Bedlington Terriers are unusual looking dogs; they are often described as looking more like a lamb than a dog. Their shaggy coat and hanging ears and rounded face do give them a lamb-like appearance. Bedlington Terriers dog breed is so versatile that they have been favored as gun-dogs, hunters of vermin, housedogs, and badger dogs.
They are a bundle of seemingly incompatible traits too. On one hand, they are docile house dogs but on the other, they never back off from a fight. They are gentle with kids, but they are known to be jealous and vicious towards other dogs. They are excellent hunters of small prey outdoors, but at the same time, they get along with small pets indoors. They can run like a racehorse and beat a Newfoundland in swimming too and have high endurance levels.
This small dog of the terrier type carries the name of an English mining town where they were employed in the mines to keep the vermin in check. Exactly when this breed originated, or from where it inherited its characteristics is not clear, but they were around from the early 19th century. Joseph Ainsley of Bedlington is credited with developing this terrier from his own Rothbury Terriers, probably with some involvement of Whippet and Dandie Dinmont Terrier.
The breed was known for its ability to hunt not only rats but badger, fox and otter as well. The unusual looks of this little dog captured attention in the show ring too, and they were often dyed for this purpose. The agility and speed of this dog enabled it to be a star in many racing competitions. Soon its popularity spread outside the town of Bedlington and the breed became popular as a house pet.
As mentioned before, this dog has a lamb-like appearance and not quite a looker as a dog. All of 15-16 inches in height, and weighing under 24 pounds, this little dog has a very shaggy, curly, and coarse coat and a typical top knot. The linty texture of the coat has earned this breed the nickname “linty-haired terrier.
The color of the coat may vary from blue, sandy and a type of red referred to as liver. The puppies have more intense coloration but this breed has a graying gene that makes their coat become progressively lighter as they grow older.
These are active, playful dogs often considered the friendliest among terriers. They are not only affectionate and demonstrative towards their owners, but the friendliness and good will are extended towards strangers also. This puts their suitability as guard dog in doubt, but they are excellent guard dogs as well because they will not back down from any challenge and have courage matching that of a bulldog.
Bedlington Terriers are stubborn little dogs, and very tenacious when it comes to hunting small prey. They are thought to be fond of fighting despite their normally peaceful demeanor inside the house. In fact, at one time this breed was employed to fight in the pits.
Bedlington Terriers are good pets for families with children as they are gentle with them and always ready for a game or two. They are quieter compared to other terriers too.
Grooming and exercise
The shaggy and curly coat of Bedlington Terriers understandably takes a bit of grooming. In addition to thorough brushing two to three times a week, the coat has to be trimmed closely to maintain a neat structure. Professional grooming of this dog is very expensive. This dog is considered non-shedding and the fur hypoallergic.
These feisty little dogs should be encouraged to maintain its active disposition by providing lots of exercises and activities. Left to themselves, they love chasing small prey. Vigorous outdoor play with plenty of opportunity to run around and brisk walks should be part of their daily schedule. They have a tendency to be lazy and lethargic if they are not stimulated constantly.
These dogs love to spend considerable amount of time outdoors, but they are better off living inside the house with the family. They should be sheltered from extreme cold especially when their coats are kept short.
Common health issues of Bedlington Terrier dog breed
Bedlington Terriers are study little dogs with an expected lifespan of 12 to 15 years. They are generally free of serious ailments but copper toxicosis is a major concern with this breed. DNA testing for this condition is recommended. Minor conditions such as distichiasis or ingrown eyelashes and retinal dysplasia may affect their eyes. Another genetically inherited condition called renal cortical hypoplasia or incomplete development of the cortex region of the kidneys is sometimes found in Bedlington Terriers dog breed.