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Bedlington Terrier

The Bedlington Terrier is a breed of terrier named after the mining town of Bedlington, Northumberland in North East England.

Appearance
The Bedlington Terrier is often described as looking like a lamb on a leash, probably because it has non-shedding fur with a woolly texture. These dogs may be blue, sandy, or liver, and can be solid colours or have tan markings. These become paler as the dog grows older, but should never be pure white, which indicates a lack of "guard hairs;" the harsh hairs in their coat that give it texture and offer the dogs protection.

This breed has a wedge-shaped head with sparkling, triangular eyes. Although it looks meek when in repose, the Bedlington Terrier is every inch a terrier when aroused. Its body shape, however, is unusual for a terrier, being somewhat like a Greyhound or Whippet in construction, which enables it to gallop at great speed. However, the front legs are constructed differently from those quick hounds (and almost all other breeds of dogs) in that the front legs are closer together at the feet than at the elbows - creating a triangular shape when viewed from the front. This enables a Bedlington Terrier to turn or pivot quickly when chasing quarry at high speed. The Bedlington moves with unique, light movement and seems to "float" above the ground. It should never have a hackney gait (the high-stepping action of some ponies, miniature pinschers or Italian greyhounds. They should cover ground effortlessly, but with power and grace.

Bedlington Terriers are groomed with long hair left on the top of their skull and muzzle, tassels on the ears and slightly longer furnishings on the legs than the body coat. This practice is thought to have originated when the Bedlington was used to hunt vermin. The quarry, trying to escape, would bite at the dog, and the hair saved the Bedlington from an injury to the important facial area and possible death from an infection. A similar idea is seen in the tail, crest and wings of the Secretary Bird.

Temperament
These do-all dogs were able to do almost anything asked of them, if in classic terrier manner. In contrast to its placid appearance, Bedlingtons would have to be able hold its own when pitted in dog fighting contests and was particularly well known to fight to the death when set upon. In addition, it was fast enough to bay a badger or a fox and was a first-rate water dog. Incredibly smart and attentive to its owner, the bedlington is one of the most reliable of the terriers. They are problem solvers and loyal family companions.

Mortality
Median longevity of Bedlington Terriers, based on two recent UK surveys, is about 13.5 years,[2] which is longer than for purebred dogs in general and longer than most breeds similar in size. The longest-lived of 48 deceased dogs in a 2004 UK Kennel Club survey was 18.4 years. [4] Leading causes of death among Bedlington Terriers in the UK were old age (23%), urologic (15%), and hepatic (12.5%). The leading "hepatic" cause of death was copper toxicosis. Dogs that died of liver diseases usually died at a younger age than dogs dying of most other causes.

 

Bedlington TerrierOther names: Rothbury Terrier, Rodbery Terrier
Country of origin: United Kingdom
Weight: 18-23 pounds (8-10kg)
Height: 16-17 inches (41-43cm)
Coat: Thick double coat with mix of soft and harsher hairs
Litter size: 3-6 puppies
Life span: 17+ years

Morbidity
Bedlington Terrier owners in the UK reported that the most common health issues among living dogs were reproductive (primarily of concern to breeders), heart murmur, and eye problems such as epiphora and cataracts. Copper toxicosis occurred among about 5% of living dogs.

Copper Toxicosis; Copper Storage
DiseaseBedlington Terriers have an unusually high incidence of copper toxicosis, an inherited autosomal recessive disease, characterized by accumulation of excess copper in the liver. Genetic testing is now available[5]. The disease is diagnosed with a liver biopsy.[6] It is essential that anyone interested in purchasing a Bedlington is provided with proof of the dogs' unaffected status.

Grooming
Bedlington Terriers don't shed but need weekly combing and professional grooming every 6-8 weeks to keep their coats (which tend to curl) in good shape. Dogs being prepared for the show ring often have much more hair left on them than those in "pet clips," which provide pet owners with a more manageable trim for their pets. The show trim is entirely hand-scissored, with the exception of the ears, face/throat, belly and tail which are trimmed with an electric clipper. It can take years to master the grooming pattern for this breed.

Exercise
These high-energy dogs need several vigorous walks and aerobic play sessions daily to keep them happy and content. The breed is well suited for agility, earthdog, obedience and other performance events.

History
The famed progenitor of Bedlington was a dog named "Old Flint", whelped in 1782 and owned by "Squire Trevelyan." Originally, the breed was known as the "Rothbury" or "Rodbery Terrier." This name derived from a famous bitch brought from Staffordshire by a company of nail makers who settled in Rothbury. The Terriers of this section were accustomed to rodent hunting underground, and worked with packs of foxhounds kept there at the time.

It is suggested that the Bedlington may well have made its way to Ireland and played a part in the early development of the Kerry Blue Terrier.

The first Bedlington Terrier club was formed in 1877. The Bedlington Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1948.