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  • Temperament: Independent, Smart, Proud
  • AKC Breed Popularity: Ranks 167 of 192
  • Height: 8-11 inches
  • Weight: 18-24 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-15 years
  • Group: Terrier Group

    The AKC has grouped all of the breeds that it registers into seven categories, or groups, roughly based on function and heritage. Breeds are grouped together because they share traits of form and function or a common heritage.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier standing sideways in grass facing left
Dandie Dinmont Terrier standing in three-quarter view
Dandie Dinmont Terrier head facing left
Dandie Dinmont Terrier coat detail
Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Find a Puppy: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

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GENERAL APPEARANCE

Originally bred to go to ground, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a long, low-stationed working terrier with a curved outline. The distinctive head with silken topknot is large but in proportion to the size of the dog. The dark eyes are large and round with a soft, wise expression. The sturdy, flexible body and scimitar shaped tail are covered with a rather crisp double coat, either mustard or pepper in color.

HEAD

The head is strongly made and large, but in proportion to the dogs size. Muscles are well developed, especially those covering the foreface. The expression shows great determination, intelligence and dignity. The eyes are large, round, bright and full, but not protruding. They are set wide apart and low, and directly forward. Color, a rich dark hazel. Eye rims dark. The ears are set well back, wide apart and low on the skull, hanging close to the cheek, with a very slight projection at the fold. The shape is broad at the base, coming almost to a point. The front edge comes almost straight down from base to tip; the tapering is primarily on the back edge. The cartilage and skin of the ear are rather thin. The ears length is from three to four inches.

BODY

The neck is very muscular, well developed and strong, showing great power of resistance. It is well set into the shoulders and moderate in length. The topline is rather low at the shoulder, having a slight downward curve and a corresponding arch over the loins, with a very slight gradual drop from the top of the loins to the root of the tail. Both sides of the backbone well muscled. The outline is a continuous flow from the crest of the neck to the tip of the tail. The body is long, strong and flexible. Ribs are well sprung and well rounded. The chest is well developed and well let down between the forelegs. The underline reflects the curves of the topline.

FOREQUARTERS

There should be sufficient layback of shoulder to allow good reach in front; angulation in balance with hindquarters. Upper arms nearly equal in length to the shoulder blades, elbows lying close to the ribs and capable of moving freely. The forelegs are short with good muscular development and ample bone, set wide apart. Feet point forward or very slightly outward. Pasterns nearly straight when viewed from the side. Bandy legs and fiddle front are objectionable.

COAT

This is a very important point: The hair should be about two inches long; the body coat is a mixture of about 2/3 hardish hair with about 1/3 soft hair, giving a sort of crisp texture. The hard is not wiry. The body coat is shortened by plucking. The coat is termed pily or pencilled, the effect of the natural intermingling of the two types of hair. The hair on the underpart of the body is softer than on the top.

TAIL

The tail is 8 to 10 inches in length, rather thick at the root, getting thicker for about four inches, then tapering off to a point. The set-on of the tail is a continuation of the very slight gradual drop over the croup. The tail is carried a little above the level of the body in a curve like a scimitar. Only when the dog is excited may the tip of the tail be aligned perpendicular to its root.

HINDQUARTERS

The hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs and are set rather wide apart, but not spread out in an unnatural manner. The upper and lower thighs are rounded and muscular and approximately the same length; stifles angulated, in balance with forequarters. The hocks are well let down and rear pasterns perpendicular to the ground.

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dandie dinmont terrier illustration

About the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Physical hallmarks of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier include a large head covered with profuse, silky white hair; long, hanging ears tipped with feathering and coming almost to a point; big, round eyes full of brightness and expression; and a long, low torso and short legs. The crisp body coat comes in two spicy colors: pepper (bluish black to silvery gray) and mustard (reddish brown to pale fawn).

Weighing no more than 24 pounds, Dandies are alert and intelligent watchdogs with a big baritone bark. Dandies enjoy romping and cuddling with kids, but aren’t as hyper as some small dogs. They are terriers, though, with typical willfulness, independence, and courage. Dandie owners get best results with positive, motivational training.

