Breeds 101

Bedlington Terrier


Named for England’s Bedlington Mining Shire, where it was developed in the 1800’s, the Bedlington Terrier is one of the more unusual members of the Terrier Group.

Gypsies living in the Rothbury forest near the Scottish Borders once kept functional, speedy, working terriers, known as the Rothbury Terrier; It is likely that the Bedlington Terrier first shown in 1870, in Bedlington, Northumberland, England, descends from these dogs.

The lamblike appearance of the breed is deceiving; the Bedlington Terrier was bred to be fast and skilled hunter of rat, badger, and other vermin; Legend says that the Whippet, Otterhound, and Dandie Dinmont are the forebears of this very distinctive breed.

Certainly, the Bedlington’s desire to “search and destroy” has been concealed under sheep’s clothing – this unusual dog may look like a sheep, but it retains the terrier’s need for mental stimulation, and can be destructive if it is denied sufficient physical activity.

The Bedlington’s curly, woolly coat requires work and skill to maintain, but owners of the breed often rely on professional groomers to keep their dog’s coat in top condition.


Medium; Females: 15 to 16 inches; Males 16 to 17 inches; around 20 pounds.


Liver, sandy, blue – each with or without tan points.


Gentle, mild; loyal to the family; good with children and other pets; reserved with strangers.

Energy level:


Best owner:

Active owner or active family.


Daily exercise; leash; fenced yard; regular ear cleaning; combing once or twice a week; grooming to maintain shape.

Life expectancy:

15 to 16 years.