Tracing their roots back to the early 1700s, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier originated on the border between England and Scotland where they were bred to be used as otter and badger hunters. They also are one of the few breeds named after a literature character, owing their name to Dandie Dinmont, a fictional farmer who owned many long-bodied terriers, in the novel Guy Mannering by Sir Walter Scott. The fictional character was based on a real breeder, James Davidson, who is recognized as the father of the Dinmont Terrier with it being said that all Dandies can be traced back to one of his working dogs called Old Pepper. Throughout the decades, these dedicated hunters were prized companions for farmers, nobility, and even royalty such as Queen Victoria herself.
Bred to rid areas of vermin, the compact Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a long, low-to-the-ground body with a unique curved outline. Their sturdy and flexible pepper (bluish-black to silvery gray) or mustard (reddish-brown to pale fawn) body is covered in a thick double coat that has a mixture of hard and soft hair. The breed is mostly recognized for their large head with a silken topknot, low torso, and short legs. Dandie Dinmont's have large, dark hazel-colored eyes and long, hanging ears that are tipped with feathering, giving them their adorable gentle expression. This working terrier's muzzle is deep and strong with a moderately large, black or dark-colored nose. Their long tail, reaching about eight to ten inches in length, is thick at the base then tapers off to a point.
A dandy little fellow, the Dandie Dinmont can be both calm and reserved with the famous terrier persistence. Although standing at a small 8 to 11 inches, they are an alert and devoted watchdog with a deep bark. The breed is independent and hard-working, yet very affectionate towards their family and thrives on human companionship. Dandies are bold, fearless, and definitely do not hide their independence. These little dogs can be stubborn but with lots of patience and positive reinforcement, this tough terrier will be eager to please. Strict socialization and training from puppyhood are very important for the breed to avoid any unwanted behavior. Dandies are not considered to be as active as other terriers but they do enjoy lots of playtime with older children as toddlers can push their strict boundaries. These proud hunters still retain much of their hunting instincts and territorial behavior, making them not the best choice as a companion in a home with smaller pets or dogs of the same sex. Dignified big dogs in a small body, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier can be just as happy living in the city as they would be living in the countryside.