Choosing a Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Choosing a Dandie Dinmont Terrier

If you want a laid back, agreeable dog, this may be the breed for you. The Dandie Dinmont is a small yet athletic dog. They are able to keep up with your demanding lifestyle, as well as relax with you during down time. And besides, they're just dandy!

History and Origin

The ancestry of the Dandie Dinmont is not firmly established. There are many theories of origin, all including a variety of terriers as ancestors. These dogs may also have been descended from the gypsy dogs of Scotland. They have been acknowledged as a breed since the 17th century, but may be much older. Dogs reminiscent of the Dandie Dinmont lived in the border country amid Scotland and England during this time. Owned by farmers, they were bred primarily to destroy rats, mice and other pests on the farm. They have also been reported to have been used to hunt badgers and otters. Today, the Dandie is primarily a companion animal.

Dandies are most popular in Great Britain. These critters acquired their name from an 1800s period novel by Sir Walter Scott called Guy Mannering. A character in the novel named Dandie Dinmont had terriers comparable to those now known as Dandie Dinmonts. English farmers began calling them such, and the name stuck.


Dandie Dinmonts have a mixture of soft and stiff hair. Their long, bushy beard gives them a distinguished appearance, counterbalanced by large, round, hazel colored eyes for a look of innocence. The coat colors are varying shades of pepper and mustard, with white on the chest. A Dandie's belly hair is softer than that on his body. On the Dandie's head is a silky topknot of locks that should be brushed on a daily basis. The pendulous ears hang down just past the chin and the short tail tends to be darker than the rest of the body.

The Dandie has a long back, with short legs, with the belly draping near to the ground. The body structure is soundly muscled, making for an athletic, playful pet.


Dandie Dinmonts range between 18 and 24 pounds. At the shoulder, the adult Dandie stands between 8 and 11 inches.


These terriers are a quiet yet outgoing breed. They are exceptionally loyal to their family unit, though they are sometimes wary of surprise visitors. They make outstanding watch dogs and have a massive bark for such a small dog. However, they are a great deal more bark than bite. It doesn't take a Dandie long to warm up to a new friend.

Dandies are very loving and expressive with their families. They are especially fond of children, who can keep up with their energy level.

Home and Family Relations

The Dandie Dinmont adores children. The bond between a Dandie and his child is substantial. They also have a particular affection for other dogs. Dandies love to socialize, and thrive in a home environment.

Dandies should always be indoor dogs. They assimilate easily to various situations, including apartment living.


As with many terriers, Dandies require firm yet fair discipline. Training should be started at an early age, and the alpha arrangement should be established early on. Dandies are excellent at obedience as well as agility.

Special Concerns

Dandie Dinmonts need to be on a lean diet and get plenty of exercise to prevent obesity. Daily brushing is important to prevent tangles. These dogs are intolerant of heat; and can easily become overheated in the summer months.

Health Concerns

In general, the Dandie Dinmont is a healthy dog with few medical concerns. However, the following diseases or disorders have been reported:

  • Intervertebral disk disease (IVDD) is a disorder that affects the spinal disks resulting in pain, difficulty walking and possibly paralysis.
  • Glaucoma is a painful and serious condition that causes pressure within the eye to increase. It can lead to blindness if not treated early.
  • Corneal ulceration is the loss of the corneal epithelium (the outermost cells of the cornea).

    Dandie's are also prone to ear infections.

    Life Span

    The average life expectancy of the Dandie Dinmont is approximately 13 to 14 years.

    We realize that each dog is unique and may display other characteristics. This profile provides generally accepted breed information only.