Bedlington Terrier Care

The Bedlington Terrier (BT) may look like a cute little lamb--but with its bold terrier temperament and high energy level, this breed is anything but lamb-like. With their history as fierce vermin hunters, these small-sized dogs are scrappy and energetic, but they make great companions to active families willing to handle their gutsy demeanors. The best news is that Bedlington Terrier care and maintenance doesn't take a great deal of work overall.

Below you'll find plenty of details on caring for a Bedlington Terrier, including info about puppy development, exercise needs, diet and nutrition, and more. For answers to your questions about owning this adorable yet brash little breed, read on!

Bedlington Terrier Breed Development

As a small-sized breed, Bedlington Terrier puppy development typically spans 14-16 months from birth to full maturity.

Physical Development: BT puppies grow steadily in height and length for the first 7-8 months, then those growth rates slow somewhat while the adolescent "fills out" by gaining muscle mass and fat. A BT normally reaches its full adult size (an average of 16 inches at the shoulders in height and 20 pounds in weight) at 10-11 months of age.

Social Development: BT pups reach adolescence at about five months, sexual maturity at 8-9 months, and full mental maturity at about 15 months (though most will retain their playful puppylike behavior a few months into adulthood).

For specific milestones in Bedlington Terrier development, refer to the following:

Bedlington Terrier Exercise Needs

Dogs of this breed are athletic and agile--but they're also relatively small, so Bedlington Terrier exercise requirements are only moderate overall. Due to their history as vermin hunters, BTs are fast runners with great dexterity, so they'll need exercise that both allow them to stretch their legs and that stimulate them mentally. They can make good jogging companions as well.

The typical adult BT, depending on its age and overall activity level, will need about 45 minutes of proper exercise per day--which you can accomplish with a couple of walks or jogs and a period of play. You can start exercising your BT puppy at three months old by taking it on short (5-minute) walks, then you can increase the walks' length and frequency as the puppy grows.

A few precautions to consider when exercising your Bedlington Terrier: first, puppies younger than eight months old shouldn't participate in activities that include a lot of jumping, running on hard surfaces, or navigating of stairs, as doing so can injure their still-developing joints and bones. And regardless of age, all BTs will need to be leashed when in public. These dogs have high prey drives, and will chase interesting-looking critters--birds, squirrels, and cats, to name a few--if given the chance; their classic terrier temperaments mean they can also be defensive and confrontational with strange people and animals (larger dogs, in particular!). A leash will help you control your BT in these situations. Even when exercising in your own yard, the area will need to be securely fenced to keep the dog from running off.

Safeguards aside, it's important to exercise your Bedlington Terrier every single day. Like other terriers, these dogs are scrappy and bold, and without consistent activity they'll become high-strung, disobedient, and destructive--so regular exercise is great for both the dog's and your own peace of mind. A few exercise ideas:

  • Walking/Jogging: Two 20-minute walks (or 10-minute jogs) per day is a good target
  • Fetch/Frisbee: These dogs will chase a ball, stick, or Frisbee for hours
  • Hide-and-Seek: Great indoor, rainy-day activity; give the dog a treat when it finds you
  • Canine Sports: BTs can excel at obedience and agility trials, flyball, and other events
  • Blowing Bubbles: Your BT will love "attacking" the bubbles you blow

When indoors, it's a good idea to give your BT access to one or more balls or chew-toys that will allow the dog to burn excess energy. It's also recommended that you establish a regular exercise schedule for the dog, such as walks or jogs after breakfast and dinner and a play period in the afternoon.

Bedlington Terrier Maintenance

In terms of shedding and drooling, these dogs don't need much care. Bedlington Terrier shedding is pretty low, and drooling isn't an issue at all.

The BT's coat--one of its signature features--is a short, curly combination of crisp and soft hair. When at full length, this breed's coat hair can resemble that of a Poodle--and like the Poodle's, the BT coat sheds very little. Not much hair cleanup will be required, but twice-weekly brushing (along with frequent clipping and scissoring) will be necessary to avoid tangles and mats.

And a Bedlington Terrier practically never drools. If your BT is drooling excessively, it may be a sign of a medical issue, in which case a veterinarian's care is recommended.

Bedlington Terrier Diet

Though small, dogs of this breed are quite active, so the Bedlington Terrier diet will need to be rich in nutrients that help it sustain its high energy level. Like that of all breeds, Bedlington Terrier food will need to contain plenty of animal proteins and carbohydrates for energy, vitamins and minerals for digestive and immune health, and omega fatty acids for coat and skin wellness.

This means the best food choice for BTs is the premium dry kind. This high-quality kibble, while more expensive and difficult to obtain, has balanced portions of the above-listed ingredients your BT will need to maintain its health in the long term. Cheap, generic dog food is not recommended for this breed, because it contains mostly empty filler ingredients that are not healthy, are harder for the dog to digest, and may even shorten its lifespan if eaten on a daily basis.

Blue Buffalo, Royal Canin, and Taste of the Wild are three recommended brands that have excellent lines of premium dry food.

And yes, this premium food is pricey--but the good news is your Bedlington Terrier won't eat a lot of it at once. The typical adult BT, depending on its size, age, and activity level, will only need about 1½ cups of premium dry food per day, divided into two meals. BT puppies, again depending on age, will need a bit less: about one cup per day, divided into three meals (not two) until six months of age.

For further details on feeding a Bedlington Terrier from puppyhood through maturity, see the following:

*--Around this time, transition to adult food by first mixing in a bit of adult formula with the puppy formula. Over the course of a week, with each meal add a bit more adult food to the mixture, until the dog is eating it entirely.

If possible, try and stick to the above-listed portions. If constantly overfed (and under-exercised), your BT can become overweight--and a fat Bedlington Terrier will have joint, digestive, and breathing problems, not to mention a potentially shortened lifespan. You can help control your BT's weight by having consistent feeding and exercise schedules, by not feeding the dog table scraps, and by not leaving food in the dog's bowl all the time, thereby allowing it to eat anytime it wants. It's better to put your BT's bowl down only at mealtimes, then pick it up a few minutes after the dog begins eating.

If you're worried your Bedlington Terrier is overweight, give the dog this simple test: run a hand along its side, and if you can't feel any ribs, it's diet time. Reduce the dog's daily food consumption by one-fourth, and add an extra walk, jog, or play period to its daily exercise schedule.