Is the Bedlington Terrier the right breed of dog for you?The big clue to the origins of the Bedlington Terrier is in the name: Bedlington, which is a mining area in the county of Northumberland in the UK. It is not without reason that it has been referred to as having 'the appearance of a lamb with the heart of a lion'. The Bedlington is a 'game' dog; bred to hunt and kill rabbits, vermin and hares, as well as tackling foxes and badgers, and like many other terriers from mining areas used in dogfights between rival mines.
Originally called the Rothbury Terrier, after a nearby district, it was in the 1820's that a mating with a Bedlington bitch produced a litter that would eventually lead to the modern day Bedlington Terrier. Although it was renowned locally for its courage and fighting spirit, it has grown in to a dog that loves family life, and displays a gentle and even temperament.
Recognition by the American Kennel Club came in 1886; the Bedlington measures between 15-17 inches at the shoulder, and weighs in at 17-23lbs. The head is wedge shaped, with an arch-shaped wheel back, and a double coat that is linty in appearance, and can be liver, blue, sandy, sable, and vary from solid to tan markings. Their mild and gentle expression is set off by small, deep-set, almost triangular eyes, ranging from dark brown to hazel.
This breed is suited to first time owner's. They can also thrive in an apartment providing the get plenty of on and off the lead exercise. They are energetic and active, and the Bedlington owner needs to be in tune with that.
Training at an early age is essential with this breed, like all Terriers they can be headstrong and stubborn. They need to be taught to get along with smaller animals, and other dogs. Therefore, puppy socialisation classes are an excellent idea, and will get you both heading in the right direction.
Diet is no problem with this breed; they're unfussy eaters and just need a healthy, nutritious diet. They don't overly shed, but their coat does need looking after. Grooming regularly with brush and comb needs to be supplemented every 6- 8 weeks by clipping. A professional is only a phone call away, but it's not too difficult to learn how to do this yourself.
Bedlington's are a relatively healthy breed. However, they have inherited a liver disease known as Copper Storage Disease. And cases of kidney disease and eye problems, such as PRA, have been reported.
If you're looking for an intelligent, playful, family orientated dog, that will make a reliable and engaging companion, but also comes from a background that needs to be understood; then perhaps the Bedlington Terrier is the right breed of dog for you.