Bedlington Terriers were originally bred to hunt various small game, with their primary prey being rabbits, hares, and rats. Originating from England, these terriers were a favorite among miners and common folk in the 1800s, who used them to help control the rodent population around their homes and workplaces.
These fast and agile dogs have a unique appearance, resembling a lamb, but possess the heart and courage of a lion. While they are not commonly used for hunting nowadays, their hunting instincts remain strong. As companion dogs, Bedlington Terriers remain an active and intelligent breed that enjoys exercise and mental stimulation.
Bedlington Terriers as Hunters
History of Bedlington Terriers as Hunters
Bedlington Terriers were originally bred in the Northumberland region of England in the 18th century. They primarily hunted vermin like rats, badgers, and game birds. The breed’s unique appearance made it popular with wealthy hunters, who appreciated the dog’s tenacity and agility.
List of Animals that Bedlington Terriers Hunt
Bedlington Terriers are versatile hunters with a strong prey drive. They were originally bred to hunt small game and vermin, here is a list of animals that Bedlington Terriers are known to hunt:
- Rabbits: Bedlington Terriers have a keen sense of smell and excellent speed, which makes them adept at tracking and catching rabbits.
- Rats: Bedlington Terriers were historically used as ratters, targeting rats and other rodents, their agile bodies and sharp instincts enable them to locate and eliminate these pests quickly.
- Mice: Bedlington Terriers have an instinct to chase and catch mice, their small size and quick movements make them perfect for navigating tight spaces where mice often hide.
- Squirrels: Bedlington Terriers possess the agility and athleticism needed to pursue and tree squirrels. They can climb trees or chase squirrels on the ground, making them effective hunters of these elegant creatures.
- Foxes: Although not as commonly encountered as other prey, Bedlington Terriers have been known to pursue and confront foxes. Their fearless nature and determination make them suitable for taking on larger games.
- Birds: Bedlington Terriers have a strong prey drive towards birds, particularly smaller species like sparrows or pigeons. Their speed and agility allow them to give chase and catch birds in open spaces.
- Ground-dwelling game birds: Bedlington Terriers have been used for hunting ground-dwelling game birds such as pheasants and quails. With their keen sense of smell and ability to flush out birds from cover, they assist hunters in locating and retrieving the game.
It’s important to note that while Bedlington Terriers have a hunting instinct, their hunting activities should always be supervised, and they should never be allowed to harm wildlife or endanger other animals.
Training Bedlington Terriers for Hunting
Basic Training for Bedlington Terriers
Bedlington Terriers are intelligent and eager to learn, making them relatively easy to train. However, they can be stubborn and independent, so consistency and patience are key. Basic obedience training is essential before moving on to hunting-specific training.
The first step is establishing yourself as the alpha, or pack leader. This can be achieved through positive reinforcement training, such as treats and praise for good behavior, and ignoring or redirecting bad behavior. Crate training and leash training are also important for safety and control.
Bedlington Terriers have an instinct to chase and hunt small prey, so introducing them to toys and games that mimic this behavior can be helpful. Encourage them to fetch and retrieve, and use toys to teach them to follow a scent or track.
Advanced Training Techniques for Bedlington Terriers
Once your Bedlington Terrier has mastered basic obedience and has shown an interest in hunting, you can begin more advanced training techniques. These may include:
- Scent training: Teach your dog to track and follow scents using specific commands and rewards.
- Retrieval training: Teach your dog to retrieve the game and bring it back to you.
- Water training: Introducing your dog to water and teaching them to retrieve the game from water.
- Gunfire training: Familiarize your dog with the sound of gunfire and teach them to remain calm and focused.
It’s important to remember that hunting with a Bedlington Terrier requires patience, skill, and practice. Always prioritize safety and be aware of your dog’s limitations. With proper training and guidance, Bedlington Terriers can make excellent hunting companions.
Bedlington Terriers as Companion Dogs
The temperament of Bedlington Terriers
Bedlington Terriers are wonderful companions because of their loving and faithful personality. They are gentle and serene, which makes them ideal family pets. Their intelligence and desire to please make them easy to train, but they can be stubborn, so consistent training is crucial.
Although Bedlington Terriers are not aggressive, they have a strong instinct to hunt. Therefore, keeping them on a leash or in a fenced area outside is essential to prevent them from chasing small animals.
Caring for Bedlington Terriers
Bedlington Terriers have a unique appearance with their curly, woolly coat. They require regular grooming to keep their coat in good condition. This includes brushing, trimming, and occasional baths and also needs to be professionally groomed every few months.
In addition to grooming, Bedlington Terriers need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. They enjoy walking, playing in the yard, and participating in obedience training and agility activities.
It’s important to provide Bedlington Terriers with proper nutrition to maintain their health. They should be fed high-quality dog food appropriate for their age and activity level. It’s also important to provide them with fresh water at all times.
Overall, Bedlington Terriers make great companion dogs for those willing to give them the care and attention they need. They are affectionate, loyal, and intelligent, making them a great addition to any family.