It is commonly believed that somewhere in the history of the Bedlington Terrier, the Greyhound and the Whippet make their appearance. This is based largely on the breed's arched back, a trademark characteristic seen in the two sighthounds. The only difference is in the Bedlingtons front legs that are perfectly developed for turning on a dime at high speeds. This has made the Bedlington an absolute ideal choice for agility course training and field trials. On top of their physical aptness for the activity, it provides the perfect amount of mental stimulations that keeps the Bedlington at its best. Working breed dogs are happiest when they are given a specific job to do and the Bedlington is no different.
Along with agility training, years as a baiting dog have made the Bedlington a perfect candidate for earth dog competitions. Earth dog competitions are events that put a dog's basic skills and instincts to the test. Dogs are made to scent quarry and then maneuver a series of tunnels or obstacles to locate their prey. When tunnels are used, they are often made of wood and kept above ground. The quarry, which is typically a rat, is kept in a cage at the end of the scent trail. The Bedlington is one of twenty two breeds that are sanctioned by the American Kennel club and the American Working Terrier Association to take part in earth dog trials.
Rally and obedience competitions offer great fun for the Bedlington Terrier. Obedience competitions show a dog's compliance and willingness to please. Rally competitions are more laid back, allowing an owner to communicate freely with their dog as he or she performs a number of tasks. Both are fully recognized sports with the American Kennel Club. These sporting events are attended by dogs that first start with the most basic levels of obedience training. Once these are completed, they will then move on to the most advanced instruction. In these classes, the Bedlington will learn to follow hand signals and exhibit scenting abilities.
As with most types of terriers, the Bedlington was bred to do away with rats and vermin. Their propensity for chasing after small scurrying animals is an undeniable natural instinct. A simple game of fetch is sometimes just the thing they need to satisfy their urge. The multi purpose Bedlington was also a water dog and was used to retrieve downed waterfowl from the shoreline. Tossing a floating toy into a pool or other body of water is great exercise for the Bedlington. This is especially true for dogs that are getting on in their older years. Swimming is a low impact exercise that allows full movement but is gentle on joints.