The Dandie Dinmont Terrier was bred from selected specimens of the rough native terrier of the Border hunters in the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland and was first recorded as a distinct type of breed about 1700. He was distinguished by his preeminence in hunting the otter and the badger. A direct line of these dogs descended to the farmers in the Teviotdale Hills, where Sir Walter Scott in his travels chanced upon them and made them famous in his Guy Mannering, published in 1814. His character Dandie Dinmont, a farmer (believed to have been a Mr. James Davidson of Hindlee, near Hawick) kept the immortal six: “Auld Pepper,” “Auld Mustard,” “Young Pepper,” “Young Mustard,” “Little Pepper,” and “Little Mustard.” From the time of the popularity of Guy Mannering to the present day, the breed has been known as “Dandie Dinmontâ€™s Terriers.”
This short legged terrier was bred from selected specimens of the rough native terrier of the Border hunters in the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland in the 17th century as an otter and badger specialist. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is named after Dandie Dinmont, a jovial farmer who kept six of them in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering, published in 1814. Scott also gave the names to the breed’s colours, pepper and mustard, which were adopted from the names of Dandie Dinmont’s dogs. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed to be named after a character in fiction.
In the 1870s, exhibiting dogs became popular. The Kennel Club formed in 1873 and, just after this time, moves were made by Dandie enthusiasts to form a club. On November 17, 1875, at a meeting held at the Fleece Hotel in Selkirk on the Scottish Borders, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club was formed. It is one of the oldest pedigree breed clubs in the world.
The first task was to draw up a breed standard and Mr William Wardlaw Reed, a founder member of the DDTC. worked on this, smoothing out the many differences. The following year at the Red Lion Hotel, Carlisle, the standard was agreed and adopted.
The breed was first registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier was recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) in 1918.
Today the Dandie Dinmont is amongst the rarest and most endangered of all pure breeds/pedigree dogs. The UK Kennel Club list the Dandie as one of the UK’s Vulnerable Native Dog Breeds and there is a very real chance of the breed becoming extinct.
Originally bred to go to ground, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a long, low-stationed working terrier with a curved topline. The distinctive head with silken topknot is large but in proportion to the size of the dog. The dark eyes are large and round with a soft, wise expression. Dandie Dinmonts are between 8 and 11 inches tall at the top of the shoulders and can weigh between 18 and 24 pounds. The dogs are sturdily built with strong bone structure and ample muscular strength. The sturdy, flexible body and scimitar shaped tail are covered with a rather crisp double coat, either mustard or pepper in color. Pepper ranges from dark bluish black to a light silvery gray, the topknot is a silvery white. Mustard can range from a reddish brown to a pale fawn, with the topknot a creamy white.
This breed has little to no shedding.
The Dandie Dinmont is affectionate and fun-loving. It makes a great companion dog. Lively, plucky, determined and willful. Independent and intelligent. Bold yet dignified. Reserved with strangers and protective of family and home. Good with all well-behaved children and babies as long as they are raised with them from puppyhood. Dominance level varies greatly. Some males can be aggressive with other male dogs in the household while females can be snappy and bad tempered.