Known as one of the most unique breeds among Terriers, Bedlington Terriers average 17 to 23 pounds in weight, with the average height of a female 15.5 inches and a male 16.5 inches. With a graceful appearance, these Terriers are lithe and energetic with a distinctive looking coat, arched back, tasseled ears and a slender head. Dogs of the breed display a gentle facial expression and are not shy or nervous. The breed is considered to be charming, a lot of fun and a loyal family member. Bedlington Terriers have great endurance and are very active, with the energy of a Terrier and the sprinting ability of a small coursing Hound. Dogs of this breed respond well to training and do well with children and other dogs, particularly when supervised. Generally considered a healthy breed, some Bedlington Terriers will experience copper toxicosis. Dogs of this breed have a non-shedding single coat that is maintained with scissors and clipping.
The exact origin of the Bedlington Terrier is not clear, though it is thought by some that breeds like the Dandie Dinmont and the Otterhound have contributed to its ancestry. Developed in the north of England, it is thought that during the late 1700’s, a strain of Terrier known as the Rothbury Terrier or Northumberland Fox Terrier was developed for game hunting. Joseph Ainsley, who was a resident of Bedlington, bred two Rothbury Terriers in 1825. The resulting puppies were named Bedlington Terriers. While it is thought that breeds like the Whippet were also occasionally crossed with the breed, there are no records available. With excellent agility, the Bedlington Terrier excelled at hunting game like rabbits, otters, foxes, badgers and rats, catching the eye of local squires, who chose to have their own Bedlington Terriers. In the late 19th century, the breed started to be shown and found living in wealthy homes. The breed’s popularity crossed all social boundaries and they began entering the show ring in the mid-1800’s. The National Bedlington Terrier Club was formed in England in 1877 and the first Bedlington Terrier to be registered by the American Kennel Club was Ananias in 1886.
The Bedlington Terrier as a breed is slightly longer than it is tall, boasting a distinguishable outline. Appearing lithe and muscular, their back legs are longer than the front legs and the feet of the Bedlington Terrier are long with thick pads that feel smooth. The head of this spunky canine is narrow though rounded and typically covered with a topknot. Almond-shaped eyes are small and the triangular ears of the breed are thin, with rounded tips. The ears are covered with thin hair (creating a small tassel at the end) and have a velvet-like texture. Bedlington Terriers have a nose with well-defined nostrils and long jaws that include strong teeth meeting in a level or scissors bite. The head of the Bedlington Terrier is carried high on a long neck. The tail is low-set, tapering to a point at the end.
The Bedlington Terrier sheds minimally, making it a good choice for those who experience allergies. The grooming required is extensive, with clipping needed around every month and a half. Dogs of this type should be combed two times a week and the inside of the ears should be cleaned regularly to avoid infection. While the skin of the Bedlington Terrier won’t dry out with frequent bathing, the coat of the dog can become dull if washed too frequently. Daily exercise is necessary for this active dog; he’ll be at his happiest when he can let some of his energy out. This can include a long walk or playing off leash in a fenced in area. If this curious dog does not get enough exercise he can get into mischief.