History of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed
Unusual in its appearance, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a distinct type of terrier that first appeared in the 18 th century in the border area of England and Scotland. It is said that this breed was owned by farmers and gypsies and that it was used to kill vermin, such as rodents, as well as otters, badgers, and fox. This dog was also known in the early days as Catcleugh, Hindlee or pepper and mustard terriers. It is said that Sir Walter Scott’s characters of Dandie Dinmont and his dogs in his 1814 book, Guy Mannering, were based on a real life person named James Davidson, who had a penchant for naming all of his dogs either Pepper or Mustard along with an identifying adjective. It was after the publication of this work by Scott that the breed became known as the Dandie Dinmont terrier. James Davidson once proclaimed in a letter that all Dandie Dinmonts were descendents of his dogs named Tarr and Pepper. It is believed that the breed credits its ancestry to the Skye terrier, the Otterhound, the English terrier, and the Bedlington terrier. The Dandie Dinmont was once included in the general family known as Scotch terriers, a group of short-legged terriers which are now known as separate and distinct breeds. It was in 1873 that the Dandie Dinmont was recognized as a separate breed. The Dandie is considered to be a lesser-known terrier, and as such, it has never enjoyed great popularity.
Size and Appearance of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed
Very much unlike a typical terrier, the Dandie Dinmont consists of a series of curves, topped off with a long, scimitar-shaped tail. This breed is almost twice as long as is it tall, and features short front legs which offer considerable bone and good muscular development. The hind legs are longer than the front legs, and they are set widely apart. The upper and lower thighs on the back legs are muscular and rounded. The back feet are smaller than the front feet, but all are rounded and well cushioned. The strong head is larger, but proportionally correct to the body. The eyes of the Dandie Dinmont show an expression of determination and dignity, as well as intelligence. The dark hazel eyes are large, round, and wide-set. The ears hang close to the cheek, and they measure from three to four inches. The brow is domed, and the muzzle is strong and deep, featuring a large, dark colored nose and teeth that meet in a tight scissors bite. The muscular neck is strong and well-developed, blending smoothly into the shoulders to create a look of power. The tail is usually 8 to 10 inches long, and it is quite thick at the root, then is thicker for 4 inches and tapers to a point at the end. Curved like a scimitar, the tail is normally carried a little above body. The gait of the Dandie Dinmont terrier is best described as free and easy. The co at of this breed is a very important distinction. The coat consists of a mixture of hard hair (about two-thirds) and soft hair (about one-third). This gives a texture of crispness. The coat is usually about two inches long, and the intermingling of the two hair types is termed pily or penciled. Usually the hair found on the underneath the body is softer than on the top. Soft, silky hair is found on the head, and it features a distinct topknot. The ears have a thin feathering, while the forelegs and the muzzle have a two inch feather. The hair on the hind legs has considerably less feather. Crisper hair covers the upper side of the tail, while the underside has a softer feather measuring about two inches in length, and it gradually shortens as it nears the tip, giving the tail its signature shape. The color of the coat is either pepper or mustard. The p epper variety ranges from a dark bluish black to a light silvery gray with the topknot and ear feather of silvery white. The hair on the legs and feet is normally a tan color. The mustard variety ranges from a reddish brown to a pale fawn with the topknot and ear feather of creamy white. The hair on the legs and feet is normally a darker shade than the topknot.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament
An affectionate and fun-loving dog, the Dandie Dinmont can be a loyal companion. It is an intelligent and independent breed that can be reserved around strangers and aggressive with strange dogs, especially male Dandies. It is suitable for homes with older children and will get along well with other dogs or cats if raised with them from puppyhood. A little dog with a big bark, this breed will alert you of guests. It is not particularly difficult to train, but it is known for its stubborn streak. It is an active dog that can be a wonderful addition to the family.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Recommended Maintenance
The unusual coat of the Dandie Dinmont requires regular grooming. It should be combed with a pin brush at least twice a week, and regular scissoring and shaping is advised. If not properly groomed, the l oose hair will tend to mat. Dead hair should be plucked at least twice a year, as t his breed sheds little to no hair. Regular exercise is important to a healthy, well-adjusted Dandie. Some have a tendency to dig under fences, so training should begin at an early age to discourage this type of behavior. The Dandie can adjust to apartment life if sufficient exercise is provided. A fenced-in yard is recommended. A walk on a leash is a suggested form of exercise, as this breed tends to chase small animals. The Dandie Dinmont needs a lot of human companionship and does best playing outdoors and living indoors.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Health
Life span: 11 – 13 years
Major concerns: intervertebral disc disease
Minor concerns: shoulder and elbow luxation
Occasionally seen: patellar luxation, otitis externa
Suggested tests: elbow