a history of the breed
. . . four centuries of devotional depiction
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is descended from the rough native terriers that were used to hunt otter and badger in the Scottish borders, and first recorded as a distinct type around 1700. Sir Walter Scott 'rediscovered' this most distinctive of breeds, elevating them to celebrity status when six of the terriers were kept by a character named Dandie Dinmont in Scott's 1814 novel 'Guy Mannering'.
It's now widely accepted that every living Dandie Dinmont can be traced back to the offspring of a pet owned by Sir Walter Scott and a poacher's dog called 'Old Pepper', caught in a trap on the 5th Duke of Buccleuch's estate, the Haining, near Selkirk, in 1839.
Click to follow the pedigree trail further. . .
'Old Ginger', known to be one of the breed's founding fathers, belonged to Robert Pringle, who owned the Haining during the 1840s. After Pringle's death, Old Ginger passed to Eaglesfield Bradshaw-Smith of Blackwood House, Dumfriesshire. . . the man now considered to be the 'saviour' of the breed, who used Old Ginger as a stud.
With Old Ginger's dam 'Vixen', and grand dam 'Wasp' both belonging to Robert Pringle and his sister Mrs Violet Douglas at the Haining, the Selkirk estate is firmly established as the cradle of the Dandie Dinmont pedigree.
Discover the Dandie Dinmont in art. . .
Robert Smellie's 1888 painting entitled 'Dandy Dinmonts by the Haining Loch' (second from the left, below), started the most recent quest to uncover the Dandie Dinmont's heritage. The discovery of this painting in 2015 has helped reveal the history of one of Britain's rarest terrier breeds.
The other paintings illustrated include, from left to right; an etching from Scott's 'Guy Mannering', an 1848 oil painting by Henry Calvert (recently exhibited at the Chelsea Antiques, Art & Design Fair) and, on the extreme right, John Emms' 1895 painting of 'Callum', part of the Cowan Smith Bequest to the National Galleries of Scotland.
. . . their appearance and conformation
The Dandie Dinmont terrier is instantly recognisable, even to those with little or no experience of rare domestic breeds. Standing at around 8 to 11 inches (20 to 28cm) they weigh from 18 to 24 lbs (8 to 11kg) when fully mature.
In conformation, Dandies have a curved 'scimitar' tail, a distinctly elongated body with soft curves and, uniquely amongst Scottish terrier breeds, pendulous ears. What really sets them aside, however, is their delightfully domed head crowned with a silky topknot and large, appealingly sad, eyes.
The Dandie Dinmont's coat is crisply-textured, around 2" in length, with a combination of one third hard (but not wirey) and two thirds soft, 'linty', hairs.
Dandie Dinmont colours. . .
This attractive little terrier presents in two distinct colour types; Mustard, and Pepper.Mustards are typically pale fawn to reddish brown, with a creamy white topknot.
Peppers have a dark (almost blue-black) to light gray coat with a silver or white topknot.
Although the final colouration is usually set by the age of eight months, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier will continue to mature physically until around two years old.
temperament & character
. . . a Dandie Dinmont can complete your family!
Very independent, yet loyal and hugely affectionate, Dandies enjoy playing and cuddling with kids, although not as 'hyper' as some small dogs, making them ideal as a family pet. Despite their easy going nature, Dandie Dinmonts are still terriers, with a terrier's typical willfulness and courage.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier's diminutive size and moderate exercise needs make them well suited to either city or country living.
Dandies are territorial and completely fearless, making them excellent watchdogs. . . with a surprisingly loud baritone bark many times their size!
care & training
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are far less demanding in terms of their grooming, training and exercise needs than their appearance might first suggest.
Grooming a Dandie Dinmont. . .
Brushing and grooming your Dandie Dinmont Terrier should be a daily activity, which also helps to reinforce the connection with your pet. If clipped, the coat will no longer be waterproof so, wherever possible, a Dandie Dinmont should be handstripped. However, if this causes stress to your Dandie i.e. when elderly, then clipping is acceptable.
Because their coat does not shed naturally, Dandie Dinmont Terriers are generally considered hypoallergenic and suitable for those with an allergy to dander.
Training your Dandie Dinmont. . .
Confident and independent (to the point of stubborness at times!), Dandie Dinmonts are extremely intelligent. An assertive, patient, training approach is essential to avoid negative behaviours, and should be based on respect and treats, rather than obedience. . . heavy-handed training will only make your Dandie more obstinate and uncooperative.
Be aware that, however well you think your Dandie is trained and his recall is perfect, if there is anything else worth talking to (another dog, person, etc.) then he will go completely deaf!
All Dandiroyal puppies are well socialised before going to their new homes and love meeting people or other dogs.