Bedlington Whippet (Lurcher): The Complete Guide

With the sheer number of potential lurcher varieties out there, it can often be difficult to keep up-to-date with all the different mixes that are possible. It’s no surprise, therefore, that most people haven’t heard of the Bedlington Whippet, let alone know anything about it. And, if you’ve made your way to this article, it’s a safe bet that your knowledge on the Bedlington Whippet is limited, and you want to learn more, right?

Well, you’ve come to the right place! In today’s post, we’re going to take an in-depth look at the lurcher known as the Bedlington Whippet and furnish you with absolutely everything you need to know. So, without further ado, let’s begin!

Bedlington Whippet: An Introduction

As you’ll no doubt be aware, the Bedlington Whippet, like all other lurchers, is a crossbreed. This particular lurcher is a mix between a Whippet and a Bedlington Terrier, hence the name ‘Bedlington Whippet’. If you can’t picture what a Bedlington Whippet looks like, just think of a Whippet but fluffier!

Although they appear to be a relatively new breed, they have, in fact, been around for many hundreds of years (something we’ll delve into in the next section); however, being a crossbreed, they’re registered not with the Kennel Club.

Despite being relatively unheard of amongst the masses, the Bedlington Whippet has become increasingly popular across the UK and Ireland, both as a pet and a hunting/working dog due to their highly adaptable nature; one minute they can be racing after a hare and the next they can be the perfect family companion cuddled up on the sofa.

Compared to other lurchers, the Bedlington Whippet is actually quite small, which should come as no surprise given their parentage, i.e. the combination of a small breed (Bedlington Terrier) and a medium breed (Whippet). However, this makes them exceptionally agile and nimble – even when at high speed.

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Bedlington Whippet: A History

Believe it or not, the Bedlington Whippet actually dates back to the 1300s, at a time when only the aristocracy had access to sighthounds. Therefore, sighthounds were crossed with working dogs to avoid the restrictions that stopped anyone but the very richest and powerful people from owning a sighthound (cross).

By the 17th century, the Bedlington Whippet had become very popular, particularly amongst Romany gypsies who used the Bedlington Whippet’s (and other lurcher’s) speed, agility, nimbleness, and high prey drive for hunting. In fact, it was no surprise that the Bedlington Whippet became so popular amongst travellers, as this working dog breed was always favoured due to its excellent hunting and tracking skills, so when combined with the speed, agility, and prey drive of a whippet, one of the most proficient hunting dog breeds in existence at the time was created.

Bedlington Whippet: Personality & Temperament

From our experience of Bedlington Whippets, it’s safe to say that they’re a relatively calm and quiet crossbreed that thrive in human company. However, they’re also known for being adaptable, which means they’re quite happy to swap being snuggled up on a warm, comfy sofa with their family for a high-speed run in the great outdoors. While the Bedlington Whippet was no doubt bred to work and hunt, they truly are a loving and loyal companion.

Like most lurchers, they love sleeping and will often doze for anywhere between 12 and 16 hours per day. However, this doesn’t mean it’s wise to leave them alone for more than three or four hours, as this may cause stress and induce separation anxiety. Only leave them alone for more than an hour two if they’ve already been walked and are worn out.

Are Bedlington Whippets Good With Small Children?

As mentioned above, Bedlington Whippets make great family pets. Not only do they love to cuddle up to their family, but they’re also big fans of playing outside, be it in the garden or in the amazing English countryside. However, it’s important to note that Bedlington Whippet puppies can be rather boisterous, meaning they’re better suited to children over the age of five unless you’re able to supervise them at all times (which is always advisable anyway).

How Do Bedlington Whippets React To Other Dogs?

On the whole, Bedlington Whippets are very social creatures – and that includes interactions with other dogs too. However, if your four-legged friend is a rescue, it’s always best to test the water first before throwing your new pooch into a situation with lots of other dogs. Sadly, some dogs are mentally scarred by past experiences, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry in these types of situations. Furthermore, smaller dogs can sometimes elicit a predatory instinct in Lurchers, so this is also something to be aware of.

The key to successful socialisation is training and ensuring your dog socialises on a regular basis with a variety of dog breeds and sizes. The more they socialise, the better they will typically be where other dogs are concerned.

How Do Bedlington Whippets React To Strangers?

Being a sociable breed, Bedlington Whippets are usually absolutely fine with strangers; however, you’ll never really know until a stranger enters your home! If your dog hasn’t been appropriately socialised when they were a puppy, they may become overly shy or wary when new people enter your home.

How Much Exercise Do Bedlington Whippets Need?

People often think that Lurchers require huge amounts of exercise, but, in reality, this is very rarely the case. Despite being exceptionally quick, Lurchers aren’t typically built for endurance, so 60 to 90 minutes of exercise each day is perfectly acceptable and will be more than enough to meet their exercise requirements and make them tired enough to sleep the rest of the day!

As is the case with pretty much all dog breeds, Bedlington Whippets are bursting with energy and bordering on hyperactive in their first six to twelve months but gradually calm down as they get older. Of course, not all will, so it’s something you’ll just have to find out as your four-legged friend gets older!

Given their desire to run, walking should involve wide open spaces, ideally away from roads and small furry animals, as this will allow your Bedlington Whippet to exercise fully without any potential hazards or distractions. Remember, their prey drive is insanely high, so avoiding small animals is a must – no matter how good your dog’s recall is!

Do Bedlington Whippets Suffer From Any Health Conditions?

