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 :

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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

  • Bedlington Terrier
    Bedlington Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
    Bedlington Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
    Bedlington Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
    Bedlington Terrier
  • Bedlington Terrier
    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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        Tendency to run away

        Bedlington’s are stubborn and enjoy doing things the Bedlington Way. Letting this breed of a lead outside can sometimes be dangerous, because even the best-trained Bedlingtons can lose focus. They are also fast runners, so it is unlikely you will catch your Bedlington in a straight-line sprint.

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        If it finds itself in an enclosed space or at home for long periods of time without exercise and fresh air the Bedlington will notify you of its displeasure by destroying your furnishings, doors, window sills and carpets. Terriers are chewers and will not let up until you do something to address the problem.

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        Greedy / Gluttony

        Bedlingtons vary from dog to dog in their eating habits. Some are very particular eaters and can become sick easily by new foods or foods that are marginally out of date. However, others of the breed are capable of eating themselves into obesity.

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        Guard dog

        Barking is a favourite pastime of the Bedlington and it is something that can become a problem. However, the Bedlington’s voice is an excellent early warning system. Someone close to the house whether they are a stranger or not will alert this dog to possible danger.

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        First dog

        Not the easiest first dog to have and certainly one to avoid if you have small children. Children should be old enough to understand when to stop boisterous play with a Bedlington; the dog is not overly tolerant of lots of noise and sudden movement. Otherwise an excellent companion (if you don’t mind the barking).

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          Bedlington Terrier in a flat

          Not a good dog for a flat. A Bedlington requires a large, fenced garden in which it can explore and run around. The garden should be properly fenced. Terriers are expert escapologists and will stop at nothing to catch small furry animals.

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          Need for exercise / Sporty

          The Bedlington should ideally be walked for a minimum of 45 minutes every day. An energetic dog, you will need to buy a good pair of walking boots or trainers if you intend to care for a Bedlington Terrier.

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          Travelling / easy to transport

          Once trained, a Bedlington is usually obedient. It is comfortable with new surroundings and enjoys new experiences. In fact, this is not a dog that will be happy to stay in one place for a long period of time.


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            Bedlington Terrier and cats

            To be raised with cats or to have become used to their presence is preferable for a Bedlington. With a high prey drive, loyalty and firm dominant streak it is not advisable to introduce any other animal into the home of a settled Bedlington.

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            Bedlington Terrier and dogs

            Bedlingtons require a good amount of socialisation as they grow up, but even then they will be wary of other dogs. If they meet a dog that is unfamiliar to them they have a tendency to challenge it to a duel; if the other dog is the same size as the Bedlington the latter will usually win.

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            Bedlington Terrier and children

            As a sensitive breed the Bedlington will resent being manhandled and played with roughly. It especially does not like to be teased. Its snappy terrier heritage often comes to the fore with young children who do not understand the limit of a dog’s tolerance. Bedlingtons will play nicely if they understand what the game is.

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            Bedlington Terrier and the elderly

            Because it is a dog that requires exercise, interaction, socialisation and grooming the Bedlington may not be the perfect choice of dog for some people of senior years.



            The price for a Bedlington Terrier varies according to their gender, age and origins. If this dog is registered at the Kennel Club, the price can approximately be £650.

            The average monthly budget to care for a Bedlington Terrier varies between £100 to £140.


            Bedlingtons should be brushed two to three times a week and have a professional groom every two months. If the dog is not groomed regularly, the condition of its coat rapidly deteriorates. Clipping a Bedlington to anything more than a ‘pet groom’ is very time-consuming and expensive.


            This breed’s coat is light-shedding but it is not non-shedding.

            Nutrition of the Bedlington Terrier

            The Bedlington is an active breed so will require plenty of protein and calories from a high-quality dog food. Refer to the dog food manufacturer’s nutritional guidance when feeding your dog.

            Health of the Bedlington Terrier

            Life expectancy

            14 to 16 years.

            Strong / robust

            The Bedlington Terrier is a hardy and resilient dog that has been successfully bred as a pedigree for generations.

            Withstand heat

            The Bedlington will not tolerate hot weather. Its thick woolly coat causes the dog to be particularly unhappy during the summer months.

            Withstand cold

            The woolly coat of the Bedlington keeps the dog warm even in the snow.

            Tendency to put on weight

            Weight gain is seen of some Bedlingtons; these dogs have a huge appetite and will eat to obesity. However, others are very particular about their diet and get sick quite easily on new food or by eating too fast.

            Common illnesses

            • Copper toxicosis
            • Distichiasis
            • Entropion
            • Imperforate Nasolacrimal Puncta
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