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Meet The Bedlington Terrier: A Playful And Affectionate Canine Companion

the bedlington terrier

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Meet The Bedlington Terrier: A Playful And Affectionate Canine Companion


Bedlington Terrier is a fascinating and unique dog breed that has captured the hearts of dog lovers around the world.

Known for their distinctive appearance and remarkable abilities, this breed is a perfect companion for those who appreciate loyalty, intelligence, and agility.

In this in-depth article, we will explore everything there is to know about the Bedlington Terrier, including its history, characteristics, grooming needs, training tips, and much more.

History of the Bedlington Terrier: A Closer Look


Origins in Bedlington, Northumberland

The Bedlington Terrier originated in the small town of Bedlington, Northumberland, in northeastern England.

The breed’s development can be traced back to the early 1800s when local miners and weavers began breeding dogs specifically for their hunting prowess and companionship.

The Working Dog of Choice

The Bedlington Terrier quickly became the working dog of choice for the people of Bedlington and the surrounding areas.

Their exceptional speed, agility, and hunting abilities made them perfect for catching small game such as rabbits and hares, as well as controlling vermin populations.

Influence of Other Breeds

It’s believed that the Bedlington Terrier’s development involved the crossing of several breeds, including the Whippet, Dandie Dinmont Terrier, and Otterhound.

These breed combinations contributed to the Bedlington Terrier’s unique appearance, as well as their speed, endurance, and keen sense of smell.

Recognition by Kennel Clubs

The Bedlington Terrier’s popularity began to grow beyond its hometown in the mid-1800s, and the breed was officially recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1948.

In 1967, the Bedlington Terrier Club of America was founded, and the breed was subsequently recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1971.

The Bedlington Terrier Today

Today, the Bedlington Terrier is primarily known as a loyal and affectionate companion rather than a working dog. However, their hunting instincts and athleticism are still evident in their love for outdoor activities and dog sports.

The breed’s distinctive appearance and charming personality continue to attract dog enthusiasts around the world, making the Bedlington Terrier a cherished breed in many households.

Physical Characteristics and Appearance: A Unique and Captivating Breed 


Size and Build

The Bedlington Terrier is a medium-sized dog, standing between 15 and 17 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 18 and 23 pounds.

They possess a lithe, muscular build that allows for speed, agility, and endurance. Despite their athletic physique, their overall appearance is graceful and elegant.

Head and Facial Features

One of the most distinctive aspects of the Bedlington Terrier is its pear-shaped head, which is narrow and rounded at the top. Their almond-shaped eyes convey an alert and intelligent expression.

The breed’s ears are set low and hang close to the cheeks, with a slight feathering of hair that adds to their overall charm.

Coat and Colors

The Bedlington Terrier’s coat is one of its most recognizable features. Their thick, curly, and linty coat is non-shedding and offers a unique texture that sets them apart from other breeds.

The coat can come in a variety of colors, including blue, sandy, liver, and combinations of these shades with tan markings.

Topknot and Grooming

The breed’s signature topknot of hair on the head is another distinctive feature that adds to the Bedlington Terrier’s refined appearance. This topknot should be trimmed and shaped regularly to maintain the breed’s unique look.

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Grooming plays a significant role in the overall appearance and health of a Bedlington Terrier, so regular brushing, bathing, and professional grooming are essential.

Tail and Movement

The Bedlington Terrier’s tail is moderately long and tapers to a point. It is set low and carried slightly curved, but not over the back.

Their movement is light and springy, showcasing their agility and grace. This elegant gait is one of the many features that make the Bedlington Terrier stand out among other breeds.

Temperament and Personality Traits: A Delightful and Versatile Companion 


Affectionate and Loyal

Bedlington Terriers are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, making them wonderful companions for families, singles, and seniors alike. They form strong bonds with their family members and thrive on attention and interaction.

Intelligent and Eager to Please

This breed is highly intelligent and eager to please, which makes them relatively easy to train. They excel at learning new commands and tricks, and they enjoy the mental stimulation that training provides.

Their intelligence also means they can become bored quickly, so providing a variety of activities and challenges is essential to keep them engaged and happy.

Playful and Energetic

Bedlington Terriers possess a playful and energetic spirit, which makes them delightful playmates for children and other pets. They enjoy playing games, participating in dog sports, and exploring the outdoors, making them a great choice for active families.

Alert and Protective

With their keen senses and protective instincts, Bedlington Terriers make excellent watchdogs. They are alert to their surroundings and will quickly notify their owners of any perceived threats or unusual activity.

However, they are not overly aggressive and tend to be friendly towards strangers once they understand there is no danger.

