AKC Dog Breeds: Dandie Dinmont Terrier

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Terrier Group
Height:8-12 inches   Weight: 18-24 pounds  Color: pepper or mustard

Originally bred to go to ground, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a long, low-stationed working terrier with a curved outline. The distinctive head with silken topknot is large but in proportion to the size of the dog. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier originates from Great Britain, and was developed in the borders of England and Scotland. It is thought the Dandie Dinmont terrier is the descendent of the now extinct Scotch Terrier (not to be confused with the Scottish Terrier that is a completely different dog) that was something like the Yorkshire, Cairn or Silky terriers of today. The modern Dandie Dinmont terriers are named for a character in a very popular Sir Walter Scott novel of the early 19th century.

General Appearance
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a small, cute, and adorable little dog with a sweet and charming expression and a low body. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is longer than he is tall. The solid head is covered with a distinctive silky topknot. The legs are short and muscular. The head is large (but still in good proportion to the body) with a strong forehead, defined stop, and black nose. The teeth meet in a scissors bite and are large for the size of the dog. The 3 to 4 inch ears are pendant, wide near the head and tapering almost to a point. The hazel eyes are brilliant and lively, but not protruding, with a gentle, wise expression. The tail is from 8 to 10 inches (20-25 cm.) long and is carried with an upward curve. It is thick at the base and gets thicker for about 4 inches and then tapers.  The hair on the underside is softer than on the upper body, and the hair on the top of the head and upper ears is even softer and silkier.


The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is an affectionate and intelligent dog, with lots of energy, plenty of love and devotion to give to his owner, and a protective streak that makes him an effective watchdog. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a very agile dog and is quick to learn and obedient with the right handling and training. He is a very independent and strong willed dog, and this makes him more suited to those with some experience of dog ownership and handling. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier loves activity and play, and is a confident, lively, and spirited little dog with plenty of personality. He can be quite possessive when it comes to his belongings such as his food and toys, but he is a courageous and friendly little dog in all. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier gets along well with children that he has been raised with, and with older, more considerate children. He also tends to get along well with strangers and will be friendly and welcoming. Because of this terrier's hunting instincts, it should not be trusted with non-canine pets, such as hamsters and guinea pigs. It will be okay with cats that it is raised with from puppyhood. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier can be very stubborn and willful when he wants to be, so the owner needs to ensure that he is properly trained, and that leadership is established early on. These dogs also love to dig, so anyone that considers the garden their pride and joy should be wary.


The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a longhaired breed that requires quite a bit of coat maintenance to keep hair free from tangles. The coat of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier will need to be brushed and combed on a twice weekly basis, and for hygiene reasons you should ensure that the hair around his bottom is kept trimmed. You should also ensure that his ear canals are clean and dry to reduce the chances of infection

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a life expectancy of around 12-15 years. Dandie Dinmont terriers are generally a healthy breed and long lived, though there are a few lines of the breed that have congenital health problems. Health problems  include spinal problems, luxating patella, thyroid problems, glaucoma, epilepsy, and elbow problems.

Activity Level
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is good for apartment life. Indoor activities should be sufficient for this small, yet sturdy breed. A small yard is recommended, but not required. Regular exercise would be best. Because they are so small and so inquisitive, it may very well be a good idea to get them a harness rather than just a collar. Even dogs that are trained to walk on a lead will leap after any cats or vermin that it encounters on your walk - often with such ferocity that they can harm themselves on even a short leash.


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