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Old 06-26-2007, 07:07 PM
Paige's Avatar
Paige Paige is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 7,359
Default Bedlington Terrier

I know I was interested in herding breeds but oh boy have I ever fallen in love. I've been trying to do some research on them but all I keep getting is how to take care of their coats. Which is great information but I don't want to read it 20+ times when what I am more concerned about temperment and health issues.

So give me all the bad things guys. I've never owned a terrier of my own so someone who has/does will probally be able to tell me about their behaviours way better then a website that is just showing off how cute they are. I want to get more information on them because let's face it, they are adorable. Though I'd never get a dog only based on the way it looks there is no harm done in researching the ones you find attractive to see if they'd fit your lifestyle, right?

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Old 06-26-2007, 09:18 PM
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BostonBanker BostonBanker is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Vermont
Posts: 8,841

This is my first dog, Medley. We had 15 great years with him. My family got him when I was 9, because I desparately wanted a dog but had allergies. We got him from a wonderful woman in New York who, even though she is in her 90's and Medley has been gone for several years, still stays in touch at least a few times a year.

It is a little hard to say what he would have been like if we had worked more with him. Generally, he was a great dog for us. He adapted very well to the changes in our lives as we grew up.

He had a very high prey drive - don't believe what you read about them being "softer" terriers. Medley regularly killed rodents in the yard and killed several skunks over the years. He was extremely focused once he zoned in on a creature. Somewhere I have video tape of him spending hours at the base of a tree that he had chased a chimpmunk up.

Medley did well with other dogs when he was younger. The last year or so of his life, he got a bit snippy with pushy dogs, but I think that was mainly just protecting himself. When we first got him, we had a 25 lb cat that taught him to be very respectful, and never had a problem with him around cats.

He did resource guard, but we never tried to fix it. We would joke about the fact that, when he had a Frosty Paws, if you walked in the room he would get all tense and start growling . What can I say - we were amateurs!

I did allow him off-leash some when he was young as long as we were pretty far from any traffic; he had a decent recall as long as their wasn't any prey around. He was a moderate barker - he never barked for the sake of barking, but if something got his attention, he'd let us know. I have this image of him during thunderstorms, standing tall at the end of the driveway, barking defiantly at every burst of thunder.

He was pretty trainable; I regret we didn't do more with him. I started teaching dog classes when he was about 13 or so, and he learned a nice emergency down and improved his recall immensely once I knew how to train it. He also taught my mother to give him biscuits the entire time she was on the phone. You would hear her pick up the phone, and then hear the sound of the drawer opening and cookies hitting the ground. If she stopped, he would bark. After he learned that trick, it took him another day and a half to figure out the portable phone . He also knew he would get a treat when he came inside from the yard, and would often scratch at the door. As soon as you opened it up to let him out, he just turn and trot over to the cookie drawer. He was very bright - played everyone in the house like a fiddle!

I knew one other Bedlington that I had in beginner obedience and agility classes. Very bright, although not the most food motivated dog in the world. Honestly, I will probably never own another, mainly because of the coat issue. It was a pain to deal with - I like short, easy coats! But it does amaze me, looking back, at how much Medley tolerated and adjusted to. He lived with us for probably the most chaotic 15 years of our family's history, and just went with the flow. He was generally very healthy right up to the end; he had about three weeks where he started to go downhill, and then the end (organ failure) was very quick.

They are very neat dogs - feel free to ask any specific questions you have. And sorry - that got a lot longer than I meant it to be!

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Old 07-01-2007, 11:48 PM
Colin Pederson's Avatar
Colin Pederson Colin Pederson is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: California
Posts: 12

Hi Paige,
Bedlington terriers can definitely be a handful for people who aren't used to that terrier temperament! I've had a fair bit of experience with Bedlingtons so I'll give you a list of what to watch out for/think about before you go ahead and get one.
1. Exercise requirements are higher than most people realize. These are active, energetic dogs: expect to walk him two to three times a day. Two of these walks need to be long and vigorous (half an hour minimum). If you can take him jogging or alongside a bicycle, that's a good way to get in the requisite mileage without wearing yourself out too much in the process.
2. Scrappiness with other dogs. Bedlingtons - like most terriers - won't hesitate to wade into a fight with another dog if it so much as looks at him cock-eyed. You'd probably want to take your Bedlington to puppy preschool to make sure he knows how to get on with other dogs.
3. High prey drive. If you want to get a cat at some stage, you should get it now - BEFORE you get your terrier. He'll be OK with household pets (usually) as long as they were around before him - getting a kitten or cat when your terrier's full-grown is a recipe for disaster. Neighborhood cats will need to watch out when in your yard, as well.
4. Stubbornness. When you're training your Bedlington, you need to be really consistent and REALLY patient - they're pretty smart, but aren't given to slavishly obeying orders. Food treats help, as long as they're doled out sporadically (once he can predict that you're going to give him a treat, he will ONLY do that trick for a treat from then on. You need to keep him guessing) and as long as you make him work for them.
5. Bedlingtons are really affectionate with members of the family, but can be aloof and even mildly aggressive with strangers (particularly people on 'his' property - mailmen, meter readers, etc). Again, you'll need to socialize thoroughly with people, as well as dogs, from a young age. If you take him around with you and get him used to new situations, that'll help curb this tendency.

Hope that helps. Good luck if you do decide to get one - they're fantastic dogs!
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