Bedlington Terrier

 

The Bedlingtion Terrier, when compared to many other terrier breeds is a fairly modern creation; whose ancestors, known as Rothbury (or Rodberry) Terriers, ran with a rough, even nefarious, bunch. These early strains were kept and bred by local miners, gypsies, itinerant musicians, and other sketchy characters in the northernmost region of England. W. H. Russell, a breed historian, states in The American Book of the Dog (ed. by G.O. Shields, 1891), that this class of people "thoroughly understood Terrier sport--hunting with these dogs every animal in the country that wore fur." These local Terriers, native to Northumberland County, developed throughout the 1700s and early 1800s, excelling as hunters of vermin, otter, fox, badgers, and rabbits. Rothbury Terriers were bred to be rugged, brave, loyal, and ferocious when necessary--much like the people who kept them.

 

Breed Information

Breed Basics

Country of Origin: 
Size: 
Medium 15-35 lb
LifeSpan: 
12 to 15 Years
Trainability: 
Moderate Effort Required
Energy Level: 
High Energy
Grooming: 
Professional Grooming May Be Required
Protective Ability: 
Good Watchdog
Hypoallergenic Breed: 
No
Space Requirements: 
Apartment Ok
Compatibility With Other Pets: 
May Be Okay With Other Pets If Raised Together
May Have Issues With Other Dogs
May Have Problems With Non-Canine Pets
Not Recommended For Homes With Small Animals
Litter Size: 
3-6 Puppies
Names: 
Rothbury Terrier, Rodbery Terrier

Height/Weight

Males: 
18-23 lbs, 16-17 ½ inches
Females: 
18-23 lbs, 15-16 ½ inches

Kennel Clubs and Recognition

American Kennel Club: 
ANKC (Australian National Kennel Council): 
CKC(Canadian Kennel Club): 
FCI (Federation Cynologique Internationale): 
KC (The Kennel Club): 
NZKC (New Zealand Kennel Club): 
UKC (United Kennel Club): 
History: 

 

The earliest documented account of a Terrier type dog resembling the Bedlington comes from 1702 when a Hungarian nobleman, Z. Molar, visiting Rothbury (where a large gypsy population resided in Rothbury Forest in the heart of Northumberland) wrote the following diary entry: “Today we hunted…on the way [home] we passed a gypsy encampment…These people had small Agar [Hungarian greyhound] like dogs with hair like that of a lamb. Lord Charles told me they were great dogs for hare and rabbit…” The modern Bedlington Terrier sports a Greyhound look because of the arched back, lean body, and long legs. Their wooly coats give them a distinctive lamb-like appearance. According to Molar’s account, then, the Rothbury Terriers he saw possessed these same physical characteristics.

 

Even though the descendants of these scrappy, rough coated dogs did not become known by the name Bedlington Terriers until 1825, their pedigree can be traced back to 1782. Some researchers trace it to “Old Flint”, a Rothbury Terrier owned by a Squire named Trevelyan who lived in the vicinity, and others to the Rothbury Terriers kept by James and William Allen. History tells us a lot about the Allans, thanks to James, William’s son, who achieved enough notoriety to warrant a biography of his life (The…Life of James Allen, by James Thompson, published in 1828).

 

Thompson tells us that “William Allan in Rothbury Forest, Northumberland…owned a strain of rough terriers, and was famed for his skill in hunting the otter, and showing sport to those who engaged his services. To him was born in 1720, in a gipsy camp in Rothbury Forest, a son named James, who became a famous piper, or wandering minstrel…” Note: The book lists William’s birthdate as 1704 and son James, the last of his six children, as 1720. Other sources list James’ birthdate as 1729 or 1739, which seems more likely, because William would have fathered six children by the age of sixteen if Thompson’s dates are correct! “He [James] inherited his father's canine stock, which included two favourites known as Peachem and Pincher, and amongst their descendants occurs the name Piper, given to the terriers in pious memory of the piper aforesaid..." Phoebe and Charley were also favorite dogs of William Allan and the names Peachem, Phoebe, Pincher, and Piper crop up frequently in the early days of Bedlington Terriers and throughout the 1800s, reinforcing the likelihood that Allan’s Rothbury Terriers are the ancestors from which the breed developed.