Adaptable and Versatile

The Bedlington Terrier’s adaptable and versatile nature allows them to thrive in various living situations. They can adjust well to both urban and rural environments, as well as smaller living spaces like apartments, provided their exercise needs are met.

Sensitivity and Need for Companionship

Bedlington Terriers are sensitive dogs that crave companionship and can become anxious or stressed if left alone for extended periods. It’s essential to provide them with plenty of attention and interaction to ensure their emotional well-being.

Grooming and Maintenance: Keeping Your Bedlington Terrier Looking Their Best 


Coat Care

The Bedlington Terrier’s distinctive coat requires regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and to prevent matting. Weekly brushing using a slicker brush or comb is essential to remove loose hair and debris, as well as to prevent tangles from forming.

Professional Grooming

Every six to eight weeks, it’s important to take your Bedlington Terrier to a professional groomer who is familiar with the breed’s specific grooming needs.

They will trim and shape the coat to maintain the breed’s characteristic appearance, paying special attention to the topknot, ears, and legs.


Bathing your Bedlington Terrier every four to six weeks can help keep their coat clean and fresh. Use a gentle dog shampoo specifically designed for curly coats to maintain the coat’s texture and avoid stripping its natural oils.

Be sure to rinse thoroughly and dry the coat completely to prevent any skin irritation.

Nail Care

Regular nail trimming is essential for the Bedlington Terrier, as long nails can cause discomfort and affect their gait. Aim to trim your dog’s nails every three to four weeks, using a dog-specific nail clipper or grinder.

If you’re unsure about the process, consult your veterinarian or groomer for guidance.

Ear Care

Check your Bedlington Terrier’s ears regularly for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or an unpleasant odor.

Clean the outer ear gently with a cotton ball and a dog-specific ear-cleaning solution. Avoid inserting anything into the ear canal, as this can cause damage.

Dental Care

Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for the overall health of your Bedlington Terrier. Brush their teeth at least two to three times a week using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste.

Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings can help prevent dental issues and keep your dog’s mouth healthy.

Health Issues and Lifespan: Ensuring a Long and Healthy Life


General Health and Lifespan

The Bedlington Terrier is generally a healthy and robust breed with an average lifespan of 12 to 14 years. However, like all breeds, they may be prone to certain health issues.

Regular veterinary check-ups, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can contribute to a long and healthy life for your Bedlington Terrier.

Copper Toxicosis

One of the most common health issues in Bedlington Terriers is Copper Toxicosis, a hereditary condition where the liver cannot process and eliminate excess copper from the body.

This can lead to liver damage and, in severe cases, liver failure. Regular blood tests and liver biopsies can help monitor copper levels and manage this condition effectively.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip Dysplasia is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t develop correctly, leading to arthritis and pain.

While not as common in Bedlington Terriers as in other breeds, it’s essential to ensure that your dog’s breeder has tested the parent dogs for hip dysplasia to minimize the risk.

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Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is an eye condition that can eventually lead to blindness in affected dogs. This inherited disease affects the retina’s photoreceptor cells, causing a gradual loss of vision.

Regular eye exams and genetic testing can help identify PRA early and allow for proper management.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to various symptoms such as weight gain, lethargy, and coat issues.

Regular blood tests can help diagnose and manage hypothyroidism with medication and proper diet.

5.6. Regular Veterinary Check-ups

Regular veterinary check-ups are essential for detecting and addressing potential health issues early.

It’s crucial to establish a relationship with a trusted veterinarian who is familiar with the Bedlington Terrier breed and can guide you in maintaining your dog’s health throughout its life.

Training and Socialization: Raising a Well-Behaved and Happy Bedlington Terrier 


Importance of Early Training

Training your Bedlington Terrier should begin as early as possible to ensure they grow up to be well-behaved and confident adults.

As intelligent and eager-to-please dogs, they respond well to positive reinforcement techniques, making training a rewarding and enjoyable process for both you and your dog.

Obedience Training

Obedience training is essential for teaching your Bedlington Terrier basic commands such as “sit,” “stay,” “come,” and “leave it.”

Consistent and patient training will help establish a strong bond between you and your dog and lay the foundation for a well-behaved and obedient companion.

Crate Training

Crate training can be beneficial for the Bedlington Terrier, providing them with a safe and secure space in which to relax. Introducing the crate early on and creating a positive association with it will help your dog feel comfortable and content when confined.

Leash Training

Leash training is crucial for the Bedlington Terrier, as their hunting instincts may cause them to chase after smaller animals. Teaching your dog to walk politely on a leash without pulling will ensure that your walks are enjoyable and stress-free for both of you.


