Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Dandie Dinmont Terrier
The Dandie Dinmont is a native breed that hails from the Scottish Borders where they were once used as hunting dogs. They are short-legged and boast long bodies with their head being covered with an abundant amount of hair which adds to their endearing looks and appeal.
They are a rare breed even though they are such adorable dogs that are known to be devoted to children. They are intelligent, although they do boast being a little wilful when it pleases them, but with this said the Dandie Dinmont makes for a wonderful companion and family pet. Although on The Kennel Club’s vulnerable list, the number of Dandie puppies is steadily growing with these charming dogs once again finding favour with many owners both here in the UK and elsewhere in the world.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a native breed that originated in Scotland during the 1700's. It is thought the breed was named after one of the characters in a Walter Scott book that was published in 1814. These little terriers came about by crossing local terrier-types with Dachshunds and the result was a charming, short-legged terrier that boasted a rather long body with their heads being accentuated by lots of hair covering it. There are those who believe, the Dandie Dinmont is oldest and the purest of all terrier breeds.
Originally bred to hunt otters and badgers, the Dandie Dinmont soon found favour as companion dogs too and in 1875, the first club was established to promote the breed. A standard was set soon afterwards and their popularity grew over the following years. However, the number of Dandies dwindled and the breed has been placed on The Kennel Club's vulnerable list with very few dogs being registered. Luckily, more Dandie puppies are now being registered and the breed's numbers are steadily growing.
Height at the withers: Males 20 - 28 cm, Females 20 - 28 cm
Average weight: Males 8.2 - 10.9 kg, Females 8.2 - 10.9 kg
The Dandie Dinmont is a very unique looking short-legged dog that boasts a long body and large head that's accentuated by the way they are clipped. Their heads are big but always in proportion to the rest of a dog's body. Their skulls are broad but narrower at their eyes. Their foreheads are very domed and their heads are well covered in extremely soft, silky hair. Cheeks taper gradually down to a rather deep and powerful muzzle that boasts a triangular bare area that points back to a dog's eyes and their noses are black which adds to the Dandie's overall charming looks.
Their eyes are set wide apart and are a rich dark hazel in colour. They are large and set low with dogs always showing a bright and alert expression in them. Ears are quite droopy and set well back on a dog's head. They are wide apart and sit low on a dog's skull, but close to their cheeks. They are broader at the top, but taper to the tips. The skin and cartilage on their ears is very thin and they are covered in soft, straight, darker hair that matches the rest of a dog's coat colour.
The Dandie Dinmont has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their teeth are very strong more especially their canines which are quite big for such a small dog. The inside of a Dandie's mouth is either black or dark coloured. Necks are very well muscled and strong showing a great deal of power and set nicely into a dog's shoulders which are well laid back. Their front legs are short, but they are extremely powerful being well developed and showing a good amount of bone.
A Dandie's body is long, yet strong and very flexible with their ribs being well sprung and nicely rounded. Chests are well developed being well let down at the front between a dog's legs. They are low at the shoulders with their back having a slight curve to the loins before gradually dropping down to the root of the tail. Their backbones are well muscled and strong.
Hindquarters are strong with a dog's back legs being longer than their front ones. Thighs are well developed and powerful. Feet are nicely rounded and well-padded with their back feet being smaller than their front ones. Tails are short and thick at the base before tapering to the tip. Dogs carry their them in the shape that's reminiscent of a scimitar.
When it comes to their coat, the Dandie Dinmont boasts having a double coat that consists of a soft and very linty undercoat and a much harder topcoat. The hair is not wiry but rather crispy to the touch. It's the way the hair lies that makes the Dandie stand out from other breeds because it lies in "pencils". Their front legs have feathering and the upper parts of their tails are well covered in wiry hair while the underside has softer feathering. Accept breed colours are as follows:
Dogs with either colour have slightly lighter feathering on their front legs while the underside of their tails are lighter than the topsides of them which are darker than the rest of the body.
The Dandie Dinmont is a little dog with a big personality being a typical terrier at heart. They do not know their size and would happily take on a bigger dog if they feel they have to. With that said, they are known to be very affectionate, friendly and placid dogs by nature. They are not the best choice for first time owners because these little terriers can prove rather challenging to train thanks to their stubborn streak. However, in the right hands and with the right amount of socialisation and training, the Dandie does make for a great family pet.
Like most terriers, the Dandie likes to be kept busy and does not do well if they are left on their own for longer periods of time, much preferring the company of people. As such they are good choice for people where one person usually stays at home when everyone else is out of the house. It these little terriers are not given enough exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis, they quickly learn to amuse themselves which typically involves them developing some unwanted and often destructive behaviours. This includes separation anxiety and being destructive around the house and excessive barking. Dandies are known to like the sound of their own voices which is something that needs to be gently nipped in the bud when dogs are still young or it could become a real issue.
Dandie Dinmonts are smart little terriers, but their stubborn streak can make training them a bit challenging. With this in mind, their socialisation and training has to start as soon as possible and it has to be consistent from the word go. They do not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or training methods, but they do answer well to positive reinforcement. The key to successfully train a Dandie is to be firm, always fair and very patient with them.
The Dandie does make a great family pet, but for families where the children are older and therefore know how to behave around dogs. Care should be taken when there are toddlers around and any interaction between them and a dog has to be supervised by an adult to make sure things stay friendly and playtime does not get too boisterous.
Care has to be taken when Dandies are around other animals and smaller pets which includes cats because being terriers they might just see them as "fair game". With this said, if they have grown up with a cat in the house, they generally accept them being around, but would think nothing of chasing a neighbour's cat if they ever ventured into a back garden. These little terriers are known to be good around other dogs especially if they have been well socialised from a young age.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Dandie Dinmont is between 11 and 13 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
Like so many other breeds, the Dandie is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Dandies need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Dandies boasts having a short coat but very little to no undercoat and as such they need to be brushed regularly just to keep things tidy and to make sure their skin in kept in good condition. However, these little terriers should be clipped and their coats shaped every 8 to 12 weeks. This is a task that's best left up to a professional dog groomer, but it does make keeping a Dandie's coat looking good that much easier in between visits to a grooming parlour.
It's also important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.
Dandies are active, energetic terriers which means they like to be kept busy. As such they need to be given a minimum of an hour's exercise on a daily basis for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. Because they are such clever little dogs, they also need lots of mental stimulation on daily basis to prevent boredom from setting in which can lead to dogs developing unwanted behavioural issues.
With this said, young Dandie puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. Because they have such long backs, they are prone to spinal injuries. As such, puppies should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and more especially on their delicate backs.
If you get a Dandie puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Dandie Dinmont you may have to go on a waiting list because not many puppies are registered with The Kennel Club every year and you would need to pay upwards of £850 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Dandie in northern England would be £21.20 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.20 a month (quote as of May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Dandie Dinmont and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Dandie Dinmont would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a pedigree puppy.
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