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Dandie Dinmont Terrier | Dog Breed Info: Pictures, Personality & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Height: 8–11 inches
Weight: 18–24 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: Mustard, pepper
Suitable for: Apartment living, novice owners, families with children
Temperament: Affectionate, peppy, good-natured

If you haven’t seen this hotdog-shaped ball of fluff, here is the adorable Dandie Dinmont Terrier! This charming little Scottish chap has so many charismatic characteristics to offer the right owner. These dogs are a rare sight and have a long lanky body and short legs. Dandies aren’t your average yappers either. These little ones are reserved and collected, making them desirable for many potential owners.

If you’re mulling over small dog possibilities and trying to sift through your options, let us argue the case for this doe-eyed, dapper breed. These dogs can be a puzzle-piece fit for many. Are they right for you? Let’s find out!

Divider 1Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppies  

Dandie Dinmont Terrier smiling
Photo Credit: Radomir Rezny, Shutterstock

When you buy a Dandie Dinmont Terrier from a reputable breeder, expect to find high prices for these puppies. The AKC has a marketplace where only licensed breeders can sell litters. You can also find these pups on other selling sites or through social media pages. Always check the authenticity and history of the breeder you select.

Dandie Dinmont Terriers tend to be affectionate and loving dogs. They create strong bonds with their families, especially with children. They’re a great option for first-time dog owners and people living in apartments.

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Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament & Intelligence 🧠

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are excitable, fun-loving companions who love to keep the good energy flowing.  They’re very playful and will love taking walks, romping around, and partaking in fetch. Dandie Dinmonts can keep up with the best of ‘em, both in vigor and spirit.

They’re very stubborn sometimes, though. As much as your dog may love you, they think they know best—and good luck changing their mind once it’s made up. Dandies are smart—maybe a little too smart for their own good.

If you’re up for a challenge, the Dandie Dinmont can test your patience. But don’t worry, they will turn back around and warm you up with their love and kisses. You may even get a ton of laughs out of their mischievous nature.

It may surprise you that these little guys and gals even make excellent watchdogs. They don’t have a yippy bark like some other small dogs. Instead, they have a deep, crotchety bark to alert you of any odd goings-on.

Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers Good for Families? 🏡

These dogs make top-notch family additions in most scenarios. First, they’re small dogs, so they are ideal candidates for apartment or condo living. They aren’t aggressive, love to romp, and desire adventure.

Dandie Dinmonts love the energy of kids when they are raised together. However, because they adapt to new situations a little slowly, they may work better with older children if they’re already adults.

These dogs will love all the time they spend with you from Sunday afternoon snoozes to early morning walks. They tend to be chipper, exuberant, and tenacious. If you aren’t too big a fan of the typical small dog bossiness, the Dandie Dinmont has a more even-keel demeanor.

Dandie Dinmonts aren’t as pack-oriented as other dogs. Because of that, they may only truly bond to one person, even if they live well with other people in a home. It’s hard to tell who the favorite will be. You may buy this dog as a gift to your child only to find them sleeping on your side of the bed.

Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are perfect companions for other dogs and most pets when they are raised together. However, with unknown dogs, they may try to assert dominance, which the other dogs may mistake as a threat. So, it would help if you always supervised playtime.

Dandie Dinmonts do not take kindly to staying alone for hours. Having a companion to keep them company if you’re away is a smart idea. They may start showing traits of depression or separation anxiety if you don’t correctly socialize or stimulate them.

These dogs were bred to hunt rodents, badgers, and otters. So, they may be more inclined than other breeds to chase small animals—even if they are pets. Slow introductions need to happen to integrate them into the household. In certain cases, Dandie Dinmonts will not be compatible with tiny pets. Use your best judgment and discretion.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier
By: Ladislava Bartosova, Shutterstock

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Things to Know When Owning a Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Let’s get down to brass tacks and discuss the ins and outs of basic care for a Dandie Dinmont Terrier.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Dandie Dinmonts do best on a high-quality, dry kibble diet that’s protein-rich. For an extra flavor kick, you could add beef broth or wet food to their meals, but this is entirely optional.

Dry kibble is crucial to your dog’s dental health. Dandies are prone to tooth decay, so frequent brushing and dry kibble help keep away plaque and prevent tartar.

Dandies require an adequately high amount of protein in their diet. These little dogs are spry and active, so they burn more calories than a couch potato dog. Having a protein-bountiful diet helps keep their bodies athletic and capable.

Exercise 🐕

One fabulous thing about a Dandie Dinmont is that they are an ideal balance of liveliness and passivity. They are quick to react—not lazy or lackadaisical. But they also love to hang out with their humans for an hour of Netflix and cuddles.

While they don’t require an abundance of exercise, you should always keep your Dandie Dinmont on a leash in public. Since they have a prey instinct, if they see a squirrel or grounded bird, they may take off in a hurry. On average, your Dandie Dinmont will require about 30 minutes of exercise per day.

