Dummy’s guide to Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Ruby the Dandie Dinmont

Why we have a Dandie

She is great fun, not yappy, loves to play but will also cuddle up for a snooze. She is good with other dogs and people, robust but loving, easy to carry but a good walker, both of our Dandies travel well in the car which is a bonus.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier took its name from a character in a novel written by Sir Walter Scott in 1814, but the dogs were around long before that some people tell me as far back as the 1600s.  Known as Mustard and Pepper Terriers, describing their two colour varieties, they were highly prized as working terriers in the Scottish Borders. They were sent to ground after rabbits, rats, foxes, otters and badgers, among others. They where often owned by Gamekeepers.

In the modern age, the Dandie Dinmont is rarely used as a working terrier, but still makes an exceptional companion. They are hardy, intelligent, friendly, good watchdog. They are not too excitable – like some breeds of terrier – but they very much have a mind of their own so require good firm training.

The UK has three clubs




Common questions we are asked

Are Dandies Yappy / Noisy?

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is not a ‘yappy’ breed and if kept
as a solo pet do not usually bark a lot. They do, however, have an amazingly deep and loud bark which can make them a deceptively good guard dog. She never barks when we are out and about, even when other dogs bark at her she stays calm, silent and ignores them. If you think about it a hunter or gamekeeper wouldn’t want a barking dog as it would give them away.

Any health issues?

A Dandie will be as healthy as any other well-bred pedigree
dog. Average life expectancy is 12-14 years, with many dogs
living to 15 or 16 years. There are no confirmed hereditary
illnesses but responsible breeders test for primary glaucoma. We felt the breeders we contacted were more responsible to breeding quality not quantity.

Fame at last, Ruby is on the front web page of the Meeting point restaurant in Llangollen, we often go as they allow dogs in even soggy scruffy ones, food is excellent, staff are great. Its a great place after a winter walk.


Do they moult?

No. A Dandie’s coat does not shed hair but will need hand stripping a few times a year, making them suitable for some allergy sufferers. It’s very easy to do general tidying up and bathing yourself. We use a groomer who has Dandies to hand strip her a few times a year.

Can they be let off the lead?

Yes they can be let off the lead if trained from an early age, but
care must be taken as they do retain their hunting instincts and may try to catch smaller animals or dissapear down holes.

Are the easy to train?

We have found ours has been a little bit more stubborn than some of our previous breeds but it’s early days and you just have to keep at it and you will soon have an obediant dog and life long friend.

After trying various harnesses / leads she is best on a slip lead.

Are they expensive / rare?

The Dandie Dinmont has been recognised as one of the rarest native British dogs.

We felt they are about average for a pedigree dog. The average litter size is low so it can take a bit of detective work to find one, but it’s worth the wait. Best method is to contact the three clubs above who have Puppy Co ordinators who will let you know of any for sale. I believe only 130 were Kennel Club registered in 2018, but its worth the wait as dog ownership isn’t something to be rushed in to.

What is it crossed with?

It isn’t.


One is fed with Burns weight control as she was getting a bit big! This was recommended by the breeder and Vet.

The Other is on a Pedigree small dog complete dry food as she had done so well on it.


After lots of searching we now use W’ZIS dog treats as the dogs love them and they are only 1 calorie each so have helped with weight control


They loves Pizzles and Pigs ears as a special treat

Unusual Dandie fact

They have webbed feet! Apparently, it helps them walk on soft ground and not sink it, helps with digging and swimming!

Dandies will sit and watch the Telly! Something we have never seen in other breeds we have had.

A small update

We now have a second Dandie, she is a Pepper and full of mischief .

This little girl needed a new home so we offered. She is a bit of monkey but just needs love and training, she will soon adapt to family life and our routines. She has finally settled in to our routines and we are used to hers.

My new family took me on holiday to Abersoch, it was great.
Just snoozing with my sister watching