Dandie Dinmont Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

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Unlike the prototypical terrier, the Dandie is made up of a series of curves, topped off with a long, scimitar-shaped tail. It is almost twice as long as tall, constructed to go to ground after tough quarry. Its hind legs are definitely longer than its front legs. Its gait is free and easy. It has a distinctive coat made up of about two-thirds hardish (not wiry) hair and one-third soft hair, about 2 inches in length. The head is covered with soft, silky hair, lending to the appearance of a large head. The topknot also enhances the expression, which is determined, dignified, soft and wise.

The Dandie Dinmont is no "dandified" dog; it is rough-and-tumble and ready for the hunt. Yet it functions well as a dignified house pet, affectionate but not doting. It is a loyal companion suitable for people of all ages, but it does need daily exercise to keep it from becoming frustrated. It is intelligent and very independent. It tends to be reserved with strangers and aggressive toward strange dogs. Some dig.


FAMILY terrier

AREA OF ORIGIN border of Scotland and England


ORIGINAL FUNCTION otter and badger hunting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 8-11 Weight: 18-24

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 8-11 Weight: 18-24


Energy level Medium energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Moderately affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Shy

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

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The Dandie enjoys the chance to hunt around and explore in a safe area and needs a moderate walk to stay in condition. It does best as an indoor/outdoor dog, and should sleep inside. Its coat needs combing twice weekly, plus regular scissoring and shaping. Shaping for show dogs is done on an almost continual (but light) basis; that for pets can be done by stripping or clipping about four times a year.
• Major concerns: intervertebral disc disease
• Minor concerns: shoulder and elbow luxation
• Occasionally seen: patellar luxation, otitis externa
• Suggested tests: (elbow)
• Life span: 11-13 years
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The Dandie Dinmont terrier stands out as a most unusual terrier in appearance, yet its roots are as quintessentially terrier as any. It first appeared as a distinct type of terrier in the 18th century around the border country of Scotland and England. Here they were owned by farmers and gypsies and valued for drawing and killing otters, badgers and foxes. At one time, they were known as Catcleugh, Hindlee or pepper and mustard terriers. The most well-known of these dogs were owned by James Davidson, who named almost all his dogs either Pepper or Mustard along with some identifying adjective. Davidson and his dogs are believed by some to have been the models for Sir Walter Scott's characters of Dandie Dinmont and his dogs in Guy Mannering, published in 1814. The dogs became known as Dandie Dinmont's terriers. A letter written by James Davidson proclaimed that all Dandies descended from two of his dogs named Tarr and Pepper. At one time the breed was included in the general family of Scotch terriers, which encompassed several short-legged terriers now recognized as distinct breeds. The Dandie was recognized separately from this group in 1873. The Dandie Dinmont has never been extremely popular, and remains one of the lesser-known terriers. An old Scottish saying says, "A Dandie looks at you as though he's forgotten more than you will ever know."
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