Liver, Blue, , Blue/Tan, Liver/Tan, Sandy/Tan. Bedlington puppies often appear white, which is not a recognized color for this breed.
16-17 in (41-43 cm)
17-23 lbs (8-10 kg).
15-16 in (38-41 cm).
17-23 lbs (8-10 kg).
Bedlington Terriers do better in apartments than they do in wide open areas. Although a well-cared for Bedlington Terrier can still thrive in rural or loosely-populated suburban areas, the ideal environment for a Bedlington remains a small living situation or apartment with support and companionship from humans.
Bedlington Terriers are medium-sized dogs covered in lightly-colored fur, sometimes patched in two colors. They bear a passing resemblance to Whippets in their shape (with no distinct stop between the crown of their heads and their nose), and their curling, dense coat gives them a fairly non-threatening look, something like a tiny cloud with two eyes, claws, and a panting pink tongue.
The Bedlington Terrier has a light, curling coat, usually about one inch in length. According to AKC breed standards, the coat should be resistant to touch, but not wiry.
The natural white color will usually be replaced by a darker color after about a year of life, however, and will only revert to white in patches if the dog is injured on some portion of his coat. This white "injury spot" is temporary, and will return to the dog's adult color given enough time.
The cuteness of the Bedlington Terrier belies its somewhat sinister origins-the breed, under its earlier name of "Rothbury Terrier" or "Gypsy Dog", was often used by Gypsies to aid them in illegal hunting of game. Although one of the earliest reports of a dog similar to the Bedlington Terrier can be found in the records of one "Squire Trevelyan" in the late eighteenth century, the most common progenitor of today's Bedlington Terrier is considered to be the dog owned by a group of itinerant Gypsy nailmakers near Rothbury in Northumberland.
Aside from its value to poachers, this Bedlington was noted for its ferocity, with reports of the dogs fighting badgers and foxes (and winning), and the breed was prized for its tenacity in illegal dogfights-the Bedlingtons invariably fighting their opponents to the death.
Thankfully, the Bedlington was eventually taken under the wing of professional breeders, with the breed being registered and exhibited in 1877 (following a probable cross with the Whippet). Since then, the Bedlington has moved beyond its unsavory past and become a staple dog for many proud apartment dwellers and dog exhibitors worldwide.
The Bedlington Terrier looks fairly harmless. Do not be fooled. The breed has a long history of aggressive behavior-much like other terriers, true, but with a special sinister history all its own. Bedlingtons have been known as savage fighters for at least one hundred years, and their skill as ratters-and even game hunters-have been prized by all manner of people, from small farmers to itinerant poachers.
Yet in the late nineteen hundreds, crossbreeding efforts resulted in a slight leavening of the Bedlington's natural viciousness. Today's Bedlington retains many of the more aggressive characteristics of the breed, but has also augmented these with positive attributes-aggressive loyalty, for example, and a powerful devotion to the humans they accept as family. Bedlingtons are noted for being excellent watchdogs, whether or not you want them to be such-like many terriers, they can be problem barkers. But their problem barking comes from an authentically noble place.
Bedlingtons are very good with children, provided that they get to know them early on. They are somewhat less good with other animals, who they often view either as dangers (in the case of smaller, more rodential animals like pet mice or squirrels) or as actual rivals (in the case of other dogs or cats.) The key to keeping your Bedlington's relationships with its fellow animals harmonious is to introduce the Bedlington to them as early as possible and to let him or her know, in no uncertain training terms, that violence and aggressiveness are not to be tolerated.
Bedlingtons are also exceedingly playful, intelligent, and cheerful dogs. They enjoy chasing games above all (as any good ratter would), and their ability to learn new skills quickly makes them a joy to train. Like many terriers, they aren't the easiest breed in the world to teach tricks to, being fairly self-willed and independent-minded-but their inherent nervousness and seriousness (coupled with a genuine good will) can make them enjoyable playmates nonetheless.
One would think, given the Bedlington's native self-willed nature, that the Bedlington would therefore be a fairly self-sufficient breed (similar to cats.) This simply isn't true-Bedlingtons have a close connection to their family of humans and prefer to be in their company whenever possible. So it's not a good idea to leave a Bedlington Terrier alone for any long space of time, as their nervousness and intelligence-so often prized in watchdogs and playmates-can easily be turned in the mind of a jealous dog into quite imaginatively destructive behavior. Bedlingtons are good dogs for apartment dwellers or those without a great deal of space for exercising dogs, true-but they're not good dogs for those who don't have the time to spend on keeping the Bedlington from feeling lonely or abandoned.
The Bedlington Terrier is prone to one particularly serious Health problem: copper toxicosis. This genetic disorder allows copper deposits to build up in the liver, eventually leading to cirrhosis and death. Although breeders have tried very carefully to keep the genetic stock of the Bedlington Terriers free of this disease, and although the breed is fairly long-lived even with the disease, it's still a good idea to take a Bedlington Terrier to the vet in order to get an early warning so that you can adequately care for your dog.
