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Dandie Dinmont Terrier

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The brave, bold and characterful Dandie Dinmont always makes an impression. Friendly by nature and boasting a charming look, this diminutive terrier is an excellent family pet but one with a stubborn streak.  Less demanding than most terriers, a Dandie will steal your heart while destroying your home if you don’t provide them with exercise and mental stimulation. Those seeking to welcome a Dandie into their lives may have a long wait as few puppies are now registered each year.

Which breed group is the Dandie Dinmont in?

Breed group: Terrier

Dandie Dinmont breed history

A native breed which was developed in the Scottish Borders, the Dandy Dinmont was originally bred to be a hunting dog. Dating back to the 18th century, these dogs were originally known as mustard and pepper terriers. The ancestors of Dandie Dinmonts are not known but it thought that they are the result of crossing small terriers from the Borders region and that dachshunds may have been introduced into the bloodlines during the 19th century.

It was Sir Walter Scott who raised the profile of the breed when he wrote the novel Guy Mannering which featured a character called Dandie Dinmont who owned one of the terriers. The first Dandie Dinmont Terrier club was established in 1875 and a breed standard was evolved shortly after. In more recent times, interest in this breed has diminished and its future is now in doubt.

Dandie Dinmont breed characteristics

The Dandie Dinmont boasts an endearing look and features a long body, large head and domed forehead. Eyes are set wide apart and are dark hazel in colour. Eyes are large and set low while ears are droopy, set back and covered in soft, straight hair. These dogs have muscular necks and powerful front legs while their chests are well developed and their backs slightly curved. Tails are carried slightly curved. Dandies have double coats consisting of a soft undercoat and a harsher topcoat. Their coats may be shades of mustard or pepper in colour.

As with most terriers, Dandie Dinmonts are big personalities in little bodies. They are generally affectionate dogs with placid natures but they possess a stubborn streak which can make them difficult to train. They like to be kept busy and don’t appreciate being left home alone. They require a generous amount of exercise and can become destructive if left to their own devices.

  • Lifespan: 11-13 years
  • Height: up to 28cm
  • Weight: up to 11kg
  • Large head
  • Long body
  • Large hazel eyes
  • Droopy ears
  • Muscular neck
  • Slightly curved back
  • Double coat
  • Pepper or mustard in colour
  • Affectionate
  • People orientated
  • Stubborn
  • Suffer from separation anxiety
  • Destructive when bored
  • Distinctive deep bark

Health issues with the Dandie Dinmont

These robust little terriers are generally healthy dogs but are prone to the following issues:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Goniodysgenesis/Primary glaucoma (G)
  • Intervertebral disc disease
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Urolithiasis/bladder

What is the Dandie Dinmont bred for?

The Dandie dinmont was originally bred to be a hunting dog in the Scottish Borders which was feisty and adept at retrieving small prey including otters.

What sort of owners does the Dandie Dinmont suit?

Amazing companions which are people orientated, Dandie Dinmonts are excellent family pets which are less demanding than many terrier breeds. Having said that, they can be stubborn and so require patience during training. They are suitable for first time owners and households with children and they are good watchdogs with a deep bark that belies their size. Dandies require regular grooming and so owners must be prepared to invest time or money in caring for their dog’s coat. These little cuties are best suited to living in households where at least one person can be with them all day but they can live happily in the countryside, the city or suburbia.


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