The Bedlington Terrier is an alert watchdog, champion cuddler, and easygoing companion. With appropriate socialization, the Bedlington is a delight to have around. He's got energy to spare, so the Bedlington should have plenty of opportunities for work and play. Agility, coursing, and advanced tricks are perfect ways to keep the Bedlington busy in body and mind. Don't let his lamb-like appearance fool you—he's a terrier, and as such may have a stubborn side. Patience and a sense of humor go a long way with this little comedian. Grooming a Bedlington is an undertaking, so expect to spend a large portion of time with a brush or clippers in hand.
The Bedlington Terrier was previously referred to as the Rothbury Terrier or Rothbury's Lamb and Bedlington is a common nickname for the breed.
Physical Description/Breed Standard
Coat - The Bedlington's coat is a hard, crisp textured, single coat that is considered 'linty,' and may be blue, sandy, or liver in color. Though no dog is truly without the risk of allergic reaction, this breed is considered hypoallergenic.
Breed Standard and History
The Bedlington Terrier should appear graceful and lithe, with a gentle expression. The weight should be proportionate to height. Alert, energetic, and speedy, Bedlingtons were built to work, which is apparent in their silhouette and structure. Their elegance manifests above all other qualities. The narrow head should have no stop, and must appear round on top, with the roundness exaggerated by an ample topknot. Their triangular ears are rounded and hang to the cheek, and they have a distinctive, low-set tail shaped like a scimitar. They are muscular, with a deep chest, but should have a defined tuck-up and a sleek appearance. Bedlingtons should have a light, springy gait. - AKC Breed Standards
The Bedlington Terrier is named for Bedlington, England, where the breed developed and was originally referred to as the Rothbury Terrier. The breed was often used in pit fighting, a common dog sport of the 19th century. The tenacious temperament and natural hunting ability made these terriers a top choice as vermin hunters, and they'd tackle badgers and otters without hesitation. One Bedlington is said to have performed his vermin-hunting duties even at 14 years old—toothless and blind but as hardworking as ever.
The first dogs called 'Bedlington Terrier' were born in 1825 and the graceful dog's popularity grew enough to sustain breeding programs.
Bedlingtons appeared in the show ring in 1870, The Bedlington Terrier Club was established in 1875, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1886.
AKC Breed Category
The loyal and quiet Bedlington Terrier is a friendly companion who appreciates the company of family. Bedlingtons often show off for family, and their clownish nature is sure to earn laughs. They're intelligent and eager to please, but may display the stubbornness common to terriers. They're courageous, energetic, and quick, but happy to live the life of a house dog.
Are Bedlington Terriers Good with Kids? Though the Bedlington is tolerant of—or even playful with—older children, they may not put up with the roughhousing, accidental stepping, or rambunctiousness that comes with smaller children.
Are Bedlington Terriers Good with Other Pets? With socialization and training, Bedlington Terriers may do well with other dogs, but the breed is often territorial and may pick fights to assert dominance. They may learn to live with cats but will likely chase small animals such as rats, mice, and hamsters.
The Bedlington Terrier is an impressive watchdog and will alert you to suspicious visitors, but will offer polite greetings to guests. They're not guard dogs, but may attempt to defend the home from intruders anyway.
Bedlingtons have plenty of energy to join you for a walk, jog, or hike, but are happy to curl up at home if there's no adventure on the day's agenda.Specific Concerns
Indoor The cushy indoor life is the Bedlington's preference. The Bedlington Terrier is likely to claim the best seat in the house, and makes an easygoing indoor companion. They're not often loud and they don't take up much space, so Bedlingtons are well-suited to apartment living.
Outdoor Though the Bedlington Terrier appreciates treks outdoors with his people, the breed is not suited for full-time outdoor living. Bedlingtons must be supervised while outdoors, as they are likely to wander or chase small animals.
Exercise Bedlington Terriers need at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, either in a fenced yard or on leash. A couple of walks each day and a longer adventure at least once per week is usually suitable.
Endurance Bedlingtons have plenty of terrier energy and have a high level of endurance.
Activity distance rating
Food The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food to feed an average weight Bedlington Terrier is 1-1 ½ cups of food total per day, split between two meals.
While food guarding behaviors are not more prominent in the Bedlington Terrier than in other breeds, children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.
Alone Time Bedlington Terriers may be able to stay home alone for 4 to 6 hours per day, but they may become destructive if not provided with enough exercise or attention. Some may suffer from separation anxiety. Crate training is recommended to prevent destructive behaviors in a Bedlington.
Health and Grooming
12 - 14 years
A Bedlington will require daily brushing to prevent mats, and regular trips to the groomer to achieve the distinctive Bedlington hairstyle. Pets may be kept in an allover puppy clip, but dogs bound for the show ring require a specific—and time-consuming—style. Use gentle shampoo during monthly baths, and rinse well to prevent skin irritation. Tear stains may be wiped with a warm, damp cloth—excessive staining may require a veterinarian visit.
Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or breaks. Terriers may be sensitive about having their paws touched, so get him used to it as a puppy.
Common Health Issues
Though a generally healthy breed, the Bedlington Terrier may be prone to breed-specific health concerns, such as:
You can minimize serious health concerns in a Bedlington Terrier by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.
With positive reinforcement, Bedlington Terriers tend to learn basic obedience quickly. They may have the typical terrier stubborn streak, but they're one of the easier-to-manage terrier types. The breed is sensitive to harsh correction and may become timid—or snappy—in response. Socialization and basic manners should be the first steps with a Bedlington puppy.
The Bedlington Terrier is an intelligent, energetic breed. Problem-solving activities are good ways to engage Bedlington's mentally and physically. Advanced tricks and obedience training will keep the Bedlington's mind working, and activities like agility or AKC Fast CAT (Coursing Ability Test) will burn plenty of energy. A Bedlington with a job to do is a happy dog. Well-socialized Bedlington Terriers may do well as therapy dogs.
Sporting Dog Training
Though not suitable as a modern sporting dog, historically, Bedlington Terriers have been used to hunt small game. They often perform well in barn hunt, lure coursing, or earthdog trials.
What dog looks like a lamb?
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Copper toxicosis treatment may involve medication, diet modifications or restrictions, and regular blood tests to monitor the condition.
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