 

The two men were gypsies, one by adoption, the other by birth. According to Thompson, William Allen “…became, in early life, an expert and skilful player on the bagpipes, which endeared him to his Gipsy associates.” When William was a young man he “took up [his] station in the romantic wilds of Rothbury… the head quarters of a strong gang of Gipsies…Here Will and his pipes were engaged in many a midnight revel. At this place he married a fine Gipsy girl, named Betty, who bore him several children, amongst whom was the extraordinary character [referring to son James]…”

 

William Allen was famous for his skill at otter hunting and his devotion to his dogs. In ‘The…Life of James Allen’, the author relates stories about “Old Will”, as he was called, that illustrate both. “Old Will generally kept eight or ten dogs; but Charley, Phoebe, and Peachem, were his particular favourites. When employed to kill otters, which he could perform with unexampled dexterity, these dogs were his companions and assistants. At one time, some otters threatened to destroy all the fish in the pond at Eslington Hall, which induced Lord Ravensworth to send for Old Will.” After Will had “executed his task successfully” and it was time for him to leave, Lord Ravensworth’s steward, Mr. Bell, “followed him, and offered, in his lordship’s name, to buy his dog Charley at his own price. Will turned about in the most disdainful manner, saying, “By the wuns! His hale (whole) estate canna buy Charley.”

 

As is often the case when tracing dog breed origins, conflicting theories exist about the origins of Bedlington Terriers, some with greater plausibility and support than others. One story, now widely dismissed, claims the Bedlington Terrier is not native to England and in fact was imported from Holland by a weaver who settled in Northumberland. Several breed historians believe this confusion is related to the name of a Bedlington Terrier breeder with the last name Holland.  Mr. Rawden Lee, in ‘A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain’…(1894), wrote: "but all the Holland about [the Bedlington Terrier] was that Mr. Taprel Holland was one of [the breed’s] great supporters in the 'Sixties, [1860s] and a leading exhibitor of the variety in its early days."

 

Another theory is that Bedlington Terriers originated with a Mr. Edward Donkin of Flotterton, master of a pack of foxhounds who hunted in Rothbury. His Terriers, which achieved fame for their keen hunting ability, were named Peachem and Pincher. But Mr. Edward Donkin bred and showed Bedlington Terriers in the early 1800s, decades after Will’s death and after his son Piper Allan was deceased, Mr. Donkin’s dogs were more likely descendants of Allan’s Rothberry Terriers, since they carried the names of some of the earlier dogs.

 

Mr. Joseph Ainsley, a mason by trade, coined the name for the breed after the Bedlington mining shire of Northumberland County in 1825. (Although the BTCA gives the date as 1845, other sources concur with the former year.) He gave this breed name to his dog, Ainsley's Piper, born 1825, who was the offspring of Anderson’ Piper and Coates’ Phoebe. Ainsley’s Piper, Anderson's Pincher, Ainsley's Peachem, Donkin's Peachem, Donin's Piper, and Turnbull's Piper, are considered the founding stock of the Bedlington Terrier breed.

 

This first Bedlington Terrier lived fifteen years, his reputation for courage undiminished by age. At a mere eight months old, Ainsley’s Piper was used to hunt badger; from then on, he was a fearless fighter, hunting otter, fox, badger, and other vermin, until he was quite old and nearly blind. But even at the ripe old age of fourteen, when he was described as “grey and almost toothless”, Ainsley’s Piper successfully nabbed a badger, after failed attempts by several other Terriers. Another story told of the legendary dog illustrates his loyalty and fearlessness, as well as his gameness. In 1835 when he was ten years old, Mrs. Ainsley assigned him to watch her four month old baby, which she placed in a basket under a hedge while she went to work in the field. A ferocious sow approached, ready to attack her baby and, in all probability, devour the child. Piper, all of fifteen pounds, managed to keep the sow away and protect the baby until help arrived, and thus saving its life. Ainsley’s Piper is considered to this day to be one of the best of the breed and his descendants are highly valued.

