The Bedlington Terrier

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Bedlington Terrier
(Rothbury Terrier)
Weight: 16 — 24 lbs
Height: 15” — 17”
AKC Rank 2008 #124
Lifespan: 12—14 yrs
Group: Terrier
Origin: England

Dog Breed Info - The Bedlington Terrier

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Breed Overview

Origin: 1800’s. Original function: To kill rats, badger and other vermin. Today, Earthdog trials. Colors: blue, sandy, liver—each with or without tan points.

The Bedlington Terrier comes from the Hanny Hills of Northumberland, England. The precise origin of unknown. In the late eighteenth century, a strain of game terriers had been produced that was called Rothbury Terriers. In 1825, in the town of Bedlington, the first of the Rothbury breed came to be known as the Bedlington Terrier. Crosses to other breeds included the Whippet and Dandie Dinmont Terrier but some say these crosses never happened. In the late 1800’s the breed was being enjoyed by the more elite folks, partly due to it’s unique lamb-like appearance. The breed now ranks #129 in popularity in the United States.


Fairly easy to train. Use a clicker and this dog will respond quickly to obedience and commands. Dogs respond well to clicker training and enjoy the concept of positive reinforcement too. It's well worth trying. A clicker costs around $3 at your pet store.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Bedlington Terrier? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Bedlington Terrier puppies are fairly easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Trainingwhich will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

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Bedlington Terrier’s are mild mannered companions due to excellent breeding and are quite friendly. They make a good, quiet, family pet and do well with children, especially if heavily socialized as young puppies. They were used to hunt and kill fox, rabbit and badger by bolting them from their holes or dugouts in the ground, thus this dog is very fast, strong and quick. This is a problem because they tend to do the same with cats and hamsters in the house where they live and anything moving as they take their evening walks. The Bedlington must always be on leash. As a true terrier, there is a tendency to dominate so a firm upper hand must always be held over the dog and keep her in her subordinated place in the family chain. They can be aggressive with other dogs and yet there are certain dogs she’ll do fine with. Allow the Bedlington Terrier plenty of exercise and she’ll do well around the house. Digging and barking are her thing, especially if she's bored or left alone for too long and some are known for a separation anxiety which can be trained out of them. Basically, this is an energetic, fun-loving, companionable, loyal little dog that’s a joy to own.

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Picks her own dog friends. Can be aggressive with some dogs but gets alone with most. Depends on circumstances and the dog in question.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Yes, can usually do fairly well with pets indoors, but may chase cats and eat hamsters. Best if the dog is raised with the other animals, especially cats.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Yes. Likes people so bring on the relatives, neighbors and friends for a backyards cookout and the Bedlington will be in the middle of it all.


Quite playful. Loves to run and romp, chase balls and so on.


Fairly affectionate. She's sweet tempered, polite and always at your side.

Good with children?

Yes, especially older, mature and well behaved children. She has a sweet personality and likes to romp and run with the kids.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. The Bedlington Terrier and seniors should do well. The dog is easy to manage, is affectionate and loyal, a good watchdog, likes to play and will cuddle so this could work. That's what a senior needs.

Living environment

Apartment, house with fenced yard and doggie door, farm, ranch all okay as long as she gets out for her exercise and play time.

The Bedlington Terrier would enjoy a medium size fenced yard where she could chase a ball in a brisk game of fetch for part of her daily exercise.

Energy level

Moderate. Not excessive, just enough to be lively and entertaining.

Exercise needs, daily

Needs one or two good walks and a vigorous game of fetch to stay in shape.


Excellent watchdog. Loves to bark anyway.

Guard dog

No. Too friendly to be a killer aggressor.


Very little shedding.


Comb or brush twice weekly. Trim with scissors to keep the unique shape every other month.



Suggested Reading - The Bedlington Terrier
Click on the cover photos for more book information and reviews.

  • 2nd book from the left is "A Dog Who's Always Welcome." This book takes dog training way beyond normal obedience and into THERAPY DOG territory to give you the best behaved, most welcomed dog you can imagine. Everyone will want your dog to visit them!

  • 3rd book from the left is "101 Dog Tricks" and is great mental stimulation for dogs. There are things for a dog to do and learn in this dog that I had never imagined.

  • The book on the right is by the American National Red Cross and deals with dog emergencies, illnesses and injuries. It's a valuable reference manual for every dog owner and another of my choices.

Bedlington Terrier Breeders

In the event you decide to go looking for Bedlington Terrier puppies, be SURE to find reputable breeders that really know what they are doing. Be sure the puppy has been well socialized and started in obedience training.
Bedlington Terrier Breeders with puppies for sale.

Bedlington Terriers Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Bedlington Terrier Rescue At the time of this writing, Petfinder is listing only 18 Bedlington's available for adoption in the entire country. This number is always subject to change, however. In the event you do find and adopt one, try to locate any previous dog health records as these could prove handy in the future.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but this breed is not common in the USA. Go online and search Bedlington Terrier Rescue groups, kennels, foster homes and anything else you can think of to turn up something near you if possible.

Dog Health Issues For The Bedlington Terrier
Below are the dog illness / illnesses or medical problems as listed for the Bedlington Terrier by various vets.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are dog illness and medical problems this breed is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Distichiasis—An eye condition involving the cornea. Eyelashes, growing improperly on the inner surface of the eyelid cause corneal ulcers due to the constant rubbing and irritation. The problem is fixed by having the vet remove the lashes if the ulcers don’t heal.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision similar to humans and can cause blindness if not treated.

  • Copper toxicosis—Hereditary. A severe liver disease in the Bedlington Terrier and is a copper accumulation causing many serious problems in the dog's body functions. It needs to be dealt with immediately with specific anti-copper treatments. The disease is detected by liver biopsy. Approx. 50% of the Bedlington Terrier's in the USA will have this problem. It should be caught by the BREEDER.

  • Lens luxation—Hereditary. Weak fibers holding the lens of the eye allow the lens to dislocate. The eye can not focus. This leads to painful, red eyes that tear a lot and can lead to Uveitis or Glaucoma if not treated right away. If detected early, surgery and medication might solve the problem.

  • Entropion—Eye irritation caused by the eyelids and lashes rolling inward. The problem is usually inherited and found in young, adult dogs. It can come from an eyelid spasm. Affected eyes will be held partially shut and tear excessively. Both eyes will usually be affected the same. Treatment for the condition requires eye surgery.

  • Retinal dysplasia—Caused by trauma, hereditary or damage from an infection.. Abnormal development of the retina with folds in the outer layers.. The folds are small and may not bother the dog, however, larger obstructions can lead to blindness. Retinal dysplasia is a congenital problem that does not necessarily worsen as the Bedlington Terrier ages.

  • Renal cortical hypoplasia—Kidney failure coming from a number of causes ranging from hereditary to ingesting automotive antifreeze and also bacterial infections. Once the kidneys become affected, there is no cure. There remains a shortage of functioning tissue in the kidneys to cleanse the body. Waste builds in the blood and the toxins cause vomiting, depression, lack of appetite and death. Same happens if the Bedlington Terrier eats a little rat poison, as one of mine did.

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. If your Bedlington Terrier has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Progressive Retinal Atrophy—An inherited, untreatable disease of the retina affecting both eyes causing blindness. It’s in the genes of the dog and is not painful. Starts with night blindness and progresses as the retina gradually deteriorates.

Other health problems could occur with your Bedlington Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide.


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