The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Is a small dog which was originally bred to hunt otter and badger. He was given the nickname of the "gentleman of the terrier family". Even though this breed is calm and reserved he still retains his terrier personality and the love of the hunt.

General Characteristics of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestThe Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a distinctly unique appearance as he is a low-to-the-ground dog who's body is much longer than he is tall. On his head is a characteristic "poof" of hair. And he owes his fame to the book Guy Mannering by author Sir Walter Scott (published in 1814).

These dogs have a large, domed head with big dark eyes that are set low in the front of the head. They have long ears that are also set low on the skull with fringing at the tips. Their chest is quite large and their backs are rather longish.

When looking at a Dandie you will notice that they are unlike most terriers. For one thing, their bodies are quite curvy in shape. The back arches over the loin (the back end) and drops slightly to the base of the tail, which itself curves like a scimitar. Their front legs are short and powerful with paws that turn slightly outward for digging. The hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs, and not as heavy.

These dogs are very affectionate and lively. They are also a very independent and determined breed of dog that is intelligent and bold when defending its territory or family. Initially they are reserved when it comes to strangers but that soon changes as their dominant nature soon begins to show.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDandie Dinmont Terriers are typically loving towards children and other pets if they have been properly socialized at a very young age.

Because these dogs were used to hunt it is a good idea to keep them on a leash when walking otherwise they may see something that catches their eye and off they will go on a hunt.

Training can be a trying experience as these dogs tend to get bored quite quickly with any task that is repeated more than two or three times. It is important when training that you make the sessions as fun as possible so that you can keep your dog's attention on the task at hand.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier FAQs

