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Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament: Scotlands forgotten breed

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament
The Dandie Dinmont is a rare Scottish Breed. Photo credit:Dryfevally Dandie Dinmonts, bred and raised in the Scottish Borders. Owned by Angie Miller. Shared by Caledonian Dandies

The gentleman under the Terrier breeds: With their soulful-looking big eyes and curious demeanour, the Dandie will immediately conquer your heart and soul.

If you have ever met one of these rare dogs, they have likely left a lasting impression. So often overlooked by people due to new designer breeds, the Dandie is a loyal, affectionate and playful dog without being overbearing.

But is this dog breed the right one for your lifestyle? It's time to find out. In this blog post, we will dive deeper into their breed history, lively temperament and potential health issues you may encounter with the Dandie Dinmont. The Dandie might be a suitable choice for many people, but it's essential to research before taking the plunge, as with any dog.

Read on to make sure you've covered all ground.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier History

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are unique and different from their Terrier Group cousins.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament
The elongated body doesn't cause many back problems. Photo credit: Julia Fox ,‘Puddockswell Hoodwink’ Best of Breed Crufts 2022, shared kindly by Caledonian Dandies

Their body is a more elongated S-shape and not like the flat back of a Dachshund. For that reason, Dandies don't encounter back problems. The rise in the spine protects their back.

Their head is distinctive, large and surprisingly strong for such a little dog.

Their hind legs are slightly longer than the front legs.

The silky topknot or covering, which is the signature mark of the breed, additionally protected their head when they set off to do what they were bred to do: Searching and hunting grounds and holes for foxes, badgers and otters. The topknot protected the head when a fox or badger suddenly went for the bite. Very often, the topknot saved the life of the short-legged Dandie.

The breed has mostly stayed the same since the 18th century, as they were the perfect dog for the job. The first Dandie Dinmont Club was established in 1875 and is the third oldest breed club worldwide. If you'd look at a photo from a Dandie from 100 years ago, you wouldn't see much difference.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament
The topknot is the signature look of the Dandie. Photo credit: Nicole H. shared on Facebook: Dandie Dinmont Terrier World

As with many breeds, the true origins of this little dog are unknown, as the breeding's sole purpose back then was to create working dogs for the farm folk.

Some documents point to the development of other Scottish Terrier breeds in the Border area between Scotland and England.

The first Dandie Dinmonts recorded were native to the Scottish Borders and often kept by Scottish farmers.

At the same time, the Bedlington Terrier, Otterhound, Fox Terrier and Skye Terrier were around and could all have influenced the Dandie or the other way around.

What is clear is that the Dandie Dinmont is one of the oldest Terrier breeds and was one of the first distinguished ones as a breed.

There are only two colours recognised in the breed. Mustard and Pepper. Pepper ranges from dark blue to a light silver grey with a silvery topknot. Mustard is a reddish brown or rich mustard to pale fawn colour with a creamy white topknot.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament
Pepper and Mustard are the two established breed colours. Photo credit: Laura S. kindly shared on Facebook: Dandie Dinmont Terrier World

One of the first paintings of the Dandie was completed in 1770 and featured the third Duke of Buccleuch with a small dandie-like Terrier at his feet. The Buccleuch family name is often associated with the breed throughout history.

Another fun fact about the breed: The Dandie Dinmont is the only dog taking its name from a character in literature.

The book "Guy Mannering" published in 1814, mentioned the Dandie Dinmont for the first time in a very poetic manner, showing how obsessed the author became with this lovely dog.

'He evolved from the Scottish hillside, the grey mists forming his body, a bunch of lichen his topknot, crooked juniper stems his forelegs, and a wet bramble his nose.'