- The Dandie Dinmont coat sheds little and must be combed twice a week to prevent or remove mats and tangles.
- A people-loving dog like the Dandie Dinmont Terrier needs to live in the house.
AKC group: Terrier
UKC group: Terrier
Average lifespan: 12 to 15 years
Average size: 18 to 24 pounds
Coat appearance: Rough coated
Coloration: Pepper or mustard
Best Suited For: Families with older children, singles, seniors, apartments, houses with/without yards
Temperament: Loyal, affectionate, intelligent, independent
The majority of Terriers are native to England and were often developed to work a specific type of terrain or quarry. The dogs that became the Dandie Dinmont originated in the Cheviot Hills border area between England and Scotland, where they hunted otter and badger. They have been known for some 300 years.
Throughout his existence, the Dandie has been appreciated by all classes, from the nomadic Rom to farmers to nobility and even royalty. Queen Victoria no doubt encountered the unusual Terriers on one of her trips to Scotland — perhaps after reading Sir Walter Scott’s “Guy Mannering” — and kept one herself.
The American Kennel Club recognized the Dandie in 1886. He has never been excessively popular but remains a well-kept secret among people who appreciate his looks and personality. The Dandie ranks 164th among the breeds registered by the AKC.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a small dog with a big personality being a typical terrier at heart. They do not know their size and would happily take on a bigger dog if they feel they have to. With that said, they are known to be very affectionate, friendly and placid dogs by nature. They are not the best choice for first time owners because these little terriers can prove rather challenging to train thanks to their stubborn streak. However, in the right hands and with the right amount of socialisation and training, the Dandie does make for a great family pet.
Like most terriers, the Dandie likes to be kept busy and does not do well if they are left on their own for longer periods of time, much preferring the company of people. As such they are good choice for people where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house. It these little terriers are not given enough exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis, they quickly learn to amuse themselves which typically involves them developing some unwanted and often destructive behaviours. This includes separation anxiety and being destructive around the house and excessive barking. Dandies are known to like the sound of their own voices which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when dogs are still young or it could become a real issue.
Dandies have an average life span of 12 to 15 years. Breeed health concerns may include intervertebral disc disease, epilepsy, glaucoma, refractory corneal ulceration, hypothyroidism, primary lens luxation and hypochondroplasia, which causes short, bowed legs, accepted in this breed standard.
The dog’s coat needs to be combed twice a week, in addition to regular shaping and trimming. For show dogs, continuous shaping is required. But clipping and stripping just four times a year is sufficient for pet Dandie Dinmonts.
The Dandie loves to explore and hunt, so make sure it does this in a secure area. To remain fit, the Dandie should be walked regularly. Additionally, Dandies should be allowed to sleep inside, but may be kept outdoors during the day.
Training a Dandie Dinmont can be a challenge. These little dogs think they are the center and rulers of the universe, and until they are proven wrong, they act as such. Trainers must prove they are able to lead, or the Dandie will not listen. Consistency is key – give these little guys an inch, and they’ll take a mile and a half. Positive reinforcement and lots of delicious treats are the best recipe for training a Dandie. Harsh treatment and discipline will result in a dog that simply refuses to listen. They have also been known to snap or bite when they have been pushed too hard.
This little dog needs a moderate amount of exercise to keep him healthy and happy. A daily walk or vigorous play session is all they need. Because of their flexible exercise requirements, a Dandie can live an apartment or condominium, as well as in the suburbs.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a unique look that requires regular grooming. His coat must be scissored and shaped every four to six weeks to maintain its distinctive appearance. A professional groomer familiar with the breed can do that for you, or you can learn to trim the coat yourself.
At home, he need to be brushing several times a week with a soft slicker brush to prevent or remove mats and tangles. The good news is that the coat doesn’t shed much.
The rest is basic care. Trim his nails as needed, usually once a month. Brush his teeth frequently for good overall health and fresh breath. Check his ears weekly for dirt, redness, or bad odor, which can indicate an infection. If the ears look dirty, wipe them out with a cotton ball dampened with a gentle ear cleaner recommended by your veterinarian. It is important to begin grooming the Dandie when he is very young – this early introduction teaches him to accept the handling and fuss of grooming patiently.
Children and Other Pets
The Dandie does make a great family pet, but for families where the children are older and therefore know how to behave around dogs. Care should be taken when there are toddlers around and any interaction between them and a dog has to be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay friendly and playtime does not get too boisterous.
Care has to be taken when Dandies are around other animals and smaller pets which includes cats because being terriers they might just see them as “fair game”. With this said, if they have grown up with a cat in the house, they generally accept them being around, but would think nothing of chasing a neighbour’s cat if they ever ventured into a back garden. These little terriers are known to be good around other dogs especially if they have been well socialised from a young age.
Did You Know?
Sir Walter Scott was so entertained by the breed that he included it in his novel “Guy Mannering,” published in 1814. His character Dandie Dinmont, after whom the breed takes its name, is thought to have been based on a farmer named James Davidson, whose dogs, known as “the immortal six,” were Auld Pepper, Auld Mustard, Young Pepper, Young Mustard, Little Pepper, and Little Mustard, which is how the breed came by its coat color names.