and Interactions

Proper socialization from an early age is crucial for Bedlington Terriers. They generally get along well with other dogs and household pets if introduced properly. Early socialization helps prevent any potential aggression or fearfulness towards unfamiliar dogs or animals. Additionally, exposing them to various environments, people, and situations helps shape a well-rounded and confident dog.

Moderate Energy Level

Bedlington Terriers have a moderate energy level, making them adaptable to different lifestyles. While they enjoy daily exercise, including walks and playtime, they are not overly demanding in terms of physical activity. However, mental stimulation is equally important for this breed to prevent boredom and potential behavioral issues.

Family Compatibility

Bedlington Terriers are known for their compatibility with families, including children. They are generally gentle and patient with kids, but supervision is always important to ensure harmonious interactions. Early socialization and training can help establish boundaries and teach children how to properly interact with their furry friend.

Understanding the temperament of the Bedlington Terrier is crucial for potential owners to ensure a harmonious and fulfilling relationship. In the next section, we will explore their trainability and adaptability, discussing their ability to learn new skills and adjust to different environments.

Trainability and Adaptability

The Bedlington Terrier is a breed known for its intelligence and trainability. In this section, we will explore their trainability and adaptability to different environments and lifestyles.

Intelligence and Quick Learning

Bedlington Terriers are highly intelligent dogs, which makes them quick learners. They are known for their problem-solving abilities and their ability to understand and follow commands. With consistent and positive reinforcement training methods, Bedlington Terriers can excel in obedience training and learn a variety of commands and tricks.

Positive Reinforcement Training

Bedlington Terriers respond best to positive reinforcement training methods, such as rewards, praise, and treats. Harsh training methods or punishment can be counterproductive and may lead to fear or anxiety in these sensitive dogs. Consistency, patience, and positive reinforcement are key to successful training sessions with Bedlington Terriers.

Socialization for Adaptability

Proper socialization is essential for Bedlington Terriers to adapt well to different environments and situations. Early exposure to various people, animals, and environments helps them develop confidence and reduces the likelihood of fear or aggression towards unfamiliar stimuli. Well-socialized Bedlington Terriers are more likely to adjust and thrive in different settings.

Versatility in Activities

Bedlington Terriers are versatile dogs that can excel in various activities and sports. Their intelligence and athleticism make them well-suited for obedience training, agility, and even competitive dog sports. They enjoy mental and physical stimulation, so providing them with challenging activities can help keep them engaged and satisfied.

Adaptability to Living Environments

Bedlington Terriers can adapt well to different living environments, including apartments and houses. While they are relatively small in size, they are not as prone to excessive barking as some other terrier breeds. However, it’s important to note that they still require regular exercise and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and potential behavioral issues.

Separation Anxiety

Like many companion breeds, Bedlington Terriers can be prone to separation anxiety if left alone for long periods. They thrive on human companionship and may become distressed or exhibit destructive behaviors when left alone for extended periods. Providing them with mental stimulation, interactive toys, and gradually increasing alone time can help alleviate separation anxiety.

Understanding the trainability and adaptability of Bedlington Terriers allows potential owners to provide them with the necessary training, socialization, and environment to thrive. In the next section, we will explore their exercise requirements and energy levels.

Exercise Requirements and Energy Level

Bedlington Terriers have moderate exercise requirements and energy levels that can be easily managed with regular physical activity. In this section, we will explore their exercise needs and provide guidance on how to keep them physically and mentally stimulated.

Daily Exercise Routine

While Bedlington Terriers are not extremely high-energy dogs, they still require daily exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. A daily exercise routine should include a combination of walks, playtime, and interactive activities. Aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of exercise each day to keep them healthy and content.

Walks and Leash Training

Regular walks are essential for Bedlington Terriers to get their exercise and mental stimulation. They should be walked on a leash to ensure their safety and prevent them from chasing after small animals due to their prey drive. Leash training from a young age is important to ensure they walk calmly and obediently by your side.

Mental Stimulation

In addition to physical exercise, Bedlington Terriers also thrive on mental stimulation. Engaging them in interactive games, puzzle toys, and obedience training sessions can help keep their minds sharp and prevent boredom. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise to prevent destructive behaviors that may arise from boredom.

Playtime and Interactive Toys

Bedlington Terriers enjoy playtime with their owners and engaging in interactive activities. Playing fetch, tug-of-war, or teaching them new tricks are great ways to keep them mentally and physically active. Providing them with interactive toys that challenge their problem-solving skills can also be beneficial.