 

In 1859 the Northumberland town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne had the honor of hosting the first of all dog shows in England. This show and its location helped kick start public interest in Bedlington Terriers, who up until that time were well known and beloved, but mainly within the confines of Northumberland. As early as 1869 the Kennel Club Stud Book show records of Bedlington Terriers awarded prizes in Manchester. When the first issue of the book was published in 1874, thirty Bedlington Terriers were listed. The first dog show to have classes for Bedlington Terriers was held in Bedlington in 1870, followed by one in 1871 at the Crystal Palace where Miner, Mr. H. Lacy’s red Bedlington Terrier, won first prize. Miner would continue to win often at the early shows. The rest of the prizes at the Crystal Palace that year went to dogs of Mr. S. T. Holland: Procter, Lassie, and Jessie. The first Bedlington Terrier dog show was held at the Half Moon Inn in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1876. By January 1st, 1890, a record number of eighty-three Bedlington Terriers were entered in the dog show held at Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in the same building where the first dog show ever had been held.

 

The most successful breeders and exhibitors of Bedlington Terriers in the mid through late 1880s, were Mr. S. Taprel Holland and Mr. Thomas Pickett (nicknamed by the breed’s fanciers as “The Duke of Bedlington”). Two of Mr. Holland’s Bedlington Terriers, Peachem and Fan, achieved notoriety when illustrations of them ran in The Field in 1869. (The Field, established in 1853 and still published today, is a British magazine covering the country and sporting life. Sporting dogs and their breeders are still feature prominently in the magazine.)

 

Mr. Thomas Pickett is given primary credit for spearheading the push to popularize Bedlington Terriers in England. The most famous dogs he bred were Tear’em, Tyne, and Tyneside. Tyneside was memorialized in a painting by George Earl. Mr. J. Parker, Mr. Wheatley, and Mr. J. Stoddard were also notable breeders and exhibitors of Bedlington Terriers at that time, along with various members of the Bedlington Terrier Club of England.

 

The Bedlington Terrier Club, although formed for the first time in 1875, had a rocky start. In 1877 it was disbanded, regrouping in 1882. This attempt met the same fate, and was resuscitated again in 1887. The 1887 Bedlington Terrier Club did not last long either. But persistence paid off; on October 4th, 1893, The National Bedlington Terrier Club (NBTC) was formed and remains in existence to this day. The breed standard was written in 1897 and on June 7th, 1898, the NBTC was registered with the Kennel Club.

 

Certainties about which other breeds were crossed in to create the Bedlington Terrier’s particular characteristics remain elusive. The Bedlington Terrier’s ears have been credited to the Otter Hound, its fighting temperament to the Bull Terrier, and long legs and arched back to the Greyhound and Whippet. But according to Herbert Compton, author of ‘The Twentieth Century Dog’ (1904), the Bedlington did not need the Bull Terrier or the Otter Hound to improve either the breed’s gameness or love of water. He states that the breed, fostered by Northumbrians who appreciated the dog's great hunting abilities, had long been valued in that small circle. W. H. Russell, writing in 1891, speculated that the Otter Hound may have been crossed with Rothbury Terriers, giving the breed their pendant ears and peaked skull and to the Greyhound to give them their "elegant shape", but acknowledge that we do not know for sure. He stated, as did others, that the rough coated Terrier qualities remain intact.

