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Bedlington Terrier

 Photo of Bedlington Terrier
Photo: Courtesy of Alice Emsley

Bedlington Terrier Books

Group: Terrier || Breed Standard


The origin of the breed is obscure, but it is believed that the Bedlington Terrier was derived from the Rough Coated Scotch Terrier, brought to England from Scotland in the late 18th century. A dog called Flint, born in either 1782 or 1792, is believed to be one of the early progenitors of the breed, but sadly there is no recorded description of Flint. Certainly most pedigrees of todays Bedlingtons can be traced back to Flint. In the early eighteen-hundreds, a bitch named Phoebe was brought to the parsonage of St Cuthberts Church in Bedlington by Jim Howe, although it is not certain who actually owned her, and was mated to "Piper". Her pedigree was in-bred and could be traced back to Flint. She was described as "dainty, dark blue almost black, standing 13 inches and weighing 14 lbs". In In 1825 she was mated to Piper, who is described as "a dog of slender build, about 15 inches high and 15 lbs weight. He is of liver colour, the hair being a sort of hard, woolly lint. His ears are large, hung close to his cheeks and were slightly feathered at the tip". John Aynsley secured a puppy from this litter and readily found support for his terrier. Also from Bedlington emerged a dog called Scamp, whove proved to have a great influence on the breed. It was about 1840 that Aynsley was credited with naming the breed, although this has never been substantiated. By this time the breed was firmly established on Tyneside, and information on dogs and their owners can be found readily available.


Height about 41 cms (16 ins); Weight: 8-10 kgs (18-23 lbs).

The Bedlington is not a dog one would forget once seen, looking very much like a lamb with its fleece and shape. They are a graceful dog, standing at about 16 inches at the withers. The narrow but rounded head is covered with a silky top-knot. The ears hang flat to the cheek and are thin with a velvety texture. The body is very flexible, with a deep chest, flat ribs and the back is arched over the loins which gives a definite tuck-up of the underline. The feet are long and hare like, and the tail is of moderate length, set and carried low and gracefully curving. Their movement is distinctive, being light and springy in slower paces, and rolling slightly when in full stride. They are capable of galloping at a high speed, and look as though they are able to. Their coat is very distinctive, being thick and linty and has a tendency to twist, especially around the head and face. Their colours are blue, live or sandy which can be with or without tan. The blues and blue/tans must have black noses, while the liver and sandies must have brown noses.


The Bedlington is a delightful breed and they love the company of their owners. They are good tempered and affectionate, but also spirited and full of confidence, being full of courage when aroused but mild in repose. They retain strong sporting instincts and will also give warning of unwanted visitors, but most of all they love to play.

Breed Health

The Bedlington Terrier has a hereditary disease known as copper toxicosis (copper is stored in the liver), which can be fatal. All responsible owners have their dogs DNA tested before breeding. The tests are carried out at the Animal Heath Trust in Newmarket and certificates are given to owners stating the condition of the dogs. Prospective owners are advised to ask if parents have been tested and if required, responsible owners will produced copies of the certificates. The DNA test is not yet 100%; no breeder can guarantee their dogs are clear. Their age span is about 12 to 14 years of age.

Breed Care

The Bedlington has a wool coat, which will mat if not groomed regularly. A daily comb with a steel comb will keep the coat free of tangles. They will need trimming every 6 to 8 weeks. Owners can learn to do this themselves in time. Their wool coat makes them an ideal companion for most people who have an allergy to dogs.


Bedlingtons are happy with either long or short daily walks.


They are quick to learn, easily house trained and enjoy new games, which they will play all day if the owner can stand the pace. Bred as a working dog, the sporting instincts are still there and many owners still work their dogs.. See our books on training

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Last link added: 07 Oct, 2006