The Bedlington terrier is not an expensive dog to buy, as a first-class specimen may be obtained at prices varying from 10 to 20, or even as low as a five pound note. When we remember that quite a third-rate fox terrier has before now been sold for three hundred pounds, one wonders where the difference comes in. But fashion is accountable for it, and the Bedlington is not a dog that has changed much in character or form since its introduction to the public.

In 1870 Mr. Joseph Ainsley gave him the following description: -

Colour

Liver, sandy, blue, black and tan.

Shape

The jaw rather long and small, but muscular; the head high and narrow, with a silky tuft on the top; the hair rather wiry on the back; eyes small and rather sunk; the ears long and hanging close to the cheeks and slightly feathered at the tips; the neck long and muscular, rising well from the shoulders; chest deep but narrow; the body well proportioned, and the ribs flat; the legs must be long in proportion to the body; the thinner the hips are the better; tail small and tapering and slightly feathered. Altogether they are a lathy-made dog.

The following is the description issued by the Bedlington Terrier Club :

Skull

Narrow, but deep and rounded; high at occiput, and covered with a nice silky tuft or top-knot.

Faw

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 the skull to the occiput. The lips close-fitting and no flew.

Eyes

Should be small, and well sunk in head. The blues should have a dark eye. The blue and tan ditto, with amber shade. Livers, sandies, etc., a light brown eye.

Nose

Large, well angled. Blues and blue and tans should have black noses. Livers and sandies have flesh coloured.

Teeth

Level, or pincer-jawed.

Ears

Moderately large, well forward, 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 root, tapering to point, slightly feathered on lower side, 9m. to 11 in. long, and scimitar shaped.

Neck And Shoulders

Neck long, deep at base, rising well from 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, sandy and tan.

Height

About 15m. to 16in.

General Appearance

He is a light made-up, lathy dog.

The numerical points may be given as follows:

Value.

Head, including skull, jaw and ears............

20

Eyes and nose.........

10

Legs and feet............

15

Neck and shoulders ...

5

50

Value.

Body, including loin and stern ............

15

Coat.....................

15

Colour..................

10

General appearance ...

10

50

Grand Total, 100.

I should put the correct weight as between 181b. and 22lb. for dogs, and from 61b. to 20lb. for bitches. There is at present an inclination to produce heavier dogs, but such should be heavily handicapped when in the judging ring.

The points given above do not appear to me to be sufficiently explicit, so I print the following, which is pretty much the same as was issued by the original Bedlington Terrier Club.

Head

The head, though wedge-shaped, like that of most terriers, should be shorter in the skull and longer in the jaw, and narrow or lean in muzzle; the skull should be comparatively narrow and high, coned or peaked at the occiput, and taper away sharply to the nose.

Ears

Should be filbert-shaped, lie close to the cheek, and set on low, hanging something like those of a Dandie Dinmont terrier, leaving the head clear and flat; the ears should be feathered at the tips.

Eyes

In blue, or blue and tan, the eyes have a dark amber shade; in livers or yellows it is much lighter in colour, varying with the shade of the dog. The eyes should be small, well sunk into the head, and placed rather close together; very piercing when roused.

Jaw And Teeth

The jaw should be long, lean, and powerful. Most of these dogs are a little 'shot' at the upper jaw, and are often termed 'pig-jawed;' this is a fault. The teeth should meet evenly together, but it is not very often they are found that way; the teeth should be large, regular, and white.

Nose

The nose or nostrils should be large, and stand out well from the jaw. Blue or blue and tans have black noses, and livers, yellows, etc, red or flesh-coloured noses.

Neck And Shoulders

The neck long and muscular, rising gradually from the shoulders to the head. The shoulder flat and light, and set much like the greyhound's. The height at the shoulder is less than at the haunch. More or less this is the case with all dogs, but is most pronounced with this breed, especially in bitches.

Body, Ribs, Back, Loins, Quarters, And Chest

A moderately long body, rather flat ribs, short straight back, slightly arched, tight and muscular loins, just a little tucked up in the flank, fully developed quarters, widish and deep chest; the whole showing full muscular development.

Legs And Feet

Legs perfectly straight and moderately long; the feet should be rather large, that is a distinguishing mark of the breed; long claws are also admired by some, but this I cannot allow to be correct.

Coat

This is the principal point on which there is difference of opinion; some prefer a hard wiry coat, which several of the south country judges 'go in' for, but the proper hair of these dogs is linty or woolly, with a very slight sprinkling of wire hairs, and this is still the coat advocated by the majority of north country breeders.

Colour

The original colours were blue and tan, livers, and sandies, and these are still the favourite. The tan is of a pale colour, and so differs greatly from the tan of the black and tan English terriers, and the blues should be a proper blue, not nearly black, which is sometimes seen now. In all colours the crown of the head should be nearly white, otherwise white is most objectionable.

Tail

The tail should be of moderate length {8in. to 10in.), either straight or slightly curved, carried low, and feathered underneath. The tail should by no means be curled or carried high on to the back.

Weight

The weight of these dogs varies greatly, but the average is from 181b. to 231b., or at outside about 251b. weight.

Perhaps it may be considered superfluous to give the points and description as adopted by the club and what Mr. Joseph Ainsley wrote on the same subject, but a comparison of the two will no doubt be found interesting.

Although earlier in this chapter I (The Terriers) have alluded to -a certain amount of popularity the Bedlington terrier appeared to have attained thirteen or fourteen years ago, I am sorry to state that as an ordinary companion he has not advanced in public favour; and I am sadly afraid that if some admirers of the breed or variety do not soon come to the rescue, a useful, hardy, and game terrier will be supplanted by a more fashionable dog, which may not be better in any respect.

There was a time, and that not very long ago, when the competition in the Bedlington terrier classes at all our shows was much keener than it is now. At Cruft's great exhibition held at the Agricultural Hall, Islington, in March, 1894, with four classes provided, there were but nine dogs competing, not one of which was a really first-rate specimens; this was even a worse entry than that alluded to on another page. It is seldom we see terriers of this variety running in the streets at the heels of their owners, yet they are quite as likely animals for the house and as companions as either the Airedale terrier or the Irish terrier, and are certainly more cleanly than the shorter legged terriers of any of the Scottish strains. Perhaps their lack of popularity is purely accidental, and their opportunity of becoming fashionable canines has not yet arrived.