The Dandie Dinmont Terrier

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Dandie Dinmont
Weight: 18 — 24 lbs
Height: 8” — 11”
AKC Rank 2008 #144
Lifespan: 11—13 yrs
Group: Terrier
Origin: Scotland/England

Dog Breed Info - Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie with a regular haircut.
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Breed Overview

Origin: 1700’s. Original function: Otter and badger hunting. Today: Earthdog trials, Companion. Colors: Pepper — All shades of grey and silver, or Mustard — All shades of brown and fawn.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier first appeared as a distinct type of terrier with roots in the country around the border of Scotland and England on the 18th century. They were owned by farmers and gypsies who had the dogs to keep the vermin population down in the barns and fields as well as chase after otter, rabbits, badgers and fox. Many of these dogs were owned by James Davidson who named all of his dogs either Pepper or Mustard along with some identifying adjective or other word. It is thought that Davidson and his dogs were the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott’s character for Dandie Dinmont and his dogs in his novel “Guy Mannering,” published in 1814. This is where the breed got the name. A letter written by Davidson claimed that all Dandies were the product of two of his dogs named “Tarr” and “Pepper.” At one time the breed was included in the breed of Scottish Terriers. This amounted to several short legged breeds. The Dandie was separated from this group and recognized as a distinct breed in 1873. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has never gained much popularity except in England for some strange reason.

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Training must be strong and demanding so the Dandie Dinmont Terrier learns early-on (starting about 5 weeks old) that he is not going to be the boss. As long as this dog understands he is not the pack leader, all will be fine. Once a dog, any dog, gets the notion he is the alpha in the group, you’ve got problems ranging from separation anxiety to food bowl aggression. This is not the Dandie’s nature, but it will happen if his training is not done right. Be firm but calm and nice about it. Use CLICKER TRAINING and the positive reinforcement the is the best way to get your training across to a difficult dog. The process is very simple and effective.

This is a fairly easy breed to train and they can learn agility as well as obedience and manners with the clicker.

Crate Training

Want to crate train your Dandie Dinmont puppy? It's easy and if you're interested, take a look and you'll see what to do. Crate training your puppy will save many headaches and problems.

Potty Training

Dandie Dinmont Terrier puppies are pretty easy to house train, potty train, toilet train, housebreak or whatever you want to call it. If you have a puppy, decide if you want to crate or paper potty train it. For the best results, we have a page at Crate vs Paper Potty Training which will help you decide and from there you can get all the information you need to get the job done. Always praise the pup profusely when she goes potty in the RIGHT PLACE so she knows she has done a good thing. Either method will work for this breed.

If you have an older dog, take the dog outside every two hours until she gets the idea which door leads to her potty area. Older dogs catch on to the potty or housebreaking pretty fast once they are shown what to do.

Dinmont puppy
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Dandie Dinmont Terriers are always ready for hunting. They are tough little dogs that love to run, explore and chase small animals, which is what they were bred for. At the same time, if trained and handled properly, they make terrific companions and house pets, good with children and if raised with them, good with cats too. This is an intelligent, affectionate, fun-loving breed that enjoys life, loves a good romp and will curl up at your feet when the day is done. He is a loyal companion that is adaptable for folks from 7 years to 77 years old. If getting one, make sure your selection has been well trained and has a submissive temperament. Terriers need an alpha or “leader” type owner. The Dandie is good with children but the kids should be taught to maintain a leadership roll with the dog and to respect the dog too. As with most terriers, he likes to dig and barkand some may suffer separation anxiety but that can be managed.

If you happen to get a Dandie Dinmont Terrier with a separation anxiety problem, that can be dealt with by investing a few hours of work on your part and some "tough love."

Friendly Toward Other Dogs

Maybe. Can be aggressive toward some dogs but will love others. Will pick and choose his dog friends.

Friendly Toward Other Pets

Pretty good with exception of anything that moves and looks like a rodent or otter. Best if the Dandie Dinmont Terrier grows up with a cat but not necessary, just introduce them gradually. Will accept other dogs in the family if introduced on common turf.

Friendly Toward Strangers

Reserved with strangers. Wary until he knows his owner accepts the new people and then warms up quickly.


Yes, a very playful, fun-loving little dog. He’s lively, energetic and loves to run, romp and play.


Quite affectionate. Loyal and loves his family and the kids. Rate him 8 bars out of 10 for affection.

Good with children

Yes, very good with kids. The Dandie Dinmont is one of the better breeds for children. Quite tolerant, though dignified. The children should be taught how to behave around a dog and to respect the dog, as well as how to maintain a leadership role with the dog so the dog doesn’t take over their lives by nipping and biting.

Good with Seniors over 65?

Yes. Dandie Dinmont Terriers and seniors are a good match. The Dandie is affectionate, playful, easy to care for, needs only moderate exercise, is loyal and as very good watchdog. Perfect for a lonely senior with time on his hands to groom and play all day. If longevity or training are issues, find a Dandie Dinmont rescue group and get a 2 or 3 year old dog that's house trained and knows a few commands. That will save the senior some headaches.

