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Bedlington Terrier Club of America collection

Identifier: AKD-4-5

Scope and Contents Note

The majority of the collection consists of publications, particularly those produced by the club, which shed light on the history of the breed, the breed's standard, health issues, and the workings of the club throughout the years.

The collection reflects the concerns of the Club and many Bedlington Terrier owners over the common health concerns of the breed. One can find within the collection many resources on research, findings, and DNA testing for Bedlington Terrier related diseases, partiuclarly copper toxicosis. Materials of this nature can be found in the publications and club administration files.

The collection also contains some invaluable and one-of-a-kind resources on the breed, like the registration cards on prominent Bedlington Terriers from the 1920s to the 1950s, scrapbooks produced by club members, a small assortment of photographs (primarily from shows), and an assortment of ephemera including club-produced calendars.

For more detailed description, see the individual Scope & Content Notes for each series.


  • 1923-2001
  • Majority of material found within 1946 - 1966


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Access Restrictions

This material is open to research without restrictions.

Publishing and Use Restrictions

While some materials in the collection may be in the public domain, many materials may still be under copyright and require written permission from the American Kennel Club and the copyright holder for publishing or use. Consult the Archivist.

Club and Breed History Note

In 1896 the American Bedlington Terrier Club, was admitted as a member of the AKC, however, declining membership forced the club to disband in 1898. It wasn’t until the early 20th century that the parent club, as we know it today, was created.

Dr. Charles J. McAnulty and Anne and Anthony Neary organized the first meeting of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America (BTCA) on May 28th, 1932, held at the Morris & Essex Kennel Club dog show in Madison, New Jersey. First on the agenda was the election of officers. Colonel M. Robert Guggenhiem and Ethel Blake were elected president and vice president respectively. Anna Neary was elected as a second vice-president. Rounding out the executive officers was Dr. McAnulty, elected as the club's secretary-treasurer. The club was admitted as a member to the AKC in 1936.

Throughout its history the BTCA has maintained a healthy relationship with foreign Bedlington clubs such as the National Bedlington Terrier Club (England) and participated in Terrier specialty shows such as Montgomery County Kennel Club's dog shows.

The development of the club historian position during the 1970s signaled the club's commitment to protect its history. On the health front the club, along with the assistance of the Canine Health Foundation and other institutions, has provided an immense amount of progress on variety of genetic disorders, diseases and the dog genome sequence.

By the 1990s the club was on the cutting edge of technology. As one of the first parent clubs to participate, the listserv became one of the most important tools to connect members, in real time, who would not otherwise have an opportunity to do so. Today, the club maintains three listservs on various topics such as agility.

The Bedlington's ancestry is debatable. One camp believes that the breed is made from Dandie Dinmont blood and other dogs. Others believe there exists no evidence to suggest this. Contemporary experts agree with the latter camp, but some remain resolute to the Dandie Dinmont theory.

It is commonly believed that the breed originated in 18th century England. Some evidence suggests that the breed dates as far back as 1702. On a visit to the region of Rothbury, England, a Hungarian aristocrat writes,

"Today we hunted...On the way [home] we passed a gypsy encampment...These people had small Agar [Hungarian greyhound] like dogs with hair like that of a lamb. Lord Charles told me they were great dogs for hare and rabbit..."2

There is further evidence to support its gypsy origin. James Allan, born in 1720, lived in the same region among the Roma (gypsy). He became one of the most celebrated Northumberland pipers, but more importantly, he is credited with owning the first true Bedlington Terrier. His father William Allan kept terriers. "[He called them] Rodberry (Rothbury Terriers) Terriers, and were the ancestors of the present day Bedlingtons.Two of [William] Allan's were Peachem and Pincher, names appearing among later dogs; and we find the name of Piper...borne by the first Bedlington Terrier..."3.

One century later, Ned Coates, the Bedlingtonshire vicar's son, acquired a Rothbury bitch named Phobe. After Mr. Coates' death, Joseph Ainsley4 acquired the dog and mated her with Anderson's Piper. The offspring, Anisley's Piper, whom is believed to be the patriarch of all leading contemporary Bedlingtons, is considered the first true Bedlington Terrier. In 1845, Mr. Ainsley gave the breed its name as we know them today.

Thomas Pickett, the Duke of Bedlington, is credited with popularizing the breed in England. Pickett describes the breed as a, "farmer’s friend and country's gentlemen. [Its qualities include] stamina, fire, courage, and resolution."5 He bred some of the most well-known dogs including Tear'em, Tyne, and Tyneside, the latter of which was the subject of a painting by George Earl.

By 1880, America had its first Bedlington imports. J.W. Blythe of Iowa imported two bitches which were shown at a St. Louis dog show. His bitch Young Topsy was the top dog in the breed division of the Rough Haired Terrier Class. The first Bedlington registered in America was Tynesider II in the American Kennel Register Volume I, 1883. In 1886, Ananias (4,475), owned by Canadian W.S. Jackson, became the first Bedlington Terrier registered with the American Kennel Clu'’s Stud Book.

