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  • Temperament: Loyal, Charming, Frollicking
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 138 of 194
  • Height: 15-17.5 inches
  • Weight: 17-23 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 11-16 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Bedlington Terrier standing facing left.
Bedlington Terrier head facing left.
Bedlington Terrier sitting, body facing forward, head facing left
Bedlington Terrier coat detail.
Bedlington Terrier

Find a Puppy: Bedlington Terrier

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

A graceful, lithe, well-balanced dog with no sign of coarseness, weakness or shelliness. In repose, the dog’s expression is mild and gentle, not shy or nervous. Aroused, the dog is particularly alert and full of immense energy and courage. Noteworthy for endurance, Bedlingtons also gallop at great speed, as their body outline clearly shows.

HEAD

Narrow, but deep and rounded. Shorter in skull and longer in jaw. Covered with a profuse topknot which is lighter than the color of the body, highest at the crown, and tapering gradually to just back of the nose. There must be no stop and the unbroken line from crown to nose end reveals a slender head without cheekiness or snipiness. Lips are black in the blue and blue and tans and brown in all other solid and bi-colors. Eyes – Almond-shaped, small, bright and well sunk with no tendency to tear or water. Set is oblique and fairly high on the head. Blues have dark eyes; blues and tans, less dark with amber lights; sandies, sandies and tans, light hazel; livers, livers and tans, slightly darker. Eye rims are black in the blue and blue and tans, and brown in all other solid and bi-colors.

BODY

Muscular and markedly flexible. Chest deep. Flat-ribbed and deep through the brisket, which reaches to the elbows. Back has a good natural arch over the loin, creating a definite tuck-up of the underline. Body slightly greater in length than height. Well-muscled quarters are also fine and graceful.

TAIL

Set low, scimitar-shaped, thick at the root and tapering to a point which reaches the hock. Not carried over the back or tight to the underbody.

LEGS AND FEET

Lithe and muscular. The hind legs are longer than the forelegs, which are straight and wider apart at the chest than at the feet. Slight bend to pasterns which are long and sloping without weakness. Stifles well angulated. Hocks strong and well let down, turning neither in nor out. Long hare feet with thick, well-closed-up, smooth pads. Dewclaws should be removed.

COAT

A very distinctive mixture of hard and soft hair standing well out from the skin. Crisp to the touch but not wiry, having a tendency to curl, especially on the head and face. When in show trim must not exceed 1 inch on body; hair on legs is slightly longer.

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bedlington terrier illustration

About the Bedlington Terrier

Bedlingtons are lithe, energetic Englishmen. The crisp, curly coat; arched back; tasseled ears; scimitar-shaped tail; and fleecy, pear-shaped head are identifying features of this one-of-a-kind breed. As the curvy contours indicate, there’s sighthound—Whippet, most likely—in their family tree. Bedlingtons move with a light, springy step and when roused to pursuit can run like the wind.

Rollicking, charming, and full of fun, Bedlingtons want most to be their family’s center of attention and are known to be protective of loved ones. For an active family looking for a no-shedding, lively, and loyal companion, the search might end here.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country. The Bedlington Terrier Club of America has been an AKC member club since 1936.
Bedlington Terrier

Find a Puppy: Bedlington Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Bedlington Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Bedlington Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING

The crisp, curly coat of the Bedlington Terrier is a mix of soft and harsh, but not wiry, hair. While fastidious owners will be happy to learn that it virtually does not shed at all, it grows very quickly and needs to be clipped every two months. Many owners learn the process, which involves both electric clippers and scissors, while others are happy to take their Bedlington to a groomer. In addition, a Bedlington needs to be brushed and/or combed once or twice a week. As with all breeds, the Bedlington’s nails should be trimmed regularly, because overly long nails can cause the dog pain as well as problems walking and running.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
2-3 Times a Week Brushing

EXERCISE

Bedlingtons, like most Terriers, have a fair amount of energy and require regular exercise to stay fit and happy. The breed is energetic, but not rambunctious or mischievous. A Bedlington loves to play fetch or go on a long walk or run, but afterwards he’s happy to just curl up on the couch with his family. Despite their lamb-like looks, Bedlingtons were bred to chase small animals, and that’s what they do. So they require a fenced-in yard and should be on a leash for all walks. Many Bedlingtons enjoy participating in agilityobediencetracking, and earthdog competitions.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Energetic

TRAINING

Early socialization and puppy training are recommended for all dogs. Though Bedlingtons can be stubborn, they are also both intelligent and eager to please. Bedlingtons do not respond to harsh training methods or physical correction, which can lead to a battle of wills rather than to obedience. Positive-reinforcement techniques, such as using praise and food as rewards, are much more successful.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Agreeable

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Alert/Responsive

HEALTH

The Bedlington is generally a healthy breed, and responsible breeders will screen their breeding stock for health conditions such as hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, von Willebrand’s disease (a bleeding disorder), thrombopathia, and certain eye issues. As with all breeds, a Bedlington’s ears should be checked regularly, and the teeth brushed daily.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Copper Toxicosis DNA Test
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Patella Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier

