Bedlington Terrier - Information and NZ Breed Standards

Membership ID

Bedlington Terrier

General Information - Bedlington Terrier



12-14 years


Very high


Watchdog Ability:
Very high

Protection Ability:

Area of Origin:

Date of Origin:

Other Names:
Rothbury Terrier

Original Function:
Killing rat, vadger, and other vermin


The Bedlington Terrier was originally named the Rothbury Terrier, after the district of Rothbury on the English border. Gypsy nail makers in Rothbury prized the breed as a hunter of various game including foxes, hares and badgers. In about 1825, a Rothbury dog was mated to a Bedlington bitch, resulting in the Bedlington Terrier. Some sources mention the Otterhound and Dandie Dinmont Terrier as some possible contributors to the breed. Today there are some breeders, especially in England, that will cross Bedlingtons with Whippets and Greyhounds to produce what they call Lurchers. The Bedlington was used as a vermin hunter by the miners of Bedlington who also exploited its gameness as a fighting dog in the pits. Hunters also used them as retrievers. The Bedlington was first exhibited as a separate breed in 1877. Originally it was developed for the hunting of rats and small game in lairs or on open ground (talents it has certainly not forgotten). Today the Bedlington is a good apartment dog. It is also an attentive and barking watchdog.


The Bedlington Terrier's unique appearance combined with his assertive demeanour are two reasons why this dog is described as having "the head of a lamb," and "the heart of a lion." Careful breeding has resulted in a more companionable and affectionate personality in today's Bedlington Terriers. Playful and cheerful, the Bedlington Terrier is loving with children and fairly friendly with strangers. They are loyal, lively and headstrong. This breed needs to learn to like cats and other household animals when they are young. Usually they can get along with other dogs but keep them away from those that want to dominate, as once challenged they are terrifying fighters, despite their gentle appearance. A little powerhouse, it is courageous and energetic, with the ability to run very fast. It is an enthusiastic digger. Bedlingtons like to bark and can be high-stung. Only let this breed off its lead in an enclosed area. Like the Whippet, he is fast and loves to chase!


The Bedlington needs daily exercise in a safe place; it loves to run and chase. Its needs can be met with a good long walk or vigorous romp. This is not a breed that should live outside. Its coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus scissoring to shape the coat every other month. Hair that is shed tends to cling to the other hair rather than shedding. This breed is considered good for allergy sufferers.

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