Bedlington Terrier

Other names: Rothbury Terrier, Linty-haired Terrier, Rothbury's Lamb

Bedlington Terrier

A loyal and friendly breed is the Bedlington Terrier. However, instances of problem behaviour have been reported in relation to the dog’s interaction with other household pets and children. Thus, socialisation is an essential part of ownership of the breed. Worthwhile training and regular (gentle) reminders of who is the ‘top dog’ at home will prevent the Bedlington from taking charge.

Key facts about the Bedlington Terrier

Life expectancy :





Temperament :

Calm Hunter

Size :

Origins and history

The Bedlington Terrier was originally bred in the countryside surrounding the small northern English town of Bedlington. Its role in the human world has included rat catcher, racer, fighter and show dog. It is these days more of a companion dog but it retains the resilience and fighting prowess of yesteryear.

FCI breed nomenclature

FCI Group

Group 3 - Terriers


Section 1 : Large and medium sized Terriers

Physical characteristics of the Bedlington Terrier

    Adult size

    Female : Between 13 and 17 in

    Male : Between 14 and 18 in


    Female : Between 18 and 22 lb

    Male : Between 18 and 22 lb

    Coat colour

    Type of coat

    Eye colour



    The Bedlington Terrier has a sheep-like appearance mostly due to its woolly coat. Its eyes are small and sunken into a narrow and rounded skull. On top of the head of the Bedlington is a topknot of silky, linty hair. The dog’s muzzle is long and slender and its teeth are scissor-like. The ears hang flat against the dog’s cheeks.

    Good to know

    Do not berate any dog and especially not a terrier. If you berate a dog such as the Bedlington and do so more harshly than is required you are liable to cause the dog to snap back at you.


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      The Bedlington is a loyal and affectionate dog; an amiable companion that enjoys being the centre of attention.

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      A playful dog, the Bedlington enjoys interaction with family. It is less comfortable playing with other dogs and often exhibits a pronounced streak of jealousy. Confident and cheeky, it enjoys showing off to the rest of the ‘pack’.

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      Although calmer and more mild-mannered than most terriers, the Bedlington still possesses a great deal of tenacity and excitability. It does not shy away from fighting other dogs when the need arises, which can become troublesome when picking a fight with a much bigger dog.

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      The Bedlington is capable of being trained to a high degree, but this needs to be done sensitively and with variety. Bedlingtons tend to get bored easily and seek to try to control the pace of the training. Be consistent and confident with a Bedlington and the rewards will be apparent. Once trained, the Bedlington will be reasonably obedient.

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      Its heritage as a hunter of vermin is hard to ignore. A Bedlington will be happy to search out small prey all day long if given the opportunity to do so. They are intelligent and tenacious hunters with a reasonably high prey drive.

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      Fearful / wary of strangers

      Bedlingtons are known to be jealous dogs and especially so when encountering other dogs. Be aware though that their jealousy can spill over into their relationship with humans. The dog’s reaction to strangers ranges from being reserved to overly-inquisitive.

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      A thoroughly independent dog, the Bedlington was bred to work and to hunt by itself. Because of this it is a reliable and trainable dog but it has a tendency to do its own thing if not properly managed. The Bedlington will seek to dominate where it can.

      Behaviour of the Bedlington Terrier

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        Tolerates solitude

        A Bedlington will cope with solitude but only up to a point. Like any dog, they should not be left alone for long periods of time. If a Bedlington is left alone it will become destructive. Terriers are on the whole excellent diggers and chewers but your furniture and carpets are in the firing line of a bored Bedlington.

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        Easy to train / obedience

        Bedlington’s do not appreciate being told what to do so training should be forceful yet not overly harsh. Be confident and consistent when training your dog and keep lessons varied. A Bedlington’s intelligence can itself be a challenge to control and to manage.

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        The Bedlington is a dog that enjoys the sound of its own voice. Its deep, hound-like bark has been likened to the sound of a machine gun.

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