  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDo Dandie Dinmont Terriers adapt well to apartment living?
    • These dogs are very adaptable and can live basically anywhere. However, it still depends on your dog's temperament as to whether or not they will be suitable for an apartment life. See Dogs Not Well Suited For Apartment Living for more info.
  • Are Dandies good for novice dog owners?
    • If you are looking for a dog that is basically easy to handle and affectionate then this is the dog for you. They can be a little challenging to train but they also provide easy training of the novice dog owner as well. (see List of Dogs That Are Good For Experienced Owners.)
  • Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers sensitive to being scolded?
  • Do Dandies tolerate being left alone?
    • The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a people dog. They crave for the company of humans and for this reason they do not tolerate being left alone. If you are a person who does not work and likes to take their dog everywhere you go then this dog would be a good choice for you. (See List of Dogs That Are Poorly Suited To Being Alone.)
  • Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers tolerate cold weather well?
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDoes the Dandie Dinmont Terrier tolerate hot weather well?
  • Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers affectionate with family members?
  • Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers a kid friendly dog?
  • Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers dog friendly?
    • The Dandie was used as a hunting dog so it ran in a hunting pack. Today they still love to be with a group of other dogs. Just make sure that you first properly socialize this dog before allowing interactions with other dogs on a regular basis. (See List of Dogs That Are Not So Dog-Friendly.)
  • Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers friendly towards strangers?
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier | PetQuestDo these dogs shed a lot of hair?
    • Being a dog with longish hair they do tend to shed quite a bit. To minimize the amount of hair around the house it is a good idea to give these dogs at least a ten minute brushing every day. (See List of Dogs That Shed Very Little.)
  • Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers tend to drool a lot?
    • Some breeds of dogs tend to be constant droolers. The Dandie does not fall into this group. You may still see them drool, however, when you are preparing their dinner. (See List of Dogs That Don't Drool A Lot.)
  • Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers easy to groom?
    • The Dandie has a long coat and as with all breeds that have long hair you should give them a ten minute brushing per day to help keep the shedding to a minimum. Also, at least one thirty minute brushing should be carried out once per week to keep the coat in top shape. If your dog is a show dog then you should at least double these times. (See List of Dogs That Require More Grooming.)
  • Does the Dandie Dinmont Terrier have generally good health?
    • Some breeds of dogs tend to be susceptible to certain genetic conditions as a result of the breeding practices established centuries ago. The Dandie is also prone to certain conditions but not on a scale of some of the other breeds. See below for possible conditions that may afflict your Dandie. (See List of Dogs That Are Prone To Health Problems.)
  • Is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier prone to gaining weight?
    • All dogs are prone to gaining weight. This is not generally due to the nature of the animal but to the feeding practices of the owner. To keep your dog fit and trim always follow the recommended feeding methods and don't give your dog too many in-between treats.
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestWhat is the size of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier?
  • Is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier easy to train?
    • Some dogs are challenging to train while others are really easy. In the case of the Dandie training can be a challenge as their boredom level is quite high. These are not dogs that like things to be repeated. To be able to train these dogs you must come up with interesting and entertaining methods for each thing you want the dog to learn. (See List of Dogs That Are A Challenge To Train.)
  • Is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier an intelligent dog?
  • Does the Dandie Dinmont Terrier have a high tendency to be mouthy?
    • First, a mouthy dog is a dog that has a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite. The Dandie tends to be average in this respect. You will need to train your dog in the appropriate behavior while playing with you and especially kids so that no one is bitten by accident.
  • Does the Dandie Dinmont Terrier have a high prey drive?
    • Remember that these dogs were originally used to hunt prey. So this is an instinctive behavior of these dogs. When walking these dogs must be on a leash. If they see a small animal they will want to chase it down. (See List of Dogs That Have A Low Prey Drive.)
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDoes the Dandie Dinmont Terrier have a tendency to bark or howl?
    • As compared to other dogs, the Dandie is a mostly quiet dog. However, most dogs have the tendency to bark at everything but can usually be trained to not bark. (See List of Dogs That Are Mostly Quiet.)
  • Does the Dandie Dinmont Terrier have a high potential for wandering off?
    • Some dogs are naturally curious about their surrounding and will want to explore. The Dandie, even though it is a hunting dog, is average when it comes to wanting to wander away from you. (See List of Dogs Less Prone to Wander.)
  • Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers need a lot of exercise?
    • The Dandie is a naturally active dog. He wants to play and run and go for long walks. As with any breed of dog he should have at least two thirty minute walks per day. Also playing a good game of fetch before bedding down for the night will make sure that he will sleep through most of the night. (See List of Dogs That Don't Need Tons of Exercise.)
  • Is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier an intense dog?
    • The Dandie is not an extremely vigorous dog. He is more middle of the road in this respect. He will put just enough vigor into whatever he is doing until he has had enough and then it will be on to something else. (See List of Dogs That Are Low Intensity.)
  • Is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier a playful dog?
    • Some dogs absolutely love to play with their families or other dogs. The Dandie is no exception here. He will keep you and any other pets you have constantly on the go playing one game or another. (See List of Dogs That Are Not Playful.)
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Vital Statistics

  • Dog Breed Group: Terrier Dogs
  • Height: 8 inches to 11 inches (20.32 to 27.94 centimeters) tall at the shoulder
  • Weight: 18 to 24 pounds (8.17 to 10.89 kilograms)
  • Life Span: 12 to 15 years

Highlights of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestBelow is a listing of some of the main highlights about the Dandie Dinmont Terrier:

  • If your Dandie Dinmont Terrier becomes overweight, he can have back problems. Be sure to monitor his food intake and give him regular exercise to keep him in shape. And remember that the biggest culprit for overweight dogs are table scraps.
  • Dandie Dinmonts are independent and can be stubborn when it comes to housetraining. Crate training is recommended.
  • Dandies are reserved with strangers and make good watchdogs. Their bark is surprisingly loud and deep, but being a typically reserved breed, they can be trained to be quiet on command.
  • Because they are terriers, they are prone to chasing rabbits, birds, and even other dogs and cats. Be sure to keep your Dandie on leash when he's not in a secure area. Having a good fenced-in yard with a fence that goes at least 36 inches below ground is a great play area for your Dandie.
  • Because of their unusual looks and small size, they could be targets for dog thieves. Although Dandies do well outdoors, they should be kept in your house when you can't supervise them.
  • Dandie Dinmonts are a rare breed. It may be difficult to locate a reputable breeder, and even when you locate one, you may have to wait several months for a litter to be born.
  • While Dandies typically aren't aggressive dogs, they will not back down from a challenge from other dogs, no matter what their size. Be sure to keep your Dandie under control until you know that both he and the other dog are friendly to each other.
  • To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests their breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.

