Did you know?
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed to be named after a character in fiction.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Man is dog’s idea of what God should be. – Holbrook Jackson
Originating in the Cheviot Hills, in the border country between England and Scotland, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is unique as the only dog breed to be named for a fictional character. His name is taken from a character in Sir Walter Scott’s 1815 novel, Guy Mannering. As the book became popular, the breed became famous as “Dandie Dinmont’s Terriers”. Over time the apostrophe was dropped and the Dandie became the first terrier breed to have a name.
The Dandie is said to be the oldest and rarest of the terriers. Although his origins are a matter of some debate, kennel records show him as a distinct breed by 1700. The third Duke of Buccleuch commissioned a portrait of his Dandie by Gainsborough in 1770 and Queen Victoria kept several. The Dandie is believed to descend from the Otterhound and the now extinct Otter Terrier.
He was orginally bred to keep down the population of fur-bearing vermin such as badgers, foxes, and otters. He was a favourite of the gypsies and became known as “the tinker’s dog”.
Photos displayed courtesy of Niki Foley-Sen, Lovingeyes, Alberta
The Dandie’s rounded head with its distinctive white topknot and his large, bright, wide-set eyes are unique among the terriers. A rich dark hazel, his eyes express his determination, intelligence and dignity. In line with his breed function, he has a punishing jaw, large, strong teeth and a powerful neck.
He stands just 20-28 cm (8-11”) at the top of the shoulder and his length is a little under twice his height. The adult dog weighs between 8 and 11 kg (18-24 lb) and possesses the strength and flexibility required for a dog created to go to earth.
The Dandie has a non-shedding double coat. His coat a mixture of hardish and soft hair, and is about 5 cm (2”) long. The pepper colour may be shades of dark bluish black to pale, silvery gray. The mustard colour ranges from shades of reddish brown to pale fawn with the head being creamy white. The hair on the underpart of the body is lighter in colour and softer than on the top.
A good, hardy watchdog and calm, long-lived companion, the Dandie is noted for his courage, pluck, responsiveness, and above all, his loyalty. He is loving, intelligent, lively, and playful. He is patient and gentle with children. While he is adaptable to almost any environment, his master should be able to give him lots of attention and affection, for the Dandie loves his people.
As a true terrier, he is fearless when aroused. The Dandie has a stubborn streak and will benefit from good obedience training.
A tendency to dig and crawl under fences should be discouraged early. However, he is a sensitive dog and should be trained accordingly.
The first single breed book in the world was written about the Dandie in 1885 by Mr. Charles Cook. In it is possibly the best description of a dog ever written: “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.”