The Dandie Dinmont Terrier dog breed is a relatively docile member of the Terrier Group. These dogs are exceedingly loving and demonstrative of their affection; they make great family dogs and companion dogs. They have high energy levels and exercise needs, but they manage to get a quite a bit exercise by running around in the yard, and do not make as much demands on their owners as other terriers. That makes these playful dogs suitable for most people.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier dog breed traces its history to the 17thcentury England –Scotland border where they were mainly used for badger hunting. Thought to have evolved from Border Terriers, they possibly have some part of Skye Terrier and Scottish Terrier blood in them. They were extremely useful to the farmers in the area for getting rid of foxes and otters, but remained quite unknown elsewhere.
History finds some owners of this breed to have been possessive of these dogs, keeping them within the family. It was the novel Guy Mannering by Walter Scott that introduced this dog to the rest of the world. The character Dandie Dinmont in the novel is depicted with his set of “pepper” and “mustard dogs,” and was based on a real life person named James Davidson who owned several dogs of this breed.
The popularity of these dogs following the publication of this book earned the breed its present name. Previously they were known by several other names such as Hindlee Terriers, Catcleugh Terriers etc. Even though this breed was officially recognized in England in 1873, and was registered with AKC in 1888, they remain much less popular than many other Terrier Group breeds.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier dog breed is a short dog breed with a characteristic long body. They are stocky and muscular, usually measuring under a foot at the withers and weighing up to 24 pounds. The ears are folded and floppy unlike other terriers and the tail is thin, long, and tapering.
The shaggy coat has silky hair up to 2 inches long. The top knot on the head is a typical feature of this breed. The color of the coat has two distinct variations known as “mustard” and “pepper.” The mustard-coated dogs have fawn to brown hair in combination with white, the head, the underside, and the limbs generally being completely white. The pepper coats have a combination of silver grey and bluish black, with a bit of tan around the mouth and the lower part of the limbs.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are extremely friendly and loyal to their owners, but they have an independent nature. They get along very well with other dogs and older children in the household, but small pets cannot be trusted with these instinctive hunters. Even small children are not to be left alone with these dogs.
Even though these terriers quickly make friends with new people and dogs introduced to them, they can be quite hard on strangers. They are protective of their home, especially in the absence of their owners, and express their disproval of intruders by incessant barking. This makes Dandie Dinmont Terriers great as watchdogs.
Grooming and exercise
The shaggy coat of Dandie Dinmont Terriers requires quite a bit of grooming to look good. It has to be brushed thoroughly at least twice a week, and trimmed by a professional 3 to 4 times a year.
These extremely active terrier breed needs plenty of exercise to stay happy and contented. Access to a protected yard is highly desirable as these dogs need to run around freely all day long to expend their energy. They like to spend time exploring the yard and hunting all the small creatures they come across.
Even though these dogs love spending plenty of time outdoors, they need to spend the night indoors with the members of their human pack.
Common health issues of Dandie Dinmont Terrier dog breed
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier dog breed is a relatively healthy breed with not many canine health issues. However, like all dog breeds having an elongated body structure, they are prone to intervertebral disc disease. Spinal disc herniation is a common occurrence, and the result of this condition may vary according to the position of the slipped discs. Cheyletiellosis is a mite infestation occasionally seen in these dogs. Glaucoma is common too, and the dogs require regular eye tests to detect it and get timely treatment.
The normal life expectancy is around 11-13 years, but higher incidence of canine cancer has been observed in Dandie Dinmont Terriers.