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In the Magazine

Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Pet Road Tests > Dogs

Dandie Dinmont Terriers

Breed: Dandie Dinmont
Temperament: Friendly, active & loyal
Lifespan: 14 years
Recommended for: Families

The Dandie Dinmont is probably the only dog breed in the world named after a fictitious character. The original Dandie Dinmont was a farmer from the Scottish borderlands, who featured in an 1814 novel, 'Guy Mannering', by Sir Walter Scott. Scott wrote that the character, Mr Dinmont, had developed a particular style of terrier much admired by the local people for their fearlessness before weasels and stoats.

Mr Dinmont had only two names, Pepper and Mustard, for his 20 dogs: "There's auld Pepper and auld Mustard, and young Pepper and young Mustard, and little Pepper and little Mustard...". The names referring to the individual's coat colouring.

The real Dandie Dinmont was probably farmer Jamie Davidson of Hindlee who bred a race of 'mustard and pepper' terriers. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1820) himself owned a matching pair of mustard and pepper terriers and was a great supporter of the line.

Its popularity peaked during the 19th century but has since waned this century. It failed to impress well-known animal writer Gerald Durrell who, in his book 'My Family and Other Animals', wrote that his brother Larry Durrell proclaimed of the breed: "She looks as though she was bred to go down holes after sewage." It is a rare breed, there are less than 100 dogs in Australia today.

Appearance: The Dandie Dinmont is a dwarf, whiskery-faced dog with a lot of appeal. It has a large head, long, slightly arched body and short legs giving it a low-slung look similar to a Dachshund. It stands 20-28cm (8-10") at the shoulder and has a double coat. The outer coat is harsh, often described as "crisp and weatherproof". The undercoat is soft and downy. It has a soft topknot of fur, looking like fluffy Afro.

Temperament: The Dandie Dinmont is said to be the most placid terrier. They are friendly, adaptable but with an independent streak. Individual dogs may bond strongly with their owner and not welcome other pets.

Health:

May be susceptible to back strain. Avoid stairs. Glaucoma is an eye disease causing blindness which may be corrected surgically. Cushings syndrome is a wasting disease characterised by extreme thirst and urination, due to excess cortisol produced by the adrenal gland. It can be controlled by drugs.

Grooming: Exhibition dogs have their coats 'stripped', which means literally removing old long hair to expose the new, coloured coat. Only the first 2cm of the coat is coloured, either mustard or pepper. If the coat grows too long the dog can appear white and pet owners, who may prefer to clip the coat rather than strip it, may end up with a dog which looks similar to a well-trimmed West Highland White Terrier. A regular weekly brushing is required or the coat can matt because it doesn't shed like most dogs. Breeders also suggest trimming the hair around the dog's anus to minimise problems with faeces catching in the fur.

Ideal owner & housepet potential: While owners say they are good family dogs, Dandie Dinmonts will often bond more closely with one person. They do not like being left alone so are best suited to an owner who is home for most of the day. Their small size and need for company makes them well suited to older people or those in flats. The coat requires a commitment to weekly brushing.

Space & exercise: Dandie Dinmonts can take as much or as little regulated exercise as offered but a backyard romp each day is a recommended minimum. Longtime owners recommend sound fences as many Dandie Dinmonts are accomplished escapists.

Training: Their typical independent terrier attitude means they are harder to train, requiring perseverance and patience. Basic leash training is recommended.

National contacts

To find up-to-date contacts for breeders, contact the following organisations.

The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
www.ankc.org.au

Dogs NSW
http://www.dogsnsw.org.au/breeders-directory
Email: info@dogsnsw.org.au
Phone: 1300 728 022 (NSW only) or (02) 9834 3022
Fax: (02) 9834 3872

Dogs Victoria
http://www.vca.org.au
Email: office@dogsvictoria.org.au
Phone: (03) 9788 2500
Fax: (03) 9788 2599

Dogs ACT
http://www.actca.asn.au
Email: info@dogsact.org.au
Phone: (02) 6241 4404 - Fax: (02) 6241 1129.

Dogs West
http://www.cawa.asn.au
Email: k9@dogswest.com
Phone: (08) 9455 1188
Fax: (08) 9455 1190

Dogs SA
http://dogssa.com.au
Phone: (08) 8349 4797

Canine Control Council of Queensland
http://www.cccq.org.au
Email: dogsqld@powerup.com.au
Phone: (07) 3252 2661
Fax: (07) 3252 3864

Tasmanian Canine Association
http://www.tasdogs.com
Email: tca@iprimus.com.au
Phone: (03) 6272 9443
Fax: (03) 6273 0844

Dogs NT
http://www.territorydogworld.com
Email: naca3@bigpond.com
Phone: (08) 8984 3570
Fax: (08) 8984 3409
The Australian National Kennel Council (ANKC)
www.ankc.org.au


Copyright CTC Productions 2006

Disclaimer:  Burke's Backyard and Backyard Blitz do not accept payment to promote products. All recommendations are genuine. Details on the fact sheets are accurate at the time of publishing, however prices and contact information are not updated and may change.

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