  • Tip: You do have to be mindful of your Dandie Dinmont while at play. Keep in mind that they have fragile spines, which may result in injury if they roughhouse too hard.

Training 🦮

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are stubborn and smart to boot. So, what does that leave you with? A capable but selective dog that does what they want. They love you, but they aren’t as eager to please you as they are to follow their own agenda.

Don’t let that discourage you. These dogs pick up on concepts quickly. If you keep a firm hand and a patient approach, your Dandie Dinmont will learn the ropes soon enough. Once you pass the initial stage of teaching, the hardest part is over.

Dandie Dinmonts are quick thinkers, so they also bore easily. If you’re too repetitive or redundant, they could lose focus and go on to other exciting things. You have to be fast, firm, and persistent. Stimulating the mind of your Dandie positively is the best way to achieve success in training.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier walking on grass
Image credit: Sue Thatcher, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Dandie Dinmonts come in two color coats: mustard and pepper. While these are the official color names, mustard ranges in color from fawn to auburn. Peppers range from silver-gray to purplish-blue. Their coat texture is coarse.

You may think that a Dandie Dinmont won’t be too much of a problem in terms of grooming, but that’s not the case. Their dense, stiff coats benefit from brushing daily—at minimum two to three times per week.

You can identify a Dandie Dinmont by their classic puffy hairdo called a topknot. If you get a girl, you can jazz up her topknot with bows and clips.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are healthy most of the time. But like any breed, they can run into a few issues. Always make sure to regularly take your Dandie for checkups to get ahead of the game if a problem starts to develop.

Minor Conditions
  • Allergies — These dogs can be sensitive to food ingredients, among other irritants.
  • Glaucoma — This disease damages the optic nerves in the eye.
  • Spinal issues — Since these dogs have notably long spines, they are prone to spinal injury from long-term or short-term impacts.
  • Bacterial and viral infections — These dogs are susceptible to the same bacterial and viral infections as most canines, which can be eliminated through vaccination.
Serious Conditions
  • Hypothyroidism — A disorder that causes the thyroid gland to function too low
  • Lymphosarcoma An aggressive type of cancer that attacks the lymph nodes, spleen, gastrointestinal tract, and liver
  • Cushing’s disease — A disease that increases the level of cortisol in your dog’s body
  • Joint diseases — Hip and elbow dysplasia and patellar luxation

Divider 5Male vs. Female

While both male and female Dandie Dinmont Terriers share mutual qualities, certain tendencies lean toward one side.

Male Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Male Dandies may have a marking issue, which is a behavior commonly seen in intact male dogs. Some smaller dogs are more likely to mark. Correcting this behavior is usually as simple as neutering. However, sometimes it will continue.

The boys are also fun-loving and more energetic. Given that Dandies are a bit hard to train, the male can prove a bit more complicated than the female. Since they are more play-driven and less emotionally in tune, they could ignore your commands.

Female Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Female Dandies are a bit more selective with those they love. They can be a tad pickier and particular with everything from food to friends. However, they also have a motherly nature and do very well with small children.

The girls can be a bit more reserved than males and take longer to warm up to new things. They are still very playful and peppy, but they are also—by a slight margin—more receptive to behavioral correction. So, they may feel a pang of guilt when you show them the empty plate they stole from.

  • Food for Thought: Each dog is unique with their own personalities and quirks. The difference between male and female Dandie Dinmont Terriers is small. So, you’re much better off choosing a puppy based on individual temperament.

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3 Little-Known Facts About the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

1. Dandie Dinmonts Are Twice as Long as They Are High

These adorable dogs are known for their long bodies and stubby legs. It’s one of the traits that make them so darn cute. As a general rule, the Dandie Dinmont is twice as long as their height, give or take an inch or two.

2. Dandie Dinmonts Are Diggers at Heart

You can say it’s in their DNA. They love digging up the yard to see what critters they can find. They will never lose their hunting roots. These little skippers can be slick, slipping under fences. Make sure you are prepared to secure an area where you leave them unattended. Also, keep them away from your landscaping!

3. Dandie Dinmonts Are the Only Dogs Named After a Fictional Character

Dandie Dinmont Terriers got their name from a novel by Sir Walter Scott called, “Guy Mannering,” written in 1815. In the book, a character named Dandie Dinmont held traits of James Davidson, who is thought to have created this breed initially.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Credit: Lourdes Photography, Shutterstock

Divider 3Final Thoughts

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are exceptional small dogs that never disappoint with their vibrant character. These dogs work great in most environments. But if you’re a single person living alone, this breed will devote themselves entirely to you. They will guard you with their life and greet you with a gruff bark.

Dandies are one of the rarest terrier breeds, so finding one may prove difficult. If you have your heart set on this puffy-haired, long-bodied dog, though, don’t give up the search.

Featured Image Credit: Vera Zinkova, Shutterstock

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