Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Canis lupus

Last updated: May 27, 2024
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
© iStock.com/CaptureLight

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed recognized by the AKC that is named after a literary character.


Dandie Dinmont Terrier Scientific Classification

Scientific Name
Canis lupus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Conservation Status

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Locations

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Locations

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Facts

Otters, badgers, rats, and foxes
Name Of Young
Group Behavior
  • Pack
Fun Fact
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed recognized by the AKC that is named after a literary character.
Most Distinctive Feature
The Dandie has a puffy topknot of hair.
Other Name(s)
Gestation Period
63 weeks
Independent, smart, playful, devoted
Litter Size
3-6 puppies
  • Pack
Scotland, United Kingdom
Scotland, United Kingdom

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Physical Characteristics

  • Grey
  • Fawn
  • Tawny
  • Light Grey
  • Dark Grey
  • Ginger
  • Sandy
Skin Type
12-14 years
18-24 lbs.
8-11 inches

Dandie Dinmont Terrier as a Pet:

General Health
Energy Level
Tendency to Chew
Family and kid friendliness
Yappiness / Barking
Separation Anxiety
Preferred Temperature
Average climate
Exercise Needs
Friendly With Other Dogs
Pure bred cost to own
Dog group
Male weight
18-24 lbs
Female weight
18-24 lbs

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The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a feisty little dog with enough attitude for a dog three times its size. Bred in Scotland in the 17th or 18th centuries to hunt otters, foxes, rats, and badgers, the Dandie is loyal to its owner but has a strong independent streak, giving it a friendly but stubborn disposition. The Dandie is the only AKC-approved breed named after a fictional character, as Sir Walter Scott was quite fond of the little pepper or mustard-colored dogs and included them in his novel “Guy Mannering.” It is also the only breed permitted to wear an official Scottish Clan Tartan, having received permission in 2015 from the Chief of Clan Scott.

These little rough-and-tumble balls of energy like children and make good house pets. They also do well with apartment and city living, as their exercise needs are minimal. Due to their vocal nature and their wariness of strangers, they also make good watchdogs. This trait can make them prone to excessive barking, which should be trained out of them.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Fun Fact

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is the only breed recognized by the AKC named after a literary character.

3 Pros and Cons of Owning Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Dandies are small but sturdy dogs that like rough-and-tumble play.
Struggle With Stairs
Dandie Dinmont Terriers have difficulty on stairs due to their short legs.
Good Watchdog
The Dandie Dinmont is alert and can be loudly vocal. A well-trained Dandie makes an excellent watchdog.
Excessive Barking
They tend to bark quite a bit if they are not trained out of this habit.
Good With Kids
The Dandie is good with children. It is not aggressive or nippy and likes to romp with older children.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a strong prey drive. It will chase anything that runs, including small pets.

The Best Dog Food For Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie is a small breed with modest activity levels, so A-Z Animals recommends Hill’s Science Diet Adult Small Paws Chicken Meal. It has Omega 6, which promotes skin and coat health, and Vitamins C and E to promote immune system health.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Size and Weight

The Dandie Dinmont terrier is a long dog. It’s also low to the ground, topping out at 8-11 inches at the shoulder. A full-grown dog weighs about 18-24 pounds.

Weight (Male):18-24 lbs.
Weight (Female):18-24 lbs.
Height (Male):8-11 inches
Height (Female):8-11 inches

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Common Health Issues

The Dandie Dinmont has a generally healthy constitution. The main problems that afflict these dogs are issues with their backs. The extreme body length can stress the discs and vertebrae of the spine, causing some painful issues, especially related to slipped discs. Keeping the dog’s weight under control and providing it with ramps and steps to avoid high-impact jumping can decrease stress on the spine and joints, reducing the risk of injury.

Other conditions that this dog may be more prone to than other dogs include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Glaucoma
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Canine cancers
  • Epilepsy
  • Lymphoma

Just because Dandies may be more prone to these conditions doesn’t guarantee they will end up with them. It just means that you should be aware of these issues, take care to test for them, and avoid conditions that put the dog at risk for illness or injury. You can also buy your dog from a reputable breeder and request genetic and health screening results.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament

The Dandie Dinmont has a lot of personality! It’s a small dog with the courage of a large dog; it thinks it can handle anything. It’s an intelligent, independent, confident dog. Those traits can make it stubborn and challenging to train, but the rewards are worth the investment.

The Dandie makes a great family dog. It loves to play with children and is extremely loyal to its family. Moderately active, a daily walk can use up enough energy for it to handle apartment life. Overall, they exhibit a calm behavior that differentiates them from other terriers.

