Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Generally speaking, terriers are known to be a rowdy, energetic type of dog. In fact, when people talk about terriers I hear the same descriptions used repeatedly: tireless, bossy, quick to bark, stubborn, dynamic, quick to chase, lively, feisty, clever, independent, persistent, intense, scrappy, etc. Although we can’t be 100% sure, it’s almost certain that our rescue pup is a blend of terrier-types. One thing we can be completely sure of, however, is that all of those words could be used to describe her.
There is one breed of terrier that doesn’t fit within common terrier generalizations: the Bedlington Terrier. Sometimes referred to as Rothbury Terriers or Rodbery Terriers, Bedlingtons are known to be calmer and less excitable than most. Moreover, these graceful, elegant dogs have a look that’s quite unusual among canines – they look like little lambs!
Bedlington Terriers are beautiful. They have a narrow, pear-shaped head with almond-shaped eyes that are small and deep set. Their strong-looking muzzle covers jaws that meet in a scissors bite. The low set ears are triangular and rounded at the tips. These dogs have an erec, almost regal posture; their straight front legs are shorter than their back legs. With a thick double coat of hard and soft hair that stands out from their skin, they look like baby lambs. Ranging in colors from blue to sandy to liver, they can also be multiple colors like blue and tan, sandy and tan, or liver and tan. They may also have tan markings on their faces, chest, legs and hindquarters.
According to the American Kennel Club, the ideal male Bedlington Terrier should be 16-17 inches (41-43cm) at the withers, and bitches should be 15-16 inches (38-41cm). The dog’s weight should be in proportion to their height, somewhere within the range of 17-23 pounds (7-10kg) for the males and the females.
Bedlington Terriers are affectionate and playful. This breed makes a loving and loyal family companion. They are generally good with children and other dogs if they are socialized properly at a young age. Also, this breed is very independent and should be taught as a puppy that they cannot always make their own decisions. As with most terriers, their stubborn streak and dominance will become an issue if you don’t show them that you are in charge. To be their respected pack leader, you must prove with complete consistency that you mean what you say.
The Bedlington Terrier Club of America describes the breed’s temperament as two-fold; generally very peaceful and quiet, but when aroused they can become much like the stereotypical terrier breed.
This extroverted dog is smart and clownish with his own family. They are normally inquisitive, perceptive and affectionate. This breed is known for their bravery and faithfulness; they take pride in pleasing their human companions.
Bedlington owners must provide their pet with ample exercise and mental stimulation. These energetic dogs must have regular opportunities to vent their energy and to use their inquisitive minds. When properly exercised, they can become elite athletes. Extremely fast runners, they love to chase anything that is moving. Because of this tendency, Bedlington Terriers should be taught to come back when called.
One characteristic the Bedlington shares with my maybe-terrier is that they are good at escaping. Apparently they can climb over or dig under most fences and even open most fence gates. I’ve never met an enclosure my dog couldn’t figure a way out of. For this reason, Bedlington owners may need a high fence with underground wires along the fence line.
These dogs require regular grooming to keep their coat short and free of mats.
Bedlington Terriers are not common. In fact, only about 200 new Bedlington Terrier puppies are registered in America each year. To put that number in perspective, there are more than 60,000 new Golden Retriever puppies registered each year.
Do any of you share your life with a Bedlington Terrier?
Top photo by Llima Oroso
Bottom photo by Jeffrey Beall
Read more articles by Langley Cornwell