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The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Dog Breed Essential Facts And Advice

Jun 21, 2008
Although controversy has always surrounded the biological origins of the dog now known as the Dandie Dinmont, no one has ever queried the background to his strange name. It was from noble beginnings, in Sir Walter Scott's 'Guy Mannering', that the name Dandie Dinmont first came to life. Here are ten more things you may not know about the Dandie Dinmont :

* James Davidson, a farmer from the Rule Water in the Scottish Borders, is believed to have inspired the character 'Dandie Dinmont' in Sir. Walter Scott's book.

* In the early 1900s the little terriers that eventually became known as Dandie Dinmonts were more commonly called Pepper or Mustard Terriers or by the name of the farm where they were bred, e.g. Hindlee Terrier. Hindlee was the home of James Davidson who himself kept six Dandies, called: 'Auld Pepper', 'Auld Mustard', 'Young Pepper', 'Young Mustard', 'Little Pepper' and 'Little Mustard'. Davidson was adamant that all Dandies descended from two of his own dogs named Tarr and Pepper.

* Sir Walter Scott also kept Dandie Dinmonts at Abbotsford alongside other popular breeds of the day.

* The Dandie may have been closely related to the Bedlington Terrier, both having the same pendulous ear, and a light top-knot. But the Dandie evolved into a long-bodied, short-legged dog and the Bedlington grew into a long-legged dog with short body. To illustrate the close relationship of the two breeds records show that Lord Antrim, in the early days of dog shows, exhibited two animals from the same litter, and with one obtained a prize or honourable mention in the Dandie classes, and with the other a like distinction in the Bedlington classes.

* At one time the Dandie was included in the general family of Scotch (Scottish) Terriers and was recognised as a separate breed in 1873. The Kennel Club of the UK was also formed in 1873 and just two years later, on 17th November 1875, a meeting was held at The Fleece Hotel, Selkirk, at which was formed The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club.

* The breed standard of early Dandie enthusiasts was laid down by William Wardlaw Reed and other enthusiasts of the day. The meeting that established the standards which are very much similar to those used today was held at the Red Lion Hotel in Carlisle, England, in 1876. Apart from one minor amendment in 1921, when the weight range was changed from 14 - 24 lbs to 18 - 24 lbs, the Dandie standard in Great Britain remained unchanged for more than one hundred years.

* In the 1980s the Kennel Club of England asked breed Clubs to change the old judging standard to a new set and the original wording of the standard set in 1876 was amended. Now all countries use the standard as revised in 1987 except Canada which adhered to the original standard.

* The breed has been popular with gypsies and the aristocracy, thereby revealing this as a dog that really can mix in all social circles and, in the late 19th Century, devoted breeders Bradshaw-Smith of Blackwoodhouse and Gerald Leatham of Weatherby, presented a Dandie Dinmont to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

* In his book 'D is for Dog' (various publishers), veterinary surgeon Frank Manolson described the Dandie as one "who looks and acts like a grizzled backwoodsman shopping in Tiffany's. If you want a real individualist, you simply must consider the Dandie Dinmont."

* The Dandie looks wise and thoughtful and according to an old Scottish saying: 'A Dandie looks at you as though he's forgotten more than you will ever know.'
About the Author
For more information on the dandie dinmont terrier or a complete list of dog breeds visit this Dog Behaviour website.
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