Proper socialization is key to raising a well-rounded and confident Bedlington Terrier.

Expose your puppy to a variety of people, animals, and environments from an early age to help them become comfortable with new situations and minimize the risk of fear or aggression later in life.

Enrolling in Puppy Classes

Puppy classes or obedience courses can be an excellent way to jumpstart your Bedlington Terrier’s training and socialization.

These classes provide a structured environment where your dog can learn essential commands and interact with other dogs under the guidance of an experienced trainer.

Mental Stimulation

Providing mental stimulation is just as important as physical exercise for the intelligent Bedlington Terrier. Puzzle toys, interactive games, and training exercises can help keep your dog’s mind engaged and prevent boredom-related behavior issues.

Exercise and Activity Requirements: Keeping Your Bedlington Terrier Fit and Happy 


Daily Exercise

Bedlington Terriers are energetic and active dogs that require regular exercise to maintain their physical and mental well-being. Aim for at least 30 to 45 minutes of daily exercise, which can include walks, playtime, and other activities.

Walks and Hikes

Bedlington Terriers enjoy going for walks and hikes, exploring their surroundings and sniffing out interesting scents. Make sure to keep your dog on a leash during walks, as their hunting instincts may lead them to chase smaller animals.

Playtime and Games

In addition to walks, Bedlington Terriers love to play games like fetch, tug-of-war, and hide-and-seek. These activities provide both physical exercise and mental stimulation, keeping your dog engaged and happy.

Dog Sports

Bedlington Terriers can excel in various dog sports, such as agility, obedience, and rally. Participating in these activities can provide additional exercise and mental stimulation, as well as an opportunity for you and your dog to bond and work together as a team.

Off-Leash Play

Although Bedlington Terriers should be kept on a leash during walks, providing opportunities for off-leash play in a securely fenced area can allow them to burn off excess energy and explore their environment safely.

Dog parks or fenced yards are great places for your dog to socialize with other dogs and engage in supervised play.

Indoor Activities

On days when outdoor exercise is not possible due to inclement weather, it’s essential to provide indoor activities to keep your Bedlington Terrier active and engaged.

Puzzle toys, interactive games, and short training sessions can help keep your dog entertained and mentally stimulated.

Balancing Exercise and Rest

While ensuring your Bedlington Terrier gets enough exercise is essential, it’s also important to provide them with ample opportunities for rest and relaxation. Make sure your dog has a comfortable and quiet place to rest and recharge after a day of activity.

Diet and Nutrition: Feeding Your Bedlington Terrier for Optimal Health 

Choosing the Right Food

Selecting high-quality, balanced dog food is essential for your Bedlington Terrier’s overall health and well-being.

Look for a diet that is appropriate for your dog’s age, size, and activity level, and ensure it meets the nutritional guidelines set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Feeding Frequency

Feeding your Bedlington Terrier two smaller meals per day, rather than one large meal, can help prevent overeating and maintain a consistent energy level throughout the day.

Consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount of food for your individual dog’s needs.

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Monitoring Weight and Body Condition

Regularly monitoring your Bedlington Terrier’s weight and body condition is essential for maintaining optimal health. Your veterinarian can help you assess your dog’s ideal weight and body condition and adjust their diet accordingly.

Treats and Snacks

While treats and snacks can be a valuable training tool and a fun way to bond with your Bedlington Terrier, it’s important not to overindulge your dog.

Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake, and it’s best to choose healthy, low-calorie options.

Special Dietary Considerations

Bedlington Terriers are prone to Copper Toxicosis, a condition where the liver cannot process and eliminate excess copper from the body. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend a specific diet or supplements to help manage this condition.

Fresh Water

Always provide your Bedlington Terrier with fresh water, ensuring their water bowl is clean and filled daily. Proper hydration is crucial for overall health, especially during periods of increased activity or hot weather.

Consulting with Your Veterinarian

Your veterinarian is an invaluable resource when it comes to your Bedlington Terrier’s diet and nutrition.

Regular check-ups and discussions with your veterinarian can help you make informed decisions about your dog’s dietary needs and ensure they remain healthy and happy.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Bedlington Terrier: Is This the Right Breed for You? 


1. Hypoallergenic Coat: The Bedlington Terrier’s unique curly coat is low-shedding and considered hypoallergenic, making them a suitable choice for people with allergies.

2. Affectionate and Loyal: Bedlington Terriers are known for their affectionate and loyal nature, forming strong bonds with their families.

3. Intelligent and Trainable: As intelligent dogs, Bedlington Terriers are quick learners and generally easy to train, making them a great choice for first-time dog owners.