How To Take Care of Dandie Dinmont Terrier  

Dandy Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont has a lot of personality! It’s a small dog with the courage of a large dog; it thinks it can handle anything.

©1,000 × 747 pixels, file size: 682 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg – Original / License

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Maintenance And Grooming

The Dandie Dinmont has a double coat that sheds little and is hypoallergenic. Daily combing is required to keep it from matting and to remove any dead hairs, and it should be stripped every so often with a stripping knife to maintain its appearance. Only bathe when necessary.

Clean the ears every couple of weeks to clear them of wax and debris. Trim the nails monthly with a clipper or nail grinder. Finally, brush the dog’s teeth a couple of times a week to keep the teeth in good shape.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Training 

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier is an intelligent and assertive dog. Because of this, like many terriers, they can be pretty stubborn. Despite this stubbornness, they do desire to please their owner. Training the Dandie takes patience and a consistent, firm approach.

One of the most important things to remember when training the Dandie is that you should begin early. If they are allowed to be in control early on, they will be even more obstinate later. This is also when you should train them to stop barking on command. Exercise can help with training because some dogs are easier to train when tired.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Exercise

The Dandie is a medium-energy dog that requires regular exercise to keep its lean appearance. A daily walk and some additional training or playtime in a safe, enclosed place, perhaps a game of fetch or tug of war, will do. When you walk the dog, ensure it is on a leash; its prey drive can cause it to run off.

Some activities to avoid when exercising include jogging or biking; the Dandie is not fit for long runs. Also, avoid stairs and don’t allow the dog to jump from high spots, increasing the risk of back injuries.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppies

Begin training your Dandie as soon as possible. The breed can be stubborn and have a bit of a superiority complex; this needs to be trained out of them as pups, or they will become little dictators.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier And Children

The Dandie Dinmont is good with kids, especially older ones. It isn’t a nippy dog and likes to play and wrestle around. Adults should be careful with an untrained dog around smaller children because the dog’s prey drive can sometimes prompt them to chase a small, running child.

Dogs Similar to Dandie Dinmont Terrier

  • Dachshund: If you like “a long little doggie,” perhaps a dachshund is the dog for you. One theory about the Dandie’s lineage is that the Dachshund may be a small part of it, though many breeders deny this.
  • Airedale Terrier: Like the Dandie, the Airedale Terrier was bred to hunt otters and other small predators. One of its forebears was the Otterhound.

Famous Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The most famous Dandies are found in Sir Walter Scott’s novel, “Guy Mannering.” The dogs in the book are owned by a farmer named Dandie Dinmont, from whom they derive their name. They are the only breed in the AKC who get their name from a fictional character.

Popular Names for Dandie Dinmont Terrier

  • Alistair
  • Rhett
  • Kenzie
  • Duncan
  • Fergus
  • Aileen
  • Cora
  • Fiona
  • Sheena
  • Iona

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What's the right dog for you?

Dogs are our best friends but which breed is your perfect match?


If you have kids or existing dogs select:

Other Dogs

Should they be Hypoallergenic?

How important is health?
Which dog groups do you like?
How much exercise should your dog require?
What climate?
How much seperation anxiety?
How much yappiness/barking?

How much energy should they have?

The lower energy the better.
I want a cuddle buddy!
About average energy.
I want a dog that I have to chase after constantly!
All energy levels are great -- I just love dogs!
How much should they shed?
How trainable/obedient does the dog need to be?
How intelligent does the dog need to be?
How much chewing will allow?
About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How rare is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier?

The Dandie is very rare.

How much is a Dandie Dinmont Terrier?

The Dandie Dinmont costs between $1,500 and $3,000 from a reputable breeder.

Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers make good pets?

Dandies make wonderful family pets. They adapt easily to house or apartment life, are good with kids, and, unlike most terriers, are rather calm.

Do Dandie Dinmont Terriers shed?

Dandie Dinmont Terriers hardly shed at all.

Are Dandies hypoallergenic?


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  2. Hill's Science Diet / Accessed October 19, 2022
  3. Wikipedia / Accessed October 19, 2022
  4. Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America / Accessed October 19, 2022
  5. Aubrey Animal Medical Cneter / Accessed October 19, 2022
  6. The Kennel Club / Accessed October 19, 2022
  7. Wag! / Accessed October 19, 2022
  8. Dog Pregnancy Calendar / Accessed October 19, 2022
  9. Hypoallergenic Dog / Accessed October 19, 2022
  10. Dog Breeds List / Accessed October 19, 2022