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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier

Origin: Great Britain

AKC Group: Terrier

Height: 15 - 17 inches (Male)

Weight: 17 - 23 pounds (Male)

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Bedlington Terriers were originally bred as dog fighters, so they're often aggressive with strange dogs and jealous of other pets. They're suspicious of strangers, and they love to bark and bite. This is a very stubborn breed that needs professional obedience training.

Bedlington Terriers are part of the Terrier group. In general, terriers have a very distinctive personality that's unlike any other breed. They're feisty and energetic. Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, terriers love the chase - don't let your terrier off its leash unless it's in an enclosed area.

Terriers make excellent pets. These tough little canines have an attitude, however, so they usually adapt better to quiet households. Most terriers are usually jealous and snippy around other pets, especially dogs.

While some terriers are good with children, most will snap if provoked. If you want your terrier to be friendly with strangers, you need to accustom it to people at an early age. Terriers are also barkers and diggers.

In terms of health, terriers are very hardy dogs with few health problems. Most live a long time, usually around 15 years. Terriers need to be brushed twice a week and professionally groomed about every three months. While pet terriers are usually clipped, show dogs are stripped, which means the dead hairs are plucked out one by one so the coat color doesn't fade.

Great Britain
Male height: 
15 - 17 inches
Male weight: 
17 - 23 pounds
Short and curly; a mixture of soft and hard hair. Tail and ears hang down.
Blue, sandy or liver, sometimes with tan markings on the legs, chest and under the tail. Puppies are born dark; they don't reach their adult color until their first birthday. Eyes are brown or hazel; nose is black or brown, depending on coat color.

Boasting a longer traceable pedigree than any other terrier, the curly-coated Bedlington Terrier hails from the mining area north of England. He was probably bred from the wire-coated terriers found in the north and may have been crossed with scenthound (Otterhound) and sighthound (Whippet). Reportedly, these terriers were used by gypsies and poachers to catch game on wealthy landowners' properties. In the 1830s, Lord Rothbury, from Bedlington in Northumberland County, became an enthusiast of these "gypsy dogs." The breed was first known as Rothbury's Terrier and was capable of everything from ratting and badgering to swimming after otters and running down hares. He became indispensable to local miners, who used him to kill rats living in the mines. The first Bedlington Terrier club was formed in 1877, and the breed has gained recognition in many other countries since then. Eventually, his loyal and lovable nature made him popular as a lady's companion, and his reputation as a tough working dog subsided.

The Bedlington Terrier is described as having the heart of a lion in the body of a lamb. He is playful, charming, alert and spirited. He thrives on affection and loves nothing more than to be the center of attention. He adores his family, but his loyalty can be a curse - if challenged or threatened, the warrior in him comes out and won't be easily turned off.
At home: 
Bedlington Terriers can live just about anywhere and make particularly good apartment dogs because they like to be close to their owners at all times, curling up with them on the couch or in bed. They are low shedding, which makes living in a small space a bit easier as well. However, they must be taken out for plenty of exercise or they'll grow bored and destructive. Bedlington Terriers should not be left off leash unless in a securely enclosed area.
The eager Bedlington needs and deserves several brisk walks and plenty of playtime every day, if not a regular sport in which to compete. He is ready to go wherever his owners go. He can run very fast and likes to do so.
Bedlington Terriers tend to be hearty eaters and need a high-quality diet to stay in shape.
The Bedlington is an adaptable and responsive terrier who enjoys figuring out what you want him to do and learning it quickly. His terrier instincts keep him alert to the outside world, but his loyal nature always has an eye (and some attention) on you.
Bedlington Terriers are outgoing and especially love children. They must be socialized with other pets and may see small animals as prey.
The average life span of the Bedlington Terrier is 11 to 16 years. Breed health concerns may include cataracts; copper toxicosis; patellar luxation; renal cortical hypoplasia; and retinal dysplasia.
Fun fact: 

In the 1830s, the Bedlington Terrier was also known as Rothbury's Lamb.

Grooming blurb: 
Bedlingtons shed very little; however, their coat grows in curly and can become unmanageable if not clipped back about every six weeks. Show dogs demand extensive grooming to give them just the right look, but pet owners needn't be so particular and can easily learn the clipping, trimming and brushing techniques that keep the Bedlington looking his most handsome.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.