 

Some fanciers believe the Dandie Dinmont was crossed into the early Rothbury Terriers, but most breed historians reject the notion. Others assert that both Bedlington Terriers and Dandie Dinmonts originated with Rothbury Terriers, with the former long legged, the latter shorter legged, diverging into two separate breeds eventually. Author Rawden Lee wrote that the Bedlington Terrier is "second cousin to" the Dandie Dinmont”. To support this assertion, Lee relates an anecdote from a dog show in the mid1880s, held in south England. It seems the Earl of Antrim exhibited two Terriers, from the same litter, one winning in the Dandie Dinmont class, the other in the Bedlington Terrier group. However, since the Bedlington Terrier was less well known in southern England, the mix up could be attributable to ignorance.

 

At the beginning of the 1880s Bedlingtons were known outside of their native region, but few Bedlington Terriers were bred beyond the borders of Northumberland. Not until the 1890s did kennels that bred Bedlington Terriers spread across England and into Scotland. Even with that development, in the early 1900s, 75% of the NBTC’s almost seventy members resided in the northern part of the country. According to Mr. William Morris, a correspondent for ‘The Field’ in the 1900s and a breed historian, Bedlington Terriers in the early 1900s were still "probably the least popular of dogs out of its native districts".

 

As Bedlington Terriers became more widely represented in the show ring in the late 1800s, controversy regarding the breed’s coat grew. The kerfuffle surrounded both color and cut. How natural should it look? How much trimming or cutting was acceptable? What about plucking? What was the best coat color? Mr. Thomas Pickett preferred the dog's topknot to be a darker shade than the coat while later fanciers like the opposite. Also, by the early 1890s, the blue-black coats were preferred, and the liver-colored coats so in demand in the past, considered inferior. Show dogs were subject to having their coats dyed and altered in numerous ways. How much was too much?

 

Both W. H. Russell and Rawden Lee wrote in the 1890s that the coat of the Bedlington Terrier was problematic. Even though W. H. Russell described the Bedlington's shape as elegant, he went on to say that "Beauty is not usually claimed for Bedlingtons, but if we know how to look for it, I think we may see it on them; for if there is beauty in a Scotch Deerhound, why not in what is nearly like it, in miniature? The obstacle to beauty...is the coat." Rawden Lee thought one reason the Bedlington Terrier had not gained more popularity with the public was because their coats presented problems.

 

First, they required a lot of work—trimming and plucking their natural coats--for the show ring. Judges had no problem with the hair removal, if done with a fine tooth comb, but some considered it is unfair to pluck. If evidence of plucking was visible on the skin, the dog might then be disqualified. Also dogs with blue colored coats and lighter hued topknots were so preferred as to encourage deceitful tactics, like dying or staining the hair of show dogs. According to Lee, judges would either miss the deception or choose to ignore it, in many cases.

 

W. H. Russell was of the opinion that sometimes the natural coat looked fine and did not need to be trimmed; but if old hairs did not fall out all together they would be lighter and longer than the rest and needed to be removed to neaten the look of the dog's coat. Russell’s view was that if the coat was too long (longer than one and one-fourth inches) it hid the "animal's elegant contour", as well as carried dirt. To show off the shape, older hairs should be removed either with a hard comb or by plucking.

 

The ‘English Stock-Keeper ‘ (which was considered the leading kennel publication in the world, according to ‘The Dog Fancier’ Magazine, ceasing publication in the early 1900s), reported in October 18, 1889 that certain kennels were getting severe penalties and their dogs disqualified because of a lack of clearly defined limits on "hair-dressing" of the rough coated Terriers. Asserting that only old hairs should be allowed to be removed, the article’s author admitted how hard that was to determine after the fact. The vagueness of the rules, the publication opined, encouraged deceptive practices to circumvent this guideline.

 

On January 3, 1890, the ‘English Stock-Keeper ‘ made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the "great trimming puzzle" because it still remained to be seen what the KC and judges would deem allowable. The publication’s stand was that leaving it up to the discretion of breed judges was too subjective, leading to dishonesty and unfairness, and that currently the judges ruled in favor of a neater appearance rather than a more natural. In so doing, they encouraged excessive altering of the dog’s naturally rough and somewhat messy-looking coat.

