While the origin of the breed is somewhat obscure, it is thought to have been developed in 18th century Northumberland England for hunting rats and badgers. In the early 19th century, breeders in the Northumberland town of Bedlington incorporated some Whippet bloodlines to increase its speed for racing. Bedlingtons evolved to be good watchdogs and companion dogs.
The Bedlington terrier is a rare dog breed, and was ranked 127th out of 154 dog breeds in 2004 AKC registrations.
Bedlingtons are playful and cheerful but less rowdy and calmer indoors than many of the terrier breeds. Once outside these terriers change from docile into fun-loving, fast and energetic dogs. These dogs love companionship and games but can be jealous of children and other pets. Unless Bedlingtons are raised with children and socialized early with other animals, they are probably better off with an older active couple with no grandchildren.
The Bedlington barks a lot and makes a good watchdog as it is suspicious of strangers. Early socialization and obedience training will help the Bedlington overcome its timidity. Bedlingtons can be very stubborn and love to dig in the backyard. First-time dog owners who are firm and patient will do very well with this breed.
Bedlingtons like a fenced yard where they can romp and play. These terriers don’t need long exercise sessions. However they will adapt to apartment living if they get plenty of exercise. Keep these terriers on-leash when exercising as they will chase cats and other small animals when the opportunity arises.
These dogs require regular brushing at least twice per week and professional clipping every six weeks. It will be a lot cheaper if the Bedlington’s owner learns how to do the clipping and scissoring. Many dog owners opt for a slightly shaggier coat that is easier to maintain.
Bedlingtons have a long life expectancy of from 14 to 17 years. Common health problems include hereditary liver (Copper toxicosis) and kidney disease and thyroid problems.