4. Adaptable: Bedlington Terriers can adapt well to various living environments, including apartments and homes with yards, as long as they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation.

5. Good with Children and Other Pets: With proper socialization, Bedlington Terriers can get along well with children and other pets, making them a good choice for families.


1. Grooming Requirements: The Bedlington Terrier’s coat requires regular grooming, including clipping and trimming, to keep it looking its best and prevent matting.

2. Exercise Needs: Bedlington Terriers are energetic dogs that require daily exercise and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. This breed may not be suitable for those with a sedentary lifestyle.

3. Health Issues: Like all breeds, Bedlington Terriers are prone to certain health issues, such as Copper Toxicosis, which may require regular monitoring and treatment.

4. Prey Drive: The Bedlington Terrier’s hunting instincts and strong prey drive may lead them to chase smaller animals, making it crucial to keep them on a leash during walks and ensure secure fencing in your yard.

5. Possible Stubbornness: While generally eager to please, some Bedlington Terriers can exhibit stubbornness or independence, which may require patience and consistency during training.

Adopting a Bedlington Terrier: Finding Your Perfect Companion 

Researching Breeders and Rescue Organizations

If you have decided that a Bedlington Terrier is the right breed for you, it’s essential to find a reputable breeder or rescue organization to ensure you bring home a healthy and well-socialized dog.

Conduct thorough research and ask for recommendations from friends, veterinarians, or breed clubs to find a trustworthy source for your new companion.

Visiting Breeders

When visiting breeders, make sure to ask questions about their breeding practices, the health of the parent dogs, and any available health tests or certifications. Responsible breeders will prioritize the well-being of their dogs and be transparent about their practices.

Considering Adoption

Adopting a Bedlington Terrier from a rescue organization or animal shelter can be a rewarding option, as you may be giving a deserving dog a second chance at a loving home.

Keep in mind that rescue dogs may come from various backgrounds and may require additional patience, training, or socialization to help them adjust to their new environment.

Meeting Potential Bedlington Terriers

When meeting potential Bedlington Terriers, take the time to interact with them and observe their behavior and temperament.

Look for a dog that is friendly, curious, and comfortable with human interaction. Trust your instincts and choose a dog that feels like the right match for your family and lifestyle.

Preparing Your Home

Before bringing your new Bedlington Terrier home, make sure your living space is prepared for their arrival.

This includes setting up a comfortable sleeping area, purchasing necessary supplies (food, leash, collar, toys, grooming tools), and ensuring your home is safe and secure.

Building a Relationship with Your Veterinarian

Establishing a relationship with a veterinarian is crucial for the ongoing care of your Bedlington Terrier. Schedule regular check-ups and vaccinations, and consult with your veterinarian regarding any health concerns or dietary needs.


The Bedlington Terrier is a charming, loyal, and intelligent breed that can make a wonderful addition to families of all sizes. Their unique appearance, friendly temperament, and moderate exercise requirements make them versatile and adaptable companions.

However, potential owners should be prepared for the regular grooming and maintenance this breed requires, as well as the need for early training and socialization.

With proper care, a Bedlington Terrier can be a loving and devoted family member for many years to come.

Questions People Also Ask: (FAQs)



Are Bedlington Terriers hypoallergenic?

While no dog is truly hypoallergenic, the Bedlington Terrier’s low-shedding coat makes them a better option for individuals with allergies compared to many other breeds. However, it’s essential to spend time with the breed before adopting to ensure you don’t have a reaction.


How often do Bedlington Terriers need to be groomed?

Bedlington Terriers require regular grooming, including weekly brushing and professional grooming every six to eight weeks to maintain their coat and signature appearance.


Are Bedlington Terriers good with children?

Yes, Bedlington Terriers are generally good with children due to their friendly, playful, and affectionate nature. However, it’s essential to teach both children and dogs to interact respectfully and supervise their interactions.


Can Bedlington Terriers live in apartments?

Bedlington Terriers can adapt well to apartment living, provided they receive adequate exercise and mental stimulation. Their moderate energy levels make them suitable for smaller living spaces as long as their needs are met.


How much exercise do Bedlington Terriers need?

A daily walk of 30 to 45 minutes, along with play sessions or mental stimulation activities, is typically sufficient to meet a Bedlington Terrier’s exercise needs.


Are Bedlington Terriers good with other pets?

Bedlington Terriers are generally friendly towards other dogs and pets, especially when socialized from a young age. However, their hunting instincts may be triggered by small animals, so supervision and proper introductions are essential.


What is the average lifespan of a Bedlington Terrier?

The average lifespan of a Bedlington Terrier is 12 to 14 years, though some may live longer with proper care and attention to their health needs.

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