Description & History

The Bedlington Terrier is one of the four terrier breeds originating near to the border between England and Scotland. Formerly it was called the Northern Counties Fox Terrier or the Rothbury Terrier, owing to its association with Rothbury, an areas situated a few mile south-west of Alnwick in the county of Northumberland. The breed was renamed in 1825 by Joseph Ainsley, a stonemason, who resided in Bedlington, a village lying south-east of Morpeth in the same county.

The origin of the breed is not too hard to define as there is a known connection with other Border County terriers. In January 1869 the Field magazine printed an article on the breed, in which it was said that the Bedlington was not dissimilar to the Dandie Dinmont but 'stood on longer legs, and had a somewhat shorter body and generally less head, and that Dandies and Bedlingtons were often bred together'. It is also recognised by Dandie Dinmont enthusiasts that the Bedlington once featured in their breed. Whippets and Lurchers are also believed to have had some part to play in the Bedlington's development. Nowadays Bedlingtons are crossed with both Greyhounds and Whippets to produce excellent coursing dogs.

Bedlingtons, like all terrier breeds, were a lively lot and always on the look out for all types of vermin – rats, rabbits, badger and otter. It is known as the 'Gyspy Dog' as it was a first rate poacher and always kept the pot full. It was also used by miners in Northumberland and Durham to keep the rat population under control.

The Bedlington has a following among sporting folk and show kennels not only in its own country but also overseas. They are an intelligent and obediant breed, make good companions and are usually good with children. Like all breeds with a sporting inheritance they are best suited to a home in the country where they can be given plenty of exercise.

Rosamund Walters.

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