Adaptability to Different Environments

Bedlington Terriers are adaptable to various living environments, including apartments, as long as their exercise needs are met. They can adjust well to smaller spaces as long as they receive regular walks and playtime. However, access to a securely fenced yard where they can safely run and explore is always a plus.

Exercise for Different Life Stages

It’s important to consider the exercise needs of Bedlington Terriers at different life stages. Puppies may have shorter bursts of energy and require more frequent play sessions, while senior dogs may have lower energy levels and may need shorter and gentler exercise routines. Adjust the exercise regimen accordingly to accommodate their individual needs.

Understanding their exercise requirements and providing them with regular physical and mental stimulation is crucial for the overall well-being and happiness of Bedlington Terriers. In the next section, we will explore the grooming requirements of this breed.

Grooming Requirements

Proper grooming is essential to keep a Bedlington Terrier looking and feeling their best. In this section, we will explore the grooming requirements of the Bedlington Terrier breed and provide tips on how to maintain their coat, hygiene, and overall appearance.

Unique Coat Care

The Bedlington Terrier’s coat is a distinctive feature of the breed, requiring regular care to keep it in good condition. The coat is a combination of soft and crisp hair that is typically curly or wavy. The texture of their coat helps protect their skin from thorns, twigs, and other outdoor elements.

Regular Brushing

Bedlington Terriers should be brushed at least once a week to prevent matting and tangles. A slicker brush or a comb with wide-set teeth is recommended for their coat type. Pay attention to areas prone to matting, such as behind the ears, under the legs, and around the tail. Regular brushing also helps distribute natural oils and keeps their coat healthy and shiny.

Professional Grooming

To maintain the Bedlington Terrier’s unique appearance, many owners choose to have their dogs professionally groomed. A professional groomer can help maintain the characteristic topknot on their head and provide a neat and tidy trim. Professional groomers will also be able to properly shape their coat and give guidance on specific grooming techniques.

Bathing and Coat Maintenance

Bedlington Terriers should be bathed regularly, approximately once every 4 to 6 weeks, to keep their coat clean and free from dirt and debris. Use a gentle dog shampoo that is suitable for their sensitive skin. After bathing, it is important to thoroughly dry their coat to prevent skin issues. Regular ear cleaning and nail trimming should also be part of their grooming routine.

Regular Check-ups and Health Maintenance

In addition to regular grooming, Bedlington Terriers should receive regular check-ups from a veterinarian to ensure their overall health and well-being. The vet can examine their skin, ears, teeth, and general health, providing guidance on any specific grooming or health concerns.

Coat Clipping and Trimming

Bedlington Terriers may require professional coat clipping and trimming every few months to maintain their characteristic appearance. The specific style and length of the coat can vary depending on personal preference and show standards. Regular coat clipping helps manage the texture and length of their hair, preventing excessive matting and making grooming more manageable.

Proper grooming not only keeps the Bedlington Terrier looking their best but also contributes to their overall health and well-being. By following a regular grooming routine and seeking professional assistance when needed, owners can help their Bedlington Terriers maintain a healthy and aesthetically pleasing coat. In the next section, we will explore the common health issues that may affect this breed.

Health Issues

While Bedlington Terriers are generally a healthy breed, like all dogs, they may be prone to certain health issues. In this section, we will explore some of the common health conditions that may affect Bedlington Terriers and discuss ways to prevent and manage them.

Copper Storage Disease (Hepatopathy)

Copper Storage Disease is a hereditary condition that affects the liver’s ability to metabolize and eliminate copper. Bedlington Terriers have a higher risk of developing this condition compared to other breeds. Regular monitoring of copper levels through blood tests and a specific diet prescribed by a veterinarian can help manage and prevent complications associated with this disease.

Renal Dysplasia

Renal Dysplasia is a genetic condition that can affect the kidneys’ development and function. Bedlington Terriers may be prone to this condition, which can lead to kidney failure. Regular veterinary check-ups and monitoring kidney function through blood and urine tests can help detect early signs and manage the condition to ensure the best possible quality of life.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar Luxation is a condition where the kneecap (patella) becomes dislocated from its normal position. This can cause lameness and discomfort in affected dogs. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive jumping or rough play can help prevent or minimize the risk of patellar luxation. Surgical intervention may be required in severe cases.

Thyroid Issues

Bedlington Terriers may be prone to hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Symptoms may include weight gain, lethargy, and skin issues. Regular veterinary check-ups and routine blood tests can help monitor thyroid function. If diagnosed with hypothyroidism, treatment with thyroid hormone replacement medication can effectively manage the condition.

