Dandie Dinmont Terrier

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dandie dinmont terrier portrait
Meet the Dandie Dinmont Terrier! These delightful dogs, with their distinctive 'puppy' eyes and quirky 'pom-pom' style hairdo, are truly one of a kind. Loved for their fearless spirit, gentle nature, and unparalleled charm, Dandies are a breed that leaves a lasting paw-print on your heart!

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a perfect match for those seeking a friendly and devoted companion. With their playful nature and deep bond to their chosen person, they’re a joy for single owners. However, their independent streak and intelligent mind make them an exciting challenge for experienced dog enthusiasts too!


OFFICIAL NAMEDandie Dinmont Terrier
OTHER NAMESDandie, Hindlee Terrier
BREED GROUPTerrier Group
HEIGHT8-11 inches
WEIGHT18-24 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
dandie dinmont terrier on green grass lawn
Photo: CaptureLight/Getty Images


Compact yet robust, Dandie Dinmont Terriers usually weigh between 18 to 24 pounds and stand about 8 to 11 inches tall. Despite their small stature, there’s nothing diminutive about their presence. They carry themselves with a certain dignity that’s hard to ignore.

The head of a Dandie Dinmont is a sight to behold. Large, expressive eyes, often described as ‘puppy’ eyes, give them an endearing expression. Their eyes are hazel or dark brown, adding a softness to their gaze. The ears hang down close to their cheeks, framing their face perfectly.

The Dandie Dinmont’s body is uniquely proportioned. It’s long and low, but don’t let that fool you. These dogs are built for action with a strong, flexible backbone. Their tail, which tapers to a point, is usually carried slightly curved like a scimitar, adding to their overall charm.

Now, let’s talk about one of the most recognizable features of the Dandie Dinmont – the coat. This breed boasts a double coat. The outer coat is about two inches long, harsh and crisp. Underneath, they have a soft, dense undercoat. The color can be pepper (ranging from dark bluish black to light silvery grey) or mustard (ranging from reddish-brown to pale fawn).

But what really steals the show is the ‘pom-pom’ or topknot of hair on the head. This silky crown of hair is lighter in color than the rest of the coat and adds a dash of drama to their look!

dandie dinmont terrier looking at camera
Photo: LourdesPhotography/Getty Images


Have you ever met a dog that’s a delightful paradox? Well, let me introduce you to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. This breed is affectionate and independent, lively yet dignified, intelligent and tenacious, all rolled into one adorable package!

As you get to know a Dandie Dinmont, you’ll quickly discover their deep-seated affection for their family. They are the kind of dogs that form strong bonds with their human companions. You’ll find them happily following you around the house, always ready to join whatever activity you’re engaged in. Their love is not overwhelming or clingy; it’s just a warm presence that makes you feel special.

But don’t mistake their affectionate nature for dependence. Dandie Dinmonts are very much their own dogs. They are independent thinkers who like to explore their surroundings and make their own decisions. This independence is paired with a lively spirit that brings a spark of joy to everyday life.

Dandie Dinmonts are also known for their intelligence. These dogs are quick to learn and have an uncanny ability to figure things out. Whether it’s finding that lost toy or figuring out how to get to that treat you’ve hidden, their smart minds are always at work. However, they pair this intelligence with a certain level of stubbornness. It’s as if they’re saying, “I can do it, but I’ll do it my way.”

When it comes to strangers, Dandie Dinmonts tend to be reserved. They’re not the kind to rush up to every new person they meet. Instead, they’ll hang back and observe before deciding if they want to interact. This doesn’t mean they’re unfriendly, just cautious. Once they’ve warmed up to someone, they’re as affectionate and playful as can be.

In the home environment, Dandie Dinmonts are generally relaxed and undemanding. They’re happy to lounge around and enjoy some quiet time. But when their hunting instincts are aroused, they become bold and tenacious. They love a good chase and will pursue their ‘prey’ with determination and excitement.

One of the most endearing characteristics of Dandie Dinmonts is their happy-go-lucky attitude. They seem to take life in stride, always ready for the next adventure. Whether it’s a walk in the park or a game of fetch in the backyard, they approach everything with infectious enthusiasm.

