The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only dog breed to be named after a character in fiction. This character was in a novel that Sir Walter Scott wrote in 1814, and it was called Guy Mannering. Dandie Dinmont was the name of a farmer in the novel, and he had several little terriers who were called either "Pepper" or "Mustard," depending on the color of their coats. So this type of dog came to be known as Dandie Dinmont's terriers.
|A Dandie from 1915|
The British Kennel Club was started in 1873, and only two years later, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club (DDTC) was formed. This made the DDTC the third-oldest breed club for dogs in the world. Dandie Dinmonts were first registered with the AKC in 1888 and with the UKC in 1918. During World War II, a lot of kennels in the UK didn't have enough food for their dogs because of rationing, so they had to send the dogs to other places or else destroy them.
After the war, several kennels got busy breeding Dandies again, so that there would be more of them. In spite of this, there are still not a whole lot of this breed being registered. In 2006, the Kennel Club said that the Dandie Dinmont was one of the rarest dog breeds native to the British Isles. And Dandies were also put on a list called Vulnerable Native Breeds.
People in the border country between Scotland and England used Dandies mostly to hunt badgers and otters. That's why they wanted their dogs to be fairly small and low to the ground. Like dachshunds, Dandies have short legs and long bodies. They have large heads, ears that hang down, and a sickle-shaped tail. But the best way to tell a Dandie Dinmont is by the cute little topknot of hair on its head.
Dandies come in two colors. The first of these is pepper, which ranges from a bluish black to a light grey. And the other color is mustard, which might be anything from reddish brown to fawn. The hair of the coat is about 2" long, with soft and hard hairs mixed together.
These dogs are good for families, since they are affectionate, intelligent, and undemanding. They are good watch dogs and also good companions. Because of their hunting instincts, they should not live in homes where there are small pets like hamsters and guinea pigs. Usually Dandies are okay with cats, especially if they have been around cats since they were puppies.
One thing that some Dandies really like to do is dig holes in the yard. Of course, they were bred to "go to earth" when they are chasing prey animals, so they are just doing what comes naturally. My brother Nicky, the greyhound, also likes to dig holes in the yard, but he was not bred to do that, so we don't know why he does it. Maybe it's just his way of celebrating Earth Day!