Information about the Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier is a breed of terrier named after the mining town of Bedlington, Northumberland in North East England.

The Bedlington Terrier is often described as having the look of a lamb with the heart of the lion, partly due to their linty-textured coat which is trimmed in a “lamb-like” cut. These dogs come in blue, liver and sandy coloration, all three of which can come with or without tan points. The breed possesses the greying gene (located on the G locus) which is a dominant trait, causing the coat color to change from their birth colors of Black (in blues) or Dark Brown (in sandies and livers) to a silvery (for blues) or mauve (for livers and sandies) color on their bodies with a lighter colored topknot and legs.

This breed has a wedge-shaped head with piercing almond-shaped eyes. Its body shape is different from most terriers in terms of construction, resembling a sighthound more than a typical terrier, which enables these dogs to gallop at great speed. However, the front assemblies of these dogs (shoulders, upper arms and front legs) are constructed differently from any other breed in that, the front legs are closer together at the feet than at the elbows – creating a triangular shape when viewed from the front. This enables them to turn or pivot quickly when chasing quarry at high speed, as well as get into the tight underground dens of their prey.

Calmer and less boisterous than many other terriers, the Bedlington Terrier is known as a dog with a good nature and mild manners. In addition, it is fearless and fast enough to bay a badger or a fox, quick and agile enough to course a hare and is a first-rate water dog. Incredibly smart and attentive to its owner, the Bedlington is one of the most reliable terriers. They are problem solvers and loyal family companions.

Like most dogs, if left alone with nothing to do they can become destructive and need exercise; however, they make good dogs for small homes like apartments as long as they get walks and attention. They can make cheerful, lovely companions, and are eager to please.

Daily brushing and combing and professional grooming are needed every 4-8 weeks to keep their coats (which tend to curl) in good shape. The coat has a tendency to mat if not maintained properly. Dogs being prepared for the show ring often have much more hair left on them than those in “pet clips,” which provide pet owners with a more manageable trim for their pets, while still maintaining the characteristic lamb look of the breed. The show trim is finished with scissors, with the the ears, throat, body, belly and tail being trimmed with an electric clipper. It can take years to master the grooming pattern for this breed.

These high-energy dogs need walks and aerobic play sessions daily to keep them happy and content. The breed is well suited for agility, earthdog, obedience and other performance events. In the case of the Working type Bedlingtons, it is imperative that the dogs are allowed to express their hunting instincts Otherwise they can become bored, destructive or aggressive. While this is the most reposed of the terrier breeds, it is still an active and energetic dog which requires both mental and physical stimulation. They can be maintained easily in both an apartment setting or with more space and outdoor access, but must be given an outlet for their energy or they will create their own entertainment.

Bedlington Terriers often appear on lists of dogs that do not shed (moult), but this is slightly misleading. Every hair in the dog coat grows from a hair follicle, which has a cycle of growing, then dying and being replaced by another follicle. When the follicle dies, the hair is shed. The length of time of the growing and shedding cycle varies by breed, age, and by whether the dog is an inside or outside dog. “There is no such thing as a nonshedding breed.” The grooming of the Bedlington helps remove loose hair, and the curl in the coat helps prevent dead hair and dander from escaping into the environment, as with the poodle’s coat. The frequent brushing and bathing required to keep the Bedlington looking its best removes hair and dander and controls the other potent allergen, saliva. Although hair, dander, and saliva can be minimized, they are still present and can stick to “clothes and the carpets and furnishings in your home”; inhaling them, or being licked by the dog, can trigger a reaction in a sensitive person. The best way to determine if you will react to a “hypoallergenic” breed is to visit a breeder and interact with their dogs and see if they are a suitable match for you.

The famed progenitor of Bedlington was a dog named “Old Flint”, whelped in 1782 and owned by “Squire Trevelyan.” Originally, the breed was known as the “Rothbury” or “Rodbery Terrier.” This name derived from a famous bitch brought from Staffordshire by a company of nail makers who settled in Rothbury. The Terriers of this section were accustomed to rodent hunting underground, and worked with packs of foxhounds kept there at the time.

It is suggested that the Bedlington may well have made its way to Ireland and played a part in the early development of the Kerry Blue Terrier.

The first Bedlington Terrier club was formed in 1877. The Bedlington Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1948.