Ever dreamed of caring for a lamb? You’re in luck—Bedlington Terriers are dogs in lambs’ clothing. Though they are as sweet as the wooly farm animals, Bedlington Terriers aren’t content to frolic in fields (but they’re not ruling it out if you happen to have a field nearby). They’d much prefer to run around in the backyard, help introduce you to new people in your neighborhood, or finish a puzzle alongside you—Bedlingtons love to solve a good thinker. At the end of the day, a Beddie is always ready for a debrief about your adventures together and already looking forward to tomorrow’s.
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Bedlington Terriers are best for active people who are willing to take their pups with them on all their adventures. They do well with singles or families and are great for apartment dwellers.
Bedlington Terrier Traits
Bedlington Terrier Temperament
The Bedlington Terrier has a playful, opinionated personality, and a confident springy gait that is often at home in the show ring. Beddies would be elected class clown if such awards were given out in dog school; they adore performing tricks and will keep you in stitches with pranks like playing peek-a-boo around a corner or hiding under blankets until you find them.
The Bedlington loves to be the center of attention, and does particularly well with active pet parents or a family with kids to run around with on a daily basis. This smart, inquisitive and typically easy-to-train breed will pay you back in kisses and cuddles after every outing.
The Bedlington Terrier breed is not typically aggressive, but they have been known to nip or react when their paw is stepped on or their rope-like tail gets tugged. Bedlingtons like everyone, but are better suited to families with older kids who know how to play gently with a pup and not pull the dog’s fur or tail. Young kids will need to be taught good dog manners for playing with the Bedlington (and vice versa). Bedlingtons may also do well with a companion kitty if raised with one since puppyhood, but outdoor cats, beware: The breed was bred to hunt critters, giving them a high prey drive that sets them on a chase when cats, bunnies or other small woodland creatures are spotted outdoors.
Bedlingtons are a friendly, social little working dog breed. (Working dogs are pups who were bred to do a job, like herd sheep or guard estates). In addition to hunting vermin, Beddies were also bred to be bait in pit fights, so while they won’t start a rumble, they won’t back down easily either. Still, with proper socialization and training Bedlingtons can do well with other dogs in the house.
How to Care for a Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terriers are high on the personality charts; thankfully, their care isn’t that high. While their coats require a lot of maintenance (that haircut!), their exercise and training needs are moderate. Plan to spend about an hour every day exercising and playing with your pup. And because these pups are eager to please you, you’ll find they’re relatively easy to train.
Bedlington Terrier Health
Bedlington Terriers have a life expectancy of 11 to 16 years, but they do have a few health problems to look out for. Knowing the problems associated with this breed can help you keep your Bedlington Terrier in excellent health and make sure you purchase a pup who’s had the right health screenings.
- Copper Toxicosis: This disease, caused by a mutant gene that prevents normal copper excretion in the liver and resulting in chronic hepatitis, is acquired from the parents. The disease has been successfully reduced by genetic testing and not breeding dogs with the gene. Make sure the parents of the puppy you want have been tested for the genetic marker and that the pup has a health guarantee. Treatment can include medication and a change in diet.
- Retinal Dysplasia: Present from birth, retinal dysplasia is an eye problem where the formation of the retina is disrupted, causing blindness. Breeders often notice at 3- to 4-weeks of age when a Bedlington Terrier puppy is less active than their littermates. At this time, there is no treatment for the disease, but breeders and vets can test for it.
- Distichiasis: A condition caused by extra hairs that grow inside the pup’s eyelid and rub the surface of their eye, distichiasis is commonly inherited and causes painful corneal ulcers. Treatments are available including removing the hairs and surgery in severe cases.
- Retained Testicle: Some male Bedlingtons suffer this condition from birth in which one or both of their testicles don’t descend into the scrotum. Leaving the testes in the abdomen can cause issues such as cancer, so removal is recommended.
- Obesity: Bedlington Terriers’ weight can be a concern as the breed is prone to obesity. Treatments include a change in diet and increased exercise.
Bedlington Terrier History
The Bedlington Terrier originated in the town of Bedlington in Northumberland, England, and was bred to hunt vermin like weasels and polecats, as well as to flush rats from the coal mines, which accounts for their high-prey drive. Sadly, they were also used as bait in pit fights, which is why they are reluctant to back down from an aggressive dog.
The Lord of Rothbury became fond of the little lamb-like breed, and they later became known as the Rothbury’s Lamb or Rothbury’s Terrier. The breed was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1886 and is the club’s 25th breed. The Bedlington shares traits of the Whippet, Kerry Blue and Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.
Are you looking to add a Bedlington Terrier as a family member? Generally, this type of puppy will cost between $1,800 and $2,300. Check out the AKC’s website to find a reputable breeder. You can also seek out local Bedlington Terrier rescues to find a worthy, loving dog to adopt or keep an eye out for the breed at your local animal shelter.
Are Bedlington Terriers hypoallergenic?
Yes, Bedlington Terriers are considered hypoallergenic. Their coat is nearly shed-free, which means it may not affect people who are allergic to dogs as much as other breeds since it rarely gives off dander.
How long do Bedlington Terriers live?
The Bedlington Terrier typically lives 11 to 16 years, giving you a long time to create happy memories with your pup.
What are the most common Bedlington Terrier mixes?
- Bedlington Terrier-Poodle (Bedoodle)
- Bedlington Terrier-Whippet (Bedlington Whippet)
- Bedlington Terrier-Jack Russell (Bedlington Russell)
What were Bedlington Terriers bred for?
The Bedlington Terrier was bred as bait for two purposes: as bait for pit fighting and also to hunt vermin such as weasels, badgers, polecats and rats. While the cruel practice of pit fighting is outlawed today, Beddies are still quick as lightning and adept at catching prey.
Are Bedlington Terriers good family dogs?
Yes, Bedlington Terriers make excellent family dogs who will be loyal companions, good guard dogs and loving, playful companions for both older kids and adults.
Do Bedlington Terriers bark a lot?
Bedlington Terriers do bark a lot. Terriers are known to bark first, ask questions later, so it’s no surprise the Bedlington will be an average to above-average barker. The trick is good, early training that lets them know what is and isn’t appropriate to bark at.
Bedlington Terriers are great pets for an active adult or family. They’re loyal, smart as a whip, and highly trainable—plus, these loving, lamb-like companions want to accompany you on every outdoor adventure. Sure, they bore easily, require extra grooming and like to chase small, furry creatures, but their loving and loyal personality will capture your heart.
Expert input provided by Michelle Burch, DVM at Vestor and Russell Hartstein, CDBC, CPDT-KA, Fear Free Certified trainer and behaviorist at FunPawCare in Los Angeles.
Top Bedlington Terrier Names
These are the top Bedlington Terrier names as chosen by Chewy's pet parents!