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Bedlington Terrier

(Rothbury Terrier)
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Bedlington Terrier

Form and Function

This graceful, lithe dog has a distinctive silhouette. This breed’s arched loin and racy outline allow great speed and agility. A wolf in lamb’s clothing, the Bedlington is unrivaled in ability to chase and engage agile but tough quarry. The gait is light and springy. The coat is a mixture of hard and soft hair standing off the skin, affording good protection as well as outstanding appearance.


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Breed Traits

Energy Level

3 out of 5

Exercise Requirements

3 out of 5


3 out of 5

Affection Level

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Dogs

3 out of 5

Friendliness To Other Pets

2 out of 5

Friendliness To Strangers

4 out of 5


1 out of 5

Ease of Training

2 out of 5

Grooming Requirements

5 out of 5

Heat Sensitivity

3 out of 5


5 out of 5

Breed Attributes




17-23 lb





Area of Origin


Date of Origin


Other Names

Rothbury Terrier


One of the most unusual members of the terrier group is the Bedlington Terrier. This breed comes from England, hailing from the Hanny Hills of Northumberland. The exact origin is obscure, but in the late eighteenth century a strain of game terriers was developed that became known as Rothbury Terriers. In 1825, Joseph Ainsley of the town of Bedlington bred two of his Rothbury Terriers and christened their offspring a Bedlington Terrier. Occasional crosses to other breeds arguably included the Whippet (for speed) and Dandie Dinmont Terrier (for coat), but no documented evidence of such crosses exist, and some breed historians assert that such crosses were never made. Whatever the process, the result was an agile, effective game terrier.

By the late 1800s, the breed had stepped into the show ring as well as into the homes of the more elite. At one time the liver color was more popular, although the blue has since passed it in popularity. The Bedlington’s lamb-like appearance draws many admirers, but the emphasis on trimming eventually dampened the breed’s popularity as a show dog. With more easily available grooming tools and instructions, the Bedlington has regained much of its popularity with the public.


The Bedlington is among the softer terriers, not only in looks and feel but in temperament. This breed is companionable, demonstrative, and loyal. They enjoy creature comforts and are fairly quiet. Even though they will seldom initiate a fight, Bedlingtons will not allow themselves to be intimidated by other dogs and can be a scrappy fighter when pushed. They will give chase to small animals outdoors, but can usually coexist with them indoors.


The Bedlington needs daily exercise in a safe place; this dog loves to run and chase. Their needs can be met with a good long walk or vigorous romp. Their coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus professional grooming to shape the coat every other month. Hair that is shed tends to cling to the other hair rather than shedding.


  • Major concerns: copper toxicosis
  • Minor concerns: retinal dysplasia, renal cortical hypoplasia, distichiasis
  • Occasionally seen: patellar luxation
  • Suggested tests: DNA for copper toxicosis, liver biopsy, eye, knee
  • Life span: 12–14 years


Note: While the characteristics mentioned here may frequently represent this breed, dogs are individuals whose personalities and appearances will vary. Please consult the adoption organization for details on a specific pet.

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