The Bedlington Terrier is a unique small dog breed that looks like a lamb. A true terrier, the Bedlington loves to be the centre of attention, has the astute judgment and makes an excellent family companion.
Origin & History
The Bedlington was named after the town where it was developed in Northern England. Some believe that the Romani Gypsies who hunted in the area brought the dogs with them.
The Bedlington Terrier was used to hunt and kill vermin like rats and badgers. He could point, retrieve, track and flush out small animals. He was also used as a racing dog because of his speed and agility.
This terrier was first known as Gypsy Dog, Rothbury and Rodbury Terrier. He is closely related to the Dandie Dinmont, Soft Coated Wheaten, Kerry Blue Terriers and the Whippet.
The National Bedlington Terrier Club in England was formed in 1877. The American Kennel Club registered the first Bedlington in 1886.
Apart from resembling a lamb, the Bedlington has been likened to a miniature Scottish Deerhound.
His uniquely-shaped head is rounded with no stop. His small eyes are almond-shaped and his mouth has closefitting lips.
His coat is distinct with a combination of rough and soft fur which sometimes curls on the head and face. Coat colours come in different colours and combinations:
* Blue and tan
* Sandy and tan
* Liver and tan
Newborn puppies are dark and lighten as they grow. Adult Bedlington’s have a tuft of long hair on their heads (topknot) that is usually lighter than their coat colour.
Size & Weight
When fully grown, the Bedlington Terrier can measure 15 to 16 inches (39cm to 44cm) and weighs between 17 and 23 pounds, (7kg and 10kg), proportionate to his height.
Character & Abilities
The Bedlington has all the characteristics of a terrier: likes to dig, bark and chase. He is alert and makes an excellent watchdog.
He has a mild gentle temperament and makes a loyal quiet housedog. He can be playful, cheerful and excitable.
This small dog breed can be a one-person dog because he likes being the centre of attention. He can be entertaining and likes making people happy with his antics.
He is tenacious and his bark has been described as loud and houndlike.
Like other terriers, he can be aggressive towards dogs of the same gender and small animals. He will get along well with dogs and indoor cats that he has been raised with.
The Bedlington is not suited for homes with toddlers because he is rambunctious and doesn’t tolerate rough handling. When irritated, he may snap or bite.
Exercise & Nutrition Needs
This hardy small dog breed has moderate energy levels and will match his activity levels with his person. He needs to be walked daily and have regular play sessions.
He is versatile and has powerful swimming skills. He is as fast in the water as he is on land. He also loves playing in the snow.
The Bedlington makes an excellent jogging or hiking companion. In the home, he is happy to sit on the couch with his person and relax.
It is important to walk this dog on a leash. He might run off to chase small animals and get into trouble. If he feels challenged by any dog he meets, he will not back down.
How much this terrier eats depends on his age, size, build, rate of metabolism and level of activity. The recommended daily amount for an adult is 1 to 1 ½ cups of high-quality dog food.
The Bedlington does not shed much and has minimal dog odour. He needs regular brushing to remove dead hair. The coat doesn’t require stripping.
To maintain the lamb-like appearance would require a visit to a professional groomer who can also guide on the best techniques to acquire the look.
Dental hygiene is important and should begin in puppyhood. Daily brushing with a vet-approved dog toothbrush and toothpaste will prevent bad breath and gum disease.
It is important to keep the Bedlington’s nails short and neatly trimmed. This will prevent him from slipping on concrete and tiled floors or getting his feet caught in upholstery.
Trainability & Intelligence
The Bedlington is an intelligent dog but is prone to being stubborn. He is still moderately easy to train.
He can be trained to participate in dog sports like agility, obedience and tracking.
He responds well to praise, play and treats rather than harsh words and actions. Training can go easier when he thinks something is his idea or benefits him.
When not around the home to supervise his toilet training, he should be kept in a dog crate.
Proper training and early socialisation are important to ensure this terrier grows into a well-rounded dog.
Living Conditions & Adaptability
Even though this is a hardy breed, the Bedlington is not suited for living outdoors. He is small and compact enough for apartment living as long as he gets to exercise regularly in a secure place.
It is not ideal for the Bedlington to be housed with dogs that have dominant personalities. Despite his gentle nature, when this breed is challenged, he can be quite aggressive.
Health & Life Expectancy
Mostly free from health complaints, the Bedlington Terrier is genetically predisposed to health concerns like:
* Patellar luxation
* Retinal dysplasia
* Copper toxicosis
* Renal cortical hypoplasia
* Heart murmurs
A happy and healthy Bedlington has a life span of 14 to 16 years.
The Bedlington Terrier is a fluffy and sweet dog with a strong intuition that makes him a wonderful companion and watchdog.
He is an enthusiastic playmate and loves to entertain. He has incredible hunting skills, loves the outdoors but will be happy to relax with his family in the home afterwards.
Choosing to adopt a dog is a wonderful step that brings a lifetime of joy. But it is important to consider the breed and match with a dog that suits your household and lifestyle.
Our team at All The Small Dog Breeds makes this step easier by providing detailed small dog breed descriptions.
We recommend adopting from your local shelter or reputable breeder.