The Ultimate Guide To Bedlington Whippets Lurchers

Adding a dog to your family is a big decision requiring much thought and research.

Dog breeds vary wildly in their temperament, ability to be trained, and the health conditions that they are likely to have genetically inherited.

Dogs also come in all shapes and sizes, some of which won’t be suitable for the space that you have available.

One breed that is common for many families is the Bedlington Whippet, otherwise known as Lurchers.

This article is the ultimate guide to everything that you need to know about this wonderful breed.

Use it to help you make the most informed decision about whether this breed fits your lifestyle.

Breed Overview

The main thing to know about Lurchers is that they are a crossbreed rather than a pedigree. They are a mix of sighthounds and working dogs.

This means that there are many different varieties of Lurchers.  Each type of Lurcher is influenced by which type of sighthound was bred with which working dog.  

The Bedlington Whippet is the result of cross-breeding between a Bedlington Terrier and a Whippet.

These dogs are very popular with families throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland.

They are also a great option for hunters as the working instincts of the dog are still strong.  

Despite the fact that Bedlington Whippets have an extensive history, they are still not recognized as an official breed.

This is partly due to the fact that their heritage and genetics are so confusing.  

One of the most outstanding features of this particular breed is the ability that the dog has to adapt to different situations and environments.

They can go from being a focused hunting dog to a friendly family companion from one minute to the next. It is this trait that makes them especially good hunting dogs.

Bedlington Whippet Size

One of the most important things to consider when getting a dog is the physical size of the breed.

If you have a finite amount of space, you don’t want to go ahead and get a dog that is too big for the room you have.  

Bedlington Whippets range in height from 15-17 inches on average.  Male Bedlington Whippets reach a height of 16-17 inches at the shoulder.

Female Bedlington Whippets reach a height of 15-16 inches at the shoulder. This makes them medium-sized dogs.

However, it is possible for some Bedlington Whippets to grow as tall as 20 inches which should be considered when deciding on this breed.

Because Bedlington Whippets are medium-sized dogs, their weight should generally fall between 7-10 kg or 17-25 lb.

It is important to ensure that your Bedlington Whippet’s weight is maintained within this healthy range to sustain their overall health and their agility

The lifespan of a Bedlington Whippet is, on average, between 12 – 15 years.

However, it has been known for some dogs of this breed to live for up to 18 years.  Genetics, health, and quality of life will play a large role in the lifespan of your dog. 

History Of The Breed

The history of Lurcher dogs is extensive, stretching back to the 14th century. At this time, sighthounds were only allowed to be owned by the aristocracy.

This led to sighthounds being bred with working dogs to get around the restrictions. 

In the 17th century, many travelling communities in Europe wanted to breed a silent hunting dog that could successfully hunt animals such as deer, rabbits, and other game. This led to the creation of the Lurcher.  

A pedigree Bedlington terrier is often described as a sheep look-a-like thanks to its longer and rougher coat than other whippets.

The cross-bred dog created with the Bedlington terrier was originally very popular in areas such as Northumberland and Durham.  Nowadays, the Bedlington Whippet is more commonly referred to as a Lurcher.  

Positive Traits

No dog breed is 100% perfect, there are always going to be traits that are viewed as either mostly positive or negative.

How much these traits factor into your decision to adopt a Lurcher depends on how applicable they are to your lifestyle.

Below are some of the most popular traits of Bedlington Whippets.  

One of the best traits of the Bedlington Whippet is the fact that it makes such a great family companion dog.

They are naturally good with other dogs and children so you won’t have to worry about your pup getting along with any members of your family existing or in the future. 

They also have a wonderful temperament.  Bedlington Whippets are relaxed dogs that are affectionate and gentle.

This makes them great for families with kids who like to play as well as calmer households where they can relax on the sofa.

Another trait that many people consider to be a positive is that Bedlington Whippets are known for not barking very much. 

Despite their rough and slightly longer than a short coat, Bedlington Whippets actually have very minimal grooming needs.

This means that you won’t have to worry about ensuring that their coat is in good condition.

Another great trait of Bedlington Whippets is their intelligence and their ability to be trained easily.

This can be a great trait if you want to be able to use the dog as a working dog as well as a pet. 

Negative Traits

As with all dog breeds, there are some traits that are considered to be negative traits. These traits are important to consider before deciding on which breed to adopt.  

Bedlington Whippets are not generally cat friendly. This doesn’t mean that you won’t get lucky and have an individual Lurcher that gets along with your existing cat, however, it is a risky position to put your existing pet into.

Generally, if you have a cat in your home, a Bedlington Whippet is not the best breed of choice. 

