Bedlington Terriers

Beneath his gentle, lamblike appearance, the Bedlington Terrier has the heart of a lion. He is one of the more unusual terrier breeds, with his crisp and curly coat and somewhat relaxed --for a terrier-- nature. Any opportunity to chase prey such as rats or squirrels brings out his inner and assertive earthdog nature, though. The Bedlington’s moderate size of 17 to 23 pounds makes him suited to most homes, including apartments and condos. Here’s what you need to know if you are considering acquiring a Bedlington Terrier.

Health Issues Common to Bedlington Terriers

All purebred dogs have the potential to develop genetic health problems, just as all people have the potential to inherit a particular disease. Run, don't walk, from any breeder who does not offer a health guarantee on puppies, who tells you that the breed is 100 percent healthy and has no known problems, or who tells you that her puppies are isolated from the main part of the household for health reasons. A reputable breeder will be honest and open about health problems in the breed and the incidence with which they occur in her lines.

Bedlington Terriers are generally healthy, but conditions that may be seen in the breed include copper toxicosis, eye problems such as retinal dysplasia and distichiasis, and patellar luxation. At a minimum, ask breeders to show evidence that both of a puppy's parents have been cleared of copper toxicosis through a DNA test and have certification from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation that their eyes are healthy.

The Bedlington Terrier Club of America, which is the American Kennel Club parent organization for the breed in the United States, participates in the Canine Health Information Center Program. For a Bedlington to achieve CHIC certification, he must have OFA patella clearances, an OFA copper toxicosis evaluation from VetGen, plus an eye clearance from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation. Breeders must agree to have all test results, positive or negative, published in the CHIC database. You can check CHIC's website to see if a breeder's dogs have these certifications.

Do not purchase a puppy from a breeder who cannot provide you with written documentation that the parents were cleared of health problems that affect the breed. Having the dogs "vet checked" is not a substitute for genetic health testing.

Condition Risk Profile Cost to Diagnose and Treat
Copper Hepatopathy High $200-$1,000
Patellar Luxation High $1,500-$3,000
Chronic Active Hepatitis High $500-$5,000
Distichiasis Medium $1,500-$2,000

5 Tips to Bring Home a Healthy Bedlington Terrier Puppy

Finding a good breeder is more important than finding the right puppy. A good breeder will match you with the right puppy, and will without question have done all the health certifications necessary to screen out health problems as much as possible. Start your search for a breeder on the website of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America.

Consider an adult dog from a shelter or a rescue group. Many of the health and behavior problems in Bedlington Terriers aren't apparent in puppyhood, but by adopting an adult dog, most of them can be ruled out. Since a Bedlington Terrier can live to be 12 years old or more, even an adult dog will be with your family for a long time.

Puppy or adult, take your Bedlington Terrier to your veterinarian soon after adoption. Your veterinarian will be able to spot visible problems, and will work with you to set up a preventive regimen that will help you avoid many health issues.

Don't ever, ever, ever buy a puppy from a pet store. You're more likely to get an unhealthy, unsocialized and difficult to house-train puppy and will be supporting the cruelty of high-volume puppy mills.

Make sure you have a good contract with the seller, shelter or rescue group that spells out responsibilities on both sides. In states with "puppy lemon laws," be sure you and the person you get the dog from both understand your rights and recourses.

Pet Insurance for Bedlington Terriers

Pet insurance for Bedlington Terriers costs more than for mixed breed dogs. This is because Bedlington Terriers are more likely than mixed breed dogs to make claims for hereditary conditions that are expensive to treat.

Embrace dog insurance plans offer full coverage for all breed-specific conditions (excluding those that are pre-existing) to which Bedlington Terriers are susceptible. The best time to get pet insurance for your Bedlington Terrier is when he's a healthy puppy. You can't predict what will happen in the future, and pet insurance is the one thing you can't get when you need it the most.