Dandie Dinmont Terrier
- AKC recognized in 1886
- Lifespan: 12-15 years
- Size: Small
- Energy: Medium
- Recommended Crate Size: 24” dog crate*
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Table of Contents
This dog is dandy indeed! The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is dashing and dignified, yet daring at the same time. In fact, he’s a little package of dynamite - one you don’t want to have a close encounter with...if you’re a rodent, at least.
Created for the purpose of hunting down small critters, this guy is tough and determined. He’s quite sturdy too. He aced his task as a hunter and now, in more modern times, he’s more sought after for another job he does quite well...being a loving and adorable companion.
The Dandie Dinmont is a unique looking, stout and sturdy fellow with a big personality and a huge heart. If you think he might be the dog of your dreams, read on to find out more.
The Dandie Dinmont dates back to at least the 1600s where they were bred to hunt small creatures like foxes, otters, and badgers in England and Scotland. The exact details of his origin are not known but it is believed the dogs of the Holystone Allans in Northumberland played a key role in the 1700s.
The breed possibly has Border Terrier roots but some think they are the product of a cross between Skye Terriers and Scottish Terriers. In keeping with the Skye and Scottish theory, the head of a family who bred the two was a man named Willie “Piper” Allan from Bellingham who kept the dogs to hunt otters.
Lord Ravensworth hired Allan to have his dogs rid his pond of otters. Ravensworth was so impressed with the dogs, he tried to buy one. But, Piper refused to sell. Later, after Piper’s death, it is recorded that his son, James, inherited the dogs and sold one, Old Pepper, to a man named Sommer who had worked on the Lord’s manor. From Old Pepper, many great dogs begat.
The breed, however, was barely known until Sir Walter Scott’s “Guy Mannering” novel was published. Within the story was a character, a farmer, named Dandie Dinmont who, in the book, owned Terriers who hunted otters and fox.
Due to the book, the dogs became more popular. Some further interbreeding happened in the middle 1800s including the possible introduction of Dachshund blood into them. Shortly after, it’s suspected that the Dandie played a part in the creation of the Bedlington Terrier.
Although it’s a sketchy history, what is certain is that the Kennel Club came into existence in 1873. In 1875, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club was established which was the third dog club in the world. The breed standard was then created for the Dandie Dinmont. By 1886, the Dandie was a proud member of the American Kennel Club (AKC).
The Second World War took its toll on most all breeds, including the Dinmont. But soon after the war, he flourished once again.
In 2006, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier was recognized as one of the rarest of dog breeds which is native to the British Isles.
One of the many outstanding characteristics of this dog is that he has a loud, deep bark which makes him quite useful as a hunting dog. In fact, it was preplanned and bred into him. That might not be a feature owners (and neighbors) appreciate today but all the same, it is one that he has.
Also known as the Hindlee Terrier, the Dandie is not only an avid and awesome hunter, he’s an excellent companion dog too.
This breed is a sturdy, small dog with a long body. He stands about 6-10 inches tall on average and weighs in around 18 t0 24 pounds. Even though he’s a little guy and doesn’t weigh much, he’s very muscular.
His proportions are much more important at showings than his weight and height are. The measurement to the root of his tail from his shoulder tops are to be only an inch or two less than twice his height.
His eyes are like big buttons - round and extremely expressive. They are usually a very attractive hazel color and are described to depict a “wise and knowing” look. His ears are pendulous and hang down.
The Dinmont head is quite broad and is covered in soft, silky hair that contrast with the hair on his body. On the top of his relatively large head, his he sports a cute and almost comical topknot poof of fur on top like a hairstyle from the 80s.
As far as coat coloring goes, he can be found in pepper, pure white, silver, or mustard. The colors of his coat have helped make him the one-of-a-kind gem he is. His top coat is quite crisp, and a bit rough. Underneath, he has a downy soft, weatherproof coat.
The Dandie comes in various colors such as mustard, silvery, spicy pepper, and all white. Mustard colored Dinmonts can actually entail shades from pale fawn all the way to reddish brown. They have round expressive eyes which usually are hazel in color.
Dandie’s legs are usually a darker color than their bodies. The body’s color contrast slowly blends into that on his short legs. Usually, by the age of eight months, their coat color is set but the pup will continue to mature until he’s about two years of age.
Another thing that really stands out about the Dandie Dinmont’s appearance is that his neck is unusually muscly. The reason is because that was bred into him so he could stand up against larger animals.
Although his legs are short, they are muscly too which came in handy for the Dandie when he was after critters, great and small. He can dig a hole like nobody’s business too which is another skill that was quite useful in the wild.
