History of the Bedlington Terrier Breed
Considered to be one of the most unique breeds in the terrier group, the Bedlington terrier comes from England, specifically the Hanny Hills region of Northumberland. While the actual origin of this breed is not known, some claim that such breeds as the Dandie Dinmont and the otterhound contributed to the ancestry of the Bedlington terrier. However, it is believed that during the late 18th century a strain of terrier was developed for hunting game called the Rothbury terrier or the Northumberland fox terrier. A resident of the town of Bedlington, Joseph Ainsley, bred two Rothbury terriers (the female named Coated Phoebe) in 1825. The puppies from this breeding were then named Bedlington terriers. History suggests that there were other occasional crosses with breeds such as the Whippet, but records documenting this do not exist. Nevertheless, the Bedlington terrier was an agile breed that effectively hunted game such as rabbits, otters, foxes, badgers, and even rats. It was in the late 1800s that this breed began to be shown in the ring and found in homes of the wealthy.
Size and Appearance of the Bedlington Terrier Breed
Slightly longer than it is tall, the Bedlington terrier has a racy outline and a distinct silhouette. The legs of this breed are described as lithe and muscular, and the back legs are longer than the front legs. The feet are long and hare-like with thick, smooth pads. The narrow but rounded head is usually covered with a profuse topknot. The almond-shaped eyes are small and bright, and the triangular ears have rounded tips. The ears are thin with a velvety texture, and they are covered with fine hair that forms a small silky tassel at the end. The nose has large, well-defined nostrils. The long, tapering jaws feature strong teeth that meet in either a level or scissors bite. The head is carried high on a long, tapering neck that flows smoothly into the back. The low-set tail is shaped like a scimitar and tapers to a point at the end. The distinctive coat of the Bedlington terrier is a combination of hard and soft hair that is described as crisp to the touch. The coat has a tendency to curl, especially on the head and face. The coat comes in a variety of colors including: blue, blue and tan, liver, liver and tan, sandy, and sandy and tan. Generally, the topknot on the head of an adult dog is lighter in color than the overall body.
Bedlington Terrier Temperament
Considered to be a companionable and loyal dog, the Bedlington terrier enjoys the comforts of life, and it is a usually a rather quiet house dog. While it will not normally initiate a fight, it will not be intimidated by other dogs. This breed will likely chase small animals when it is outdoors, but if sufficiently socialized with them, it will get along with other pets inside. The Bedlington terrier loves to be with children, and it is generally quite friendly with strangers. This breed is known for digging, and it should only be let off the leash in safe, enclosed areas to prevent it from chasing small animals.
Bedlington Terrier Recommended Maintenance
While the coat of the Bedlington terrier sheds very little, grooming is quite extensive as it requires specialized clipping every six weeks or so. The coat should be combed twice a week. Be sure to clean the pluck inside the ears on a regular basis to prevent infection. While frequent bathing doesn't dry out the skin of this breed like it will with other dogs, the coat of the Bedlington will become lank if washed too often. This dog is considered to be a good choice for allergy sufferers. Like most breeds, the Bedlington needs to be provided with daily exercise, such as a long walk or time to play off the leash in a safe area. This breed can do well in an apartment setting if enough exercise is provided. Without physical activity, this dog can become bored and mischievous.
Bedlington Terrier Health
Life span: 12 - 14 years
Major concerns: copper toxicosis
Minor concerns: retinal dysplasia, renal cortical hypoplasia, distichiasis
Occasionally seen: patellar luxation
Suggested tests: DNA for copper toxicosis, eye