Despite their small size, Dandie Dinmonts have a big personality. They are brave and fearless, ready to face any challenge head-on. At the same time, they are gentle and kind, making them a joy to be around.

dandie dinmont terrier standing near a house
Photo: dmf87/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

Dandie Dinmonts thrive in environments where they are part of the family activities. They love being involved in whatever is happening around them, making them a perfect fit for active households. However, they are also content with a more laid-back lifestyle, as long as they get plenty of attention and affection from their humans.

Ideal Owner

In terms of pet parents, Dandie Dinmonts are best suited to those who appreciate their unique blend of independence and affection. These dogs need someone who will respect their need for personal space, but also cherish their loving nature. Experience with dogs can be beneficial, especially considering their independent streak and occasional stubbornness.

Other Pets

When it comes to other pets, Dandie Dinmonts can coexist peacefully as long as proper introductions are made. They can live happily with other dogs and even cats, provided they have been socialized early and properly. However, due to their hunting instincts, homes with small pets such as hamsters or birds might not be the best fit.

Physical Environment

As for the physical environment, Dandie Dinmonts are adaptable. They can live comfortably in an apartment as long as they get regular exercise. A home with a securely fenced yard would be a bonus, as they love to explore and play outdoors.

Climate Adaptability

When it comes to climate adaptability, Dandie Dinmonts are quite versatile. They handle cooler climates well, thanks to their double coat. In fact, they might enjoy romping around in the snow!

However, care must be taken during hotter months. Like all dogs, Dandie Dinmonts can be sensitive to heat. Providing plenty of shade and water, limiting outdoor activities during peak heat hours, and keeping your home cool can help ensure their comfort and safety.

dandie dinmont terrier running on green grass
Photo: LourdesPhotography/Getty Images


The Dandie Dinmont Terrier, with its unique coat and charming topknot, isn’t your average grooming project. This breed does require regular grooming, but don’t let that deter you. It’s a wonderful way to bond with your Dandie and keep them looking their best.

Coat Care

Let’s start with the coat. The Dandie Dinmont has a double coat – a crisp, harsh outer coat and a soft, dense undercoat. This coat doesn’t shed much, but it does need regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling.

A thorough brush at least twice a week with a slicker brush should do the trick. During this time, be sure to check for any signs of skin irritation or parasites.

Every few months, your Dandie will need a trim to maintain their distinctive appearance. This usually involves trimming the body and leg hair to maintain a neat, tidy look. The iconic ‘pom-pom’ or topknot on the head is another story. This should be brushed daily and tied up to keep it out of their eyes.

Bathing your Dandie Dinmont should be done as needed, but generally, every 3-4 weeks is sufficient. Use a dog-specific shampoo to maintain the health of their coat and skin. Remember to rinse thoroughly to avoid any residue which can cause irritation.

Dental Care

Now, let’s talk about dental care. Like all breeds, Dandie Dinmonts need regular dental care to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Brushing their teeth several times a week with dog-safe toothpaste is recommended. Providing dental chews or toys can also help maintain oral health.

Nail Care

Nail care is another important aspect of grooming. Dandie Dinmonts have strong, sturdy nails that need regular trimming. If left too long, they can cause discomfort or even lead to issues with walking. Aim to trim your Dandie’s nails every 3-4 weeks. If you’re unsure about doing it yourself, a professional groomer or vet can help.

Ear Care

Lastly, don’t forget the ears. Dandie Dinmonts have pendulous ears that can be prone to infections if not cared for properly. Regular checks and gentle cleaning with a vet-approved solution can help keep their ears clean and healthy.

dandie dinmont terrier sitting by the door
Photo: Dan Baillie / 500px/Getty Images


When it comes to exercise, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a breed that’s full of surprises. Though they may have a calm demeanor at home, these dogs are energetic and love to play.

Exercise Amount & Types

A typical Dandie Dinmont requires moderate exercise to keep fit and happy. Aim for around 30-60 minutes of activity per day. This could be in the form of a brisk walk, playtime in the backyard, or a fun game of fetch. They love a good chase, so games that stimulate their hunting instincts are usually a hit!

Dog Sports

Despite their small stature, Dandie Dinmonts can be quite athletic. They enjoy various forms of physical activity beyond just walking or running. For instance, you can engage them in dog sports like agility or obedience trials. These not only provide physical exercise but also mental stimulation, which is important for this intelligent breed.

