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Walk down any street with a Bedlington Terrier and you won't get far before you hear it: “He looks like a lamb!”

There is probably no other AKC-recognized breed that so closely resembles another species (at least of the surface). The Bedlington Terrier's distinctive appearance, however, is only one of the surprising features and facts you may not know about the breed.

  1. But OK, let's start with that crowd-stopping look. What's that about?

    Good question! Even the President of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America, Dr. Dennis Corash, admits that the origin of the grooming style is something of a mystery. As far back as the late 1800s, Bedlingtons were being groomed with the unique ear tassels, clipped crown, and shaved face, neck, and tail, but it's not clear why.

    Most people are sheepish (couldn't resist) about creating a show ring-ready cut, but Bedlington owners who are game can find out how to get the classic Bedlington look. Luckily, it also has tips for a “pet clip.” Either way, it's hard to make a Bedlington look bad!

    Bedlington pups
    Courtesy Photography by John


  2. Speaking of being game, the Bedlington may look like a stuffed toy, but these are strong, brave terriers with natural hunting instincts and a serious protective streak.

    The saying goes that they have “the head of a lamb and the heart of a lion.” Corash agrees: “They can catch a rabbit at a dead run or go to ground [enter the burrow of prey] and come out with a badger. If they can get their head through something they will get their body through it.”

    Bedlingtons Snow
    Courtesy Michael L. Soper/AKC Family Dog Photo Contest

    Bedlingtons are known for their loving temperaments. Unless, that is, you try to hurt their family. “If you came to my house, my dog would be on your lap licking your face,” says Corash. “But if you suddenly showed any violence toward me, he would immediately get between us. They've been known to chase off burglars and even save lives.”

    Bedlington owners often participate in agility and earthdog trials with their quick athletes, too.

    Bedlington Jumping
    Courtesy Anne Clayton Photographic Imaging


  3. Gypsies had Bedlingtons in the 1700s.

    It's been said that Bedlingtons accompanied nomadic, Romany-speaking groups in the Rothbury Forest in England in the 18th century.


  4. Of all the terriers, the Bedlington has the oldest non-broken pedigree, going back to 1782.

    Going back even further, the breeds that were originally used to develop the Bedlington are a source of great debate today. Among them are the Otterhound, for endurance, the Poodle for coat, the Whippet for speed, and maybe even a Bull Terrier, for that signature feistiness.


  5. And we weren't done with that coat …

    The Bedlington Terrier is virtually shed-proof, and the coat is very dark at birth and becomes much lighter with maturity. If the dog sustains an injury that damages his coat, that spot grows back black!

    Bedlington profile

Want more Bedlingtons? See this Earthdog demo featuring a Bedlington at the AKC's Meet the Breeds:
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