Dandie Dinmont Terrier

AKC Terrier Group


Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

Photo copyright © Cook PhoDOGraphy. All rights reserved.

The Dandie Dinmont is an old terrier breed from the border area between England and Scotland. The Dandie Dinmont was probably developed from the now-extinct Scotch Terrier (not to be confused with today’s Scottish Terrier). He was used by farmers to kill vermin. The Dandie Dinmont was named by Sir Walter Scott after a character in an 1814 novel, Guy Mannering. This breed was at one time popular with gypsies, but has also been a favorite of the very rich. The Dandie Dinmont was recognized as a separate breed in 1873. Known primarily as a companion today, he still retains his talents for catching vermin. He has also been used for hunting rabbit, otter, and badger.


The Dandie Dinmont is a long, low terrier with a curvy outline. The broad head is covered with a distinctive silky topknot. The legs are short and muscular. The head is large (but still in good proportion to the body) with a strong forehead, defined stop, and black nose. The teeth meet in a scissors bite and are large for the size of the dog. The 3- to 4-in. ears are pendant, wide near the head, and taper almost to a point. The hazel eyes are large and round, set wide and low, with a gentle, wise expression. The 8- to 10-in. long tail is carried with an upward curve like a scimitar. It is thick at the base, gets thicker for about 4 in., and then tapers. The unique crisp-textured coat contains a mixture of harsh and soft hairs. The hair on the underside is softer than on the upper body, and the hair on top of the head and upper ears is even softer and silkier. The breed comes in two colors: pepper or mustard. Pepper puppies are born black and tan, with a silvering gene. Adult pepper Dandies have the same coloring as the salt-and-pepper Schnauzer. Mustard puppies are born very dark brown, which lightens into varying shades of red at adulthood. The topknot and furnishings on pepper Dandies are silver, and on mustard Dandies, cream colored. Front dewclaws are usually removed.

Key Facts

  • Height:  8 to 11 in.
  • Size:  Small
  • Weight:  18 to 24 lbs.
  • Availability:  Very difficult to find
  • Talents:  Hunting, tracking, earthdog, watchdog, and guarding


The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a relatively healthy breed overall, but is best bought from a responsible breeder. Hypothyroidism is not uncommon in the older dog. A few lines have had incidences of glaucoma and epilepsy. They should be kept trim, as overweight, under-exercised dogs can have back problems. Do not let this dog off leash except in a safe, enclosed area, as he will take off after a cat or imagined prey. Has a big bark for a small dog.


Affectionate and fun-loving, a great companion dog. Lively, plucky, determined, and willful. Independent. Bold yet dignified. Reserved. Protective of home and family. Good with considerate children, including babies, as long as raised with them from puppyhood. Dominance level varies greatly. Males can be aggressive with other male dogs in the household. It is best not to keep two intact male dogs together.


  • Children:  Best with older, considerate children
  • Friendliness:  Reserved with strangers
  • Trainability:  Slightly difficult to train
  • Independence:  Needs people a lot
  • Dominance:  Moderate
  • Other Pets:  Might be aggressive with dogs of the same sex; do not trust with non-canine pets
  • Combativeness:  Tends to be fairly dog-aggressive
  • Noise:  Likes to bark
  • Indoors:  Fairly active indoors
  • Owner:  Good for novice owners


  • Grooming:  Regular grooming needed
  • Trimming and Stripping:  Professional trimming or stripping needed
  • Coat:  Medium coat
  • Shedding:  Very light
  • Exercise:  Moderate exercise needed
  • Jogging:  A poor jogging companion
  • Apartments:  Good for apartment living
  • Outdoor Space:  A small yard is sufficient
  • Climate:  Does well in most climates
  • Longevity:  Moderately long lived (12 to 15 years)

Useful Links

AKC® Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed Standard


Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed Club


Search for a Breeder


Rescue Organizations


Books about the Dandie Dinmont Terrier


Dandie Dinmont Terrier Gifts