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The little Dandie Dinmont Terrier or DDT for short, is a breed which originates from Scotland and has an ardent band of followers who are buoyed by the fact that this captivating breed are officially on the UK Kennel Club's list of vulnerable native breeds, which means that there are fewer than 300 pups registered each year.
The DDT originated in Scotland in the 1700's, and is thought to be named after a character in a book ('Guy Mannering' written by Walter Scott). The hero in this book, Dandie Dinmont, was an owner of 6 little dogs fitting the description of the DDT who were thought to be the result of crossbreeding between local terrier type dogs and the Dachshund.
They were bred for hunting otters and badgers and as they grew in popularity the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club was formed in 1875. The breed standard was written by the clubs founding members and by the next year they had been universally agreed upon. They remained a popular breed but have recently been placed upon the Kennel Clubs list of vulnerable native breeds in the UK. The lowest point for registration occurred in 2003 when only 21 pups were registered. Thankfully, these numbers continue to improve year on year and this beautiful little dog is on its way to making a comeback.
Average height to withers: Males and females both between 8-11 inches.
Average weight: Both males and females are between 8-11kg.
The DDT is a small dog with a long body, making it well developed and flexible. The head is large, wide and conical to nose. It has a prominent forehead with the nose placed a little higher than the skull. The eyes are big, round, expressive and dark in colour. The ears are long and unusually pendulous for a terrier, with longer hair at the ends. The tail is carried up when alert and relaxed when the dog is. The fur is double with a first fluffy and soft coating and an external coating with harsher hair on the back and softer in the inner side of the body. Colours can be "pepper" (which varies from black to silver- light gray) and "mustard" (a reddish brown to pale beige).
A little dog with a big personality, the DDT is a typical terrier at heart with a game attitude towards life and who do not think of themselves as a 'small' dog and will challenge any size dog if necessary. That said, they are a very friendly and quite docile, amiable breed of dog and love people. They appear to prefer older children who can understand the temperament of a dog and whose behaviour is more predicable than that of younger children and toddlers. With regards to other animals, they can live reasonably well with cats and other dogs, especially if introduced from a young age, but the owner should exercise caution if they have small furries in the household such as rabbits and hamsters. They are prolific diggers who will happily spend hours outside pursuing this hobby and do require a certain amount of stimulation and exercise if behaviours such as this are to be minimised.
Dandies are quite a hardy breed and live for around 11-13 years. The main issue with the DDT is the long back which is prone to certain related issues such as slipped discs and as such the owner should take care when allowing them to jump down from furniture and moving up and down stairs.
The coat of the DDT needs grooming around 1-2 times per week and should not be bathed too much. A regular exercise routine is advised, but the owner needs to take care when this dog is off the lead around dens and animal holes as its instinct to dive down the hole is still alive in this breed.