Bedlington Terrier: History, Personality, and Training Tips

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Bedlington Terriers are known for their white crisp and curly coat. Originally bred to help during a hunt, this breed is today known for being a perfect companion. Read on to discover more about this breed.
Dog Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs
15 to 16 inches tall at the shoulder
17 to 23 pounds
Life Span:
14 to 16 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Bedlington Terrier is often described as a frollicking, charming, and exceptionally loyal dog. This dog is graceful in its sheep-like clothing. They are named for the English mining shire, where they were first bred. Bedlington Terrier is often described as a little and energetic dog.

Quick Facts

Real name: Bedlington Terrier
Other names: Rothbury Terrier, Rodbery Terrier, Rothbury’s Lamb
Origin: England
Breed type: Hound Dogs
Weight: 17–23 pounds (7.7–10.4 kg)
Height: Male 16.5 inches (42 cm), Female 15.5 inches (39 cm)
Lifespan: 13.5 years
Litter Size: 3-6 puppies
Color: Blue, liver, or sandy, or any of these with tan points
Coat: Curly, ‘crisp’ in texture with a distinct topknot, nonshedding, minimal odor

Bedlington Terrier History

Bedlington Terriers look gentle as lambs, making it really difficult for people to believe that this breed was actually bred for most demanding and dirties works ever.

This breed has spent most of the 1800s doing dirty, and sometimes deadly, work.

Bedlington Terrier was created in the Northumberland mining shire that gave the breed its name. They were expected to be versatile enough to be employed as coalmine ratters, pit fighters, and varmint killers.

The breed was also named the “Gypsy Dog” because the wandering Romanies used it as a stealthy poaching partner.

The very first dog identified as a Bedlington Terrier, named Piper, was bred in 1825. It was said that this dog lived for 14 years, although he was nearly blind and toothless.

The nail makers of Bedlington took a fancy to the breed and became known for their plucky terriers. Interestingly, nailers and miners wagered their salaries on 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.”

Luckily, Bedlingtons turned out to be better companion dogs than fighters, and they manage to position themself as great family dogs, and perfect companions.

So, this breed went in a short period from coal mines and nail factories to the manor house. British elite fell in love with Bedlingtons and saw it them bighearted dogs, lovable companions, and an excellent addition to their style-conscious lifestyles.

Refinement and consistency in the breed began with England’s National Bedlington Terrier Club in 1877. Nine years later, the AKC finally registered its first Bedlington.

Today’s citizens of Bedlington, England, are still proud of their most famous export. There is even a Bedlington’s Northern League soccer team called the Terriers. Just recently, Bedlington installed park benches shaped like its fleecy mascot breed.

Bedlington Terrier Physical Appearance

Bedlington Terrier is one of the most graceful dogs of today. This dog is well-balanced with no sign of weakness or shelliness. The dog’s expression is mild and gentle, and they are rarely shy or nervous.

When aroused, this dog is alert and full of great energy and courage. Their body outline clearly shows that this breed can quickly gallop at great speed. The Head is narrow but rounded and deep.

Eyes and eye rims are almond-shaped, while lips are black. The body is muscular, while the chest is deep. The body is slightly greater in length than height. The tail is always set low, and legs and lithe are muscular and lithe.

The coat is an unusual mixture of hard and soft hair standing well out from the skin. The hair on legs is slightly longer, and in the show, the trim must not exceed 1 inch on the body.

Bedlington Terrier Personality

Bedlington Terriers are energetic and intelligent and among the finest watchdogs and great companions. Your Bedlington will enjoy being the center of attention.

He loves entertaining his family members and spending time with them. He may be aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex, and the breed is prone to chasing small furry animals.

As you may know already, temperament is affected by several factors, including:

Puppies are, in general, playful and curious, willing to approach people, even strangers, and be held by them. They are great with children, although children should be educated on how to behave around dogs, and not to disturb them while they eat, drink, or spend time in their crate.

If you have a multi-pet home, you should expect some difficulties with dogs of the same sex, and they need to learn to get along with cats and other household animals while Bedlington is young.

In general, they will get along with other dogs, but you should keep them away from those that want to dominate.

They are often called a “little powerhouse” because they are brave and energetic. The Bedlington Terrier is also a passionate digger.

