Bedlington Terrier

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Is the Bedlington Terrier right for you?

Species group:

Other name(s): Rothbury Terrier; Rodbery Terrier

The basics:
According to the Bedlington Terrier Club of America, this breed was developed by poachers in northeast England: "The Bedlington's speed, endurance, and ability to make a quick kill would have served poachers well. Ironically, the gentry were so impressed by the breed's hunting prowess that they hired the very dogs that were stealing their game to rid their ponds, woods, and outbuildings of vermin.

This springy terrier may look like a curly-coated lamb, but don't expect a meek, submissive dog. This active, energetic breed loves to play and may be sensitive or stubborn if you don't know how train with kind, consistent positive reinforcement.

Appearance / health:
Bedlington Terriers are known as "lambs on a leash" owing to their furry appearance. Their bodies are similar to a Greyhound's, enabling them to run at high speeds. However, in the case of Bedlington Terrier, the front legs are closer at the feet rather than the elbows. This allows the Terrier to move around quickly when chasing quarry. The head is narrow, deep, and rounded. The skull is short while the jaw is long. The tail is set low and is of medium length. The coat is not wiry.

The Bedlington Terrier does not shed, yet requires considerable grooming to prevent the fur from looking matted. Most owners get their dogs professionally groomed once in six weeks. Combing is done on a weekly basis. Owners can clip the shorter hair around the eyes, ears, and other parts themselves. A mild shampoo is used when required.

They need good amounts of exercise. A vigorous walk or a long jog is a suitable outlet for their high energy levels. They would make excellent companions on a trek, picnic, or any other outdoor trip. Keeping them active is necessary to keep fit and prevents boredom, which can lead to destructive behavior.

Bedlingtons are known to suffer from an inherited disease called Copper Toxicosis, which is marked by excess copper buildup in their liver and causes death. DNA testing is done to identify this disease. A disease called hip dysplasia (marked by badly formed hips and can cause lameness) may also occur. In addition, these dogs may suffer from kidney disease, thyroid problems, eye, problems, and liver disease.

Behavior / temperament:
Though an uncommon breed, Bedlington Terriers make wonderful pets, always eager to please their owners. Affection and attention motivates most dogs more than food does. They love to dig. Despite their lamblike appearance, they can be aggressive at times, especially with smaller animals that they love to chase. Generally, most Bedlington Terriers do not show hostility toward humans. Their hunting instincts are strong. Hence, some dog-lovers frequently refer to them as "wolves in sheep's clothing with a lion's heart.

Some of them can be headstrong at times. However, most can be trained easily. Training must begin early and include obedience training and socialization with other pets and people. Their learning rate is high.

The Bedlington is not known for barking, and tend to bark only if there is a good reason. This is partly what makes them so good for living in apartments.


excellent family dog, lovely curly fur, affectionate, much-loved companion, healthy breed


yappy breed, active lifestyle, Copper Toxicosis, poor cat, bark


groomed, coursing, hair, daily walks

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