 

The Bedlington Terrier Club unanimously voted January 1890 to request the KC to consider making it official that only superfluous hair can be removed, when done only to "smarten" the coat's appearance or to show off the dog's shape and contour, not to deceive. The Kennel Club, on February 4, 1890, agreed, voting that removing superfluous hair, which was defined as old or dead hair, was acceptable. Removing any of the new coat or trimming hair on head or ears, was not. This move to establish more specific, defined guidelines helped improve the situation regarding shaping and texture of the coats.

 

Coloring of Bedlington Terrier coats, however, still remained a problem. In 1898 a female Bedlington Terrier was discovered dyed such a dark blue, she was almost black when entered at Cruft’s Dog Show and Edinburgh. Under a different owner, the same Bedlington was shown at a Kennel Club Dog Show with a light blue coat and white markings on her chest, forefeet, and toe nails. The accused only admitted to “touching” the toes, but the KC Committee suspended the individual for five years.

 

Bedlington Terriers arrived on the scene in America during the decade of the 1880s. The first Bedlington Terriers were imported to the United States by Mr. J.W. Blythe of Iowa, who brought over two female dogs in 1880. One of them, Young Topsy, won top dog in the breed division of the Rough Haired Terrier Class held in St. Louis. In 1883 Tynesider II became the first Bedlington registered in the American Kennel Register, Vol. I. A dark blue dog, Ananias, born May 13, 1884, became the first Bedlington Terrier registered in the AKC’s Stud Book in 1886. Ananias, who went on to win first place at the Crystal Palace in 1885, was bred by J. Hall of England and owned by Mr. W.S. Jackson of Toronto. Mr. Jackson was one of the most well-known advocates of the breed in Canada. By 1886 the Bedlington Terrier had achieved recognition by the AKC. From 1896 to 1898 the American Bedlington Terrier Club was affiliated with the AKC, but disbanded after two years because of decline in the number of members.

 

Another parent club for Bedlington Terriers did not arise until 1932. Dr. Charles J. McAnulty and Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Neary spearheaded the first meeting, which was held in Madison, New Jersey, at the Morris and Essex Kennel Club Dog Show. The Bedlington Terrier Club of America (BTCA) was formed and the first president elected was Colonel M. Robert Guggenhiem. The BTCA was recognized by the AKC in 1936.

 

W.H. Russell, a resident of New York, was a breed expert and author who, in the 1890s, owned the first Bedlington Terrier Champion, Tick Tack. He also bred the first Champion in the United States, named Qui Vive. His knowledge and promotion of Bedlington Terriers helped pave the way for future American breeders, such as Colonel Guggenheim and William Rockefeller.

 

Col. Guggenheim opened his Firenze Kennels in the 1920s; by the 1940s Firenze was considered a “dynasty of dogs”, according to the AKC website. Guggenheim’s Firenze Babylon Blue Beauty is the matriarch of one of America’s oldest Bedlington Terrier strains. In 1927 his dog Ch. Deckham O’Lad of Firenze won Best in Show, the first American Bedlington Terrier to do so. The same year at the Westminister Dog Show, Guggenheim’s Bedlington Terriers dominated in their class.

 

Rock Ridge Kennels, owned by William A. Rockefeller, played a prominent role in promoting Bedlington Terriers in the United States. Rockefeller’s kennel produced Ch. Rock Ridge Night Rocket, who won the Best In Show in 1947 and 1948 at Morris and Essex Kennel Club Dog Show. This champion dog also took the Best in Show at Westminster in 1948. These successes helped propel the number of registered Bedlington Terriers up in the United States, making it the AKC’s 56th most popular breed out of 111 in 1948. It moved up six more places in 1949, not reaching a peak until the late 1960s. A descendant of Ch. Rock Ridge Night Rocket’s descendants, Ch. Femars’ Cable Car, was featured on the February 8th, 1960, issue of ‘Sports Illustrated’.