History of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestThe actual history of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is unknown. There are stories that date back to the early 1700s. One of the main stories suggests that this breed of dog is a result of a cross between Otterhounds and local terriers in the Border Country between Scotland and England. Another story suggests that they were developed from rough-haired terriers that worked on the farms of Scotland.

Whichever story you want to believe, there is one fact that stands the test of time. By looking at early art it is shown that the Dandie Dinmont has hardly changed in appearance since the early 1700s.

For the first hundred years of known existence these dogs did not have a common breed name. That all changed in 1814 when Sir Walter Scott mentioned them in his book Guy Mannering. In the book he described them as being owned by a farmer named Dandie Dinmont. And for that reason they became known as "Dandie Dinmont's Terriers." Eventually the apostrophe and the "s" were dropped and the name Dandie Dinmont Terrier stuck.

The first Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club was formed in Scotland in 1875 and is today the third oldest breed club in the world. They also established the standard for this breed of dog within the first year of operations.

At the first meeting of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club, many breeders disagreed about the correct size of the breed. Dandies at this time ranged between 10 and 40 pounds (4.54 and 18.14 kilograms). So they came up with a compromise calling for Dandies to range between 14 and 24 pounds (6.35 and 10.89 kilograms). It wasn't until the 1920 that this was revised to 18 to 24 pounds (8.17 to 10.89 kilograms).

For more than 100 years the original standards remained in effect throughout most of the world until 1987 when the British club and many others changed some of the wording of the standard. The only club today that still maintains the original standard for this breed is the Canadian Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDandie Dinmont Terriers came to be bred by many people and some have particularly interesting stories, such as Old Pepper, one of the most well-known dogs in the history of the breed. Old Pepper was supposedly caught in a trap on the estate of the fifth Duke of Buccleuch. Although his pedigree was unknown, he was bred and sired a son named Old Ginger, whose name can be found in the pedigree of nearly every Dandie Dinmont alive in the world today.

Dandie Dinmonts became very popular in England in the late 19th century. Queen Victoria, an avid dog lover, owned a Dandie. It's not recorded when the first Dandies were brought to the U.S., but the American Kennel Club registered a Dandie named Bonnie Britton in the first year of the Stud Book Registry in 1886.

In the years leading up to World War II, there were many large, famous kennels that bred Dandies. During the war, however, many of these kennels were dispersed. Some even destroyed their dogs because there was not enough food to feed them nor enough people available to take care of them.

After the war, dedicated breeders worked hard to re-establish the breed. One of the most famous of these kennels was Bellmead Kennels, a large boarding kennel in England. They bred a dog named Bellmead Delegate, who was a significant sire that won many shows. Bellmead continued breeding Dandies until the early 1990s, when the kennel was sold to Battersea Dogs Home.

Today the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is one of the rarest and most endangered of all purebred dogs. The Kennel Club in England has put it on their list of endangered native breeds and many fear that it will become extinct.

Size of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are 8 to 11 inches (20.32 to 27.94 centimeters) tall at the shoulder and weigh from 18 to 24 pounds (8.17 to 10.89 kilograms). The length of their bodies, from the top of their shoulders to the base of their tails, should be twice their height, minus one to two inches.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Personality

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestThese dogs are typical terriers in that they are independent, bold, tenacious, and intelligent. When they are with people they know they are extremely affectionate yet dignified. With strangers they are somewhat reserved.

Unlike other terriers the Dandie is not a barker. But when they do bark it is usually very deep and very loud.

Just like their terrier cousins, these dogs have a huge amount of self-confidence and are not high-strung. They are also a types that does not go looking for a fight but will also not back down if challenged regardless of the size of the challenger.

The temperament of the Dandie is influenced by heredity, training, and socialization. A well-mannered puppy with a good temperament will be curious and playful. They will approach people and want to be held by them.

Like every dog, a Dandie needs early socialization. They need to be exposed to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences starting at a young age. Socialization helps ensure that your Dandie Dinmont puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog.

Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start. Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.

Health Considerations

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDandies are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Dandies will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.

If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you all of the health clearances for both of your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.