Although Bedlington Whippets are a generally healthy breed, they may suffer from the following health conditions:

  • Heatstroke: Bedlington Whippets don’t fare well in hot weather, so during the summer months, it is essential to take them out earlier on in the day when it is cooler. If you must take them out when the sun is out, ensure there’s a water source for them to swim in.
  • Gastric Dilatation Volvulus: Lurchers are renowned for eating very quickly – and the Bedlington Whippet is no different. This issue presents itself when a dog ingests food too rapidly, resulting in twisting of the stomach.

Are Bedlington Whippets Intelligent And Easy To Train?

Bedlington Whippets are both independent and intelligent, which makes them relatively easy to train but don’t be surprised if they have a habit of roaming off and doing their own thing from time to time!

It’s imperative to begin socialising your Bedlington Whippet straight away, as this breed is renowned for becoming timid if they’re not socialised properly. Introduce your dog to other dogs and new people and places as often as you can. While Bedlington Whippets aren’t known for being aggressive, they can become so if fearful through lack of socialisation.

Despite being fairly easy to train, the hardest aspect of training all Lurchers is recall as their prey drive can be almost all-consuming! Practise and patience should be your watchwords here and be prepared to train recall throughout your dog’s life.

Bedlington Whippets don’t react well to shouting or scalding, so keep as calm and reassuring as you can when training – even if they do something really naughty. Oh, and be sure to train your dog to leave food well alone. Lurchers are notorious for stealing food, so that’s one trait you want to eradicate straight away!

Grooming

Last, but certainly not least, we’ll take a look at the grooming demands of Bedlington Whippets.

Compared to most other Lurcher crosses, Bedlington Whippets have coarse, rough fur, thanks to their Bedlington Terrier parentage. Regular brushing with a strong bristled brush, the odd trim, and the occasional bath/shower are required to keep their coat in tip-top condition.

Lurchers for Beginners: Seven Expert Tips

In this section, we’ll be sharing with you our top beginner tips for lurchers. Of course, some of these may not apply to your Bedlington whippet because, as you’ll no doubt be aware, every single dog is different; but, from our experience, the below tips should help you decide whether or not a Bedlington whippet is the dog for you!

#1 – They don’t need as much exercise as you think. 

Lurchers like the Bedlington Whippet are bonafide speed demons and can run in excess of 40mph in short bursts. However, just because lurchers can run fast doesn’t mean they need lots of exercise; in fact, they really don’t need that much at all. An hour a day is more than enough for a Bedlington Whippet, provided they’re able to let off steam by running about at top speed form time to time on your walk! Lurchers, like their greyhound and whippet parents, are renowned for sleeping for anywhere up to 18 hours a day, so be prepared for lots of lounging around and sleeping rather than expansive walks for hours and hours on end!

#2 – They’re laid back and relatively low maintenance.

The great thing about lurchers is that, for the most part, they tend to take after their greyhound or whippet parent, making them non-territorial and very independent. In fact, they’re often so laid back they often won’t bark at the doorbell or even bother to haul themselves out of bed to greet visitors!

Furthermore, despite being large in size, Bedlington Whippets are both graceful and agile; therefore, it’s unlikely they’ll get in your way or under your feet. Plus, given their independent, chilled out nature, nature, they’re as happy to do their own thing as they are to cuddle up on the sofa with you.

#3 – Each lurcher is completely unique.

Being a cross between a sighthound, e.g. a whippet, greyhound, or Saluki, and a working dog, e.g. a terrier, collie, or retriever, no two lurchers will ever be the same. Although this can be said for most mixed breeds, it is particularly true for lurchers such as the Bedlington Whippet. It’s impossible to know whether your dog’s parents were pure or mixed breed themselves, so your Bedlington Whippet could be a mix of several types of dogs to varying degrees!

#4 – Be prepared for their prey drive.

Although all lurchers are unique, if there’s one thing that they all definitely have in common, it’s their insatiable prey drive! It’s hardwired into lurchers brains to chase small animals such as squirrels, rabbit, rats, cats, and the like. This means that practising recall on a regular basis if absolutely vital throughout their life. It’s also good practise to take plenty of delicious, high-value treats out with you to temp your Bedlington Whippet away from any potential prey animals. Oh, and don’t forget the toys too!

#5 – Be prepared for their scavenging nature.

Lurchers are notorious for their scavenging nature – something I learnt at Christmas when my lurcher stole a Yorkshire pudding from my plate the instant my back was turned! Given their size and long legs, reaching food on kitchen surfaces, tables, and the like isn’t too much of a challenging task; therefore, be sure to leave food well away from the sides and unattended. However, it’s not only food on the side and table that you need to be careful with; discarded food, i.e. food in the bin, isn’t safe from lurchers either!

#6 – They’re incredibly loyal.

Greyhounds, whippets, and lurchers have been bred for many thousands of years to be very sociable, almost passive dogs (unless there’s a squirrel about, of course!), so it’s no surprise that they’re gentle creatures who are very fond of human company. In fact, they’re not only fond of human company, but they’re also very affectionate at times too! When my lurcher joins me on the sofa, he can’t lie down and get comfortable unless his paws or head are touching me. At the end of the day, as much greyhounds and lurchers love running around, they love being cuddled up to their family even more!

#7 – They need kindness, patience, and love.

Ok, so this is the case with all dogs, but it can’t be said enough – particularly if your Bedlington Whippet is a rescue. Lurchers, by their very nature, are sensitive little souls who need patience and love as opposed to impatience and stern words. It doesn’t take all that much to break the confidence of a lurcher such as the Bedlington Whippet – so be kind!

Where training is concerned, take it slow, don’t rush, and be prepared for it to take a while. At first, your four-legged friend will no doubt be distracted by anything and everything they see, but with the right training and buckers of patience, they’ll be very well behaved in no time! Always take care to reassure and be there for your lurcher at every opportunity, i.e. 24/7; it really will help them to settle in and become an obedient and loving dog.

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