Just the looks of this great guy speak of his history as a hunter and though he doesn’t hunt much now, as a rule, his unique physical characteristics are there to remind us of his roots.
It is recommended to provide dog food formulated to small-sized breeds and to get one specifically for Terriers, if possible. It is highly recommended that you discuss your dog’s feeding regime with your veterinarian and/or breeder in order to determine the size and frequency of meals in order to ensure a healthy, long life.
You may be advised to feed him small meals frequently when he is younger because he is a small dog. He will also need ample protein, being a medium energy breed.
Be sure to limit in between meal snacks and treats because he is apt to become obese if you don’t. He does love his food. Being overweight is as harmful for dogs as it is to humans and can open the door for many medical problems like Heart Disease and Diabetes.
As with all pets, it is also important to ensure that clean, fresh water is always available.
This Scottish dog breed does not shed much but he does shed some. The biggest issue is that the hair on his undercoat often gets trapped on the topcoat. But that is easily solved with regular brushing. At least brushing him well once or twice per week is highly recommended to prevent mats, tangles, and to remove loose hair.
Your Dandie will look and smell even dandier when you give him regular baths or have a groomer bathe him.
It is a general practice by most Dandie pet parents to have their pooch professionally groomed every month or two. If you are showing your Dinmont, you’ll be required to have him styled.
You could get by without it if you simply don’t like the thought but he might get a bit depressed if you don’t keep him shaved at least some. He will love showing off his newly groomed “do” when you do take him which, for most owners, encourages a trip back when the style grows back out.
This Terrier will also need twice a year stripping to remove dead hair and trigger new hair growth. This will keep their legs, face, ears, feet, and neck looking tidy and neat.
Weekly ear checks are also suggested to remove any wax build up, which often causes irritation and possibly infection. If your Dinmont paws at his ears, be sure to have them checked. Untreated ear infections can warrant surgery or lead to deafness.
Another thing to keep up with is his nails. He is an indoor dog and may not be outside enough to wear them down naturally so it will be up to you to clip them as needed to prevent splitting, cracking, and chipping. If he does happen to be outside much, he’ll probably need them cleaned because he’s a digger, for sure.
Don’t forget to brush his teeth at least once a week. This will help prevent tartar buildup which can cause cavities and will also help ward away gum disease. Using a doggie toothbrush and a dog-friendly enticing flavored toothpaste will gain his cooperation, for sure.
This breed has a medium energy level. They need moderate exercise and are well suited for walking and they love to go where you go. Because of their short and small feet, they are not prime candidates for running activities.
Regular, daily walks of about 30-40 minutes once, or even twice a day, is superb for this breed. You can add a bit of play time in the mix too for extra exercise and feed his need for fun.
The Dandie can live well in both the suburbs and in the city. Their small size makes them suitable for condo or apartment living. You’ll certainly need to get his energy out though.
When taking a Dandie for a walk, be sure you lead the way. That is one way to establish yourself as the leader of the pack and with this breed that is a must. His life will be a lot happier with you making that clear. Your pet parenting life will be easier for it too.
Beware of any little critters that might pop out when on a walk with your Dandie Dinmont because he’ll chase them if given the chance. It’s in his blood but with training and a cautious eye out for the potential problem can help prevent lurking danger.
One rule of thumb for this guy is if you are going on an activity adventure, he is all in to go along which is great. The more exercise for this dandy dog, the better. He’ll be healthier and happier the closer his life is to the one his ancestors had.
Remember to provide mental stimulation and exercise for him too. He’s a smart guy who can easily become bored if you don’t give him some brain game activities and challenges.
Pet Crate Size
Pet Crates Direct recommends 24” dog crates* for most adult Dandie Dinmont Terriers.
* Links for crate sizes will bring you to the most appropriate Amazon page.
This dynamite dog is quite a character. On one hand, he’s a hunter at heart from the tip of his poofy soft hair to the paws of his stout, strong paws. Due to his powerful hunting skills and instincts, he shouldn’t be around small animals (like hamsters and mice) in a house because he’s given to chasing. It’s just something that is difficult, if not impossible, to take out of this breed.
He’s great with people though. He bonds well and is even good with children although they should never be around extremely young kids for his safety and the safety of the children.
Not a member of the “Small Dog Syndrome” club, this peppy, perky pup is very self-confident. In fact, sometimes too much so for his own good. He is not aggressive whatsoever but won’t be one to back down either.
If the Dandie grows up with another dog or even a cat, he’ll most likely do alright with them. But, if he meets up during his adult years, anything could happen, especially concerning the cat. If the situation does occur, he is likely to be able to be trained to live in harmony with a cat or two, however.