Dandie Dinmonts are also known to excel in earthdog competitions, where they tunnel and navigate through underground paths. It’s a great way to tap into their natural hunting and digging instincts. Plus, it’s a competitive activity where you both can have lots of fun!

Exercise Precautions

It’s important to remember that every Dandie Dinmont is an individual. Some might be more active than others. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to your dog’s signals and adjust the exercise routine accordingly.

Also, bear in mind that Dandie Dinmonts, like all breeds, can be sensitive to extreme temperatures. So, avoid exercising during the hottest part of the day in summer and ensure they’re adequately protected from the cold in winter.

dandie dinmont terrier in the garden
Photo: CaptureLight/Getty Images


Training a Dandie Dinmont Terrier is an adventure of its own. These dogs are intelligent and quick to learn, but they also have an independent streak that can make training an interesting challenge.

Dandie Dinmonts respond well to positive reinforcement methods. This means rewarding good behavior with treats, praise, or playtime. They’re not fans of harsh correction or repetitive tasks, so keeping training sessions fun and varied is key.

Start with basic obedience training – commands like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and ‘leave it’. These are not only useful in everyday life but also form the foundation for more advanced training. Socialization is another crucial part of training. Introduce your Dandie Dinmont to different people, animals, and environments from a young age to help them grow into well-rounded adults.

Due to their hunting heritage, Dandie Dinmonts have a strong prey drive. This means they might be inclined to chase after small animals or run off if they catch an interesting scent. Training them to have a reliable recall is essential for their safety.

Another characteristic to note is their tendency to dig. It’s a natural behavior for them, but it can be problematic if you value your garden! Providing them with a designated digging area or redirecting this behavior towards appropriate toys can be helpful.

Despite their independent nature, Dandie Dinmonts are eager to please their loved ones. They enjoy the mental stimulation that comes with training and are capable of learning a variety of tricks and commands. Patience, consistency, and a sense of humor will go a long way in training a Dandie Dinmont.

Diet & Nutrition 

What to Feed & How Much

The first thing to consider when feeding a Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the type of food. Whether you choose dry kibble, wet food, or a raw diet, ensure it meets the AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition. These guidelines ensure that the food contains all the essential nutrients your Dandie Dinmont needs.

As for how much to feed, this can vary based on their age, weight, and activity level. Puppies usually require more frequent meals – around 3-4 times a day. Once they reach adulthood (around one year old), you can transition to two meals a day.

Portion sizes will depend on the specific food and your dog’s individual needs. Always check the feeding guidelines on the food packaging and adjust accordingly. If you’re unsure, your vet can provide personalized advice.

Remember, Dandie Dinmonts can be prone to weight gain. Monitor their body condition and adjust food portions as needed to maintain a healthy weight.


Treats can be a useful tool for training, but they should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories to prevent overfeeding.


Water is another essential part of your Dandie Dinmont’s diet. Always ensure they have access to fresh, clean water, especially after exercise or during hot weather.

Additional Feeding Tips

Lastly, keep in mind that every Dandie Dinmont is unique. They might have specific dietary needs or preferences. Some might do well on a diet high in protein and moderate in fat, while others might require a diet lower in carbohydrates. Regular check-ups with your vet can help ensure your Dandie Dinmont’s nutritional needs are being met.

close up of a dandie dinmont terrier's face
Photo: richcano/Getty Images Signature


When it comes to health, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is generally a robust and hearty breed. These charming dogs have a life expectancy of around 12-15 years, but with proper care, they can enjoy many happy and healthy years.

Like all breeds, however, Dandie Dinmonts are prone to certain health conditions. Here are common issues to be aware of:

Cheyletiella Yasguri Mites: This type of mite can cause flaky skin and hair loss in Dandie Dinmonts. Regular grooming and veterinary checks can help detect and treat this condition early.

Eye Conditions: Dandie Dinmonts can be prone to eye problems such as glaucoma and distichiasis (extra eyelashes that can irritate the eye). Regular eye checks can help catch these conditions early.

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the hip joint doesn’t fit correctly into the hip socket. It can lead to discomfort and mobility issues in later life.

