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Honest FAQ for Bedlington Terriers

By Michele Welton, Dog Trainer, Behavioral Consultant, Author of 15 Dog Books

Bedlington Terrier

Fewer than two hundred Bedlington puppies are registered in the United States each year. So you'll probably be on a waiting list. Fortunately this breed has not been singled out for mass production by unscrupulous breeders, so quality remains high.

What kind of temperament and personality does the Bedlington Terrier have?

The most descriptive words that come to my mind regarding Bedlington Terrier temperament and behavior are:

lively, graceful, agile, swift, alert, sensitive, devoted, stubborn

I give you my honest opinions about Bedlington Terrier temperament and personality traits and characteristics – positives AND negatives – in my dog breed review, Bedlington Terrier Temperament and Personality Traits (What's Good About 'Em, What's Bad About 'Em).

What were Bedlington Terriers used for?

In the old blue-collar working town of Bedlington, England, this terrier was used by coal miners and nail makers as a rat hunter... and also a fighting dog. Yes. Despite their lamb-like appearance, these early Bedlingtons were tough and aggressive. Also known as Gypsy Dogs , as they were used by Romani people to poach game.

What traits would help Bedlington Terriers accomplish their work? That's right... strong drives to chase and grab things that move, spunkiness, speed, agility, determination, persistence, and independent thinking.

How big are Bedlington Terriers? Height and weight?

About 15-18 inches at the shoulder, and 17-23 pounds, which puts them in the MIDSIZE category.

What colors do Bedlington Terriers come in?

Bedlingtons can be blue, sandy, liver, or any of those colors with tan trim.

How much exercise do Bedlington Terriers need?

Moderate exercise. All terriers need brisk walks, plus a decent yard for romping and exploring. Play games of fetch and tug. Set up a miniature obstacle course and run around it with him.

If possible, get your Bedlington Terrier involved in an AKC terrier-focused activity called Earthdog  – terriers love it. Another AKC activity that some terriers enjoy is called Scentwork.

Do Bedlington Terriers need a fenced yard?

Yes, with a high fence, as these dogs are athletic jumpers. Why a fenced yard? and best and worst fences.

Are Bedlington Terriers easy to train?

To be honest, no terrier breed is "easy" to train. Terriers are hardwired with an independent mind of their own. However, that doesn't mean you should just let them do what they want. It means you should expect more resistance than if you were teaching, say, an eager-to-please Poodle. But you should hold terriers just as accountable for bad behavior as you would any other breed.

With a Bedlington Terrier, you should be a firm owner who can establish a healthy leader-follower relationship with this clever little dog. Then everything will be just fine.

Are Bedlington Terriers easy to housebreak?

They're about average.

Are Bedlington Terriers friendly with people?

It varies. Some Bedlington Terriers are more outgoing, but most are a little standoffish (though still polite) with strangers. A few individuals are timid or skittish.

Are Bedlington Terriers good with children?

I never recommend terriers for children younger than about age 10. These breeds have a strong sense of pride and fairness and don't tend to put up with pushy children who step over the line. If you want a terrier, your kids should be older and have the kind of personality and behavior that can be relied upon to treat a dog with respect.

Are Bedlington Terriers good with other dogs?

Bedlington Terriers are usually fine with other dogs in their own family. But they often dislike dogs they don't know.

Are Bedlington Terriers good with cats?

Well, with his heritage, you should expect that small running pets will be chased. So a Bedlington might be fine with the family cat indoors, but outside in the yard it may be a whole different story!

How much do Bedlington Terriers shed?

Bedlington Terriers are light shedders. You will find some hair on your clothing or furniture, but not much.

Are Bedlington Terriers hypoallergenic? Good for people with allergies?

If you're allergic to canine saliva, no. If you're allergic to dog dander... some people with (mild) dander allergies might not be affected by the Bedlington Terrier. However, this breed isn't as reliably hypoallergenic as a Poodle or Bichon Frise.

How much grooming do Bedlington Terriers need?