Living environment

House with a medium size fenced backyard where the Dandie Dinmont Terrier can hunt, sniff and explore as well as run after balls and maybe play some fetch with you for exercise.

Apartment living is fine too, as long as the Dandie gets out for walks and some play time either in a yard or the park. Living on a farm or ranch would be great too.

Does NOT tolerate hot weather. Keep indoors in air conditioning or in the shade during hot and humid weather months.

Energy level

Moderate. Rate this about 6 bars out of 10.

Exercise needs, daily

Moderate. A walk or two or some play in the yard will do it. Even though the exercise needs are moderate, they are VITAL just the same. The Dandie needs mental and physical stimulation every day to stay in shape. Mental stimulation comes from socializing with other dogs along a walk, for instance, and from chasing and locating a ball in a game of fetch.


Good watchdog. The Dandie has a loud bark and will alert to anything unusual going on. You may have to shut him up.

Guard dog

No. Not a guardian. Too nice a guy I guess.


No, does not shed.


Brush two to three times a week to remove dead hair. Take to a groomer for a professional cut four times a year, minimum. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier must be clipped to maintain the traditional look. Use a stiff bristle brush from thew pet store.

Dandie Dinmont Rescue

In the event you are seriously considering the adoption of an older dog and are looking for a Dandie Dinmont rescue group or groups in your state, here are several links that might help:
Petfinder - Dandie Dinmont Rescue-(Nationwide) At the time of this writing, Petfinder is showing only 26 of this breed available for adoption in the USA. This is an indication. The number will vary, but this will be a hard dog to find.
Adopt A Pet This is an interesting site but you will likely want to go online and search for Dandie 'Dinmont Rescue groups, shelters, kennels, or even clubs that might suggest places to locate available dogs.

Health Issues For Dandie Dinmont Terriers
Below are the illnesses or medical problems listed for the Dandie by various vets and books.

This is basically a healthy breed. Don’t let the list below scare you! Your own dog will probably never have ANY of these problems. These are medical issues the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is prone to that have been listed by various veterinarians at different times over the past decade or so and some pertain to puppies and very young dogs that a breeder would deal with.

The information contained herein has been gathered from numerous books by veterinarians and is intended as general information only. Every dog and situation is different. You must see your vet. Our information is for general interest only and not intended to replace the advice provided by your own veterinarian.

  • Intervertebral disc disease—Biochemical changes in a young dog of certain breeds can cause at least one diseased or mineralized disc in the spine of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. A disc that is not functioning properly will cause pain, problems walking, stumbling, severe neck pain and even paralysis. The Dachshund has an 80% chance of having this problem. Treatments can go from non-invasive doses of anti-inflammatory steroids, muscle relaxants and bed-rest to surgery. Pain meds are also given as needed. Mess with the spine and you have a serious situation and it’s tough on the dog!

  • Patellar luxation—Limping, Hind Leg Held Up, Can’t straighten back leg. Caused by an unusually shallow spot on the femur, weak ligaments and misalignment of tendons and muscles that align the knee joint and allow the knee cap (patella) to float sideways in and out of position. This can be caused by injury or be present at birth and can affect both rear legs. If your dog has trouble straightening the leg, is limping, lame, or is walking on three legs and holding one hind leg up, look for patellar luxation. Several of my dogs have had the problem and all I’ve done is reach down, massage the knee a little until they drop their leg, and we’re good to go for another 3 or 4 months. Severe cases require surgery for a fully lame leg.

  • Corneal ulceration—Caused by eye injury and common to dogs whose eyes are prominent. Corneal ulcers can easily become infected. Keep all dogs with prominent eyes like Pugs, Dandie's and Boston's away from dirty, polluted, dusty areas. Infections are very hard to treat.

  • Glaucoma—A painful pressure builds in the eye which leads to total blindness if not treated very early.

  • Otitis externa—Ear infections—Inflammation and infection of the outer ear, especially dogs with long, floppy ear flaps. Dirt and moisture collect and breed yeast and bacteria. Ear hair and wax contribute to the infection environment. If left untreated it can become a serious infection. If at home treatments with cleaning and meds don't work and the problem worsens, surgery might be the last resort.

  • Cheyletiella mites - Known as "walking dandruff." You may see dandruff "moving" on the skin. These are actually mites, or parasites. Symptoms: Itching, scratching, skin irritation (usually on the dog's back) scaling, slight hair loss and maybe some thickening of the skin at the affected areas. Don't try to self medicate the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. 1. The disease can be transferred to humans. 2. You may need to fog all areas where the dog has been. 3. Your vet will tell you what KIND of fog to use and which medication to use on the dog.

  • Cataracts—Hazy or cloudy vision and will eventually lead to total blindness if not treated.

  • Obesity—The Dandie tends to adds weight easily so be sure he is exercised well and watch his food bowl. Don’t overfeed!

Other health problems could occur with your Dandie Dinmont Terrier. If you notice any problems with your dog, take it to the vet immediately. This website is for general information only and is not intended to, in any way, be a medical guide

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