History

They look like lambs in the show ring, and they’re as gentle as lambs around the house. So, it comes as a bit of shock to discover that Bedlingtons spent most of the 1800s doing dirty, and sometimes deadly, work. Created in the Northumberland mining shire that gave the breed its name, Bedlingtons were a workingman’s dog expected to be versatile enough to be employed as coalmine ratters, varmint killers, and pit fighters. The breed acquired the nickname “Gypsy Dog” because it was used by the wandering Romanies as a stealthy poaching partner. An observer of the breed’s formative years wrote that the Bedlington was the “smartest and quickest of our terriers.”

The first dog identified as a Bedlington Terrier, named Piper, was bred in 1825. It was said that Piper was so game that he was still dispatching badgers at age 14, and nearly blind and toothless. The nail makers of Bedlington took a fancy to the breed and became known for their plucky terriers. The shire’s miners and nailers wagered their salaries on epic dogfights, pitting their terriers against each other. A breed historian noted, “Bedlingtons were never a mischief maker, but once he started fighting, it was to the death.”

Happily for us, Bedlingtons turned out to be even better lovers than fighters. Thanks to their ample charms, Bedlingtons eventually rose from coalmines and nail factories to the manor house. British elites found Bedlingtons to be bighearted, lovable companions, as well as attractive ornaments to their style-conscious lifestyle.

Refinement and consistency in the breed began with the formation of England’s National Bedlington Terrier Club in 1877. Nine years later, the AKC registered its first Bedlington. Today’s citizens of Bedlington, England, are still proud of their most famous export. Bedlington’s Northern League soccer team is called the Terriers, and the town has recently installed park benches shaped like its fleecy mascot breed.

Did You Know?

The "gypsy dog" came to the attention of Lord Rothbury of the town of Bedlington in Northumberland County. He became such an enthusiast of the little dog that the breed became known as Rothbury's Terrier (or Rothbury’s Lamb)
It shares certain similarities, and therefore possibly common ancestry, with the Dandie Dinmont, Kerry Blue, and Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers. Its arched back hints that the Whippet may have also been used to add speed and litheness to the breed’s performance ability.
The first dog to be called a "Bedlington Terrier" was whelped in 1825. The dog was Ainsley’s Piper, who started to hunt at 8 months and continued to bring down the most ferocious of otters and badgers even in his blind and toothless old age.
Joseph Ainsley of Bedlington owned the first dog known to be called a Bedlington Terrier.
The breed was originally bred in England for hunting.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

A graceful, lithe, well-balanced dog with no sign of coarseness, weakness or shelliness. In repose, the dog’s expression is mild and gentle, not shy or nervous. Aroused, the dog is particularly alert and full of immense energy and courage. Noteworthy for endurance, Bedlingtons also gallop at great speed, as their body outline clearly shows.

HEAD

Narrow, but deep and rounded. Shorter in skull and longer in jaw. Covered with a profuse topknot which is lighter than the color of the body, highest at the crown, and tapering gradually to just back of the nose. There must be no stop and the unbroken line from crown to nose end reveals a slender head without cheekiness or snipiness. Lips are black in the blue and blue and tans and brown in all other solid and bi-colors. Eyes – Almond-shaped, small, bright and well sunk with no tendency to tear or water. Set is oblique and fairly high on the head. Blues have dark eyes; blues and tans, less dark with amber lights; sandies, sandies and tans, light hazel; livers, livers and tans, slightly darker. Eye rims are black in the blue and blue and tans, and brown in all other solid and bi-colors.

BODY

Muscular and markedly flexible. Chest deep. Flat-ribbed and deep through the brisket, which reaches to the elbows. Back has a good natural arch over the loin, creating a definite tuck-up of the underline. Body slightly greater in length than height. Well-muscled quarters are also fine and graceful.

TAIL

Set low, scimitar-shaped, thick at the root and tapering to a point which reaches the hock. Not carried over the back or tight to the underbody.

LEGS AND FEET

Lithe and muscular. The hind legs are longer than the forelegs, which are straight and wider apart at the chest than at the feet. Slight bend to pasterns which are long and sloping without weakness. Stifles well angulated. Hocks strong and well let down, turning neither in nor out. Long hare feet with thick, well-closed-up, smooth pads. Dewclaws should be removed.

COAT

A very distinctive mixture of hard and soft hair standing well out from the skin. Crisp to the touch but not wiry, having a tendency to curl, especially on the head and face. When in show trim must not exceed 1 inch on body; hair on legs is slightly longer.

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bedlington terrier illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Blue Check Mark For Standard Color 037
Blue & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 044
Liver Check Mark For Standard Color 123
Liver & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 124
Sandy Check Mark For Standard Color 168
Sandy & Tan Check Mark For Standard Color 539
Blue 037
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