The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is one of five breeds of terrier that originated in Scotland. The other four are Skye, Cairn, Scottish and West Highland White Terriers.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is one of the oldest breeds of terrier, bred from rough native terriers on the border between England and Scotland during the late 1600s. Some hold the Dandie to be the oldest of all terrier breeds, but that distinction actually belongs to the Skye.
The Dandie was first recorded as a distinct breed in 1700.
The Dandie received its name from Sir Walter Scott who happened along several of them on a Scottish farm, and immortalized them in the book Guy Mannering, published in 1814. In the book, a gentleman named Dandie Dinmont owns six of the dogs, and Scott named them all ending with either Pepper or Mustard to describe the Dandie's unique coloring. The Dandie is the only breed of dog to be thusly named after a literary character.
The Dandie is unique amongst terriers, a breed known for their straight lines. The Dandie, however, has a curved body, rounded head, and scimitar shaped tail. Their most memorable feature is the eye--large, dark, and melancholy, the eyes give the Dandie a look of mournful intelligence.
Scott describes the dog:
"he evolved from the Scottish hillside, the gray mists forming his body, a bunch of lichen his topknot, crooked juniper stems his forelegs and a wet
bramble his nose."
Dandies are also different from the other breeds in their temperament. More relaxed than the other terriers, they are less destructive and more quiet, making them excellent household pets. They are quite stubborn, however, making them difficult to train. They are also quite courageous. They will not start a fight but they will always finish it. They are extremely fond of children, very intelligent and make excellent watchdogs.
Dandies range in height from 8 to 11 inches, and weigh on average between 18 to 24 pounds. Their heads are large, featuring a distinctive topknot of silken fur, but are not disproportiante to their bodies. They are fairly long lived animals, averaging a lifespan of about sixteen years.
Most historical information adapted
from The Montizard Dandie Dinmont page, www.montizard.com
Physical description and temperament information adapted
from The American Kennel Club, www.akc.org