Bedlington Terrier

Breed Group: Terrier

Temperament and Behavior

Bedlington Terriers attract attention wherever they go for their lamb-like appearance. True to this appearance, they are softer and more loving than most other terriers. Social with family including children, they also do well with less dominant dogs, especially when he is raised with them as a puppy. But when pushed, they are tough, feisty dogs that can hold their own in a fight. With their terrier hunting instincts often crowding out their good manners, interaction with hamsters, cats, and other small pets is iffy. Also a vestige to their days as vermin hunters, they love to dig. Their above average activity level inside and out is an indicator of their need for twice a day exercise. This can be either a long walk on a leash or a good romp outdoors in a secure area where they can display their breathtaking speed and agility. Left alone for too long they will become bored and create their own troublesome entertainment. Even though not a barker, their alertness, and ability to react make them excellent watchdogs. But their small size prevents them from being a guardian except against the small prey they were bred to catch.
Physical Characteristics
Bedlington Terriers have a profile of the classic Easter lamb. Their coat colors are blue, sandy, liver, and combinations of these colors. Small, well-muscled, athletic dogs, they weigh between 17 and 23 pounds. Standing 15 to 17 inches high at the shoulder, their hind legs are longer than their forelegs. Need regular but minimal grooming, but they should be close-clipped every six to eight weeks. Shedding is minimal so the breed may be a good choice for people with allergies. In moderate temperatures, they will do well and rain is of little concern to them.
Trainer's Notes
Bedlington Terriers are alert, energetic dogs that benefit from basic socialization and obedience training. With average intelligence, they are neither difficult nor easy to train. But a sensitive breed, they require positive training methods and should not be handled harshly nor teased. When trained with patience and enthusiasm, their speed and maneuverability make them excellent competitors in flyball and agility. Like other terriers, they are best in the hands of an experienced dog owner.
Public Domain
Bedlington Terrier
Bedlington Terrier
It is estimated that 1/2 to perhaps as high as 2/3 of Bedlington Terriers in the US have an inherited metabolic disorder called Copper Toxicosis. Dogs with this condition have increased levels of copper in their liver that can be fatal. There is a genetic test available for the disease and a registry has been created for dogs that are unaffected. Because of the high likelihood, a US-bred Bedlington Terrier has the condition, it is suggested any dog bred in North America have both parents listed in the registry. This eliminates the chance a pup will develop the condition. For more information, contact the Canine Liver Registry, Veterinary Medical Data Base, 1235 SCC-A, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1235 or the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA), 2300 Nifong Blvd., Columbia, MO 65201. In addition to Copper Toxicosis, about 13% of Bedlington Terriers have a Luxating Patella. Other genetic issues include PRA and Retinal Dysplasia, both of which cause blindness, Distichiasis, and kidney disease. They usually live into their mid to late teens.
Ranked 128th in popularity with usually fewer than 300 AKC registrations annually, they are one of the lesser-known terriers. Expect to wait for a puppy, especially if you want a particular coat color.
Breed History
Bedlington Terriers were developed in Bedlington Shire of Northumberland County, England in the mid-1800s but their parentage is unknown. Good all around hunters, the aristocracy used their speed and agility to hunt small game in the open, while miners used them to rid mines of rats and for dog fighting.
Additional Information
The National (US) Breed Club is the Bedlington Terrier Club of America.

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