The Dandie makes a good watchdog. He is loyal beyond belief and will stand up to protect his loved ones. He’s got a loud bark that was useful when he was a hunter and it is one that certainly might frighten an intruder away too.
Speaking of his bark, they can be a loud, consistent barker. He can be trained to pike it down upon command though.
This dog can dig. He’s apt to dig some huge holes and doesn’t need much space to do so in. That’s another thing he can be work on about. Good thing this breed is highly trainable.
Talk about alert! You’re not going to put much past the Dandie. He’s smart as a whip too. He does have a twinge of willfulness and independence but that’s to be expected from a Terrier, especially one with the successful hunting background this guy has. He had to be very persistent and determined to hunt and some things are just ingrained.
At the same time, Dinmonts are also very calm and cool. They don’t get all riled up about just anything. It takes a good bit to ruffle their feathers. This is a welcome change from the majority of Terriers and yet another characteristic their pet parents love about them. Some go so far as to claim they are emotionally more mature and less high strung than the average Terrier.
Another thing the Dandie is - polite. This little guy is a gentleman through and through, well, as long as you aren’t an otter, or a fox, or maybe even a hamster. Owners love the fact that they can have company come to call without worrying their Din will be unfriendly or even overly friendly (which can be just as obnoxious for guests). He is a very well-balanced, cheerful part of the family. He just fits right in.
Something the Dinmont is not fond of at all is being by himself. He may suffer from separation anxiety. He’s not as extreme as some other breeds but he sure likes being in the company of his family and will make that fact well known.
It should be noted that this breed does have a well-defined boundary, which can date back to his days on the hung grounds. For this reason, you never want to leave a toddler alone with him lest the child accidentally trips over him or “accidentally” pull his truff.
The Dandie might construe the wrong meaning and...can you really blame him? He’s a small guy with spirit and strength. That trait is what has preserved the breed through dangerous encounters with animals twice his size. So, respect for his turf is a must.
Fun and friendly are words often used to describe this breed. He’s not a sissy, that’s for sure. But, he’ll go hiking, hunting, or most anywhere else you’d like to take him and get as physical as you please, then curl up in your lap at the end of the day. For many, this makes the Dandie Dinmont Terrier the ideal dog.
As dapper of a dandy as this dog is, training can be a bit of a challenge I some respects. Think back to his days of hunting. He was the boss. He had to be. Yet, when he hunted alongside humans, he was expected to take commands. Imagine the confusion this poor little fellow most likely faced!
Don’t fret. There’s a solution that clears things up for him instantly. It’s an instinct that is built into his bloodline as deeply as his drive to hunt. It’s called pack mentality. This breed is programmed to respect his leader. He is also programmed to be the leader, until further notice, that is. It is up to you to give that further notice.
Once you establish yourself and the pack leader, training should be a breeze because he is super smart, eager to please (to some extent), and he is more capable than most other Terriers because he’s so strong.
Keep in mind that only positive training will do for this guy. He will buck if you hurt his feelings or insult him. Lots of praise and a few treats now and then should do the trick. He is apt to be proud of his own strides when learning new things so that’s a huge plus.
Patience and consistency will play a mammoth role in the training of a Dinmont. Don’t give up and don’t give in. Remain calm, collective, and assertive at all times. Once you win him over, you’ll have the best student ever.
Potty training is usually the first training on the list. The Dandie probably won’t complain about it too terribly much because he too likes to “go” where he’s supposed to.
Being small, however, his little bladder can only hold a certain amount so you’ll need to take him out frequently to give him a chance to do his business when in training and thereafter as well.
Socialization is a must. The Dinmont is a social guy so you shouldn’t have much problem with this training either. Expose him to as wide a variety of people, animals, and stimuli as you can. Beware that his love for chasing small critters may never completely subside.
Obedience training is imperative as well. It is for his safety and that of other people and animals. Once you have established your role as his pack leader, everything else should fall into place. He’s quite bright so he’ll catch on easily.
Brain game training is fun with the Dinmont Terrier. It will surprise you just how intelligent he is and how willing he is to participate. Doing mental training with your dog will help keep him from being bored.
Agility is another training you might try with this breed. He is long and short but he’s strong and quick as well.
The Dinny generally enjoys a lifespan expectancy of somewhere between 12 and 15 years. He’s a pretty healthy pup, for the most part, although there are some issues you’ll want to keep a close eye out for as a pet parent.
Making sure you go through an excellent breeder with an impeccable reputation is a must with this Scottish dog. There are many who are greedy and your dog will suffer for that. You might also reach out to see if there are any rescues in your area.
