Although dating the early existence of the breed is uncertain, it is commonly thought that the Dandie Dinmont Terrier originated in the 1600s on the Cheviot Hills border of England and Scotland. Here it became popular with gypsies and farmers who utilised the breed in many working fulfillments. Prized for its hardiness, versatility and inherent hunting instincts, the Dandie Dinmont was progressively favoured by all classes, from farmers to the nobility and even royalty. Recognised by the American Kennel Club in 1886, the breed was commonly referred to as the 'pepper and mustard dog,' due to its natural colouration. Used to hunt wild badgers and otters, as well as to kill vermin about the home and farmstead, the Dandie Dinmont became one of the most preferred of the Terrier family.
A disproportioned, low to the ground breed, the Dandie Dinmont is easily identified. Boasting short legs, a well-defined muzzle, a black nose and eyes outlined in black, the breed is both distinctive amongst the Terriers and visually appealing. The coat is typically soft and hard in equal measure, but with a soft underside. A bouffant or topknot distinguishes the breed. The Dandie Dinmont derives its name from the Terrier employed in Sir Walter Scott's novel 'Guy Mannering,' and is generally quieter than its Terrier cousins.
Not in need of intensive exercise, the Dandie Dinmont is typically contented and easy-going, compatible with children and other canine family members. Inherently vigilant and protective, the breed makes a great watch dog without boasting an imposing appearance or size. Susceptible to separation anxiety when left alone for long periods at a time, the Dandie Dinmont is the original companion dog, well suited to active domestic life. A healthy Dandie Dinmont Terrier will typically weigh 8-11 kg, with a life expectancy of 12-15 years when shown the appropriate care.
Health conditions associated with the Dandie Dinmont are limited due to the breed's inherent hardiness, although documented afflictions include optical disorders and glaucoma, as well as patellar luxation, epilepsy and intervertebral disc disease. As with most canine breeds, hip and elbow dysplasia is commonly observed.