One of the most common things people want to know about a dog breed is their behavior when it comes to children. While the Bedlington terrier does well with children for the most part, there are some aspects that will need some special attention. The Bedlington is a high energy breed and sometimes children are the only one who can keep up with them. At the same time, children who have not been taught how to properly treat a dog can find themselves on the end of a harsh reprimand from their Bedlington. They are far from vicious but do have firm boundaries about how they like and don't like to be approached.
Bred for pit fighting and baiting, the Bedlington was a masterful opponent that rarely lost any battles. As the Bedlington's quarry became more and more threatened, the stronger it would fight. Because of this, it is a natural instinct for the Bedlington to inflict pain when it feels pain. It is not uncommon for the Bedlington to resort to a defensive reaction, or a sudden nip, when it is accidentally caught off guard and has its paw stepped on. They are in no way ferocious and are often very sorry the moment it happens. It is also a reason that very young children should never be left alone with the Bedlington.
The Bedlington loves family life and loves being included in all its day to day rituals. This is because the breed originally worked in packs with other dogs. As such, the Bedlington's predisposition for pack order is very strong. In a pack, there is a dominant male and a dominant female that is always in command. The chain continues all the way down to the smallest member. The dominant male and female always eat first, are the first to greet others and are also the first to discipline others. As it sometimes happens, the Bedlington may attempt to put him or herself ahead of the youngest child in the order. The dog will then ignore the child's commands and take advantage of certain situations. This must never be allowed.
Full grown dogs brought into a home with children will likely need a special adjustment period. The noise and energy level that naturally comes with children may take some getting used to for the Bedlington. In general, these dogs have very little problem in new settings and come to enjoy the company of older brood. At the same time, it is not unheard of for the breed to experience episodes of jealousy over new babies or animals and attempt to compete for attention. As the Bedlington learns that this new addition does not affect pack order, their anxiety tends to lessen and then disappear altogether.