Here are some health problems to watch for:
The Dandie Dinmont has an elongated body which makes him susceptible to back issues. One common back ailment is intervertebral discs in his back that can slip right out of place. The condition is painful and debilitating and can result in spinal disc herniation that can end up causing pain and discomfort, trouble walking, and loss of bowel and/or bladder control.
Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma is a disease of the eye. It is characterized by the building up of pressure and can be very painful and eventually usually leads to blindness, especially if left untreated.
The reason for the Glaucoma is that the drainage in the eye is blocked due to the iris being forward. The angle of the drainage closes the area within the eye where the pressure is supposed to be released. The pressure begins to rise. Chronic Primary Closed Angle Glaucoma is present when the condition is ongoing and has led to nerve damage in the eye.
To help fight Glaucoma in the Dandie, it is highly recommended that all should have a gonioscopy performed on a regular basis which is a procedure that can diagnose Glaucoma in dogs.
Walking Dandruff, or Cheyletiella Mites Infection, is a skin condition seen a lot in Dandie Dinmonts. This problem is most common in cats but can affect dogs and rabbits as well. The issue entails large mites that cause extreme and excessive flaking of the skin, also known as dandruff.
Their tell-tale movement over the top layer of the skin gives way to the name “Walking Dandruff”. The condition is highly contagious. At the first suspicion that your dog has this, contact your veterinarian and arrange to bring him in.
Cushing’s Syndrome is an ailment in disease, and humans, that affects the adrenal glands. It causes them to produce way too many specific hormones such as cortisone.
There are three main causes that can be the root of the problem - a pituitary gland tumor, an adrenal gland tumor, or it can be the result of continued and prolonged use of steroids. All the same, any concern regarding your dog should be addressed immediately with his vet.
Signs of this condition are lethargy, excessive drinking, frequent urination, panting continuously, skin irritations of a chronic nature, skin mineralization, failure of the skin to heal, thin skin, and a pot belly. Your vet can conduct a test and in the event your dog does have the disease, treatment may be recommended.
Canine Cancer is seen more often in Dandie Dinmont Terriers than in many other breeds. Blood vessel cancer, Lymphoma, mast cell tumors, and mammary cancer are among the top types seen in dogs. Signs of cancer will depend upon what kind it is.
The symptoms of the condition can range from just not feeling good to blood in his stool, a poor appetite, to seizures and coma. If you think your dog may have a form of cancer, get him in for an exam at the vet clinic immediately.
Hypothyrodism is a condition in dogs, and humans, where the thyroid is not producing enough hormones. Symptoms include lethargy and listlessness, loss of hair, weight gain without reason, shedding more than usual, inability to deal with cold weather, scaling of the skin, and dullness to his coat. The changes may come on suddenly or may appear over a period of time.
Keeping a check on your dog’s health is wise and watching for the issues the Dandie is more susceptible to is smart as well. Just because the breed is vulnerable to certain medical ailments certainly doesn’t mean he will get any of them.
Is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier Right for Me?
Are you in love with this darling, dashing, and somewhat daring Dandie Dinmont? The Scottish Legend has stolen many hearts throughout history. If he is stealing yours too, it’s time to search your soul with extreme openness and honesty.
Will you be around him much of the time? This Gaelic Guy does not take well to being left alone. Although he fares better than most dog of his size, he won’t be as happy without his human or humans around to share life with.
Do you have small critters in the household like hamsters or gerbils? If so, you might have to make a choice - the Dandie or the small critters. This breed will view them as a snack and something entertaining to chase.
Are you looking for a small dog who can not only keep up with you physically but maybe ever surpass you?
This is one of the strongest Terrier breeds there are. He’s no wimp. But, are you? If you’re a couch potato type or are not physically able to exercise and play with this pup, you’ll either need to find a resource who is, or pass on him. He’s bounding with energy and fully deserves to use it all up.
Even though the Dinmont is medium to high in energy, he does have it in him to relax. Would you love a cute little fellow to accompany you on your physical adventures by day and snuggle softly with you by night? This guy will be happy to oblige you.
He’s a gentleman and a scholar. He’s very smart so you’ll want to not waste his intelligence and ability to be trained.
That poof! If you were a fan of the 80’s whale pout hairstyle, you will be thrilled to know that the truff of hair that poofs up on the Dandie Dinmont’s head is completely natural. No hairspray or gel is needed.
Do you love to laugh and have fun? Well, the Dandie may not actually laugh out loud, but you can bet he’s always up to having some dog-gone-great fun!
If you have taken a good look at your situation and the needs of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier and have concluded that he would be a good match for you-you might want to “Heid doon arse up!” which, in Scottish, means “get on with it”. And then...all should be just fine and dandy!