National Breed Clubs and Rescue

Want to connect with other people who love the same breed as much as you do? We have plenty of opportunities to get involved in your local community, thanks to AKC Breed Clubs located in every state, and more than 450 AKC Rescue Network groups across the country.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Find a Puppy: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

AKC Marketplace | PuppyFinder

AKC Marketplace is the only site to exclusively list 100% AKC puppies from AKC-Registered litters and the breeders who have cared for and raised these puppies are required to follow rules and regulations established by the AKC.
Find Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppies

Care

NUTRITION

The Dandie Dinmont should be fed a high-quality dog food appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior) . Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Give table scraps sparingly, if at all, especially avoiding cooked bones and foods with high fat content. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet.

GROOMING

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier does not shed, but that doesn’t mean he requires no grooming. His coat must be stripped of dead hair at least a couple of times a year. This can be done by hand by his breeder, or the owner can learn to do it using a special stripping tool recommended by the breeder. Long hairs can be plucked daily from the coat using thumb and forefinger to maintain a neat appearance. The Dandie will also need to be brushed daily to avoid matting Toenails should be trimmed at least monthly, and care of the ears should be included in maintenance grooming.

Grooming Frequency

Occasional Bath/Brush
Specialty/Professional
Daily Brushing

Shedding

Infrequent
Frequent
Infrequent

EXERCISE

A Dandie will do best exercising a half hour or so twice a day in the form of a brisk walk, or perhaps chasing a ball across the yard. When outdoors he should always be on a leash or in a securely fenced area. The Dandie was bred to hunt, and even the best trained will dart away given the chance to chase what they perceive as prey. Most Dandies will do very well in a home environment with moderate exercise. With their long-and-low build, Dandies are not made to run long distances, and the breed is not the ideal fit for owners looking for a jogging or biking partner.

Energy Level

Couch Potato
Needs Lots of Activity
Regular Exercise

TRAINING

Dandies are tough but dignified big dogs in a little body. With lots of patience and a positive reward-based approach you will get wonderful results. They are “rough-and-tumble,” sturdy little dogs with lots of energy but are very adaptable and eager to please. Typical terriers, they can be stubborn, independent, and a little too sure of their ability to take on all comers. It is imperative that you train the Dandie well so that you not only have a companion with good manners, but also that you can take the lead in unexpected situations.

Trainability

May be Stubborn
Eager to Please
Independent

Temperament/Demeanor

Aloof/Wary
Outgoing
Reserved with Strangers

HEALTH

There is no breed that is completely disease free, but a Dandie comes closer than many others. A rare few develop lymphoma, but otherwise the breed is typically quite healthy. Responsible breeders do genetic testing on their breeding stock to avoid any potential problems. As with all breeds, a Dandie’s ears should be checked regularly for signs of infection, and the teeth should be brushed often, using a toothpaste designed for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure the dog a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

No recommended health tests

Read the Official Breed Club Health Statement.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Dandie Dinmont Terrier

History

The terrier that would become known as the Dandie Dinmont made its debut in written history in about 1700. Described as a “rough native terrier owned by border hunters in the Cheviot Hills between England and Scotland,” the breed was said to be especially good at dispatching such four-legged poachers as otter and badger.

Sir Walter Scott, Scotland’s foremost novelist, was an admirer of the breed. For his 1815 novel “Guy Mannering,” he created a character named Dandie Dinmont, a farmer who keeps a pack of curious-looking pepper and mustard terriers. Scott based the fictional Dinmont on a real-life breeder of such dogs, James Davidson, who kept a pack of working terriers—Old Mustard, Young Pepper, Young Mustard, Little Pepper, Little Mustard, and Old Pepper—the “immortal six” still spoken of with reverence by Dandie fanciers. (It is said that every Dandie alive today can be traced back to a dog named Old Ginger, sired by Old Pepper.)

