The Dandie Dinmont Terrier
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed of dog with a name of literary origin.
“He evolved from the Scottish Hillside, the grey mists forming his body, a bunch of lichen
his topknot, crooked juniper stems his forelegs and a wet bramble his nose”
These few poetic and descriptive words, penned by Sir Walter Scott, introduced the world to the breed we now know as the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. In his novel “Guy Mannering” written in 1814 - Dandie Dinmont was a farmer who kept six of the distinctive Terriers on his farm. Sir Walter was much amused by the fact that the old farmer only had two different names for any of his dogs. His six dogs were named Auld Pepper, Auld Mustard, Young Pepper, Young Mustard, Little Pepper and Little Mustard. To this day the two colours of the breed are still known as Pepper (bluish black) and Mustard (rich golden brown). In fact a distinctive low to the ground, long backed, rough coated Terrier had existed in the Border Counties since at least the mid 18th century.
A game workmanlike terrier with a large distinctive head and beautiful silky covering on the domed skull. This is called the topknot. The eyes are large, wise and deep hazel. The jaws and teeth are strong with a scissor bite. The ears hang down close to the cheek, and are fringed at the tips. The chest is deep and powerful. There is an arch over the loin giving the Dandie its well known topline. They have a long low weaselly body. Short strong legs, the back legs are slightly longer than the front ones. The tail has a curve in a scimitar shape and is carried just above the level of the body. The body shape is unique to this breed. Their topcoat is crisp to the feel, but with softer hair on the head and furnishings. They are a medium sized dog.
Every breed has its own particular character: The Dandie is a friendly dog who gets on well with adults and children alike. Known as the gentleman of the Terrier Group, they also co-exist happily with most other breeds. They are highly intelligent, affectionate,
inquisitive, independent, determined and sensitive. They are also very loyal and have a dignified air about them. Their bark has a depth to it, that belies their size. They require moderate exercise.
The Dandie does not moult so is quite often suitable for someone who suffers allergies
to dog hair. They are double coated with a soft linty undercoat and a harsher topcoat.
They are traditionally stripped by hand, this is not as difficult as it sounds. The new coat grows in as the old one dies or is stripped out. Regular brushing of the coat will help remove dead hair.
Dandies are usually robust and healthy with few problems. Their average lifespan is 12 years, although some do live longer. Health issues known within the breed that occasionally can occur are: Hyperthyroidism, Closed Angle Glaucoma and Cushing’s Disease. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a long spine, so reasonable care should be taken as with any long backed breed. This does not in anyway hinder their enjoyment of life, Dandies are flexible and in some parts of the country compete and enjoy Mini Agility Competitions.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is not on any current Kennel Club health screening programme.
However the 3 UK breed clubs supporting Dandie breeders and owners, work together and are very pro active in striving to minimise any hereditary problems that come to light, in order to ensure and protect the future of this wonderful breed. Our goal is to always provide you with a happy and healthy Dandie Dinmont Terrier who will give you years of companionship and joy.
For further informatation:
There are 3 breed clubs covering the U.K. and all welcome new members; they are there to give support and information regarding the breed. Each club also has a puppy enquiry co-ordinator who keep lists of breeders with puppies
available. Due to the low numbers born, you may have to wait a few months, but it is worth it.
by Lynda Bromley
The Caledonian Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club
Secretary and Puppy enquiries: Mr. Keith Derry
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club
Secretary: Gill Mannia
Puppy enquiries - Lynda Bromley
The Southern Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club
Secretary: Jane Withers
Puppy enquiries - Sheila Linter
International Dandies Photographs on line