The homeland of the Bedlington Terrier is a tiny mining town in the country of Northumberland, England, where it was initially utilised as a proficient vermin exterminator. Currently this tenacious, fearless and intelligent dog mostly enjoys the life of a companion animal although it didn’t lose its acute sense of smell and strong prey drive. Moreover its exotic teddy-like appearance made it a frequent participant of the show ring.
The history of the Bedlington Terrier numbers more than hundred years so knowledge about its ancestry is rather based on speculations than on solid facts. The Whippet, the Kerry Blue Terrier, the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, the Otterhound and/or the Dandie Dinmont Terrier most likely played certain role in its development. The breed was granted with its name in honour of the mining shire of Bedlington that is situated in the Hanny’s Hills of northern England. Initially it was bred to clear local mines from rats and other vermin. Over time the owners of these dogs began to put them into the competition against light-footed Whippets and these determined and persistent terriers often won the race.
The early version of the Bedlington Terrier was presumably born in 80s of XVIII century and belonged to Squire Trevelyan. Nonetheless the first written testimony about its existence appeared only in 1825 when a bitch called Coates Phoebe produced the first documented member of the Bedlington Terrier. This dog named Ainsley’s Piper achieved the fame of a super effective hunter and preserved its incredible gameness to a great age.
Thanks to unparalleled tenacity and toughness of the Bedlington Terrier it gradually became a very popular hunting dog in its native Bedlington region. The main quarries of this dog were badgers and rats, although early in its history it was also utilised to hunt otters, rabbits, foxes and polecats. Never inherently vicious but relentless in a combat, this breed was also an occasional participant of pit dog-fighting.
The first Bedlington Terrier was introduced to general public at the Dog Show in 1870. The breed was recognised by the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1936. Eventually it acquired a wide appreciation in the role of a companion animal because of its affectionate demeanour, delightful appearance and great intelligence. The breed’s popularity in the USA skyrocketed in the 60s of the XX century. Presently it has also a success in the conformation ring as well as in various performance trials, especially in agility competitions.
The Bedlington Terrier usually makes a smart, vigilant, cheerful and sociable family pet. It wants nothing more than to be beside its favourite people at all times. In general this affectionate and easy-going dog stands out for much more stable disposition that most terriers. It’s great with children with whom it’s ready to play for hours on end. Nonetheless this dog can be out of temper at moment’s notice if it’s treated harshly or disrespectfully. That’s why it’s imperative to teach your kids the rules of conduct with dogs.
As a rule the Bedlington Terrier is excited at every opportunity to make a new friend and will welcome enthusiastically house guests. At the same time this dog is rather quick to sense the threat in the actions of a stranger. This quality may lead to certain indifference in the presence of strange people. The breed member is endowed with enough alertness and territorial instinct to become a pretty good watcher. But its amicable and trustful nature makes it unsuitable for the role of a guardian.
Although all Bedlington Terriers will be grateful to have a canine companion on a constant basis some of its specimens are prone to be aggressive towards unfamiliar dogs. Moreover this breed enjoys the fame of a fierce combatant so once challenged it will fight to death. It also highly inimical towards non-canine street animals since every moving object triggers its hunting instinct. So this dog must be led on a secure leash in public places in order to exclude any chance of unpleasant incidents. However it can be socialised to live peacefully with an individual home cat or other pet.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· copper toxicosis;
· eye problems;
· thyroid problems;
· heart murmurs;
· copper-associated hepatitis.
The grooming of the Bedlington Terrier is a rather tricky task. Its lamb-like coat should be trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks if you want your pet to look well-attended and tidy. This procedure requires certain skills so the vast majority of its owner prefer to entrust this job to a professional groomer.
Bathing is usually needed every couple of months although it’s better to bathe the dog as infrequently as possible. This breed sheds little to nothing but its coat should be thoroughly combed every week to remove loose hair and prevent mats from forming. The rest necessary maintenance consists of regular nail clipping, weekly teeth brushing and ear cleaning.
Despite the fact that the Bedlington Terrier has an inquiring mind and sharp intellect its training may be associated with serious difficulties. This breed is generously endowed with typical terrier’s stubbornness and waywardness. It will use every chance to become an absolute boss of the household so the master should train his pet to respect its authority since its puppyhood.
Because of its keen perception the dog extremely negatively reacts to any degree of rough-housing during training so it must be completely excluded from the process. You will get a polite, docile and willing learner if you encourage the efforts of your Bedlington Terrier with its favourite treats and kind words.
The Bedlington Terrier has relatively low exercise requirements. It will remain fit and happy if provided with a long and brisk daily walk as well as playtime in a securely fenced yard. It also loves running, frisking with kids and retrieving.
This dog adapts well to almost all living conditions, which makes it an excellent pet for an apartment dweller. Bear in mind that the Bedlington Terrier still must receive occasional opportunity to burn excessive energy otherwise it will acquire unwanted habits to hyperactivity and destructiveness indoors.