You are likely already familiar with different terrier breeds. Handsome little Jack Russel Terriers often take the stage in movies and television shows (remember Wishbone from the popular PBS show?), and a white English Bull Terrier features prominently in marketing for Target.
Terriers are small but mighty, with plenty of energy and spirit. However, you may not be familiar with one exceptional terrier breed: the Bedlington Terrier.
The American Kennel Club describes this lamb-like canine as “loyal, charming, and frolicking.” Like most terriers, Bedlington Terriers love the outdoors almost as much as they love their owners.
The dogs are adorable and make especially great family pets.
A Bedlington Terrier is a small dog. At 15-17.5 inches tall, your pal’s head will reach about your knee.
They only weigh between 17 to 23 pounds, so Bedlington Terriers are skinny with a springy gait. They have an arched back and natural racing tendency like a Whippet.
Bedlington Terriers have medium-length, curly fur with a mixture of hard and soft hairs, making this breed an ideal partner for snuggling on the couch.
They have a long, pear-shaped snout with floppy, fuzzy ears that you’ll immediately fall in love with.
Bedlington Terriers are relatively social and adapt well to new people.
Even so, they remain alert and watchful because terriers were initially bred for hunting.
The Bedlington Terrier’s lineage can be traced back to the late 1700s in the northern England towns of Morpeth, Rothbury, and Bedlington (it should be noted that the name Rothbury Terrier is used synonymously with this particular breed).
Some sources suggest that poachers often preferred using these terriers because of the breed’s speed and eyesight, which allowed the owners to hunt on noble lands more easily without getting caught.
However, the gentry recognized the dogs’ practical skills as vermin hunters and soon began adopting the breed to assist with catching rodents and other pests.
Local coal miners in northern England also favored Bedlington Terriers to help catch rats in the mines.
Their unique shape lends to the breed’s speedy gait, making them especially adept at catching prey.
By the 20th century, people started valuing Bedlington Terriers’ companionship.
However, because of a genetic liver condition combined with changing practices among purebred breeders, the overall population of Bedlington Terriers has declined.
Bedlington Terriers have a bit of a stubborn streak, but they ultimately want to please you.
This is a very trainable breed, though be sure to rely on positive reinforcement and heavy praise.
These dogs have a lot of energy, so keep your training methods active and upbeat.
Bedlington Terriers are very intelligent and will learn quickly if you train them with kindness and patience.
To help ensure good behavior, schedule at least two walks each day and allow your pooch plenty of time to roam off-leash.
You shouldn’t leave your Bedlington Terrier at home alone for too long; they crave company and physical activity.
It’s a good idea to begin crate training early. Because these dogs are so energetic and intelligent, they can become anxious and destructive without stimulation.
Never leave them alone for more than four to six hours per day.
The life expectancy of a Bedlington Terrier dog is 11 to 16 years.
Purebred Bedlington Terriers are genetically predisposed to liver problems. Copper toxicosis (CT) is an inherited disease in which copper accumulates in the liver, causing cell damage and severe inflammation.
Symptoms begin between 2 and 6 years of age and include loss of appetite, lethargy, dark urine, and excessive thirst.
Luckily, veterinarians can test for this disease, which is treatable with early intervention.
Besides CT, the Bedlington Terrier is a pretty healthy dog. Some may suffer from hip or elbow dysplasia, but these degenerative conditions could affect many breeds.
Be sure to check your Bedlington’s ears often; pups with long, flappy ears have a higher risk of ear infection.
Bedlington Terriers are often groomed to resemble little lambs; however, to achieve this appearance, you must schedule the groomer every six weeks.
If you don’t mind their curly fur a little longer, you can extend the time between appointments.
This can be a low-maintenance breed. These dogs don’t shed, and you mostly just need to give them a good brushing once a week to avoid matting.
Be mindful to keep the hair around their faces well-trimmed. Otherwise, their eyes could be more susceptible to infections.
Things to consider
Bedlington Terriers are intelligent, companionable dogs. If you’re a first-time dog owner, this breed is relatively easy to train, gentle and alert.
They make great family dogs and do well with children. If raised alongside other dogs, Bedlington Terriers can adjust to other canines.
However, terriers don’t like to back down from a fight, so keep an eye on your pooch should you frequent the dog park or set up doggy playdates.
This breed prefers the company of humans and is energetic. It’s best to have someone at home for most of the day, whether your partner or a roommate.
Bedlington Terriers need at least one hour of exercise daily, so integrate frequent walks and playtime into your daily schedule.
The dogs don’t need a lot of room indoors (apartment living is fine), but you will need easy access to outdoor spaces such as parks or walking trails.
Finding your Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terriers are rare, and purebred Bedlington Terrier puppies can be expensive (at least $1,500 each).
If you want to go the purebred route, buy from a reputable breeder.
Because of the breed’s genetic concerns, you’ll want to ensure the puppies have been tested for any concerning conditions (specifically copper toxicosis).
Some rescues specialize in placing Bedlington Terriers.
The Bedlington Terrier Rescue Foundation is a UK-based agency that finds fosters and long-term homes for stray abused or abandoned Bedlington Terriers.
You can also search the ASPCA to see whether a Bedlington Terrier needs a loving home near you.