Bedlington Whippets are not the typical dogs you’d associate with the word ‘whippet’. Unlike the lean mean whippets, Bedlington whippets are small, sheep-like dogs, with a thick, shaggy coat. They are built a little more stockily and with a wider, squarer head.
They are a relatively young dog breed and have been known to exist only for the last 100 years. Bedlington whippets are specially bred working dogs, used especially to chase pests off the property. They are famously effective ratters and are also featured in dog races.
Bedlington whippets or ‘beddy whippets’ get their skill at racing and ability to get to high speeds from their relative, the whippet. Both whippets and greyhounds are well known race dogs. While Bedlington whippets don’t manage running track at quite the same level, they are very high energy dogs and do still run quite fast.
Highlights about Bedlington Whippets
- Bedlington Whippets are not a pure breed, but a cross between Bedlington Terriers Whippet crosses. If you haven’t heard of Bedlington terriers before, they are medium sized, sheep-like dogs originating from the town of Bedlington in north east England. They were specially trained and raised to rid the grounds of vermin. That’s one reason Bedlington whippets are so great at pest control as well.
- They are small to medium sized dogs, averaging a height of 15-17 inches (38-43 cm) at the shoulder, and a weight of around 17-25 lb (7-10 kg). They are smaller than most other Lurcher breeds.
- Bedlington whippets are found in the same range of colors that the breeds they originate from come in. So, you have quite a palette of shades, from snowy white to blue-grey, browns, and mottled grey-black. But most often, the dogs have 2-3 colors and multiple shades in their coat.
- Like bedlington terriers, bedlington whippets also have a thick, closely woven shaggy coat that doesn’t get quite as long. Depending upon their ancestry, the fur can even be shorter and woolier, if they resemble their whippet parent more.
- Bedlington whippets also often have a typical knot of hair on top of their head, a sign that is very typical of bedlington terriers. However, it’s usually not as large or pronounced.
- Although they are very shaggy and fluffy dogs, they do not shed much. This makes them very suitable as indoor dogs as well. Or, at the very least, having your pooch indoors won’t mean that you have to vacuum the place every time.
- The fur of bedlington whippets also has the same non-smelling property that their terrier ancestors possess. This means that the fur remains coiled and clean and will not give off that wet-dog smell. Consequently, their coat also does not require very elaborate grooming but does need frequent detangling to prevent matting.
- The average lifespan of the breed is between 12-15 years, although some have been known to live up to 18 years.
- Bedlington whippets look like small, mild-mannered dogs (and they are!) but they are also a working dog breed. As a result, they are incredibly active dogs and require a lot of exercise and engagement daily.
Bedlington Whippet Size
The average Bedlington x Whippet dog retains much of the coat and facial appearances of their terrier side.
But because of their whippet size, they are slightly larger on average, and also lean and graceful.
Bedlington whippet male dogs have an average height of 16-17 inches/ 41-43 cm at shoulder, while the females average 15-16 inches / 38-40 cm at shoulder. There is not a lot of deviation outside this range, unless the parent dogs are exceptionally large or small.
They are a medium sized dog and usually weigh in at 17-25 lb or 7-10 kg. It’s always recommended that the dog’s weight be controlled in a range proportional to his or her height, to maintain their health and agility.
Beddy whippets inherit their high arched loins and hind legs and shoulders from their whippet side, and are very graceful dogs, even if not quite so lean as greyhounds or whippets. Their fur offers them a shaggier, fluffier appearance, but when it comes to moving fast, bedlington whippets are very nimble and light on their feet.
While they cannot take off with the same astonishing speed that whippets manage, they are very fast runners and very agile, with a spry, long arched running gait. They are also very good at burrowing, one of the reasons the breed was originally bred in the first place.
Bedlington Whippets Temperament and Personality
A Bedlington Whippet cross is not many inches tall, but every inch the family dog. They are very mild mannered, are rarely aggressive, and very compliant around other dogs in the house. Also, they are incredibly intelligent dogs and can be trained to follow a variety of commands.
Relationship with Children:
Bedlington whippets are great dogs to have in a house with children in it. They do well in family groups and with small children, since they are very patient, very loving and affectionate, and do well with physical attention. They are also very attentive and although not as reputed for this as other nanny dogs, they do well around children who are old enough to be left alone.
Bedlington whippets can be trained to react well to stranger-danger, but for the most part, they are very placid dogs who rarely even bark. They are very playful and active and are great at keeping children busy playing outdoors. This is actually a good way of making sure that children play outdoors, and the dog gets his quota of daily exercise as well.
Beddy whippets are high energy dogs, which is why they don’t do well in small apartments or living spaces with restricted mobility. But their low maintenance status helps too.
Relationship with other pets:
A basic whippet fact is that because of their hunting instinct, bedlington whippets do not do well with other small animals in the house. They are highly skilled ratters and have been bred for generations to get rid of vermin and pests from the property and vicinity.
