By Linda Cole
When you look at a Dandie Dinmont Terrier, you see a low to the ground, slightly longer than he is tall, adorable little dog that’s not a particularly imposing canine. However, the Dandie Dinmont was bred to hunt vermin and has a fierce reputation when it comes to doing the job he was bred to do.
The Dandie Dinmont is an old breed that originated around the border areas of England and Scotland during the 1700’s. The Skye Terrier and the Scotch Terrier were the most likely breeds the Dandie Dinmont originated from. The Scotch Terrier is most likely the foundation dog for the terrier breeds, and was one of the oldest breeds in Scotland. Unfortunately, it’s extinct today and isn’t related to the Scottish Terrier.
Originally, the Dandie Dinmont was called the Pepper and Mustard Terrier, and they were popular companion animals to gypsies and farmers who lived along the border between Scotland and England. They were bred to hunt and kill badgers and otters; they were also a marten, rabbit, skunk or weasel’s worst enemy. Their short legs allowed them to easily go underground after fleeing prey and the dogs were highly prized for their courage, hunting ability, independence, intelligence, and confident nature along with a laid back and affectionate disposition with people. It wasn’t until a book was published that the breed got its name.
Sir Walter Scott wrote a novel in 1814 called “Guy Mannering.” One of his characters, a farmer, was named Dandie Dinmont and owned six Pepper and Mustard Terriers. Scott’s vivid description of farmer Dinmont’s dogs was so good, it made the breed famous. Soon after that, the name was changed to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Today, this breed is hard to find in his native country.
Because this dog is small, he can develop small dog syndrome if his owner doesn’t take the lead role. However, it’s not always easy to ignore this dog’s large round and warm dark eyes staring up at you. He’s affectionate and loves being around kids. As long as you are consistent, patient and firm, and let him know who’s the boss, training a Dandie Dinmont is easy.