• TheHoursTime

Bedlington Terrier

Updated: Feb 16

Don't get it wrong, this is not a poodle, sheep or cross breed.

The Bedlington Terrier comes from the mining town of Bedlington, Northumberland in Northeast England.

Bedlingtons Terrier are lithe, energetic Englishmen. The crisp, curly coat; arched back; tasseled ears; scimitar-shaped tail; and fleecy, pear-shaped head are identifying features of this one-of-a-kind breed. As the curvy contours indicate, there’s sighthound—Whippet, most likely—in their family tree. Bedlingtons move with a light, springy step and when roused to pursuit can run like the wind.

Bedlingtons Terrier was initially bred to hunt vermin in mines. But he has also been successful in racing. Many believe this pup is closely related to another rare dog breed, the Otterhound that we looked at earlier.

This is a medium to small rare dog breed who is known to be affectionate, smart, and even-tempered. Its coat is usually curly with a ‘crisp’ texture that comes in blue, liver, sandy, or tan.

He can be calmer than some terriers but is still very athletic. In fact, he is known to run at neck-breaking speeds and requires adequate open space to do so! Bedlingtons Terrier can be reserved with strangers but can still be very silly and fun with his family members.

Bedlingtons Terrier is great with dogs to raise with. But prospective owners should keep in mind that Bedlingtons Terrier can have issues with strange dogs he doesn’t know.

They look like lambs in the show ring, and they’re as gentle as lambs around the house. So, it comes as a bit of shock to discover that Bedlingtons Terrier spent most of the 1800s doing dirty, and sometimes deadly, work. Created in the Northumberland mining shire that gave the breed its name, Bedlingtons Terrier were a workingman’s dog expected to be versatile enough to be employed as coalmine ratters, varmint killers, and pit fighters. The breed acquired the nickname “Gypsy Dog” because it was used by the Romani people as a stealthy poaching partner. An observer of the breed’s formative years wrote that the Bedlington was the “smartest and quickest of our terriers.”

The first dog identified as a Bedlington Terrier, named Piper, was bred in 1825. It was said that Piper was so game that he was still dispatching badgers at age 14, and nearly blind and toothless. The nail makers of Bedlington took a fancy to the breed and became known for their plucky terriers. The shire’s miners and nailers wagered their salaries on epic dogfights, pitting their terriers against each other. A breed historian noted, “Bedlingtons were never a mischief maker, but once he started fighting, it was to the death.”

Happily for us, Bedlingtons Terrier turned out to be even better lovers than fighters. Thanks to their ample charms, Bedlingtons Terrier eventually rose from coalmines and nail factories to the manor house. British elites found Bedlingtons Terrier to be bighearted, lovable companions, as well as attractive ornaments to their style-conscious lifestyle.

Refinement and consistency in the breed began with the formation of England’s National Bedlington Terrier Club in 1877. Nine years later, the AKC registered its first Bedlington.


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