In acknowledgement of the exposure the breed received from Scott, who called it the “big little dog,” these bright-eyed, long-backed earthdogs came to be known as “Dandie Dinmont’s terriers.” They remain the only AKC breed named for a fictional character.

Dandies caught the attention of 19th-century royals, such as French king Louis Philippe, who kept a brace of pampered Dandies as part of his royal entourage. England’s Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club, established in1875, is still in operation today as one of the world’s oldest breed clubs. The Dandie entered the AKC in 1886, and retains a small but steadfast following.

Did You Know?

Dandie Dinmonts were first recorded as a distinct breed around 1700.
Queen Victoria owned and loved a Dandie.
The breed got its name from a funny character in a book written in 1814 by Sir Walter Scott. The character's name was Dandie Dinmont.
This breed was at one time popular with gypsies, but has also been a favorite of the very rich.
The Dandie Dinmont is intelligent, fond of children, and an excellent guard.
The standard for the Dandie Dinmont Terrier was written in Melrose, Scotland in 1876.

The Breed Standard

GENERAL APPEARANCE

Originally bred to go to ground, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a long, low-stationed working terrier with a curved outline. The distinctive head with silken topknot is large but in proportion to the size of the dog. The dark eyes are large and round with a soft, wise expression. The sturdy, flexible body and scimitar shaped tail are covered with a rather crisp double coat, either mustard or pepper in color.

HEAD

The head is strongly made and large, but in proportion to the dogs size. Muscles are well developed, especially those covering the foreface. The expression shows great determination, intelligence and dignity. The eyes are large, round, bright and full, but not protruding. They are set wide apart and low, and directly forward. Color, a rich dark hazel. Eye rims dark. The ears are set well back, wide apart and low on the skull, hanging close to the cheek, with a very slight projection at the fold. The shape is broad at the base, coming almost to a point. The front edge comes almost straight down from base to tip; the tapering is primarily on the back edge. The cartilage and skin of the ear are rather thin. The ears length is from three to four inches.

BODY

The neck is very muscular, well developed and strong, showing great power of resistance. It is well set into the shoulders and moderate in length. The topline is rather low at the shoulder, having a slight downward curve and a corresponding arch over the loins, with a very slight gradual drop from the top of the loins to the root of the tail. Both sides of the backbone well muscled. The outline is a continuous flow from the crest of the neck to the tip of the tail. The body is long, strong and flexible. Ribs are well sprung and well rounded. The chest is well developed and well let down between the forelegs. The underline reflects the curves of the topline.

FOREQUARTERS

There should be sufficient layback of shoulder to allow good reach in front; angulation in balance with hindquarters. Upper arms nearly equal in length to the shoulder blades, elbows lying close to the ribs and capable of moving freely. The forelegs are short with good muscular development and ample bone, set wide apart. Feet point forward or very slightly outward. Pasterns nearly straight when viewed from the side. Bandy legs and fiddle front are objectionable.

COAT

This is a very important point: The hair should be about two inches long; the body coat is a mixture of about 2/3 hardish hair with about 1/3 soft hair, giving a sort of crisp texture. The hard is not wiry. The body coat is shortened by plucking. The coat is termed pily or pencilled, the effect of the natural intermingling of the two types of hair. The hair on the underpart of the body is softer than on the top.

TAIL

The tail is 8 to 10 inches in length, rather thick at the root, getting thicker for about four inches, then tapering off to a point. The set-on of the tail is a continuation of the very slight gradual drop over the croup. The tail is carried a little above the level of the body in a curve like a scimitar. Only when the dog is excited may the tip of the tail be aligned perpendicular to its root.

HINDQUARTERS

The hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs and are set rather wide apart, but not spread out in an unnatural manner. The upper and lower thighs are rounded and muscular and approximately the same length; stifles angulated, in balance with forequarters. The hocks are well let down and rear pasterns perpendicular to the ground.

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dandie dinmont terrier illustration

Colors & Markings

Colors

Description Standard Colors Registration Code
Mustard Check Mark For Standard Color 132
Pepper Check Mark For Standard Color 138

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