Bedlington Terrier

Cute, Looks like a Little Lamb but is a Challenge to Train

Bedlington Terrier

As Cuddly as it is Cute, This Dog Looks like a Little Lamb but is a Challenge to Train

This calm, gentle little dog looks like a lamb, with its thick and woolly double coat. Although it is an excellent pet for just about any household, be advised that despite its small size, this dog’s bravery in the midst of an intimidating rival will astound you!

Cheerful, affectionate and playful, this dog is a true Terrier, defined by a bright, inquisitive personality in combination with a stubborn and independent streak. Wonderful with children as long as they refrain from playing too roughly with this pet, Terriers can have a tendency to nip if provoked by “abusive” treatment, which should be avoided at all costs.


Originating in Bedlington, a village in England’s Northumberland region, the Bedlington Terrier was primarily a favorite companion among children but was also used to control vermin. First known as Rothbury Terriers or Rodbury Terriers, the apt nickname "Rothbury's lambs" also fits because of the breed’s lamb-like appearance. Because the Lord of Rothbury had an affection for these dogs, his name was used as an honor. With some dating back to 1782, these dogs have also been known as "gypsy dogs" because poachers and gypsies prized them as ideal hunters.

The first modern mention of the then-Rothbury Terrier was in an 1825 biographical volume, The Life of James Allen, whose father used these dogs to hunt otter. While also popular as racing dogs, another Bedlington Terrier named Young Piper, owned by a Joseph Ainsley, was called the "best of his race." This dog was noted not only for his superior hunting skills, but also for his courage in the rescue of a young child, keeping a wild pig in retreat until it could be captured.

The first show to include Bedlington Terriers in their own class was held in 1870 at Bedlington, with the following year’s shows at Crystal Palace. In these early shows, many of these dogs were clipped and dyed to help them meet the breed standard, of which judges may or may not have been aware. The Bedlington Terrier was ultimately accepted by the American Kennel Club in 1886.


The Bedlington Terrier resembles a miniature lamb. Standing just 15 to 17 inches at the shoulder and weighing between 18 and 23 pounds in adulthood, this dog’s head is uniquely pear-shaped, narrow, deep and round. The back legs are longer than the front legs and the coat is thick and woolly. Colors are blue and tan; liver; sandy; blue; liver and tan; or sandy and tan. There may also be tan markings over the eyes, or on the legs, backside and chest.


The look of a lamb but the heart of a lion? What they say is true of this docile dog who is as fiercely defensive as it is cuddly and cute. In true Terrier fashion, this breed will not hesitate to be aggressive if challenged by other dogs which means you must train your pet to listen to you from a very early age. This will not be easy since all Terriers are stubborn, and this one is no exception. Although this dog will love to be the center of attention and make you laugh, training can be a challenge. Positive reinforcement with dog treats as rewards will work best because this dog most definitely resists orders. By using food to reward behavior, your pet will think learning new things benefits him, not you – and will defiantly comply. If you are at all stern or heavy-handed, though, your pet will simply shut down and go into avoidance mode.

One unique characteristic about the Bedlington Terrier is its perception about a person’s true characters. If your Bedlington does not like someone, trust that instinct: there must be a reason for it! The Bedlington’s keen sensitivity to danger or impending risk qualifies it as an excellent watchdog.

Equally devoted to a single owner, an elderly couple, or a large family with children, the high-energy Bedlington is very adaptable to circumstances including life in an apartment. As long as you can provide a brisk walk at least once a day, this dog will be very happy. While the Bedlington is a perfect jogging companion as well, if you are elderly or someone with physical limitations who can only walk your dog, that's fine too. An absolute couch potato when not active, your pet will love to snuggle with you at the end of the day.


Most Bedlington Terriers are quite healthy and live about 13 to 17 years, longer than is common for most breeds of this size. Prone to hereditary kidney disease and an inherited liver disorder called Copper Storage Disease or copper toxicosis. Most dogs are generally screened for this condition and removed from the breeding pool if detected, although carriers of the gene don't exhibit symptoms, and can potentially produce offspring that have the disease. Hereditary kidney disease called renal cortical hypoplasia occurs when the cortex of one or both kidneys does not develop normally. Treatment does not exist, but can be managed in an effort to prevent additional damage to the kidneys once discovered.


The Bedlington Terrier is not a shedder and therefore must be clipped every 6 to 8 weeks which you can learn to do at home. If you show your dog, it will need to be groomed to a more exacting standard than if just a family pet. Hypoallergenic, this is also considered to be a good breed for allergy sufferers.


Adopt a Bedlington Terrier.

Retrieved October5, 2013.

AKC Meet the Breeds®: Get to know the Bedlington Terrier.

Retrieved October 5, 2013.

Bedlington Terrier.

Retrieved October 5, 2013.

Bedlington Terrier.

Retrieved October 5, 2013.

Bedlington Terrier.

Retrieved October 5, 2013.

Bedlington Terrier.

Retrieved October 5, 2013.

Bedlington Terrier Dog Breed.

Retrievedn October 5, 2013.

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