This small/medium-sized long-legged terrier is easily recognised. He has a narrow skull and a lamb-like coat, which comes in blue, liver or sandy, with or without tan. Adult males and females measure between 38-43cm and weigh between 8-10kg.
Originally bred from a combination of local terriers with an outcross to Whippets, miners in the Rothbury area of Northumberland developed the Bedlington Terrier dog breed in the 18th century. It was not shown until 1869, but in the meantime developed a reputation as a killer of vermin, a poacher's sidekick and a fighter. Alternative names it was known by are 'The Rothbury Terrier' and 'The Gypsy Dog' (due to its assistance with poaching).
The Bedlington Terrier breed needs to be trained to get along with cats and other pets. Strangers will be announced and repelled if unwelcome, but once accepted into the house by the owner, will be given a friendly reception. Bedlington Terriers do make good watchdogs, as they will be quite courageous once roused. In general, they will be fairly placid if they are receiving a regular amount of mental and physical stimulation.
The Bedlington Terrier dog breed can suffer from an inherited liver disease ('copper storage disease'). A DNA test is available, and so all breeding dogs should be tested. As with many other breeds, they can also suffer hereditary eye disorders and so eye testing of breeding dogs is recommended.
The Bedlington Terrier needs at least an hour's daily exercise. They excel in games that involve running, jumping and retrieval - including agility. They must be kept mentally stimulated to avoid developing behavioural problems.
Small dogs have a fast metabolism, meaning they burn energy at a high rate, although their small stomachs mean that they must eat little and often. Small-breed foods are specifically designed with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller kibble sizes to suit smaller mouths. This also encourages chewing and improves digestion.
Grooming can be somewhat demanding with the Bedlington Terrier. The coat should be brushed for about five minutes a day and a comb should be run through it at least once a week. About every two months, the dog will need a trim. This can be done by a professional groomer, as it is an unusual cut. The other option is to learn the trim yourself from a breeder. Show grooming demands that there be no more than one inch of coat anywhere on the body, so this would be even more time-consuming.