What is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier?

  • By: Mick Whitefield
  • Time to read: 2 min.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has its genic roots firmly in Scotland. This short legged long bodied terrier breed is known for its distinctive ‘Topknot’ of hair. They are a tough but friendly little breed that dates back to the 1700’s.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Pepper
Pepper coloured Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Origin: ~ Scotland.
Bred for: ~ Farm work including hunting Otter and Badger.


Coat: ~ A soft silky touch.
Colour: ~ Bluish Black to a Silver Grey (Pepper) and Reddish brown to Pale Fawn (Mustard).
Hypoallergenic ~ Yes

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Height: ~ 8 to 11 inches or 20 to 28cms.

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Weight: ~ 18 to 24lbs or 8 to 11kgs.

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Lifespan: ~ 11 to 13 years.

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AKC Group – Terrier Group.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Mustard
Mustard colour Dandie Dinmont Terrier

History of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

This feisty but friendly little Terrier has been recorded in the 18th Century in Scotland and the borders of England where farmers and gypsies used them for drawing out Otters from their hides and killing badgers and foxes.

With previous names such as the Catcleugh, the Hindlee or Pepper & Mustard Terriers, perhaps the best known of these dogs were the ones owned by James Davidson, who named nearly all of his dogs as Pepper or Mustard followed by some identifying adjective.

James Davidson and his dogs are believed by some to be the models for Sir Walter Scott’s characters of Dandie Dinmont and his dogs appearing in the Guy Mannering publication back in 1814. After this the dogs generally became known as Dandie Dinmont Terriers.

Temperament and Upkeep of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

As per their hunting history these dogs can certainly play rough and tumble and yet they are very affectionate with their owners. They actually make a very good Lap Dog for young and old as they are attentive, playful and also happy to curl up and sleep.

Their coats need a small amount of grooming once or twice a week, this can be made easier by regular visits to the grooming parlour.

General health of these dogs is very good, occasionally glaucoma can play a part in older sight and as with all long bodied small dogs they can sometimes develop Intervertebral disk disease usually in later life.


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