 

Two other early Bedlington Terrier kennels of note in the United States were Tynesdale and Rowanoaks Kennels. Tynesdale Kennels, founded by Dr. Charles J. McNulty, produced many champions. Rowanoaks Kennels, owned by Colonel Mitchell and Connie Willemsen, produced a number of champions during the 1930s, the most famous of which was Ch. Tarragona of Rowanoaks who produced a famous bloodline, as well as numerous champions.

 

Membership in the NBTC continues to grow worldwide and its ‘News Bulletins’ are published two times per year. In 1998 the NBTC celebrated its centenary over the weekend of March 27th through 29th in Bedlington, Northumberland with a Championship Dog Show that garnered 139 Bedlington Terrier entries. Current NBTC champions include Mr. and Mrs. T. Graham's Ch Ruffsfurze Mavrodaphne, Miss D. Walters and Mr. B. Mitchell's Ch Rathsrigg Millrace, and Mrs. D. Owen's Ch Bisbee Beachcomber JW.

 

In 1968, the United States had a record 816 Bedlington Terriers registered with the AKC at the peak of popularity. But by 2010 Bedlington Terrier numbers in the United States continued to go down, and its popularity rating dropped to 140th of the167 AKC registered breeds. Even though the number of Bedlingtons has declined, breed fanciers are enthusiastic and supportive and the BTCA continues to promote Bedlington Terriers in a myriad of ways. A club historian position was created in the 1970s to document and preserve the history. In the 1990s, the BTCA became one of the first parent clubs to become actively involved in a listserve (electronic mailing list); today the club maintains three listserves on different topics pertinent to the breed. The BTCA in cooperation with the Canine Health Foundation and other organizations have made great strides toward eliminating breed diseases, minimizing genetic disorders, and contributing to the dog genome sequence.

 

Appearance: 

 

The overall appearance of the Bedlington Terrier is most often described as “distinctive”. They are different from other Terrier breeds with their arched backs and long legs; their unusual woolly coats give them a lamb-like appearance.

 

Their coats are composed of hard and soft hair which stands out from the skin and feels crisp, but not wiry, to the touch. The coat hair tends to curl, especially on the dog’s head and face. For the show ring, the coat should be trimmed down to one inch in length on the body, with the hair on the legs a little longer.

 

Bedlington Terriers come in a variety of coat colors: blue, blue and tan, sandy, sandy and tan, liver, and liver and tan. When their coat is bi-colored, they have tan marks on legs, chest, over the eyes, underside of the tail, and on the inside of the hindquarters. Fully grown Bedlingtons should have topknots of a lighter hue than the coat color. Bedlington Terrier puppies start life with darker coats that lighten as they move toward maturity.

 

Bedlington Terriers’ weight should be proportionate with height and within the range of 17 to 23 pounds. Weight is not exact because this breed originated as a working dog. Height of males should be 16 ½ (measured ground to withers) and the females’ height should be 15 ½ inches, ideally. The acceptable range, however, is 16 to 17 ½ inches tall for males and 15 to 16 ½ inches tall for the females.

 

Bedlington Terriers’ heads are narrow and rounded. Their dense topknots are highest at the crown of the head, tapering down to the back of their noses. They should have an unbroken line from their crown to the end of the nose. They have low set ears, triangular in shape, and rounded at the tips. Covered with fine hair, the Terriers’ thin, velvety ears form a silky tassel at the tip. Their ears hang flat toward their cheeks with the ear tips reaching the corners of their mouths. The widest part of the ears is three inches across. Their almond-shaped eyes are set high and obliquely on their heads; eye color varies according to coat color. Blue coated dogs have the darkest eyes, while the sandy and the sandy and tan coated dogs have the lightest with light hazel eyes. Noses, lips, and eye rims are black on blue and on blue and tan dogs, and brown on dogs that are liver, liver and tan, sandy, and sandy and tan colored. The lips fit tightly over large, white teeth in a level or scissors bite.