Hypothyroidism: This condition occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, leading to symptoms like weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems.

Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD): Dandie Dinmonts can be prone to this spinal condition due to their long bodies. It can cause pain, difficulty walking, or in severe cases, paralysis.

To help your Dandie Dinmont stay healthy, a balanced diet is crucial. A diet rich in high-quality proteins, healthy fats, and a variety of fruits and vegetables can support their overall health and immune system.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential. These allow your vet to monitor your dog’s health and catch any potential issues early. Your vet can also provide advice on vaccinations, parasite control, dental care, and other aspects of preventive healthcare.

dandie dinmont terrier sitting on a jetty
Photo: Albertem/Getty Images


The Dandie Dinmont Terrier’s story begins in the border regions between Scotland and England, where they were originally bred to hunt vermin such as badgers and otters as far back as the 1600s.

The breed’s unique name comes from literature – a rare honor among dog breeds. Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Guy Mannering” features a character named Dandie Dinmont who owns several terriers. The breed became associated with this character and thus adopted the name ‘Dandie Dinmont Terrier’.

Despite their depiction in literature, these dogs were first and foremost working dogs. Their small stature and strong build made them perfect for hunting various vermin, and their tenacious spirit served them well in this role. Their body shape, particularly their longer back, was ideally suited for maneuvering through tight spaces during hunts.

The breed was first registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) in 1888, marking its recognition in the United States. However, despite their charm and distinctive appearance, Dandie Dinmonts are not as well-known as some other terrier breeds. They currently rank 186th on the AKC’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds.

In popular culture, the Dandie Dinmont has made a few appearances. They’ve been owned by various celebrities, including Queen Victoria, who was known for her love of dogs. Today, they are often seen at dog shows, where their unique appearance and lively personality make them stand out.

Parent Club

The parent club for the Dandie Dinmont Terrier in the US is the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America. This organization provides comprehensive information about the breed, including its history, breeding, training, and puppies. The club is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier breed. You can visit their website to learn more about the club and its activities.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Dandie Dinmont Terrier’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

dandie dinmont terrier puppy sitting on green grass
Photo: Dan Baillie / 500px/Getty Images


If you’re considering bringing a Dandie Dinmont Terrier into your life, preparation is key. Firstly, create a welcoming environment for them at home. This includes a comfortable bed, toys, food, and water bowls, and a secure outdoor space.

If you choose to buy a puppy, ensure to select a reputable breeder who prioritizes health and temperament. Ask to see health clearances and meet the parents if possible. Remember, a good breeder will ask you questions too, to ensure that their puppies are going to suitable homes.

However, consider rescuing a Dandie Dinmont instead of buying one. Many wonderful dogs of this breed are waiting for their forever homes in shelters and rescue organizations. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America and the American Kennel Club can help connect you with rescue groups. Remember, by rescuing, you’re giving a deserving dog a second chance at a loving home.


Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers rare?

Yes, Dandie Dinmont Terriers are considered a rare breed. They rank 186th on the American Kennel Club’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds.

Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers good family dogs?

Absolutely! Dandie Dinmonts are known for their friendly and affectionate nature. They generally get along well with children and can be sociable with other pets if properly socialized.

Why are Dandie Dinmont Terriers considered endangered?

The breed is not technically “endangered”, but it is rare. This is mainly due to low breeding rates and less public awareness about the breed as compared to other more popular breeds.

What were Dandie Dinmont Terriers originally bred for?

These dogs were bred for hunting vermin, including badgers and otters, in the border regions between Scotland and England.

How much exercise do Dandie Dinmont Terriers need?

While they’re not as high-energy as some other terrier breeds, Dandie Dinmonts still need regular exercise to stay healthy. Aim for around 30-60 minutes of exercise each day.

Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers shed a lot?

Dandie Dinmonts have a unique double coat that requires regular grooming, but they’re not heavy shedders. Regular brushing can help keep their coat healthy and minimize any shedding.

What health issues are common in Dandie Dinmont Terriers?

Like all breeds, Dandie Dinmonts can be prone to certain health conditions. These can include eye conditions, hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, intervertebral disc disease (IVDD), and skin problems caused by Cheyletiella Yasguri mites.

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