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The Bedlington Terrier

This gamest of all the terriers has been known as a distinct and

thoroughly British breed for over a century, which is, I think, a

fairly ancient lineage. There are various theories as to its original

parentage, but the one which holds that he was the result of a cross

between the Otterhound and the Dandie Dinmont suggests itself to me

as the most probable one. His characteristics strongly resemble in

many points both
hese breeds, and there can be but little doubt of

his near relationship at some time or other to the Dandie.

The earliest authentic record we have of the Bedlington was a dog

named Old Flint, who belonged to Squire Trevelyan, and was whelped

in 1782. The pedigree of Mr. William Clark's Scamp, a dog well known

about 1792, is traced back to Old Flint, and the descendants of Scamp

were traced in direct line from 1792 to 1873.

A mason named Joseph Aynsley has the credit for giving the name of

Bedlington to this terrier in 1825. It was previously known as the

Rothbury Terrier, or the Northern Counties Fox-terrier. Mr. Thomas

J. Pickett, of Newcastle-on-Tyne, was perhaps the earliest supporter

of the breed on a large scale, and his Tynedale and Tyneside in

especial have left their names in the history of the Bedlington.

The present day Bedlington, like a good many other terriers, has

become taller and heavier than the old day specimens. This no doubt

is due to breeding for show points. He is a lathy dog, but not shelly,

inclined to be flatsided, somewhat light in bone for his size, very

lively in character, and has plenty of courage. If anything, indeed,

his pluck is too insistent.

The standard of points as adopted by the National Bedlington Terrier

and The Yorkshire Bedlington Terrier Clubs is as follows:--

* * * * *

SKULL--Narrow, but deep and rounded; high at the occiput, and covered

with a nice silky tuft or topknot. MUZZLE--Long, tapering, sharp and

muscular, as little stop as possible between the eyes, so as to form

nearly a line from the nose-end along the joint of skull to the

occiput. The lips close fitting and without flew. EYES--Should be

small and well sunk in the head. The blues should have a dark eye,

the blues and tans ditto, with amber shades; livers and sandies, a

light brown eye. NOSE--Large, well angled; blues and blues and tans

should have black noses, livers and sandies flesh-coloured.

TEETH--Level or pincher-jawed. EARS--Moderately large, well formed,

flat to the cheek, thinly covered and tipped with fine silky hair.

They should be filbert shaped. LEGS--Of moderate length, not wide

apart, straight and square set, and with good-sized feet, which are

rather long. TAIL--Thick at the root, tapering to a point, slightly

feathered on lower side, 9 inches to 11 inches long and scimitar

shaped. NECK AND SHOULDERS--Neck long, deep at base, rising well from

the shoulders, which should be flat. BODY--Long and well-proportioned,

flat ribbed, and deep, not wide in chest, slightly arched back, well

ribbed up, with light quarters. COAT--Hard, with close bottom, and

not lying flat to sides. COLOUR--Dark blue, blue and tan, liver, liver

and tan, sandy, or sandy and tan. HEIGHT--About 15 inches to 16

inches. WEIGHT--Dogs about 24 pounds; bitches about 22 pounds. GENERAL

APPEARANCE--He is a light-made, lathy dog, but not shelly.

* * * * *

There is a tendency nowadays towards excess of size in the Bedlington.

It is inclined to be too long in the body and too leggy, which, if

not checked, will spoil the type of the breed. It is, therefore, very

important that size should be more studied by judges than is at

present the case. The faults referred to are doubtless the result

of breeding for exceptionally long heads, which seem to be the craze

just now, and, of course, one cannot get extra long heads without

proportionately long bodies and large size. If it were possible to

do so, then the dog would become a mere caricature.

As a sporting terrier the Bedlington holds a position in the first

rank. He is very fast and enduring, and exceedingly pertinacious,

and is equally at home on land and in water. He will work an otter,

draw a badger, or bolt a fox, and he has no superior at killing rats

and all kinds of vermin. He has an exceptionally fine nose, and makes

a very useful dog for rough shooting, being easily taught to retrieve.

If he has any fault at all, it is that he is of too jealous a

disposition, which renders it almost impossible to work him with other

dogs, as he wants all the fun to himself, and if he cannot get it

he will fight for it. But by himself he is perfect. As a companion

he is peculiarly affectionate and faithful, and remarkably

intelligent; he makes a capital house-dog, is a good guard and is

very safe with children.

Bedlingtons are not dainty feeders, as most writers have asserted,

nor are they tender dogs. If they are kept in good condition and get

plenty of exercise they feed as well as any others, and are as hard

as nails if not pampered. They are easy to breed and rear, and the

bitches make excellent mothers. If trained when young they are very

obedient, and their tendency to fight can in a great measure be cured

when they are puppies; but, if not checked then, it cannot be done

afterwards. Once they take to fighting nothing will keep them from

it, and instead of being pleasurable companions they become positive

nuisances. On the other hand, if properly broken they give very little

trouble, and will not quarrel unless set upon.