OVERVIEW OF THE BEDLINGTON TERRIER With their lamblike appearance, these small to medium-sized dogs will steal your heart at first sight. Although they are affectionate and playful, don’t misinterpret their sweet appearance as being timid or inactive. Bedlington terriers were originally bred as hunters of vermin, used as race dogs, and excelled in the show […]
OVERVIEW OF THE BEDLINGTON TERRIER
With their lamblike appearance, these small to medium-sized dogs will steal your heart at first sight. Although they are affectionate and playful, don’t misinterpret their sweet appearance as being timid or inactive. Bedlington terriers were originally bred as hunters of vermin, used as race dogs, and excelled in the show ring. They have excellent speed and agility, a high prey drive, and love being active.
Now, mostly companion dogs, these terriers love being the household center of attention. They’re generally friendly but also have a strong intuition with strangers which makes them good watchdogs.
With a height of 15 to 16 inches and weight of up to 23 pounds, they can adapt to apartment living as long as they get plenty of daily activity and time outdoors. If they don’t get time to be active and play they will get bored which inevitably results in destructive behavior (i.e. digging and barking).
Their curly, non-shedding coats make them great pets for allergy sufferers. They come in white, cream, tan, and blue-gray with coats often changing color between puppy and adult stages.
When raised with other dogs and children, Bedlingtons are energetic and friendly playmates, but they do have their limits to rough handling. They won’t accept another dog’s attempt to dominate them and can be fierce fighters when provoked, although they will rarely start a fight.
Socialize and train your pup early on to prevent problems and stubborn behavior when they are older. They are highly intelligent and eager to please, especially when they think training is really their idea. Positive reinforcement, play, and treats work well for training. Avoid any harsh training methods as your pet will become stubborn and untrainable.
When well trained and given the attention and exercise they need, your Bedlington Terrier will be an affectionate, fun-loving family member for life. To give your new pup the best care possible, here’s what you need to know.
BEDLINGTON TERRIER FOOD AND HEALTH
If you are buying a puppy from a breeder, make sure the breeder provides you with health clearance certificates for your puppy and the parents. This proves that only healthy dogs are used for breeding and prevents the occurrence of genetic diseases. For your Belington, get clearances for hip and elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, thrombopenia, and von Willebrand’s disease as well as certification that their eyes are healthy.
Retinal dysplasia is a developmental malformation that dogs are born with. Tests can be done at 7 to 12 weeks to determine if a puppy’s eyes are affected and although it doesn’t affect the dog’s functioning, affected dogs should not be used for breeding.
Copper Toxicosis is a hereditary disease to be aware of in Bedlingtons. When the liver is unable to get rid of dietary copper, a build-up in the body leads to severe illness and death. As with retinal dysplasia, dogs with the gene should not be bred.
Although healthy pups will not necessarily experience any illness, it is good to be aware of non-genetic conditions that can be experienced.
Patellar Luxation is common across most dog breeds and can be present at birth or be caused by an injury to the leg. The kneecap dislocation varies in severity. In some cases, there is little effect on the dog’s well-being, while in severe cases surgical repair is required to treat intense pain and limping.
Renal Cortical Hypoplasia is a kidney disease that eventually leads to kidney failure. Increased thirst and urination are initial signs of kidney abnormalities.
An important factor in your pet pal’s health is their diet. Adult Bedlington Terriers require anything from one to one and a half cups of dry food daily. Food needs to be of high quality to ensure they get all the essential nutrients and should be divided into two meals daily.
Don’t base the quantity of food you give your dog on how much they are munching. Dogs are masters at convincing you they are hungry. Instead, keep their diet controlled to maintain a healthy weight and adjust the amount they eat according to their activity level. Just like humans, each dog is an individual and some may require a little more or a little less food.
Highly active dogs should have a protein-rich diet. Avoid giving your pet table scraps and keep training treats to healthy, low-calorie options. These can often be halved or quartered to make them last longer and avoid piling in calories. Weight gain can cause severe health issues.
Since puppies and adult dogs require varying nutrient quantities for healthy development, make sure to only give your pet age-appropriate formulas. Keep in mind that there are many human foods and ingredients that are toxic to dogs. When cooking for your pet pal, make sure the foods are dog safe and always introduce new foods in small quantities.
LEASHES AND COLLARS FOR YOUR BEDLINGTON TERRIER
Like most terriers, Bedlingtons need a fair amount of exercise. They’ll be happy to go on a hike, jog, play an active game of fetch, or go for a long walk. If they get enough activity, they’ll be happy to enjoy some couch time with you later.
They do well in agility and Earth Dog competitions. Since they’re likely to get excited and chase after small animals, mice, and squirrels, you’ll need to have a fenced yard and always keep them on a leash when walking or out in public. Once they’re on the chase, you’ll be left behind trailing.
Since Bedlingtons have a slim structure, it is best to steer away from using collars for walking and only to use them for name tags. Use a back-clip harness to attach the leash since this does not place any pressure on their throat or neck. Pressure against their thin necks can cause severe damage to their trachea, eyes, and throat.
