Bedlington Terrier Breed Guide

Breed Group:
Terrier Dogs

Middle Age: 7 years

Geriatric Age: 13 years

Life Span: 14 to 16 years

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Bedlington Terrier Background Info and History

The Bedlington Terrier is a dog distinguished by their distinctive curly topknot, lamblike appearance, and uncanny agility. Developed in the town of Bedlington, England, the Bedlington Terrier was created to serve as a vermin hunter.

Over time, this breed was also used as a poaching dog and racer. Popularity in the United States was tied to the Rockefeller family, which owned a number of Bedlington show dogs.

Bedlington Terrier Temperament and Personality

Bedlingtons are a terrier through and through. They are tenacious when chasing down prey, yet love to play and be affectionate with their owners. They need attention and do not do well with neglect or owners who are away from home for long periods of time. If neglected, they tend to resort to bad habits, such as digging, chasing animals, or excessive barking.

Bedlington Terrier Training Tips

Bedlingtons are an extremely intelligent breed that takes quickly to training. They should be trained and socialized from a young age, but neither task is difficult with this breed. Many owners incorporate dog sports activities into training, such as agility, obedience, and earthwork, as the Bedlington excels in these tasks.

Exercise Needs of Bedlington Terriers

Bedlingtons need daily exercise that should include a vigorous play session. Incorporating training is an excellent way for them to spend energy while also reinforcing training principles.

Bedlington Terrier Lifespan

Bedlingtons live between 11-16 years.

Bedlington Terrier Breed Popularity

Bedlingtons are currently the 136th most popular AKC registered breed.

Feeding Requirements of Bedlington Terriers

This breed should be fed a high-quality food that contains a balance of healthy proteins and fats. Foods with grain fillers should be avoided. The average Bedlington weighs between 17-23 lbs., so expect to feed your pup 1 ½ to 1 2/3 cups of dry food a day, split into two even meals.

Bedlington Terrier Grooming

Expect to brush your Bedlington twice a week in order to keep his hair free of debris or matting. Many owners have their Bedlington dog groomed professionally every 8 weeks.

Are Bedlington Terriers Good With Kids?

Bedlingtons are great family dogs that are gentle with children. Their high activity levels and playful nature make them great playmates.

Health Problems of Bedlington Terriers

Copper Toxicosis (CT)

CT is a disorder that is characterized by an excessive accumulation of copper in the Bedlingtons liver. The accumulation of copper in the liver eventually causes severe liver disease, leading to death between the ages of 3 and 7 years. 

This disease is congenital, and Bedlingtons are particularly prone towards developing it. There are aggressive breeding protocols being implemented to halt the spread of CT, so be sure to check with your breeder to determine if your pups line has been tested prior to acquiring a Bedlington.

Retinal Dysplasia

Retinal dysplasia is a disease affecting the retinal tissues in Bedlington Terriers. Specifically, Bedlingtons are prone towards developing Total Retinal Dysplasia (TRD). TRD is a condition where the cells of the retina separate from the underlying membrane they are attached to.

This results in impaired vision that has no treatment. Signs of TRD are most noticeable in puppies, as they typically bump into objects and have a hard time discerning different objects in their environment. Over time they become accustomed to their vision, and the effects will be less noticeable.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA)

PRA is another congenital eye disease that affects Bedlington Terriers. PRA is a degenerative disease that results in deterioration of the photoreceptor cells of the retina. These cells are responsible for the ability to receive and perceive light.

As they deteriorate they have less function over time. The early signs of PRA are a diminished capacity to distinguish objects in low or dim light, typically noticeable at dawn or dusk or in dimly lit rooms. Over time, this condition progresses to full loss of vision.

Distichia

A distichia is an eyelash that is located and grows abnormally. These typically appear on the margin of the eyelid. Distichia may form on either the upper or lower eyelid. In cases where these abnormal eyelashes are soft, there may be no clinical signs.

However, if they are stiff distichia can cause irritation, inflammation, and damage to the cornea. Distichia is passed on through heredity, so be sure to inquire with your Bedlington breeder to determine if your dog’s line has ever had this or other dog eye problems that affect this breed.

Other Resources

National Breed Website: Bedlington Terrier Club of America

Rescue: Bedlington Terrier Rescue

Health Issues Associated with this Breed: