This section is from the book "The Terriers. A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland", by Rawdon B. Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: The Terriers.
In 1869 the following interesting and valuable history of this breed appeared in the Field, and has been copied since without proper acknowledgement:
"Owing to the interest lately evinced in the Bedlington terrier in the pages of the Field, I am encouraged to contribute my quota of information. But, as I find myself in opposition to most of your previous correspondents, I had better first give you, sir, and through you the public, the guarantee of one who has made the acquaintance of the breed in its native district. I am also supported by the high authority of Mr. Joseph Ainsley, the first owner and breeder of the Bedlington terrier proper. Mr. Thomas Sanderson, too, a breeder of forty years' standing, has given me the benefit of his extensive experience; and I could name others who have bred and owned this dog for twenty and thirty years respectively.
"To make myself understood, I find it necessary to premise that during the first quarter of the present century Mr. Edward Donkin, of Flotterton, hunted a pack of foxhounds well known in the Rothbury district. At that time he possessed two very celebrated kennel terriers, Peachem and Pincher, which are alluded to in the pedigree below. A colony of sporting nailors then flourished at Bedlington, who were noted for their plucky breed of terriers. But a reform was at hand, and the old favourites were obliged to make way for new blood. To Joseph Ainsley, a mason by trade, belongs this honour. He purchased a dog named Peachem of a Mr. William Cowen, of Rothbury; and the result of a union of this dog with Mr. Christopher Dixon's Phoebe, of Longhorsley, was Piper, belonging to James Anderson, of Rothbury Forest. Piper was a dog of splendid build, about 15m. high, and 151b. weight; he was of a liver colour, the hair being a sort of hard woolly lint; his ear was large, hung close to the cheek, and was slightly feathered at the tip.
"In the year 1820 Mr. J. Howe, of Alnwick, visited a friend at Bedlington, and brought with him a terrier bitch named Phoebe, which he left with Mr. Edward Coates, of the Vicarage. Phoebe belonged to Mr. Andrew Riddell, of Framlington, who subsequently made a present of her to Ainsley; but, from the fact of her home being at the Vicarage, she was generally known as "Coates's Phoebe".
Her colour was a black or black-blue, and she had the invariable light-coloured silky tuft of hair on her head. She was about 13m. high, and weighed 141b. In 1825 she was mated with Anderson's Piper, and the fruit of this union was the Bedlington terrier in question. Of the sagacity and courage of Ainsley's Piper, one of their offspring, a volume might be written, and to submit a list of the best known specimens would be tedious. There were Ainsley's Crowner, Jin, Meg, and Young Phoebe, the Bow Alley dog, Rinside Moor House dog, Angerton Moor House dog, Ainsley's Ranter (of Redheugh, Gateshead), Coates's Peachem, Weatherburn's Phoebe, Hoy's Rocky, Fish's Crib, and, in short, a host of good and tried ones.
"The old and true breed is now scarce, and there are few indeed, even in Northumberland, able to furnish a reliable pedigree of the original doughty specimen. In some instances the cross with the otter hound has been indulged in, but the result was disappointment. The bull strain has been introduced, it is supposed, for fighting purposes; and for rabbit coursing the 'leggy' beast has been bred; but one and all diverge from the original, either in size, shape, or some other important particular.
"The model Bedlington should be rather long and small in the jaw, but withal muscular; the head high and narrow, and crowned with the tuft of silky hair of lighter colour than that on the body; the eyes small, round and rather sunk, and dull until excited, and then they are 'piercers'; the ears are filbert-shaped, long, and hang close to the cheek, free of long hair, but slightly feathered at the tips; the neck is long, slender, and muscular, and the body well-proportioned, slender, and deep-chested; the toes must be well arched, legs straight, and rather long in proportion to the height, but not to any marked extent; the tail varies from 8in. to 12in. in length, is small and tapering, and free of feather. The best, and indeed only true, colours are - first, liver or sandy, and in either case the nose must be of a dark brown flesh colour; or, secondly, a black-blue, when the nose is black.
"The Bedlington terrier is fast, and whether on land or in water is equally at home. In appetite these dogs are dainty, and they seldom fatten; but experience has shown them to be wiry, enduring, and in courage equal to the bulldog. They will face almost anything, and I know of a dog which will extinguish a lighted candle or burning paper at its masters bidding. To their other good qualities may be added their marked intelligence, and hostility to vermin of all forms and names. They will encounter the otter, fox, or badger with the greatest determination. Hitherto they have been regarded as a pure, though distinct, breed of terrier, and it was with some surprise that I found one of your correspondents write them down a 'crossbreed.'
"The 'linty-haired,' 'flaxen-coloured' terrier is common enough, but then he was never promoted to the dignity of a 'Bedlington terrier,' except through courtesy. The breeding in and in alluded to is condemned as injurious beyond one strain.
"The following pedigree of Ainsley's Piper may be desirable as proving the facts contained in this letter: Ainsley's Piper by James Anderson's Piper, of Rothbury Forest, out of Ainsley's Phoebe, alias Coates's Phoebe; Anderson's Piper, by Ainsley's Peachem out of Christopher Dixon's Phoebe, of Longhorsley; Peachem, by Cowen's Burdett out of David Moffitt's bitch, of Howick; Dixon's Phoebe, by Sheawick's Matchem, of Longhorsley, put of John Dodd's Phoebe, of the same place; Matchem, by Mr. Edwd. Donkins's Pincher, of Flotterton, out of William Wardle's bitch, of Framlington; Dodd's Phoebe, by Donkin's Old Peachem out of Andrew Evans's Vixen, of Thropton; Vixen, by the Miller's dog, of Felton, out of Carr's bitch, of Felton Hall. Ainsley's Old Phoebe was by the Rennington dog out of Andrew RiddelPs Wasp, of Framlington; Wasp, by Wm. Turnbull's Pincher, of Holystone, out of William Wardle's bitch; Pincher, by Donkin's Old Peachem out of Turnbull's Fan; Fan, by Myles's Matchem, of Netherwitton, by Squire Trevelyan's Flint. Donkins's Pincher,by Donkins's Old Peachem (continued from Ainsley's Piper). Ainsley's Crowner, by owner's Piper out of owner's Meg; Meg, out of Jin (own sister to Piper), by Robert Bell's Tugg, of Wingates; Tugg, by Robert Dixon's Dusty, of Longhorsley, out of a bitch of the Makepiece breed, presented to J. Ainsley by John Thompson".