Dandie Dinmont Terrier: The Thinker Among Terriers

With a bit of imagination, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier looks like Albert Einstein as a dog: With his tousled head and mustache, the low-legged terrier looks like a lapdog, but in fact, he is a brave hunting dog that fearlessly runs into fox and badger burrows. In addition to looking like little thinkers, Dandie Dinmonts are also very intelligent and weigh things up before making any decisions.

Small Earth Dog with a Unique Look

The short-legged hunters are similar to the German dachshund in terms of physique, but they have a unique coat of hair: the stick hair feels soft on the head, chest, trousers, and underside of the tail, on the back, it is more frizzy and lies more densely at. Due to the frizzy covering hair on the chest and belly, the chest seems to reach down to the ankles and thus almost reaches the ground. The stylish head of hair naturally grows tall and plump.

Small but stocky

An adult Dandie should weigh no more than 8 to 11 kilograms. The height at the withers is not specified in the breed standard but is between 20 and 28 cm for most dogs. So the terrier is only as tall as a toy dog, but at the same time about twice as heavy.

Dandie Dinmonts from head to tail

  • The silky-haired head is relatively large and well-rounded. The muzzle to skull ratio is about 3/5. Only on the bridge of the nose is there a barely hairy spot in the shape of an arrow. Its jaw is particularly strong.
  • For small dogs, dandies have relatively large eyes that are set well apart. They are round and set deep in the skull.
  • The lop ears are set low and lie far back on the head. At the front edge, the ear runs like a straight line, about 7.5 to 10 cm. The round tuft of hair reaches from ear to ear, which gives the Dandie its typical head shape.
  • The neck and body are very strong. The back is rather low and slightly sloping at the withers. The thorax is well rounded and reaches deep, the abdomen stretches visibly to the rear.
  • The Fore and hind legs are short and widely spaced. They are exceptionally well muscled and have strong bones. The toenails can be dark or light.
  • The tail starts thick and gets even thicker in the middle. It tapers slightly towards the tip. If the dog is happy, the saber-shaped tail reaches just above the base.

Terrier with exceptional hair growth

A soft, dense undercoat grows under the curly textured topcoat. The front legs are feathered, so-called trousers with about 5 cm long hair also grow on the hind legs. The tail should be darker coated than the body except on the underside where light tufts are desirable. The legs are also bright, but should never be white. Two colors are allowed, which gave the dandies their original name (Pepper and Mustard Dog):


  • Coat color varies from a dark blue-black to light gray with a silver tinge. White spots are not desirable, but the tuft may appear white.
  • Lightening of the legs from tan to pale fawn is accepted.
  • The ears are dark (almost black) with light hair at the base and lighter feathering.

Mustard/mustard colors

  • Fur color varies from reddish-brown to pale fawn.
  • The tuft is creamy white and lush.
  • Legs and paws are darker in color than the fur on the body.
  • In mustards, the hair on the ears is mustard-seed colored but contrasts darker with the body color.

The Story of the Dandie Dinmont

Formerly known as the Pepper and Mustard Dog, the hunter has been purposefully bred in the border areas between Scotland and England since the 17th century. Its long physique shows that the German dachshund is one of its ancestors. It is also suspected that Scottish Skye Terriers and Poodles were crossed. The exact history of the breed is not clear.

From stray to the farm dog

  • Up until the early 18th century, Pepper and Mustards were kept by the British and Scots in socially disadvantaged classes. They got rid of vermin and were used by poachers for hunting.
  • During one of these raids, one of the gypsy dogs got caught in a wild trap set by the Dukes of Buccleuch. The talent of the breed was quickly recognized at court and they began to be selectively bred in aristocratic circles.
  • It is believed that Bedlington Terriers and Otterhounds were crossed at this time.
  • Dandie Dinmonts have been bred into many modern terrier breeds, for example, they are ancestors of the Australian Terrier, the Silky Terrier, and possibly the Norfolk Terrier.

From Pepper and Mustard to Dandie Dinmont

  • The Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott loved the little-known dog breed. In 1815 he published his novel Guy Mannering, a comedy in which the farmer Dandie Dinmont lives with his six little crested terriers.
  • The character is roughly based on an existing person: breeder James Davidson actually owned six specimens of the very famous breed, which was in demand across the UK after the book was published.
  • The immortal six were used as a tribe for the entire breed breeding of the breed that has now been renamed the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. It is believed that all dandies alive today descended from “Old Pepper”, “Old Mustard” and their descendants “Little Pepper”, “Little Mustard” and “Young Pepper” as well as “Young Mustard” can be attributed.

Nature and Character of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmonts are independent, smart, and hardy. From the age of 8 months, they hunt badgers, foxes, and small fur animals with zeal and cunning. They should not be confused with toy breeds, which were mostly bred to be house guards and playmates for children. The Dandie is a full-fledged hunting dog that is in no way inferior to larger hunting breeds and in some respects even surpasses them.

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