They are also super-fast runners and recall training is a must. To keep him safe, keep him on the leash all the time.

Living With Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington terriers are considered to be active dogs. They are great runners, and they could spend hours outdoors. As an active breed, Bedlingtons are prone to boredom and mischievous behavior.

They are suitable indoor dogs, even great for apartment living, as long as you provide necessary exercise. They shed little to no hair and require specialized clipping every six weeks.

The new owner should learn how to clip the coat at home. They are also considered to be a “hypoallergenic” breed, and they are an acceptable pet for the typical allergy sufferer.

Bedlington Terrier Training

To have a well-behaved Bedlington, early socialization and puppy training are recommended. As soon as you get your Bedlington home, training must start.

As soon as you are done with mandatory veterinarian check-ups, vaccination schedules, and your vet says that it’s ok for your Bedlintog to meet other animals, you should start the socialization program.

Bedlingtons can be stubborn, and as intelligent beings, they may try to be dominant over the owner. This is why its essential to use positive reinforcement on your Bedlington and show him that you are a leader that he should respect.

Never use harsh training methods or physical correction. Positive-reinforcement techniques, such as using praise and food as rewards, are much more successful.

If you need extra help in training your Bedlington, think about hiring a professional dog trainer or sign up with your Bedlington to dog classes.

Bedlington Terrier Exercise

Just like most Terries, Bedlingtons have a fair amount of energy and require regular outdoor time to stay fit and happy. This breed is known for being energetic.

They enjoy playing fetch or go for a long walk or run. Your Bedlington will love to curl up on the couch with you once the outdoor time is over.

Despite their lamb-like looks, Bedlingtons were bred to chase small animals, and that’s what they do. With that on the mind, secure a fenced-in yard and keep your Bedlington on a leash. Many Bedlingtons enjoy participating in dog sports.

Bedlington Terrier Grooming

The curly coat of the Bedlington Terries is a mix of soft and harsh, but not wiry. This breed doesn’t shed a lot or not at all, but their hair grows fast and needs to be clipped every two months.

This is a straightforward process that dog owners usually learn fast, while some are happy to take their Bedlington to a groomer.

As with all breeds, chek gums weekly and provide food that promotes toothe health, trim nails regularly, and bath yoru Bedlington only when needed.

In addition, have proper grooming tools, because your Bedlington should be brushed and/or combed once or twice a week.

Bedlington Terrier Health

The Bedlington is overall a healthy breed. Responsible breeders will always screen their breeding stock for health conditions such as:

  • Hip and elbow dysplasia
  • Eye issues
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Von Willebrand’s disease (a bleeding disorder)
  • Thrombopathia

Ears sould be checked and cleaned regulalry, and teeth shoudl be brushed.

Recommended Health Tests for the breed:

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

If you’re buying a puppy, always search for a good and responsible dog breeder. Why? This is the guaranteed way to get medical documentation on your dog, and health clearances for both your puppy and puppy’s parents.

Bedlington Terrier Feeding

Recommended daily amount: 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals. How much you should feed your adult dog depends on his size, age, metabolism.

You won’t feed your senior dog with puppy food and vice versa. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t need the same amount of food. Learn how much you should feed your dog.

Any dog should do fine on high-quality food, and better the food, healthier the dog.

Keep your Bedlington in a good shape and avoid overfeedign him, becauyse obesity is a rising problem in modern dogs.

Again, the Bedlington terrier should do well on a high-quality food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared. You should use treats in training, but avoid giving too many. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not.

If you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet, contact your veterinarian. Always provide a bowl of fresh and clean water. Bedlingtons are generally healthy eaters and can be fed tinned or dry food once or twice a day.

The Bottom Line

Bedlington Terriers are great dogs as long as you are ready to invest your time, energy, and love to shape them into well-behaved dogs.

If you are OK with frequent grooming and little-lamb-dog appearance, than you should do fine with Bedlington terrier next to your side.

Make sure that you are sure of understanding what being a dog owner really is, and what it brings. Having a dog is a great responsibility and a life long commitment.

Always check local animal shelters first, and then search for a responsible breeder. Even purebred dogs can be found in an animal shelter.

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