Dandie Dinmont Terriers originally were bred to hunt otter and badger. Nicknamed the gentleman of the terrier family, he is calm and reserved, yet retains his terrier tenacity and love of the hunt. His small size and moderate exercise needs make him well suited to both city and country homes.
The Dandie Dinmont is an old terrier dating back to the 1700s, originating from the border area between England and Scotland. The breed may have been developed from the Skye Terrier and the now extinct Scotch Terrier (not to be confused with today’s Scottish Terrier). The breed was popular among the gypsies and was used by farmers to kill vermin. With its short legs it was able to go to ground hunting badgers and otter. In 1814 Sir Walter Scott wrote about the breed in his famous novel “Guy Mannering.” In the book there was a character named Dandie Dinmont, and that is where the breed got its name. It was recognized by the AKC in 1886.
The breed has short legs, with an elongated body. Unusually among Scottish terrier breeds, it has pendulous ears. The neck is muscular, having developed from the breed’s use against larger game. The typical height at the withers is 8–11 inches (20–28 cm), and they can weigh anywhere between 18–24 pounds (8.2–10.9 kg). While the Dandie generally is a hardy breed, it may have issue climbing stairs. They have a silky coat which forms a “topknot” on top of the dog’s head. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a similar body shape to the Skye Terrier, but the Skye’s coat is thicker and longer.
The breed is tough but usually friendly, and are suitable for older children. It makes both a good companion and a guard dog, but are among the most docile of the terrier breeds and are usually quite undemanding of their owners. However they are known for their ability to dig large holes in a short space of time. They can be trained to be good with cats, but should not be trusted around smaller animals such as hamsters or rats. They are described as being “very game”, in that they are prone to challenging other animals including foxes, and in some cases other dogs.
Although their exercise needs are not great, you should always keep them on a leash in unfenced areas, as their instincts to chase game might kick in at an unexpected moment.
Training your Dandie will take a bit of patience. They seem to get bored with repetitive tasks. Make training fun for your Dandie, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly he learns and how clever he truly is.