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Bedlington Terrier… Everything You Need to Know at a Glance!

Now if you already own a Bedlington Terrier, you probably already know this, but once you do own one, you’re going to get a lot of questions about your Bedlington when your “out and about”.

Questions like:

  • What the “heck” is that?
  • Is that a dog?

And who can blame folks?

It’s not like you’re going to see a Bedlington Terrier running around the dog park on a daily basis!  And since he’s going to have the appearance of a nice and gentle lamb, and is generally going to be very friendly with everyone he or she meets, you’re going to have a tough time keeping folks from wanting to know more about your little “lion heart”.

But this does not mean…

That a Bedlington Terrier is going to be right for everyone, which is why in this article we wanted to take a moment and discuss exactly what some of the pros and cons of owning a Bedlington Terrier will be.  This way you’ll have a better idea of owning one will be the “right” move for you!

Bedlington Terrier Dog Breed Facts

Country of Origin:  England

Original Purpose: Companion Dog and Watch Dog

Height:  15 to 16 inches tall

Weight:  17 to 23 pounds

Life Span: 14 to 16 years

Dog Breed Classification:  Terrier Dogs

Origin of the Bedlington Terrier

While the exact origin of the Bedlington Terrier is a bit of a “mystery”, most folks believe that the Bedlington Terrier was probably brought to England by the Roman Gypsies, who used him to steal food on the estates they passed by. His poaching instincts were legendary!

One might even say…

“He’s was a “wolf” in sheep’s clothing!”

During this time…

The Bedlington Terriers were also used by farmers for getting rid of rats and badgers.  Because remember, even though the Bedlington Terrier looks like a little lamb, he is still a terrier which means that he is still a fearless hunting machine that is not afraid to take on a challenge!

Lord Rothbury

One of the biggest admirers of these dogs was Lord Rothbury, the squire of the mining town of Bedlington, of the county of Northumberland.  It was he who in the late 1800’s first “developed” the breed into what first became known at Rothbury Terriers and later eventually became known as Bedington Terriers which we now have today.

During this time…

These fearless hunters were used to hunt all sorts of game including:

  • Badgers,
  • Foxes,
  • Rabbits and rats,
  • And even otters!

So needless to say, these little guys became pretty valuable for their hunting skills.

But that’s not all…

It was also during this time that the local “elite” also began to recognize the breed for it’s “looks” and companionship, ensuring the breed would continue for many generations to come and eventually become one of the most “easily” recognizable dog breed in the world.


The Bedlington Terrier was brought to the United States in the mid-19th century and was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club (or AKC) in 1886.

Physical characteristics of the Bedlington Terrier Dog Breed

To state the obvious, the Bedlington is a very unique dog with a distinct appearance, completely different from other terriers. This soft coated dog looks like a lamb from a distance.

He has a strange looking scimitar-like (scimitar = sword) which tapers downwards. You could identify him easily with his narrow shaped head with a topknot that is of a much lighter shade than the body.

But is he a lamb or a terrier?

No, he is definitely not a lamb although he may look like one.

Like a lamb, he has a roached back, hare feet and an arched loin. Even his manner of walking or gait is fast and energetic, the same as that of a lamb.

His eyes are triangular in shape, and always have a kind and polite expression about them, almost docile.

But in temperament, he is very much a terrier.

You should see him chase away the badgers and vermin from farms. He is very good at that, which is why farmers in the UK like this dog so much.

Bedlington Terrier Temperament

By temperament, the Bedlington Terrier is smart and energetic. He is always on alert, which makes him a very good watch dog.


He’s a real entertainer, and likes to make people happy with his behavior. He can be a little aggressive when it comes to other dogs of the same sex, which can be a bit of a surprise – as that’s out of character for him.

But like with most breeds…

His behavior will depend on his breeding. If the puppies have been bred or brought up by breeders in a homely environment, the Bedlington is likely to be more social and friendly, and relaxed around people.


If you have adopted a Bedlington Terrier rescue dog, then you should be a little careful. Rescue dogs may have been through a lot and they can get edgy.  And while we strongly encourage any dog lover to always consider adopting a rescue dog, if you do have small children living in the home with you, please be sure that any “rescue” that you’re considering has “grown” up with children around.


Is important for a Bedlington Terrier. Take him out to parks, stores, or to dog-friendly places where he can meet other dogs and get used to dealing with strangers. This is an important part of the Bedlington Terrier training.


Make sure he gets enough exercise. The Bedlington does not require as much exercise as some of the other dog breeds we know, but don’t let that be an excuse for you not to take him out on walks!

What about the health issues common to Bedlington Terriers?

The Bedlington Terrier is a purebred dog, which means he’s probably going to be susceptible to more health issues that are hereditary by nature than a “mut” probably would.

Now this is not…

A “unique” problem that only Bedlington Terriers face, this is simply the case that all “purebreds” face.

The good news…

Is that many of the conditions that plague Bedlington Terriers can be avoided when you choose to purchase your Bedlington Terrier from a “reputable” breeder who can prove to you that the dog is perfectly healthy and has healthy parents as well.

A good breeder is…

  • Always honest about health issues that a particular puppy may have, either now or in the future.
  • Willing to guarantee the health of your puppy.
  • And generally only focuses on one particular breed vs those who offer many different “types” of dogs which may suggest that they are a “puppy mill”.

In any case, ask the breeder to show results of a DNA test done on the puppy and certifications from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that the puppy has healthy eyes.

Additional medical conditions…

That your Bedlington Terrier might be at risk for may include:


Have you considered pet Insurance for your Bedlington Terrier? If you’re going to buy or adopt a Bedlington puppy, you really ought to take a moment and see what it might cost to purchase a pet insurance policy on him or her.

This way…

If you puppy does develop an illness or suffer from an injury, you won’t be “on your own” to pay the full cost of his or her care.  Now will a pet insurance policy be right for everyone?  Probably not, but until you know what the policy will and won’t cover and what the “cost” would be, how will you know if it’s right for you?

For more information about pet insurance policies in your area, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Companies article where we discuss some of the pros and cons of owning such a policy.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Marian December 15, 2020, 2:29 pm

    Ty for this i nfo. I have always wanted to own one but know now that it would not be wise. Such a shame

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