The breed's arrival in the United States marked a change in the breed's form to reflect the mountainous regions, particularly the Adirondacks. This generation of Bedlingtons were hardier, more rough and rugged. By this time the breed's image was that of an aggressive dog and a fighter. However, this changed during the 1940s with Colonel M. Robert Guggenheim's dynasty of dogs.

By the 1890s William H. Russell of Manhattan and upstate New York, an expert on the breed, owned the first Bedlington Terrier champion, Tick Tack (20,699). He also bred the first American-bred champion, Qui Vive (20,756). It was Mr. Russell's work that led the way for other breeders.

By the early 1920s Colonel Guggenheim opened his Firenze Kennels where he bred Firenze Babylon Blue Beauty (384,385), considered the matriarch of one of the oldest American-bred Bedlington Terrier bloodlines. At the 1927 Westminster Kennel Club dog show his Bedlingtons dominated their class. During that same year his import Ch. Deckham O'Lad of Firenze took the breed's first Best in Show in the country. By now Col. Guggenheim was, unequivocally, the Bedlington breeder of the time.

Other notable breeders included Dr. Charles J. McNulty and his wife, who acquired Warrior of Leeds (487,725) and imported Caroline (55,035). Subsequently they founded Tyneside Kennels which produced some of the most well-known champion dogs of all time.

During the 1930s Rowanoaks kennels, owned by Col. Mitchell and Connie Willemsen, was a leading producer of champion Bedlingtons. Its most famous dog, Ch. Tarragona of Rowanoaks, produced a slew of champions and a legendary bloodline.

William A. Rockefeller's kennel, Rock Ridge, produced one of the most notable dogs in Bedlington history, Ch. Rock Ridge Night Rocket. He took Best in Show at the 1947 and 1948 Morris & Essex Kennel Club dog show. The dog's success continued in 1948 when he took Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. With his success, the breed's registration numbers skyrocketed.

In 1948 the Bedlington ranked as the AKC's 56th most popular breed (out of 111 AKC recognized breeds). By 1949 it jumped six places in the AKC registration standing. The total registrations continued to increase with its apex in the early to mid-1960s. Today the breed's registration numbers are not as strong as in the past. However, owners are no less dedicated to protecting the breed's viability. Bedlingtons possess great qualities that make them wonderful show dogs and pets. The breed is intelligent, inquisitive and affectionate. Their clown-like personalities and need to please their owners make them fun-loving family pets. The breed's mantra referencing its sheep-like looks is "Head like a sheep – but heart like a lion." The breed's coat can range in color from blue, sandy, liver or a combination thereof, but the blue coat is the most popular color in the show ring today. Their unique appearance stands out in the show ring or on the street. The breed's physique is a juxtaposition of divergent features; they are graceful and light on their feet, yet remarkably muscular, quick and sturdy dogs.

In the 1970s and 1980s copper toxicosis, an inherited autosomal recessive disease, plagued the Bedlington community. This potentially fatal disease strikes adolescent dogs and bitches and produces subtle symptoms. Scientists like Dr. Larry P. Thornburg and institutions such as University of Michigan began researching this disease in the 1980s and by 1995 a landmark DNA marker test identified the first non-carrier of the disease.

1. The Bulletin, The Bedlington Terrier Club of America, Winter 1955. 2. Honey Mist Kennels (2009).
3. G.O. Shields, Ed., The American Book of the Dog. [Rand, McNally & Company: New York], 1891, p. 395.
4. Anisley is sometimes spelled as Aynsley.
5. The Bulletin, The Bedlington Terrier Club of America, Winter 1964-1965.

Physical Description

6.25 Linear Feet (in 11 boxes)


The majority of the collection consists of publications and clippings which shed light on the history of the Bedlington Terrier breed, the breed's standard, health issues, and the operations of the Bedlington Terrier Club of club throughout the years. Also present are Club Administration files of meeting minutes, correspondence, and more; dog show catalogs; ephemera and photographs, chiefly from specialties; historical scrapbooks; and registration cards featuring pedigrees and progeny information for dogs that produced registered litters from 1923 to 1953.


The collection is arranged into the five groups based on format and/or content:

  1. Publications, 1945-2001
  2. Club Administration, 1949-1996
  3. Photographs and Ephemera, 1947-1996
  4. Scrapbooks, 1960-1968
  5. Registrations, 1923-1953


Collection was a gift of Diane Stille (President, 2010), Vicki Petris (Historian, 2008) and Linda Freeman (member, 2008) on behalf of the Bedlington Terrier Club of America in 2008 and 2010.



Guide to the Bedlington Terrier Club of America Collection
Norma Rosado-Blake, 2010. Edited by Craig P. Savino, 2011 and Brynn White, 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the American Kennel Club Library & Archives Repository

101 Park Ave
FL 5
New York NEW YORK 10178 United States