Despite the complicated, tangled appearance of the Bedlington Terrier's coat, grooming the Bedlington is surprisingly simple. Save for a brushing once or twice a week, the Bedlington only requires a full trimming and grooming once every six weeks-which seems like quite a bit of work, but which is infrequent enough (and easy enough, once you get the hang of it) to make the dog relatively low-maintenance in its adult years.
The Bedlington's specialized grooming involves clipping the body and head fur fairly closely to the dog's skin in order to accentuate its distinctive shape, while leaving the fur on the legs slightly longer (a common practice with terriers). Above all, the hair in the ears should be clipped closely or even shaved, as the Bedlington's curly, dense fur can easily breed moderate infections. Although washing the Bedlington may seem to be a good option from time to time, it's not a good idea to bathe this breed too frequently-their fur can become looser and less attractive (and healthy) as a result of too many washings in too short a time.
When Bedlingtons are young, they require a bit more maintenance. In particular, young Bedlingtons tend to tear up more often than adult dogs due to the pain of teething and to other puppy frustrations. This isn't a problem in many breeds, but because of the tendency for Bedlingtons to suffer from eye disease in later life, it's a good idea to monitor your Bedlington's eyes for any excess tearing or dampness and to clean the fur around his or her eyes regularly. Doing this prevents early-life eye problems, which goes along way to help eye problems in later life.
One final note: the Bedlington does not, as a rule, shed. This means that you'll have to do some brushing, yes-but it's also very good news for anyone in your house who suffers from allergies, or anyone who'd rather brush their dog for a few minutes once or twice a week than vacuum a fur-covered floor for an hour every day.
Bedlingtons, like many terriers, are fairly self-sufficient as far as exercise goes. For apartment living, one or two walks a day will give your dog the outdoor exercise he or she needs. It's necessary to walk your Bedlington on a leash-Bedlingtons are quite nervous, and will think nothing of breaking away to chase a squirrel, rabbit, cat, or even another dog-sometimes a much larger and more dangerous dog. If you don't fancy chasing your Bedlington and breaking of fights, keep them close at hand.
If you plan to keep your Bedlington in the yard when you're not around, make sure that you've done some work toward eliminating digging as a problem behavior. Bedlingtons are notorious for their digging abilities, and any untrained Bedlington left in a yard for a sufficient amount of time will no doubt start tunneling. It's best to keep a close eye on your Bedlington and not to allow him or her to be in the yard alone until you're reasonably sure that he or she knows for sure that digging is not appreciated. Even then, it's a bad idea to leave your Bedlington alone in the yard for a long period of time-terriers often start behaving destructively when they feel themselves to be abandoned.
You can leave a Bedlington alone in an apartment-the dog will find enough to do to occupy him or herself and to keep fit and active. But again, don't leave a Bedlington Terrier (or any terrier) alone for too long, or you may find evidence of destructive behavior upon your return-which is exercise, of course, but certainly not the kind you'd prefer. If you and your family simply don't have the time to be with your Bedlington throughout the day, make sure that you know someone who's available to take the Bedlington outside for a walk or to stop by for a game or two (or even just a feeding) in order to stave off destructive feelings of loneliness-and to help the Bedlington become used to interacting positively with people outside of his or her immediate family as well.
Training your Bedlington Terrier is made easier by the fact that like all terriers, the Bedlington Terrier is highly intelligent. Training your Bedlington Terrier is made more difficult by the fact that like all terriers, the Bedlington Terrier is highly aggressive and self-willed. The former quality makes it easier for your Bedlington to pick up on commands, instructions, and tricks; the latter quality means that you have many more commands, instructions, and tricks to teach before you end up with a well-trained dog.
Two problem behaviors that you'll want to eliminate in early training are digging and barking. Both behaviors result from the Bedlington's genetic heritage as a hunter and a ratter-two professions that require a good ability to dig quickly and a good sense of nervousness. Although digging and problem barking aren't often a problem in early life, they'll become a huge problem in later life, so it's a good idea to replace these behaviors with alternate patterns before bad habits become set in your dog's mind. You can combat the former by giving your dog other outlets for his or her energy-toys, tricks, or even heavy obedience training to take his or her mind off of digging-and you can combat the latter by exposing your dog to a variety of people early on and by making it clear through aversive conditioning that barking and aggressiveness are not viable behaviors. The earlier you expose your dog to people outside your immediate family, the easier it will be to eliminate barking in later life.
Other animals can sometimes be a problem for the notoriously-ferocious and territorial Bedlington Terrier. Again, you can best combat this problem by introducing other animals and children to the Bedlington early on and by making it clear that aggressiveness and fighting are not the right behaviors to use when "making friends". Do not be afraid to break up a fight between your Bedlington and other animals (even much larger dogs)-the Bedlington as a breed has a long and distinguished history of violence, and an equally distinguished history of not giving up a fight until his opponent flees or dies. You don't want that to happen-so use whatever means are necessary (without psychically or physically scarring your dog) to ensure that he or she knows that fighting is definitely not allowed.