The Bedlington Terrier aka The World’s Fluffiest Watchdog

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bedlington terrier dog standing in field

The Bedlington Terrier on first sighting across a field could well be mistaken for Mary’s little lamb! This dolichocephalic (has a long skull), naturally floppy-eared character is, however, more a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so to say.

A Brief History of the Bedlington Terrier Dog Breed 

Originally known as the Rothbury Terrier, after the English border town, a Lord Rothbury took a keen interest in the breed. A Rothbury Terrier was put to a Bedlington bitch around 1825, resulting in the Bedlington Terrier. “Piper” was among this litter and was renowned for still successfully catching vermin without a tooth in his mouth at the ripe old age of 14.

This little-known member of the terrier family was, and is, a sneaky hunter. Due to their small size, they were often used by gypsies and poachers to sneak onto the gentry’s property undetected. This particular well carried-out task earned them the name “Gypsy Dog”.

As a workingman’s dog, the Bedlington Terriers were equally adept as coalmine ratters, pit fighters, and pest eradicators.

Coal mines and nail factories were not to be their fate,  and fortuitously the little breed soon charmed their way into the manor homes of the British elite. These loving and bighearted companions were appealing additions to the lifestyles of style-conscious socialites.

In 1877 England’s National Bedlington Terrier Club was formed. The AKC registered its first Bedlington Terrier in the mid-1880s. Other breeds suspected of being responsible for this gritty small breed terrier are the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier, Whippet, Dandie Dinmont, and Kerry Blue.

The Appearance of These Fluffy Terriers 

This small breed of terrier is alert and confident. It boasts a long coat and a long face, with the characteristic floppy ears and curly coat. The floppy ears hang just like a lamb’s, with whimsical cotton-puffs on the tips.

Unlike other terrier breeds, this terrier has hare feet, a distinctive coat, upward-curved back, and arched loin. Its tail resembles a scimitar in shape and tapers to a point.

The Bedlington’s narrow head has a topknot, lighter in color than the coat. The small, dark, almond-shaped eyes sit in a dolichocephalic face beneath triangular ears. Their mild and gentle expression mask the lion heart of a true terrier.

two white bedlington terriers sitting down

Average Size and Weight!

The breed standard for the Gypsy Dog is 16 to 17 ½ inches to the shoulder for males and 15 to 16 ½ inches for females. They tend to be lighter than beagles although they are comparative in size and weigh between 17 and 23 pounds.

Bedlington Coats and Colors! 

The Bedlington’s coat is a fair mix of hard and soft hair standing off the skin. Blue is the most common color of the Gypsy Dog, which means white in layman terms.

Fashionably blue is the contemporary color. Other than white, you can find these doggos in blue and tan, liver, liver, and tan, sandy and sandy and tan.

Bedlingtons Make Some of the Best “Hypoallergenic” Dogs 

Humans suffering from allergies to dogs will be interested to know that the Bedlington Terrier is lauded as a hypoallergenic breed.

While a truly hypoallergenic dog does not actually exist, Gypsy Dogs do shed less than the average dog, which brings them into favor among the allergic.

What the Best Dogs for Allergies Have in Common 

Dog breeds said to be hypoallergenic shed less hair than the average pooch. Saliva is the main culprit in generating allergies in humans. That being the case, the less drooly the breed, the better if one is prone to sneezes and allergic reactions to doggies.

Since the proteins in the pup’s saliva and on the skin cause the allergies, rather than the fur, shedding rate is not most important.

Not Your Average Crazy Terrier: Their Laid Back Temperament and Personality! 

While temperament and personality are largely determined by genes, rearing, environment, and socialization, Bedlingtons are genrally very energetic, companionable dogs. They are fun loving and entertaining and would just thrive when they are the center of attention.

Being a hunter by nature, any pet rabbits, guinea pigs or possibly even kitties may be subject to a chase. It is imperative that the pup receives training and socializing very early in life.

These lively terriers make excellent watchdogs, a characteristic which may often be belied by its cuddly appearance. The terrier will show its mistrust vocally, by barking unmistakably and continuously.

They will willingly accept strangers and get along famously with children. They are possessive and protective of their humans and tend not to back down to a challenge or confrontation.

A bored Bedlington is not a happy Bedlington. This breed must burn energy, and energetic play and long walks every day are in order. When bored, the Bedlington Terrier will become decidedly unhappy. It’s at times like these that this terrier shows a tendency towards mischievousness which will certainly lead to an unhappy human. They love to bark, dig and chase.

Although an energetic breed, Gypsy Dogs do quite well in apartments. They shed very little and are content to be couch potatoes when in good company. They do need daily exercise though! Bedlingtons are small enough to live comfortably without much space. Being easy to train, they should not be a problem to house train at a young age.

happy bedlington terrier playing in snow

How Long Do These Doggos Live? 

Although the infamous first son of the breed, Piper, was still bringing down beavers at the impressive age of fourteen, life expectancy is generally between eleven and sixteen years.

4 Potential Health Issues to Be Aware Of! 

Bedlington Terriers are a healthy breed that can live up to eighteen years. Compared with other breeds of their size, this is an impressive lifespan. Health issues to be aware of include:

  1. Copper toxicosis.
  2. Eye problems include cataracts, retinal dysplasia, distichiasis, and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
  3. Kidney problems.
  4. Thyroid problems.

Bedlington Terrier Puppies for Sale! 

Once you are sure this is the breed for you, expect to pay $1,500 for your Bedlington terrier puppy. Health care costs could average $3,700.

Be Sure to Get Your Puppy from a Reputable Breeder!

Ask around to find the best breeders. Your vet, Kennel clubs, word of mouth, and local breeders will be able to put you on the right path. You will know you have found a reputable breeder when the following are evident:

  • An approach which includes a willingness to find the perfect dog for you and your circumstances.
  • You can see one or both parents.
  • A breeder provides health clearances for both parents. Health clearances should include everything from hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, to von Willebrand’s disease.
  • Pups grow up in a social environment with outdoor access.

Adopt! Don’t Shop! Ask a Local Animal Shelter About Bedlington Terrier Rescues!

Bedlington Terrier rescue programs are there for rehoming abandoned, stray, relinquished or impounded Bedlington Terriers. Rescue pups often do not find the right home first time around, often due to their energetic and possessive nature.

These pups deserve a second chance at a life of love in a furever home. If you do decide on homing a Gypsy Dog, consider contacting your local humane society for details on the nearest Bedlington Terrier Rescue shelter.

Rescues are available at a nominal adoption fee or donation, which usually includes the cost of sterilization and immunization.

cute and fluffy bedlington terrier puppy lying down

Common Questions on the Bedlington Terrier

Can I keep a Bedlington Terrier in an apartment? 

How much should I expect to pay for a Bedlington Terrier puppy? 

What does the adoption fee cover if I rescue a dog from a shelter? 

How do I know if a Bedlington Terrier breeder is reputable?

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