Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandie Dinmont Terrier

24 October 2023

Let’s talk about… Dandie Dinmont Terriers: what are they?

  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers are a unique and charming breed of dog that originated in Scotland.
  • They are named after a fictional character, Dandie Dinmont, from Sir Walter Scott's novel "Guy Mannering."
  • These terriers were specifically bred for their ability to hunt and control vermin, such as otters and badgers.
  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers are one of the rarest terrier breeds in the world.
  • Dandies are small to medium-sized dogs with a distinctive appearance.
  • They have a long, low body, short legs, and a large, domed head.
  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers have a unique feature called the "topknot," which is a tuft of hair on the top of their head. They have a soft and silky coat that comes in two colour combinations: pepper (a mix of grey and black) or mustard (a reddish-brown colour).
  • On average, Dandie Dinmont Terriers stand about 20 to 28 cm tall at the shoulder and weigh between 8 to 11 kg.
  • They have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years.
Dandie Dinmont Terrier  Exercise needs 3/5; Grooming ease 3/5; Trainability 3/5

What is the temperament of Dandie Dinmont Terriers like?

  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers have a delightful and affectionate temperament.
  • They are known for their loyal and loving nature towards their families.
  • Dandies are generally friendly, but they can be reserved and cautious with strangers.
  • Early socialisation is essential to help them become comfortable and well-mannered in various situations.
  • They get along well with older children and can coexist with other pets if properly introduced and supervised.
  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers are intelligent and independent thinkers, which can make training a bit challenging.
  • They respond best to positive reinforcement techniques that include treats, praise, and play.
  • Due to their strong hunting instincts, they may have a tendency to chase smaller animals, so it's important to keep them on a leash or in a securely fenced area during walks.
  • Overall, Dandie Dinmont Terriers make wonderful companions for those looking for an affectionate and spirited terrier.

How much exercise do Dandie Dinmont Terriers need?

  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers have moderate exercise needs and enjoy a daily walk or playtime.
  • They are not as high-energy as some other terrier breeds but still require regular physical activity to keep them mentally and physically stimulated. Aim for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour of exercise per day.
  • This can include a walk, interactive play sessions, or even participating in low-impact canine sports such as agility or obedience.
  • Mental stimulation is equally important for Dandies, so provide them with puzzle toys, interactive games, or training sessions to keep their minds engaged.
  • It's important to note that individual exercise requirements may vary based on their age, health, and overall energy level.
  • Dandie Dinmont Terrier puppies have specific exercise requirements to support their growth and development. As young puppies, their exercise should be limited to short and controlled play sessions to avoid overexertion.
  • A very general guideline is to provide 5 minutes of exercise per month of age, up to twice a day.
  • Puppies should not engage in intense or high-impact activities until their bones and joints have fully developed, which typically occurs around 12 to 18 months of age.
  • Consult with your veterinarian for specific exercise recommendations based on your Dandie Dinmont Terrier's individual needs.
Fingal, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Fingal, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers require a lot of grooming?

  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers have a unique coat that requires regular grooming to keep it looking its best.
  • Their hair is double-layered, with a soft, dense undercoat and a coarser, wiry topcoat. Here are some grooming tips for Dandie Dinmont Terriers.
  • They should be brushed at least two to three times a week to prevent matting and remove loose hair. Use a slicker brush or a comb designed for wire-haired breeds.
  • The wiry topcoat of Dandie Dinmont Terriers should be hand stripped twice a year, or as advised by your professional groomer to maintain its texture and colour. Hand stripping involves plucking out the dead hairs by hand rather than cutting or clipping.
  • They generally require bathing every 6 to 8 weeks or as needed. Use a dog-specific shampoo or one prescribed by your vet.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers easy to train?

  • Dandie Dinmont Terriers are intelligent dogs with a strong independent streak.
  • While they are capable of learning and responding well to training, they may also display a stubborn side.
  • Early socialisation and consistent, positive reinforcement training methods are key to successfully training a Dandie Dinmont Terrier.
  • Start training from an early age and focus on basic obedience commands, lead training, and proper social manners.
  • Use rewards such as treats, praise, and play to motivate and encourage their learning. Keep training sessions short, engaging, and varied to prevent boredom.
  • Patience, consistency, and a gentle approach are essential when training this breed.
  • If you encounter challenges or feel unsure, consider enrolling in puppy or obedience classes to gain professional guidance. Remember that each Dandie Dinmont Terrier is unique, so tailor your training methods to suit their individual personality and needs.
Gloria, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier
Gloria, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

What do Dandie Dinmont Terriers eat?

  • Feeding your Dandie Dinmont Terrier a balanced and nutritious diet is essential for their overall health and well-being. Adult dogs should be fed twice daily unless advised otherwise.
  • As puppies, they should be fed a high-quality puppy-specific diet that supports their growth and development 3-4 times a day until 6 months, when this should be reduced to twice daily. Follow the feeding guidelines provided by the food manufacturer or consult with your veterinarian for personalised recommendations.
  • As they transition into adulthood, usually around 12 months of age, they can be switched gradually to adult dog food formulated for small or medium-sized breeds.
  • If you have any concerns about your Dandie Dinmont Terrier's dietary needs, consult with your veterinarian.

Are Dandie Dinmont Terriers healthy?

Dandie Dinmont Terriers are generally a healthy breed, but like any dog, they may be prone to certain health conditions. Some of the health concerns that may affect Dandie Dinmont Terriers include:

Bones and Joints

  • Intervertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) - in this condition the discs of the spine are abnormal and can slip out of place and put pressure on the spinal cord, which can lead to pain and/or paralysis
  • Luxating patella - this is when a dog’s kneecap moves out of where it should normally be


  • Glaucoma - the pressure of the eye becomes too high which can damage the eye


  • Cushing’s Disease (hyperadrenocorticism) - when the adrenal gland produces too steroid hormone

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have any concerns about the health of your Dandie Dinmont Terrier or want to discuss further if this breed is right for you, consult with your vet.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Dandie Dinmont Terriers

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Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian. Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive. If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health, contact your local vet.

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