Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

This little terrier is built on long, low lines, with large, expressive eyes and a very distinctive coat. A silky soft fall of hair on the head, ear feathers trimmed short and the harder body coat clipped short and left longer on the belly and legs, as is typical of many working terriers.

The need-to-know
  • Dog suitable for owners with some experience
  • Basic training required
  • Enjoys gentle walks
  • Enjoys walking an hour a day
  • Small dog
  • Minimum drool
  • Requires grooming every other day
  • Hypoallergenic breed
  • Chatty and vocal dog
  • Guard dog. Barks and alerts
  • May require training to live with other pets
  • Great family dog

Key Facts

Lifespan: 12 – 15 years
Weight:  8 – 11kg
Height:  20 – 28cm
Colours:  The coat comes in either pepper (grey) or mustard (a gold/yellow shade)
Size:  Small
UK Kennel Club Groups: Terrier


Family-friendly: 4/5
Exercise needs: 2/5
Easy to train: 2/5
Tolerates being alone: 2/5
Likes other pets: 3/5
Energy level: 3/5
Grooming needs: 2/5
Shedding: 3/5


Whilst no longer seen in the hunting field, the Dandie Dinmont retains the typical terrier traits, including a strong desire to hunt, and a tenacious and independent spirit. To their family and friends, they are affectionate, sensitive and devoted, making them an excellent and fun companion and a joy to own and live with. Not as excitable or reactive as some terriers, they are still an active and clever little dog in need of daily exercise and mental stimulation.

History and Origins

Country of Origin: Scotland

Originally named the Mustard and Pepper Terrier, this is a working terrier developed in the 1600’s to hunt badger, otter and other quarry. In common with many terrier types, the Dandie Dinmont owes its existence to the common pastime amongst sporting men of developing their own specific type. However, the Dandie Dinmont gets its rather unusual name from the novel ‘Guy Mannering’ by Sir Walter Scott. The fictional character ‘Dandie Dinmont’ was based on a real borders’ farmer, James Davidson, who had a pair of this type of terrier named Mustard and Pepper. The fictional Dandie Dinmont was written as owning a pack of terriers named Auld Mustard and Auld Pepper, Young Mustard, Young Pepper, Little Mustard and Little Pepper, and so, despite Sir Scott’s claims to the contrary, there is little doubt who this character was based on. So much so that the real James Davidson’s friends took to teasing him and calling him ‘Dandie Dinmont’ following the novels publication.

Other farmers with dogs of this type took to calling them Dandie Dinmont’s Dogs and eventually the name stuck. The Dandie Dinmont breed club was formed in 1875 making it the second oldest breed club in the UK. The Dandie Dinmont is now a rare breed and the Kennel Club class them as vulnerable.

Health and Common Issues

Exercise Needs

Space Requirements

Nutrition and Feeding

Grooming Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Training Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Best Family Dog Breeds

Did You Know?

  • Famous owners include Agatha Christie, Sir Edwin Landseer (better known for painting Newfoundlands), George Bernard Shaw, William Wordsworth, Gerald Durrell and Sir Alec Guiness. 
  • Beloved by royals, Queen Victoria bred Dandie Dinmonts, as did Edward VII and currently Viscount Linley Earl of Snowden carries on the royal tradition in owning Dandie Dinmonts. 
  • Uniquely the Dandie Dinmont has its own tartan - something the breed club are rightfully proud of - and wear a lot! 
  • Many people believe that their tail looks like a ‘scimitar’ which is a curved sword. 
  • It’s thought that the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a close relative of the Bedlington Terrier. 

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