Another trait that may be seen as negative by some people is the amount of exercise that Bedlington Whippets require.

These dogs have copious amounts of energy that need to be burned off through regular and intense exercise.

This is fine if regular exercise is already a large part of your lifestyle, but for some, it may be too much.

Their need for large amounts of exercise also means that Bedlington Whippets are not suitable for living in a flat.

Ideally, they need a spacious back garden where they can burn off bursts of energy whenever they want to. 

Finally, Bedlington Whippets are not a suitable breed for first-time dog owners.

This is mostly because of the amount of energy that they have and the stimulation that they need to be happy and healthy. 


The personality of Bedlington Whippets makes them perfect hunting dogs and family dogs rolled into one.

They are intelligent and incredibly willing to learn which means that you can train them for hunting or simply to perform fun tricks.  

They also are very affectionate dogs that will be loyal and always by your side.

They also tend to be very quiet dogs that don’t often bark unless they need to (see also ‘Dog Barking At Sounds‘).  They are highly sociable dogs that will make you very popular at your local dog park. 

Despite being bred from sight dogs and regularly used for hunting, Bedlington Whippets are incredibly calm and quiet dogs by nature.

They also love their sleep despite the amount of energy that they have.

On average, Bedlington Whippets like to sleep for between 12 – 14 hours per day. This means that you don’t have to worry about losing out on your own sleep with these dogs.  

Bedlington Whippets enjoy being around their people and don’t like being left alone for long periods of time.

They can often manage stretches of around 4 hours as long as their exercise needs have been met prior.  


Speaking of their exercise needs, Bedlington Whippets need an average of 2 hours of exercise each day.

They are best suited to rural areas or open spaces where they are free to run around and get their energy out properly.

Because Bedlington Whippets are highly trainable, it is possible to train them to walk properly on a lead but you will have to walk them for much longer in order for them to burn enough energy. 

When Bedlington Whippets are puppies, they are likely to be prone to hyperactivity, which means that they might need even more exercise on a daily basis than the average 2 hours.

However, as these dogs enter adulthood, they are likely to become more relaxed and may even turn into couch potatoes.  


As with many dog breeds, there are a few health conditions that Bedlington Whippets are susceptible to.

Because these dogs are cross-breed, they are likely to develop fewer health conditions than pedigree dogs.


This health condition is caused by the growth of a tumour on a bone.  This can be a very painful condition for your dog.

Symptoms of this issue include lethargy, loss of appetite, and no desire to walk or play.  Osteosarcoma is often treatable when it is caught early. 

Gastric Dilation Volvulus

Gastric dilation volvulus is a twisting of the stomach which causes the gases and food inside.

This is most commonly caused by the dog eating its food too quickly and in quantities that are too large.

It is a very dangerous condition and if you suspect your dog may be suffering from this, veterinary advice should be sought immediately.   


Bedlington Whippets can be particularly prone to suffering from heatstroke.

This is due to their rough, semi-long coat.  During the hotter months of the year, it is important to walk your Bedlington Whippet early in the morning or late in the evening.

You should also ensure that they have access to plenty of shade and fresh water. 

Torn Toenails

Bedlington Whippets are also susceptible to torn toenails which is a very painful condition.

When the toenails tear, they will bleed but this can be stopped by applying gentle pressure to the wound.

In serious cases of torn toenails, some veterinary assistance may be needed.

Training & Intelligence

As we have mentioned briefly above, Bedlington Whippets are very intelligent breeds that are highly adaptive to different environments and can be trained to a high level.  

This breed can pick up commands much quicker than other breeds and respond best to gentle training practices as they are sensitive.

The hardest thing that you will have to teach your Bedlington Whippet is recall.

While your dog will be able to learn the command word easily, they can become easily distracted by prey animals and will bolt.

You will find yourself having to constantly reinforce recall training if you have a Bedlington Whippet. 

Socialisation is also a hugely important part of training your Bedlington Whippet.  You will need to begin socialisation as soon as possible.

The longer you leave it before socialising this breed, the more timid they will become.  They will not become aggressive to other dogs but they could become fearful or anxious. 


Bedlington Whippets are fairly easy to groom and maintain. If they get tangles in their coat, a wide-toothed dog comb is the most effective way to remove them.

You should also bathe this breed every 4 – 6 weeks.  When bathing your dog, the ear canals should be cleaned and excess fur trimmed. The paw pads should also be trimmed of excess fur.  

Final Thoughts

Bedlington Whippets make a great family pet and working dog. They are easy to care for as long as you have the time and space for them to exercise properly.

If you are an experienced dog owner, this can be the perfect addition to your family.


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