Bedlington Terrier

Bedlington Terrier looking forward

Quick Facts


17 to 23 pounds


15 to 17.5 inches at the shoulder

Average Lifespan:

11-16 years

Known For:

They are energetic, good companions, always alert yet cuddly.


The Bedlington Terrier, with its lamb-like appearance and spirited personality, is a breed that captures hearts and imaginations. Originating from the mining town of Bedlington in Northumberland, England, this breed has evolved from a hardworking hunter to a beloved companion.Β 


Its distinctive curly coat and arched back make it stand out in any crowd. Among pet enthusiasts, the Bedlington Terrier is celebrated not just for its unique appearance but also for its affectionate nature and lively spirit.

History and Origin

The Bedlington Terrier’s history is as fascinating as its appearance. The breed’s origins trace back to the early 19th century in the mining town of Bedlington, Northumberland. Initially bred to hunt vermin in the mines, these dogs were known for their tenacity, agility, and speed. They were adept at catching rats, and their nimble nature made them excellent hunters of other small game, including hares and foxes.


The breed’s ancestry is believed to include the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, Whippet, and perhaps even the Otterhound. Over time, the Bedlington’s appearance and temperament were refined, leading to the elegant yet robust dog we know today.


Historically, the Bedlington Terrier was not just a working dog but also a symbol of social status. Miners and aristocrats alike took pride in owning this breed. They were often seen in dog racing events, showcasing their incredible speed and agility.


While there might not be a singular “famous” Bedlington Terrier that stands out in popular culture, the breed itself has been a favorite among many notable figures, including artists, writers, and even royalty.

Breed Characteristics


Barking Tendency

Dog Friendly

Health Issues

Shedding Level









Cat Friendly

Exercise Needs


Social Needs








App. Friendly

Child Friendly


Energy Level

Stranger Friendly

Watchdog Instincts







Appearance and Size

The Bedlington Terrier is often described as “lamb-like,” and one look at this breed makes it clear why. With its curly, woolly coat and pear-shaped head, the Bedlington exudes a gentle charm. But don’t be fooled by its delicate appearance; this terrier is sturdy and muscular beneath its fluffy exterior.


Typically, a Bedlington Terrier stands about 15 to 17.5 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 17 to 23 pounds. Their slender, graceful neck leads to a deep chest and a slightly arched back, giving them a unique silhouette.


Their coat is a standout feature. It’s thick and curly, yet fine to the touch. While it may look challenging to maintain, it’s relatively low-shedding. Common colors for the Bedlington include blue, liver, or sandy, and they can also come in combinations of blue and tan, liver and tan, or sandy and tan.

The Bedlington’s eyes are almond-shaped and deep-set, exuding a gentle, alert expression. Their ears are moderate in size and hang close to their cheeks, often covered in a profusion of silky hair.

Personality and Temperament

The Bedlington Terrier is a delightful blend of gentle companion and spirited terrier. At home, they are affectionate, loving, and deeply loyal to their families. They thrive on human interaction and often form strong bonds with their owners. Their playful nature makes them great companions for children, though, like all dogs, interactions should always be supervised.


Despite their lamb-like appearance, remember that the Bedlington has a terrier’s heart. They are alert, curious, and can be quite spirited when they spot something interesting, especially small animals due to their hunting ancestry. This breed is known for its intelligence and can be both independent and stubborn at times. However, with the right approach, they can be trained to be well-mannered members of the family.

Health and Lifespan

Bedlington Terriers are generally healthy dogs with a lifespan of 12 to 14 years. However, like all breeds, they can be prone to certain health conditions. Being informed about these potential issues will help you provide the best care for your Bedlington.

  • Copper Toxicosis: This is a genetic condition where the liver cannot properly excrete copper, leading to its accumulation. Regular vet check-ups and a proper diet can help manage this condition.
  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a hereditary condition where the thigh bone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint. While it can be managed with medication and lifestyle adjustments, it’s essential to ensure that breeders screen for this condition.
  • Eye Conditions: Bedlingtons can be prone to certain eye issues like retinal dysplasia and progressive retinal atrophy. Regular eye check-ups can help in early detection and management.

Regular vet visits, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can ensure that your Bedlington leads a healthy and happy life.

Care and Maintenance

Bedlington Terrier grooming

Caring for a Bedlington Terrier is a rewarding experience. Their curly coat, while distinctive, is relatively easy to maintain. Regular brushing, once or twice a week, can keep it mat-free and looking its best. They are considered a low-shedding breed, but occasional grooming sessions are recommended to maintain their unique shape.

Exercise is crucial for this energetic terrier. Daily walks, coupled with play sessions in a secure yard, will keep them happy and fit. Their intelligence means they enjoy engaging activities like agility, obedience training, or even simple fetch games.


Diet-wise, ensure your Bedlington gets high-quality dog food, either commercially manufactured or home-prepared, under a vet’s supervision. Freshwater should always be available.

Remember, the Bedlington’s slender physique doesn’t mean they’re fragile. They love to explore and play, so give them ample opportunities to be active and engaged.

Training and Behavior

Bedlington Terriers are intelligent and eager to please, making them relatively straightforward to train. However, their independent terrier spirit can sometimes shine through, making consistency and patience key. Positive reinforcement techniques, such as treats and praise, work wonders with this breed.


Socialization from a young age is crucial. Exposing them to different people, places, sounds, and experiences can ensure they grow up to be well-rounded dogs. Bedlingtons can sometimes be wary of strangers, so early socialization can help mitigate this trait.


While they are generally good-natured, their hunting instincts can kick in when they see smaller animals. It’s essential to have a secure yard and always keep them on a leash during walks to prevent them from chasing after something that catches their eye.

Bedlington Terrier and Families

Bedlington Terrier with people

The Bedlington Terrier is a family-oriented dog. Their affectionate nature and playful demeanor make them excellent companions for households with children. They are gentle and tolerant, but as with all breeds, it’s essential to teach children how to approach and touch dogs properly.

Bedlingtons can get along well with other dogs, especially if they’ve been raised together. However, their terrier instincts might make them chase smaller pets, so it’s crucial to supervise interactions.

Their loyalty and alertness also make them effective watchdogs. They might not be the largest breed, but they won’t hesitate to alert their family of any unusual activity.

Adopting a Bedlington Terrier

If you’re considering bringing a Bedlington Terrier into your home, adoption is a wonderful option. Many Bedlingtons are looking for a second chance at a loving home. When adopting, consider reaching out to breed-specific rescue organizations or local shelters.


Before adopting, ensure you’re prepared for the responsibility. Bedlingtons require time, attention, and care. It’s also essential to consider the long-term commitment, as these dogs can live up to 14 years or more.


When meeting a potential adoptee, spend time interacting with them. This will give you a sense of their personality and whether they’re a good fit for your household.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is distinctive about the Bedlington Terrier's appearance?

The Bedlington Terrier has a distinctive lamb-like appearance, with a pear-shaped head, curly coat, and a tendency to be groomed in a style that accentuates this look.

Are Bedlington Terriers good family dogs?

Yes, they are affectionate and loyal to their families. They’re good with children and can adapt well to various living situations if they get enough exercise.

Do Bedlington Terriers have any health issues?

They are generally healthy but can be prone to certain conditions like Copper Toxicosis, a genetic liver disorder. Regular vet check-ups are essential.

How much grooming do Bedlington Terriers need?

Their curly, woolly coats require regular grooming to prevent matting, including clipping every few months to maintain the shape.

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