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A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

NZKC - Breed Standard - Bedlington Terrier - Terrier

Bedlington Terrier


Group: Terrier
Size: medium
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Exercise: moderate
Grooming: very high
Trainability: hard
Watchdog ability: very high
Protection ability: low
Area of Origin: England
Date of Origin: 1800’s
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.

Official Breed Standard

A graceful, lithe, muscular dog, with no sign of either weakness or coarseness. The whole head should be pear or wedge-shaped and expression in repose mild and gentle, though not shy or nervous. When roused, the eyes should sparkle and the dog look full of temper and courage. Bedlingtons are capable of galloping at great speed and should have the appearance of being able to do so. This action is very distinctive. Rather mincing, light and springy in the slower paces, could have a slight roll when in full stride. When galloping must use the whole body.

Head and Skull:
Skull narrow, but deep and rounded; covered with profuse silky top-knot which should be nearly white. Jaw long and tapering. There must be no "stop", the line from occiput to nose end being straight and unbroken. Well filled up beneath the eye. Close fitting lips, without flew. The nostrils must be large and well-defined. Blues and blue-and-tans must have black noses; livers and sandies must have brown noses.

Small, bright and well sunk. The ideal eye has the appearance of being triangular. Blues should have a dark eye: blue-and-tans have lighter eyes with amber lights, and livers and sandies have a light hazel eye.

Moderate sized, filbert shaped, set on low and hanging flat to the cheek. They should be covered with short fine hair with a fringe of whitish silky hair at the tip.

Teeth, level or pincer-jawed. The teeth should be large and strong.

Long tapering neck, deep at the base; there should be no tendency to toatiness. The neck should spring well up from the shoulders and the head should be carried rather high.

The forelegs should be straight, but wider apart at the chest than at the feet. Pasterns long and slightly sloping without weakness. Shoulders flat and sloping.

Muscular, yet markedly flexible; flat-ribbed and deep tough the brisket; well ribbed up. The chest should be deep and fairly broad. The back should be roached and the loin markedly arched. Muscular galloping quarters which are also fine and graceful.

Muscular and of moderate length. The hind legs, by reason of the roach back and arched loin, have the appearance of being longer than the forelegs. The hocks should be strong and well let down.

Long hare feet with thick and well closed up pads.

Of moderate length, thick at the root, tapering to a point and gracefully curved. Should be set on low and must never be carried over the back.

Very distinctive. Thick and linty, standing well out from the skin, but not wiry. There should be a distinct tendency to twist, particularly on the head and face.

Blue, blue and tan, liver or sandy. Darker pigment to be encouraged.

Weight and Size:
Height should be about sixteen inches (40-64 cm) at the shoulder. This allows of slight variation below in the case of a bitch and above in the case of the dog. Weight should be between eighteen pounds (8.1 kg) and twenty-tee pounds (10.4 kg).

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

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