Meet the Breed: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is known as a small Scottish dog breed in the terrier family. This is a breed with a long body and fun personality. Read on to discover more.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a dog of a unique-looking and very independent attitude. This breed is sturdy built, and Dandie is often described by dog lovers as a proud small dog.

Originally bred for farm life rigors, this small size dog easily adapted to city life and companion role. Read on to discover more about this compact furry companions.

Quick Facts

Real name: Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Other names: Dandie, Hindlee Terrier
Origin: Scotland
Breed type: Companion Dogs
Weight: 18–24 pounds (8.2–10.9 kg)
Height: 8–11 inches (20–28 cm)
Lifespan: 11–13 years
Litter Size: 3 to 6 puppies
Color: Pepper or mustard
Coat: Rough coated

Dandie Dinmont Terrier History

The breed originates from the dogs being used in the border country of Scotland and England. They were used for hunting badgers and otters, while their ultimate origin remains unknown.

First documents on this breed date from the 1700s, where they were described as a “rough native terrier owned by border hunters in the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland.”

This breed was great at dispatching such four-legged poachers. Sir Walter Scott, Scotland’s foremost novelist, was a huge fan of this breed.

He was so intrigued by these dogs that for his 1815 novel “Guy Mannering,” he even created a character named Dandie Dinmont, a farmer who keeps a pack of curious-looking pepper and mustard terriers.

This character was no creation of his imagination, but based on a real-life person, James Davidson, who kept a pack of working terriers—Old Mustard, Young Pepper, Young Mustard, Little Pepper, Little Mustard, and Old Pepper—the “immortal six” still spoken of with reverence by Dandie fanciers.

This single novel brought the breed into the spotlight, and these small dogs became knowN as “Dandie Dinmont’s terriers.” They remain the only AKC breed named for a fictional character.

The peak of their popularity came with 19th-century royals. French king Louis Philippe was a big fan of this breed, and he kept a brace of pampered Dandies as part of his royal entourage.

England’s Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club was founded in 1875, and up to this date, it’s one of the world’s oldest breed clubs.

The Dandie entered the AKC in 1886.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Physical Appearance

Dandie Dinmont Terrier was bred to go to ground, which is why his body is a long one. Head is distinctive, while eyes are dark and large, with interesting and wise expression.

The body is flexible and sturdy and covered with a double coat, either mustard or pepper in color.

The head is large but in proportion to the dog’s size. Muscles are well developed, especially those covering the face.

The expression shows intelligence, determination, and curiosity. Their eyes are round, while the ears are set well back, hanging close to the cheek, while the ears’ length is three to four inches.

The neck is very muscular and strong, while the body is strong and flexible. The forelegs are short with good muscular development.

The coat is very important with this breed. The hair should be about two inches long; the body coat is a mixture of about 2/3 hardish hair with about 1/3 soft hair, giving a sort of crisp texture.

The body coat can be shortened by plucking, and interestingly the hair on the underpart of the body is softer than on the top.

The tail is 8 to 10 inches in length and carried a little above the body’s level in a curve like a scimitar. The hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs, but the whole body is overall well-balanced.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Personality

This breed is usually friendly and great with older children. They are good companions and even great guard dogs, although they are small in size.

They are also one of the most agreeable of the terrier breeds, and they are known for their tendency to dig large holes in a short period.

They can be trained to be good with cats, but they shouldn’t be trusted entirely around smaller animals like rats and hamsters, because their hunting drive is strong.

They are described as being very playful, and as such, they are prone to challenging other animals, includes other dogs and even foxes.

The Dandie Dinmont is a great companion. They love spending time with their family, and thanks to their Terrier heritage, they have an independent side.

Dandies’ will try to get it their way, but they are also very eager to please their owners. Still, it’s extremely important to start training your Dandie the day you bring him home.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Grooming

Dandies’ are a great choice if you aren’t a fan of shedding. They don’t shed in general, but you will still have to go through shedding season and invest your time and energy into grooming your Dandie.

His coat must be stripped of dead hair at least a couple of times a year. You can do this, or you can take him to the nearest and trusted groomer.

If you choose to do it, make sure that you have the right grooming tools. A responsible breeder will always recommend the best stripping tool for your Dandie.

If your Dandie is adopted, your veterinarian will recommend you the best tools.

Long hairs can be plucked daily from the coat using thumb and forefinger to maintain a neat coat.

Brush Dandie daily to avoid matting. Nails should be trimmed monthly at least if not frequently, gums should be checked weekly, and ears should be checked when brushing him.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Training

Like any other dog, your Dandie should be trained from the first day. Early socialization and proper training is the only way to have a well-behaved dog.

Don’t let the size fool you, because small dogs need proper and serious training as well.

If you miss training your Dandie, you may discover how it feels to have a dog who suffers from the Small dog Syndrome.

Lots of patience and a positive reward-based approach will always provide great results. These small dogs have a lot of energy to share, but they are adaptable and eager to please.

Like any other terrier, they can be stubborn because they want things done their way, but it should be in only until your Dandie realizes that you are the pack leader.

Never use harsh training techniques on Dandie and any other dog, only positive reinforcement. Make sure that you start training your Dandie from day one to avoid any future unexpected situations.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Exercise

Dogs thrive on great food and active life. Your Dandie is no exception. To keep this dog agile and happy, you should provide exercise a half hour or so twice a day. You can have walks or even chasing a ball across the yard.

When outdoors, you should only go inside the fenced area, and your Dandie should always be on a leash.

Since they will chase small animals, its best to keep them safe by keeping them on a leash. Most Dandies will do very well in a home environment with moderate exercise.

If you are a passionate hiker or a runner, you should know that Dandies aren’t made to run long distances, and they are far from being able to run long distances.

If you are looking for an outdoor partner, think about getting a more active dog breed.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Health

Like humans, dogs are sensitive to harsh conditions, poor nutrition, and some genetic issues. Simply said, no breed’s completely disease-free.

If you are adopting a Dandie, you should take him to a veterinarian immediately for a thorough check-up.

If you are buying a dog, make sure that you are only dealing with responsible breeders. They will scan dogs for major diseases and provide you with the necessary medical documentation.

Remember: responsible breeders do genetic testing on their breeding stock to avoid any potential problems.

As with all breeds, Dandie’s ears should be checked daily for any signs of infection. The same applies to Dandi’s skin and teeth.

Regular parasite control and regular visits to the vet, next to proper nutrition, should ensure that your Dandie has a long and healthy life.

The Bottom Line

The Dandie Dinmont is a great choice for companion dogs. This breed is very affectionate and great with people.

They still have a strong hunting urge, so you should always keep your Dandie on a leash, and when outside, being in a fenced area is a must.

This dog isn’t for you if you need a hiking or running partner since this breed isn’t super active.

On the other hand, this breed is for you if you don’t mind having an occasional backyard hole and don’t mind having a dog that will follow you around every step.