Dandie Dinmont Terrier: History, Temperament, Care, Training & more

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Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed Information

Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Level of Energy  
Exercise Needs    
Level of Affection  
Climate Tolerance   
Good With Children  
Tolerance of Animals  
Suitable as Watch Dog    

Dandie Dinmont Terrier – Just The Facts

  • AKC Popularity:  168
  • AKC Breed Group: Terrier
  • Size of Male:  18-24 lbs., 8-10 in.
  • Size of Female:  18-24 lbs., 8-10 in.
  • Color:  Pepper or mustard
  • Average Lifespan:  10-12 years
  • Breed Origin:  Scotland
  • Purpose:  Otter and badger hunter

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General Description

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, with his soulful eyes and fluffy head of hair, has been known as a distinct breed in the Border area between Scotland and England since around 1700. These dogs may be small but they have a big personality. They are confident, intelligent and independent. Once used to hunt badger and otter, today the Dandie Dinmont Terrier makes a first-rate companion and family dog.

Origin and History

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier descends from terriers native to the Border area between Scotland and England in the Cheviot Hills. They were recorded as a distinct type of dog around 1700. They were especially noted for their ability in hunting otter and badger.

In 1814 Sir Walter Scott immortalized these dogs by writing about them in his novel Guy Mannering. In the novel the dogs were owned by the humorous character Dandie Dinmont, a farmer. Ever since that time these dogs have been known as Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers, or the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. This is perhaps the only time that a fictional character has given his name to a dog breed.

The breed has been popular with gypsies, with the very rich, and Queen Victoria owned and loved one of these dogs. Today, these dogs make a good companions and family dogs both in the city and in the country.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier sports a big personality for a small dog. They are known for being independent in nature. They are also determined and willful. They are reserved with strangers but they will take an interest in them. They may be protective of their family and home.

They are very affectionate and fun-loving with their family members but they are also quite dignified. When working they are tenacious and bold. They are very good with children but it’s a good idea to socialize your dog with children from a young age.

Dandies can be aggressive toward other dogs of the same sex (males-males, females-females) so it’s usually recommended to have a male and female if you have more than one dog. Do not trust a Dandie with other small pets, however. They have strong hunting instincts and they will chase and kill other small animals, including other household pets.

They can be socialized to accept cats if you begin at a young age. Dandies may bark at times to give you a warning and you may need to teach them to stop when told. These dogs do make very good pets.

Care, Grooming, Diet & Exercise

Living Environment – The Dandie Dinmont Terrier can adapt very easily to living in an apartment. They are usually fairly active indoors but if you provide them with enough exercise they will be happy. They enjoy long walks. They will also do well with their own small yard. They do not do well living in a kennel situation.

Grooming – The Dandie needs brushing on a daily basis. Their coat should be stripped about twice a year to remove dead hair. You can scissor the coat a little to tidy it up as needed, but this should only be done minimally. This breed is among dogs that do not shed and they are usually considered a good dog for allergy-sufferers.

Diet & Exercise – Dietary requirements are considered normal. Make sure that you don’t overfeed these dogs since they can be prone to putting on extra weight. They are a moderately active breed and they need regular daily exercise to stay fit.

Play sessions and a chance to run off-leash will be enjoyed. However, be careful in allowing this breed to run off-leash. They have strong hunting instincts and if they see small animals they may pursue them. It’s best to only allow them off-leash in a safe, enclosed area.

Health – Although they are a relatively healthy breed, they can be prone to epilepsy, glaucoma, and canine hypothyroidism. Back problems can result if dogs put on extra weight. If you are interested in this dog breed you should talk to a breeder about possible dog health problems.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Trainability

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a very intelligent little dog. Dog training is usually not difficult. However, like many other terriers, these dogs are strong-willed and independent. They can think for themselves. For this reason you need to be firm but gentle in your training.

You will need to make sure that your dog knows you are in charge. Otherwise, this dog will probably ignore you. They can be quite stubborn at times if they think they are in charge. Stay in charge and use positive dog training methods (praise, reward). As long as you are the one doling out the praise and rewards, your dog should be happy to do as you ask.