As a result, they do not get along with cats and small pets like hamsters or guinea pigs. They have also been used for generations as hunting dogs, which is why they do not adjust well with birds or fowl either.
Bedlington Whippet Health
On an average, bedlington whippets live for an average of 12-15 years.
Although bedlington whippet puppies are adorable little fluff balls and they retain their health with good nutrition (as long as they are from ethical breeders, of course), there are some issues that recur very often in the breed.
Common Health Issues:
- Osteosarcoma and Bone Dysplasias: osteosarcomas are a kind of bone cancer that the bedlington whippet breeds are prone to developing. Usually, the onset is in later years, which is why older dogs should be screened by the vet frequently, especially if they start showing symptoms like weight loss and reduced appetite.
Older Bedlington whippets are also prone to developing hip dysplasias, especially if their immediate ancestry has a predisposition to it. It manifests as a steady decrease in their physical activity, and even lameness in one or both hind legs.
- Heat intolerance: because of their thick and shaggy coat, bedlington whippets are prone to developing heat exhaustion in arid and hot climates. They do best in temperate and cold climates, so that they can maintain a high level of activity without getting heat exhaustion.
- Canine bloat: bedlington whippets are susceptible to developing bloat, which is a potentially fatal condition where there is a blockage in the intestines. Because of reduced intestinal motility or twisting in the intestines, the dog’s abdomen can bloat and this can lead to sepsis and shock. This is why bedlington whippets should be taken to the vet at the earliest sign of abdominal distress, such as whining, a distended abdomen, pain over the stomach, drooling, etc.
Bedlington Whippet Care
As far as ease of handling is concerned, bedlington whippets are highly intelligent dogs and benefit from being trained at an early age. They are capable of learning complex commands as well and follow instructions without fussing.
However, they are not suited well to first time owners. They do much better with experienced dog owners, who can ensure that they get at least one hour of high intensity exercise every day. Younger dogs require more exercise. Older dogs slow down a little and spend more time relaxing indoors, as they get older.
However, even older dogs do not manage well with being left alone at home for long periods of time. Younger dogs cannot be left at home during the day without companionship because they develop social anxiety, and this can lead to other disturbed behaviors like scratching and howling and anxious behavior, like excessive urination. This is why they should ideally not be adopted into houses where the sole owner is away all day.
Bedlington Whippet Feeding
Bedlington whippets are working dogs who have a very high energy output. As a result, they need a high calorie, high protein food that covers their energy requirements. Dogs that are working on farms or live-in places where they run over large swatches of land, require an even higher calorie intake daily.
In addition to this, bedlington whippets need high fiber foods that make sure their bowel movements are regular, because they are prone to developing bowel obstruction quickly, otherwise.
Bedlington whippets also benefit from a diet rich in omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, which helps strengthen their bones. Puppies younger than 6 months old require 1.5-2.5 cups of dry food per day, while puppies older than 6 months require 2.5-3 cups per day. Adult dogs should be fed between 2.5-3.5 cups per day, but the amounts should be adjusted to accommodate higher energy expenditure for working dogs.
Bedlington Whippet Grooming
Generally speaking, bedlington whippets are low maintenance dogs, which really swings the whippets pros and cons in their favor.
They do not shed much, and do not require much help except frequent baths and brushing. The fact that their fur also does not smell is also a great plus factor.
Bedlington Whippets: Everything Else
Although bedlington lurchers are great family dogs, they’re not the best option for first time dog owners or for people who live in apartments. Cat owners who want to adopt a bedlington whippet also need to work very hard on making sure that the dog recognises the cat socially and not as prey. Animals that suddenly run away trigger the hunting instinct in bedlington whippets, and that can have bad consequences.
FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Do Bedlington Whippets make good pets?
Yes, bedlington whippets make good pets for people who live active lifestyles and have larger homesteads. They are also good family dogs.
Do Bedlington Whippets shed?
Bedlington Whippets shed minimally, with a small amount of variability depending on their immediate parents’ coats. But generally speaking, they shed next to nothing, especially if they are bathed and detangled regularly.
How big do Bedlington Whippets grow?
Bedlington whippets are medium sized dogs and grow to an average size of 15-17 inches / 38-43 cm at the shoulder. They have a lean build, but look fuller because of their fluffy coat.
Are Whippets high maintenance?
Whippets are not high maintenance dogs when it comes to grooming and care but do require a lot of attention for training them properly and making sure that they get enough exercise every day.
Can a whippet live with a cat?
While whippets are easier to train with cats in the house, bedlington whippets do not take well to cats. Some dogs manage if they have been socialized with cats from puppyhood. Otherwise, it’s not recommended.
Is a whippet cross a lurcher?
Yes, whippet crosses are lurchers. A lurcher is any dog that is a cross between a sighthound and a non-sight breed, but still traditionally looks more like the lean built greyhounds. Bedlington whippets are also lurchers because of their whippet side and terrier ancestry.
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