Dog Health & More
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.
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The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a small dog with a unique appearance and the distinction of being the only dog named after a fictional character. This low-to-the-ground dog, with a body that is longer than he is tall and a distinctive "poof" of hair on his head, had been bred for many years before he gained fame and a name in Sir Walter Scott's book Guy Mannering, published in 1814.
In that book, a farmer is portrayed as having six small, long terriers — three with a salt-and-pepper coloring and three with a "mustard" tone to their coats. The farmer's name was Dandie Dinmont and so the little dogs came to be known as Dandie Dinmont's terriers, with the apostrophe "s" being dropped as time went by.
Even the color designations of the breed came from this fictional farmer. He had only two names for his small dogs: Pepper and Mustard. He differentiated them by calling them Auld Pepper, Auld Mustard, Young Pepper, Young Mustard, Little Pepper and Little Mustard. To this day the two colors of the breed are still known as Pepper (bluish black) and Mustard (shades of golden brown).
In his book, Scott, who owned some Dandies of his own, described the little dogs as follows: "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."
Dandie Dinmonts are unusual looking dogs that unfortunately are becoming rare. They have large, domed heads, with large, dark eyes that are set low in the front of the head. Their long ears are set low on the skull and fringed at their tips. Dandies have large chests and long backs.
Unlike most terriers, Dandies have many curves in their 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. They typically are 8 to 11 inches tall and weigh 18 to 24 pounds.
Dandies are affectionate, lively dogs. Like many terriers, they also are independent and determined. They are very intelligent and typically are bold in defending their territory and family, but reserved with strangers, at least initially. Many describe them as being dignified, and even 100 years ago, they were described as having "melancholy eyes as of a nobleman in disguise."
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.