Their coat is a mixture of hard and soft hair, crisp to the touch and tending to curl. The amount of brushing depends on how often you clip and scissor the coat (I recommend every 2 months), and how short you clip it. The shorter it is, the easier brushing will be. And a shorter coat doesn't mat, so it's more comfortable to the dog.

But you do need to commit to the trimming and clipping!

What's a good training schedule for training Bedlington Terrier puppies?

Here's the puppy training schedule I use for Bedlington Terriers: Puppy Training Schedule.

What behavior problems do Bedlington Terriers tend to have?

Most commonly I see excitable chasing behaviors, jumping on people, digging in the garden, and excessive barking. Here's how to handle behavior problems.

What health problems might Bedlington Terriers have?

Eye diseases are the main concern. Loose "knee" joints (called luxating patella) can cause lameness and may need expensive surgery. And copper toxicosis  is a serious inherited liver disease in which copper accumulates in the liver.

What breeds are similar to the Bedlington Terrier?

Nothing, really. The Bedlington is probably the most unique of the terriers. If I had to pick one, I would say... maybe the Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier.

Where can I buy a Bedlington Terrier puppy?

Bedlington Terriers are an uncommon breed. I would only buy one from a show breeder who can show me the proper health certifications for both parents: an OFA-CERF certificate for healthy eyes, OFA certificate for healthy knees, and a DNA test for a healthy liver with no copper toxicosis. Breeder not doing those tests? That's a big PASS for me. Read my article.

Where can I adopt an older Bedlington Terrier?

Not many Bedlington Terriers are turned over to Rescue groups or animal shelters, because not many people own them in the first place. Also Bedlingtons are not that difficult to live with, so fewer owners tend to give up on them. Read my article.

I just got a new Bedlington Terrier. Which pages should I read first?

  • Bedlington Terrier Health, which includes my advice on feeding, vaccinations, and daily health care. These pages are very important, because if you start your Bedlington Terrier puppy off on the wrong foot, he will probably experience health problems later on. Starting off right is essential.
  • Training Bedlington Terriers, which includes my advice on respect training, housebreaking, and socialization. Again, you must start your Bedlington Terrier puppy off on the right foot by teaching him what he needs to know, and you must avoid doing the wrong things with him so that he doesn't develop bad habits that will be much harder to fix later on.

Do male dogs or female dogs make better pets?

Ah, let the debate begin! Honestly, male Bedlington Terriers have pros and cons, and female Bedlington Terriers have pros and cons. Visit Male Dogs versus Female Dogs

There's an adorable Bedlington Terrier puppy at the pet shop. The store manager assures me they only buy from responsible breeders. Could this be true?

No responsible Bedlington Terrier breeder would ever place one of their Bedlington Terrier puppies in a pet shop for resale. To find out more about pet shop puppies, visit Pet Shop Puppies: Buying a Puppy From a Pet Store.

How do I pick the best Bedlington Terrier puppy from a litter?

You can do puppy personality tests. Visit How To Choose a Good Puppy.

What's the best dog food for Bedlington Terriers?

3 Best Ways To Feed Your Dog Healthy Food.

I have to take my Bedlington Terrier to the vet soon for shots. Which vaccinations does he really need?

The schedule of vaccinations that dogs really need has changed dramatically – but unfortunately most vets are not telling you this, because a good chunk of their income depends on frequent vaccinations. Please don't get any more shots for your Bedlington Terrier until you've read my article on Puppy Shots and Dog Vaccinations.

What are the pros and cons of spaying and neutering my Bedlington Terrier, and when should it be done?

Spaying and neutering are often recommended too early, which can lead to health problems later in life. Visit Spaying Your Female Dog or Neutering Your Male Dog for the straight scoop on the safest (and riskiest) times to spay or neuter.

I have a question about Bedlington Terriers that I don't see answered on your web site.

It's probably answered in one of my free online books.

Michele Welton with BuffyAbout the author: Michele Welton has over 40 years of experience as a Dog Trainer, Dog Breed Consultant, and founder of three Dog Training Centers. An expert researcher and author of 15 books about dogs, she loves helping people choose, train, and care for their dogs.

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