If you do get your pup an identification collar, make sure it is not too tight. Check it daily if your pup is still growing so you can upsize it as needed.
BEST CRATES, BEDS, AND DOG HOUSES FOR BEDLINGTON TERRIER
Bedlingtons are not meant to live outside. They need to sleep indoors near their human family. Puppies can cause a fair amount of destruction which is why crate training is ideal to teach them good pet manners. You should, however, never use the crate as punishment. If your pup perceives their crate as a little den of comfort where they can retreat, they will be more at ease spending time there when you are out or at night.
Crates can be soft, made of fabric, or hard, made from metal, plastic, or a combination of the two. Regardless of the type you choose, there should be enough ventilation for optimal airflow. The crate should be big enough for your pup to stand comfortably, stretch out when lying down, move, and turn around. There should also be enough space for a bed and a toy.
To avoid having to upsize the crate when your puppy grows, get an adult-size crate and section off the interior while they are still small.
Your pet pal will need a comfy mattress for inside the crate as well as one for moving around the house. Since Bedlingtons don’t shed much, you can get away with almost any type of bed. You do want to take into consideration whether your dog is a chewer or suffers from separation anxiety. Anxious dogs may prefer a cozy, plush bed, while chewers can easily chew through something that is not durable.
BEST TOYS FOR BEDLINGTON TERRIERS
Toys are important for mental stimulation, training, and staying active. They can also aid in your pet’s dental health. When your Bedlington is a puppy, teething toys can help soothe itchy and swollen gums. Teething toys can be flavored, frozen, or textured and also prevent your pup from chewing household items.
Fetch toys such as balls and Kongs are good options for outdoor play. A ball launcher will give you the extra height and distance to get your pup to expend all its energy.
Bedlingtons are good swimmers. If your dog has an affinity to water, a pet pool or sprinkler mat are also wonderful ways to keep them entertained and to make a game of fetch (through the water) more exciting.
To engage their intelligence, get your dog a puzzle toy or two. These can be in the form of mazes, hide-and-slide, flip toys, or ball-and-shape treat dispensers. They are all interactive and require your pup to solve the riddle to get a treat.
For puppies, a plush toy for their crate can give them something to snuggle with and bring a little comfort while you are away.
GROOMING INSIGHTS FOR BEDLINGTON TERRIER OWNERS
Unlike most terriers, Bedlingtons have a curly, wooly coat. They do not shed much but do need clipping every two months since their coats grow quickly. You can take your pup to a professional groomer for a lamb clip. If you prefer a more natural look, you can simply keep their hair a little trimmed to make it more manageable. Brush your Bedlington twice a week with a pin brush to prevent mats and knots from causing discomfort.
It is important to keep the hair on their face on the shorter side to prevent infections, especially in the ears and eyes. When brushing their coat weekly, check their ears, eyes, paws, and skin for redness or infections to prevent serious problems later.
Brush your puppy’s teeth daily with dog-friendly toothpaste to prevent gum disease, tartar build-up, and bad breath. You’ll also want to keep their nails in check. If they don’t wear them down with play and walks, trim them monthly or when you can hear them clicking on the floor. You will want to get a professional’s help to do this or ask your vet for tips since the blood vessels in their nails make it a tricky task. One wrong clip can cause bleeding and be painful for your pup.
Since dogs are finicky about having their paws, legs, and face touched or handled, it is important to get them used to grooming from an early stage. Make sure it is always a pleasant experience filled with encouragement and positive reinforcement. If they perceive it as a negative encounter, it will become a difficult and unpleasant task for both of you and you will struggle with vet check-ups.
BEST BEDLINGTON TERRIER ACCESSORIES
If your pup has a metal crate, a great way to make it a cozy space, especially in the evenings, is by getting a soft crate cover with a flap door. These are easy to clean and allow them access in and out of the crate while keeping it dark and warm inside. Just make sure there is still enough ventilation.
Another accessory we recommend, especially for training, is a training or treat pouch. These pouches fasten around your waist with an adjustable belt. They have various pockets to store treats, keys, a phone, and waste bags. Many types are waterproof and also feature a D-ring, O-Ring, or fabric loop on which to fasten your pet’s leash. If you often go walking before sunrise or in dim light, get something with reflective strips to ensure you stay visible. In this case, a collar or leash with reflective strips is also a good idea to stay safe.
If you and your pet pal love playing at the beach or lake, a drying coat for your pup will ensure your car upholstery doesn’t get wet. Your pup will dry quickly and stay warm after a swim. These dog coats are made from absorbent toweling and fit comfortably around your pet while still allowing freedom of movement. They are usually machine washable which makes them easy to clean.
For long days out or a hike, a foldable dog water bowl is ideal. These can be carried compactly in a backpack or clipped onto a treat pouch with a carabiner. Simply fold up the bowl when not in use and pop it open to keep your pup well-hydrated on the go.
To learn more about breeds like the Bedlington Terrier, check out our breed hub page.