Eye Issues

Bedlington Terriers may be susceptible to certain eye conditions, including progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), cataracts, and distichiasis (abnormal eyelash growth). Regular eye examinations by a veterinary ophthalmologist can help detect and manage these conditions. Early detection and appropriate treatment can help preserve vision and maintain good eye health.


Like many other breeds, Bedlington Terriers can be prone to allergies, including food allergies and environmental allergies. Symptoms may include itching, skin irritation, ear infections, and gastrointestinal issues. Identifying and eliminating the allergens and working closely with a veterinarian can help manage and alleviate allergy symptoms through proper diet, medication, and environmental modifications.

Regular veterinary care, responsible breeding practices, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle are important factors in managing the overall health of Bedlington Terriers. It is crucial for owners to be aware of these potential health issues and work closely with their veterinarian to provide the best possible care for their furry companions. In the next section, we will explore some comparable breeds that share similarities with Bedlington Terriers.

Comparable Breeds

While the Bedlington Terrier is a unique breed, there are other dog breeds that share some similarities in terms of appearance or temperament. In this section, we will explore some comparable breeds that may interest those who are drawn to the Bedlington Terrier.

Kerry Blue Terrier

The Kerry Blue Terrier is a breed that bears some resemblance to the Bedlington Terrier in terms of coat texture and overall appearance. They both have a dense, curly or wavy coat and a similar body structure. Kerry Blue Terriers are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and energetic nature, making them suitable for active families.

Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier

The Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier is another breed that shares some physical characteristics with the Bedlington Terrier. They both have a soft, wavy coat that requires regular grooming. Wheatens are known for their friendly and outgoing personalities, making them excellent family pets. They are also energetic and enjoy participating in various activities.

Miniature Schnauzer

While the Miniature Schnauzer may have a different coat texture compared to the Bedlington Terrier, both breeds share a similar body size and shape. Miniature Schnauzers are known for their intelligence, trainability, and affectionate nature. They make excellent companions and are suitable for families of all sizes.

Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier, known for its shaggy and weather-resistant double coat, shares some physical traits with the Bedlington Terrier. Both breeds have a compact and sturdy build. Cairn Terriers are known for their adventurous and lively personalities. They are intelligent and require mental and physical stimulation to keep them happy.

West Highland White Terrier

The West Highland White Terrier, or Westie, may differ in coat color from the Bedlington Terrier, but they share a similar size and energetic nature. Westies have a dense, double coat that requires regular grooming. They are known for their spirited and friendly personalities, making them popular companions and family pets.

While these breeds may have some similarities to the Bedlington Terrier, each breed has its own unique characteristics and requirements. It is important to thoroughly research and consider the specific traits and needs of any breed before making a decision on which one is the best fit for your lifestyle and preferences.

Notable Dogs from This Breed

The Bedlington Terrier breed has produced many notable dogs throughout history. In this final section, we will highlight a few famous Bedlington Terriers who have made their mark in various fields, showcasing the breed’s versatility and unique qualities.

Charles Bedlington

Charles Bedlington was a Bedlington Terrier who gained fame as a show dog in the late 19th century. He was highly recognized for his exceptional conformation and elegant appearance, winning numerous awards and accolades in dog shows across the United Kingdom.

Rothbury Riot

Rothbury Riot was a Bedlington Terrier known for his agility and athleticism. He achieved great success in agility competitions, showcasing the breed’s intelligence, trainability, and athleticism. Rothbury Riot’s achievements helped demonstrate that Bedlington Terriers excel not only in the show ring but also in performance sports.

Bedlington Terriers in Movies and Television

Bedlington Terriers have also made appearances in movies and television shows. One notable example is the Bedlington Terrier named “Sandy” who played the role of “Crackerjack” in the popular television series “The Partridge Family” during the 1970s. Sandy’s charming personality and unique appearance captivated audiences and further popularized the breed.

Therapy and Service Dogs

Bedlington Terriers have also been trained and utilized as therapy dogs and service dogs. Their gentle and affectionate nature, combined with their intelligence and trainability, make them well-suited for these roles. Bedlington Terriers have provided comfort, support, and assistance to individuals in need, showcasing their remarkable ability to make a positive impact on people’s lives.

These notable Bedlington Terriers serve as a testament to the breed’s versatility, intelligence, and unique qualities. They have made their mark in various fields, including show competitions, performance sports, entertainment, and service. Their achievements and contributions have further solidified the Bedlington Terrier’s reputation as a remarkable and beloved breed.

In conclusion, the Bedlington Terrier is a breed with a fascinating history, distinctive appearance, and charming temperament. Whether as a beloved family pet, a show dog, or a therapy companion, Bedlington Terriers bring joy and companionship to those fortunate enough to share their lives with them.

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