In Dandies, if you live in the United States, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestOther conditions that you need to be aware of include:

  • Glaucoma: Some lines of Dandie Dinmont Terriers appear to be prone to glaucoma, which causes an increase in pressure in the eyeball. Signs of glaucoma are squinting, tearing, rubbing, or redness of the eye. If you notice any of these signs, be sure to have your vet check your dog immediately as treatment should be started preferably within a few hours for greatest success.
  • Cheyletiella yasguri mites: While these mites can invest any dog, it appears that Dandie Dinmont Terrier pups and adults become invested with them more commonly than most other breeds of dogs. Signs of these mites are scaliness on the skin, small white Cheyletiella mites moving on the surface of the skin (walking dandruff), itching, skin redness, and small swollen areas. Your vet can prescribe treatments to get rid of the mites.
  • Spinal problems: A Dandie can easily injure his long back. Be careful to support his back when you pick him up and discourage him from jumping on or off high places. Instead, provide pet steps to the sofa or bed.
  • Epilepsy: Some Dandies have been reported with epilepsy. If your dog has seizures, ask your vet about treatment.
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Care of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDandie Dinmont Terriers are adaptable and will enjoy city or country life as long as they get quality time with their people. They can live in smaller quarters, although they need to be walked regularly or have a yard to play in.

Two 20- or 30-minute walks daily or time spent playing in the yard will keep them happy. Like all terriers, digging is in their blood, so either supervise outdoor playtime or provide them with their very own digging spot.

Never allow them off-leash in unfenced areas as their instinct to hunt and chase may be provoked by the slightest movement of a squirrel, bird, or other dog or cat. An underground electronic fence won't deter them in the least, so stick to a solid barrier.

Training your Dandie will take a bit of patience. Like all terriers, Dandies are independent thinkers, and they may often seem reluctant to respond to your commands. They also 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.

Feeding Recommendations

It is recommended that you feed your Dandie 1 to 1.5 cups of high-quality dry food a day. Divide this into two meals.

Remember that all dogs are individuals just like people. How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. And the better the quality of food the less you will need to use to feed your dog.

Coat Color And Grooming

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestDandie Dinmont Terriers have a crisp topcoat that covers a soft, downy, waterproof undercoat. The topcoat, which is about 2 inches long, gets its crisp texture from the mixture of two-thirds hard hair with one-third soft hair. The topknot is very soft silky hair.

Dandie Dinmont Terriers come in two distinctive colors: mustard and pepper. Mustards are a reddish brown to a pale fawn with a creamy white topknot. Peppers are a dark bluish black to a light silvery gray with a silvery white topknot.

Although Dandies look very natural, they actually have medium- to high-maintenance coats. Even though they shed moderately, Dandies need to be brushed two or three times a week to remove dead hair and prevent matting. Part of this brushing will involve plucking dead hair from the coat once or twice a year. Show dogs require this much more often. The hard hairs are stripped out to encourage new hair to grow. Most pet owners find a good professional groomer to strip their Dandie's coats. If you cut your Dandie's hair instead of stripping it, the color and texture changes, becoming lighter and softer.

Complete a Dandie's hair care by trimming the hair on top of the muzzle short, and keeping the corners of the eyes free of hair. The soft furnishings, the long hair on the legs, underbody, and head, can be trimmed with scissors, as can the hair between the footpads. Hair in the ears should be removed regularly by gently plucking it out.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Pet QuestOther grooming needs include dental hygiene and nail care. Brush your Dandie's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath.

Trim nails regularly if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep your legs from getting scratched when your Dandie enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.

Begin accustoming your Dandie to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently as dogs are touchy about their feet. And look inside his mouth and ears. Grooming should be a positive experience filled with praise and rewards as this will lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.

As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.

Children And Other Pets

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppies | Pet QuestDandies typically get along well with children and other pets, so long as they are brought up with them or exposed to them in puppyhood. An adult Dandie who's unfamiliar with children may do best in a home with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.

Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.

Rescue Groups

Dandies are sometimes bought without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. These dogs may end up in need of adoption and or fostering.

Breed Organizations

Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about Dandies.

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Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppy Pics


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Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppy Pics


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