The Bedlington Terrier

The Lamb-like Dog

Origins and History

The Bedlington Terrier was bred to hunt down the population of vermin that had been pestering the old mines of Bedlington in England’s Northumberland County.  Over the years, Bedlington Terriers had moved on from their humble beginnings and have made their presence felt in dog races, breed shows, dog sporting events, hunting trips, and people’s homes.

Before they were called Bedlingtons, they were known as Rothbury Terriers or Rothbury’s Lambs, after the Lord of Rothbury who favored them over other breeds.

Famous Bedlington Terriers in history are Ch. Rock Ridge Night Rocket hailed as the Best U.S. Dog after winning the top prize at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in 1948.   His fame earned him a feature in LIFE Magazine. In 1960, his descendant Ch. Femars’ Cable Car, made it to the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Character and Abilities

A Bedlington Terrier is a graceful dog thats comfortable in its surrounding and in its own skin.   At rest, he is gentle and mild-mannered – neither nervous nor shy. When roused, he springs into full alert and shifts into playful mode.  

A Bedlington Terrier makes a perfect family pet.  He’s a protective watchdog and a genial housemate.   He is loving towards children; and would enjoy a morning jog with you.   He makes for an irresistible cuddle while something’s streaming on Netflix.

He can be jealous of other dogs and may even pick a fight.  But if you have had him attend a kindergarten class for puppies when he was around ten weeks, he’d be able to curb this genetic volatile behavior.

Trainability and Intelligence

The Bedlington is an intelligent dog which makes training moderately easy.  You may use positive reinforcement methods like play, praise, and treats. Physical force and a harsh voice will only lead to a battle of wills; and, sadly, you’d always be the one on the losing end.  


A walk, a jog, or a hike, are sufficient forms of exercise for the active Bedlington.    He can also use up his energy when playing with the kids. Always remind your kids though not to be too rough with the dog, as he might bite when overstimulated.

Living Conditions and Adaptability

A Bedlington adapts well with apartment living.    He only barks when necessary so he isn’t a nuisance to the residents and neighbors.   He is particularly charming and calm around children, although some supervision is still recommended.   

A Bedlington needs to be supervised around other dogs because of the tendency to pick a fight.   But it shouldn’t be a problem if he’s attended a puppy kindergarten class.


  • Longevity

The lifespan of a Bedlington is 11-16 years (median longevity of 13.5 years), longer than most similarly-sized breeds.   The longest recorded from a survey by the UK Kennel Club back in 2004 is 18.4 years.

  • Diseases

A common cause of death in Bedlingtons is copper toxicosis, a gene-related abnormality where an over-accumulation of copper happens in the liver.  Bedlington owners also mention that their dogs are more prone to diseases of the eyes than other breeds.

Other health concerns include distichiasis (extra hairs grow inside the eyelid that rub on the eye), renal cortical hypoplasia (kidney function fails), retinal dysplasia (round clumps form within the retina), and patellar luxation (a kneecap gets dislocated).

  • Physical characteristics

A Bedlington’s head is narrow and rounded and is covered with a fleecy topknot which is prominent at the crown and tapers down to just the back of his nose.    

His lips are close-fitting.  A blue and blue-tan Bedlington has black lips, while that in other solid and bicolors has brown lips.   His small bright eyes are almond-shaped, sunken, and do not water. He’s got either black or brown rims around his eyes.   His ears are triangular and rounded at the tips. They hang flat in front touching the corners of his mouth. His nose is either black or brown; and has large and well-defined nostrils.   His jaws taper and his strong muzzle are filled with bone just below the eyes.

The neck and shoulders are sloping and the back is arched in the loin area.    The hind legs are longer than those in front. The tail takes the shape of a scimitar, thick at the root and tapered towards the tip.    

  • Hypoallergenic

If the dread that comes with sneezing, a runny nose, and itchy eyes far outweighs your desire to have a dog, then bring home a curly-coated hypoallergenic Bedlington Terrier.   Bedlingtons seldom shed dander, the actual allergen that causes all the discomfort.

  • Coat

A Bedlington’s coat is a combination of soft and hard hair that stands out from his skin.  It is crisp but not wiry and tends to curl, particularly those found in the head and face.


  • Color

Bedlingtons come in solid colors and bi colors:

  • Blue
  • Liver
  • Sandy
  • Blue and tan
  • Liver and tan
  • Sandy and tan

In bicolors, the dashes of tan are found in the rims around the eye, inside the hindquarters, the chest, under the tail, and the legs.

The topknots are lighter than the rest of the body.

  • Grooming

Bedlington Terriers are high maintenance. To keep their adorable lamb-like looks, you need to comb their curly coats every day.   A daily brush would also remove extra hair that clings to their coats.

A Bedlington needs to be clipped by a professional groomer every six weeks.   If you want to take grooming your pet into your own hands, make time to take lessons from a dog groomer or breeder; or watch instructional videos to avoid injuring your dog or messing up his charming look.  

To reduce cost of maintenance and upkeep, a pet Bedlington is best cut shorter than a show Bedlington.   A neater cut is also perfect for the dog to stay comfortable in hot temperature.

It’s a good idea to check your dog’s ears for excess buildup of wax or some nastry smell as this may indicate infection.   Hairs inside your pet’s ears also need trimming as they may inflame an already existing infection.

Nail-clipping has always been a challenge when it comes to dog grooming.   There will always be that danger of cutting too low causing your pet’s nail to bleed.  If you can’t bear to see your dog limping on sore claws, there’s always a groomer or veterinarian you could run to.    

  • Size and Weight

The ideal height of a male Bedlington measured at the withers (that ridge between the shoulder blades) is 16.5 inches.  A female is considered fit at 15.5 inches.

A Bedlington Terrier’s weight should be proportionate to its height at 17 to 23 pounds.



Energy Level


Good with kids