Dandie Dinmont Terriers are small dogs with long and low bodies. Their crisp double coat comes in two colors, which are described as mustard and pepper. Pepper coats range from a light silvery gray to a dark bluish black color, while mustard varies from pale fawn to reddish brown. Their hair measures about two inches long, and the body coat is a unique mixture of 2/3 harsh hair and 1/3 soft hair. These dogs have a "scimitar" tail that is shaped like a sword, and their eyes are large and dark. They have a fluffy head of hair, or poufy topknot, and hanging ears. Dandie Dinmont Terriers measure 8 to 11 inches tall at the shoulder and weigh 18 to 24 pounds.
This breed makes a very effective burglar alarm due to its super-sized bark and wariness of strangers.
These dogs are intelligent and independent, and they are affectionate toward family members. They make good companion animals for people of all ages, but they do have a bit of that terrier spunk that can tire some people out.
Dandie Dinmonts take their name from a character in Sir Walter Scott's novel, Guy Mannering. In the book, Scott writes about a character named Dandie Dinmont, who was likely based on a farmer named James Davidson. This farmer had dogs, called "the immortal six," that were known by the names Auld Pepper, Auld Mustard, Little Pepper, Little Mustard, Young Pepper, and Young Mustard. The Dandie Dinmont dog breed took its coat colors from the names of these dogs.
Dandie Dinmonts are bold, determined, and intelligent dogs that are friendly and affectionate with family. They are jovial and fun-loving dogs that bring merriment, amusement, and spunk to the household. Generally a rough-and-tumble breed, Dandies can also pass for dignified house pets. These dogs are great with children if they are raised together, and they can be very loyal to and protective of their loved ones. They are highly adaptable dogs that do as well in a city apartment as on a country farm.
This breed makes a very effective burglar alarm due to its super-sized bark and wariness of strangers. Although these dogs are reserved around people they do not know, they warm up quickly to newcomers. They will take their cues from their human family members as to which strangers are acceptable and which are not.
Dandies will jump on any opportunity to hunt and chase prey such as squirrels or rats. For the breed's safety, a secure and safe area should be provided for these little hunting and exploration adventures. These dogs do best as indoor/outdoor dogs; they should play outdoors when possible, but sleep inside with their family. When outdoors, these dogs must be securely confined inside a fenced yard or on a solid leash. Also, it's important to remember that Dandie Dinmonts are skilled diggers. Unless given their own digging area, they will tear up flowerbeds and re-landscape their yard.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are fairly healthy dogs overall, but certain conditions have been seen in the breed, including intervertebral disc disease, shoulder and elbow luxation, patellar luxation, otitis externa, liver shunts, hip dysplasia, and glaucoma.
Although these dogs suffer from relatively few genetic health issues, they may develop hypothyroidism or other conditions that require lifelong management. Additionally, this breed is prone to back problems because of its shape. These dogs must be handled with care to prevent injury and should not be overfed. Overfeeding leads to obesity, which can worsen back problems while also increasing the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and certain cancers.
With routine veterinary care, proper nutrition, plenty of exercise, and standard canine vaccinations, Dandie Dinmont Terriers typically live 11 to 13 years
Dandie Dinmonts are highly intelligent and independent, but they are also eager to please and quick to train. However, they tend to be very stubborn in early training, which means patience, consistency, and firmness are essential to making progress with these dogs. When they are properly trained and socialized, Dandies get along very well with cats and other dogs.
These dogs need a lot of physical and mental stimulation. Training can play an important role in that, but the breed also needs a lot of structured exercise, free playtime, and interaction with people. Without sufficient stimulation, Dandies are likely to become frustrated, bored, and possibly destructive or annoying.
Positive reinforcement techniques work especially well with this breed, and Dandies respond well to play, praise, and food rewards. While these dogs tend to be quieter than other terrier breeds, they can quickly become nuisance barkers if allowed. When taught to control their voices, they make great companion animals.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers do not shed, but they do require frequent brushing and a coat-stripping twice every year. A soft slicker brush will help prevent and remove mats and tangles to keep the coat looking and feeling great. Bathing is rarely necessary, but it can be done with a veterinarian-approved canine shampoo designed to moisturize the skin and protect the coat.
The Dandie Dinmont's unique look requires regular, advanced grooming. The coat must be scissored and shaped every month or so to maintain its distinctive appearance. There are professional groomers who specialize in such methods, and one of these can do the job while simultaneously teaching how to groom the Dandie at home.
The nails need trimming every few weeks, and the teeth need regular care to prevent dental disease and cavities. Twice-yearly dental checkups, drinking water additives, and dental treats are all beneficial. The ears should be checked weekly for signs of wax accumulation or infection.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers were first recorded around the year 1700. The breed originated near the English/Scottish border, in an area called Cheviot Hills. They likely developed from a mix of hardy terriers in that region.
These dogs were bred for their ability to catch badgers and otters. These skills made them highly sought after dogs. They were also popular with gypsies and the wealthy at different times during history, rising and falling in popularity during their 300 years or so of existence.
In 1814, this breed was made famous when Sir Walter Scott wrote a book titled Guy Mannering. In the book, Scott's character was named Dandie Dinmont, and the breed took the name soon thereafter. After that, Dandie Dinmonts experienced a surge in popularity and became a favorite of many wealthy and royal people.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Dandie Dinmont Terrier in 1886.