 

Bedlington Terriers have a graceful outline with a natural arch over the loin and tuck-up underline. They have muscular, flexible bodies and deep chests. They carry their heads high on long necks that taper up from flat, sloping shoulders. Their hindlegs are longer than their forelegs; forelegs are straight, wider apart at chest than feet. They have long hare-like feet with thick, tight pads. Dewclaws are removed. Their tails are set low, thick at the root, curving and tapering to a point at the hock. They carry their tails loosely, not over their backs or underneath their bodies. Bedlington Terriers move lightly, with a springiness to their gate.

 

Temperament: 

 

Bedlington Terriers are intelligent, alert, and fun, making them terrific family pets. These dogs love to spend time with you and get along well with both children, with whom they enjoy playing. Affectionate and extroverted, they enjoy being the center of attention. Noted for having milder temperaments than most Terrier breeds, they tend to be low-key indoors. But should they become aroused, their Terrier disposition emerges—feisty, brave, and sometimes aggressive.

 

Even though Bedlington Terriers enjoy company and can greet house guests with excitement and silliness, their keen perception makes them good judges of character. This trait may result in aloofness toward strangers. Bedlington Terriers do make good watch dogs, barking to warn you if someone they do not know is approaching.

 

Bedlington Terriers do not get along with other animals as well as they do humans, which includes family pets. They must be socialized from the time they are puppies with cats and dogs in the household. They get along better with other dogs than with cats, but they do tend to be aggressive toward other dogs. If another dog tries to dominate them, Bedlingtons will not back down, regardless of the other dog’s size, and are known to be ferocious fighters. Bred to hunt, they will chase moving animals, which means other small pets or livestock, such as rabbits, chickens, hamsters, may not live peaceably with your Bedlington Terrier. Their instinct to chase also means that your Bedlington should not be off leash outside of an enclosed space.

 

Bedlington Terriers require consistent and firm, but never harsh, leadership from their owners. On the one hand, they are smart and eager to please; on the other hand, they retain the Terrier dominance, stubbornness, and willfulness. They will take over the household if you do not assert your authority, and at the same time they are an especially sensitive breed and need to be treated with respect and gentleness (never teased or jerked around). Positive reinforcements, such as food treats, are recommended as training rewards. This breed likes to dig and to bark a lot, so you will need to train your pet not to overdo those behaviors.

 

Bedlington Terriers’ exercise requirements are easily met, making them adaptable to living in an apartment, or house, or on a farm. They are somewhat active indoors, so regular play time and a long walk every day are sufficient. They enjoy retrieving, playing with children, jogging, as well as curling up with you quietly. Their milder-than-most-Terrier-breeds temperament makes them calm indoors and content to be curled up next to you.

 

Grooming Requirements: 

 

Bedlington Terriers need to be combed at least once a week to prevent matting; they require trimming every two months in order to maintain the health and beauty of their coats. You can learn how to trim your Bedlington Terrier’s coat yourself, using the manual available through the Bedlington Terrier Club of America, or take your pet to a professional groomer. Their soft coats barely shed.

 

Health Issues: 

 

Bedlington Terriers are a healthy breed, with a long lifespan of between eleven to sixteen years. They are prone to Copper Toxicosis, a hereditary disease in which copper builds up in the liver, causing damage to the organ. Bedlington Terrier breeders have been aware of the problem of Copper Toxicosis since the early 1980s, but did not have any reliable way to test for the disease other than liver biopsies. In 1995, Dr. Brewer of Michigan University, found a DNA test that could identify carriers, (although not with 100% accuracy) which had not been possible with the biopsies. The Bedlington Terrier Health Group was formed in 2003; samples continue to be added to the database, with current research pointing toward one or more genes that cause the disease. This disease occurs in approximately five percent of Bedlington Terriers.

 

Other health issues of the Bedlington Terrier include:

 


 

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