CHAPTER XL. THE DANDIE DINMONT
The breed of terrier now known as the Dandie Dinmont is one of the races of the dog which can boast of a fairly ancient lineage. Though it is impossible now to say what was the exact origin of this breed, we know that it was first recognised under its present name after the publication of Scott's Guy Mannering, in the year 1814, and we know that for many years previously there had existed in the Border counties a rough-haired, short-legged race of terrier, the constant and very effective companion of the Border farmers and others in their fox-hunting expeditions.
Various theories have been suggested by different writers as to the manner in which the breed was founded. Some say that the Dandie is the result of crossing a strain of rough-haired terriers with the Dachshund; others that a rough-haired terrier was crossed with the Otterhound; and others again assert that no direct cross was ever introduced to found the breed, but that it was gradually evolved from the rough-haired terriers of the Border district. And this latter theory is probably correct.
The Dandie would appear to be closely related to the Bedlington Terrier. In both breeds we find the same indomitable pluck, the same pendulous ear, and a light silky “topknot” adorning the skull of each; but the Dandie was evolved into a long-bodied, short-legged dog, and the Bedlington became a long-legged, short-bodied dog! Indeed to illustrate the close relationship of the two breeds a case is quoted of the late Lord Antrim, who, in the early days of dog shows, exhibited two animals from the same litter, and with the one obtained a prize or honourable mention in the Dandie classes, and with the other a like distinction in the Bedlington classes.
It may be interesting to give a few particulars concerning the traceable ancestors of the modern Dandie. In Mr. Charles Cook's book on this breed, we are given particulars of one William Allan, of Holystone, born in 1704, and known as Piper Allan, and celebrated as a hunter of otters and foxes, and for his strain of rough-haired terriers who so ably assisted him in the chase. William Allan's terriers descended to his son James, also known as the “Piper,” and born in the year 1734. James Allan died in 1810, and was survived by a son who sold to Mr. Francis Somner at Yetholm a terrier dog named Old Pepper, descended from his grandfather's famous dog Hitchem. Old Pepper was the great-grandsire of Mr. Somner's well-known dog Shem. These terriers belonging to the Allans and others in the district are considered by Mr. Cook to be the earliest known ancestors of the modern Dandie Dinmont.
Sir Walter Scott himself informs us that he did not draw the character of Dandie Dinmont from any one individual in particular, but that the character would well fit a dozen or more of the Lidderdale yeomen of his acquaintance. However, owing to the circumstance of his calling all his terriers Mustard and Pepper, without any other distinction except “auld” and “young” and “little,” the name came to be fixed by his associates upon one James Davidson, of Hindlee, a wild farm in the Teviotdale mountains.
James Davidson died in the year 1820, by which time the Dandie Dinmont Terrier was being bred in considerable numbers by the Border farmers and others to meet the demand for it which had sprung up since the appearance of Guy Mannering.
As a result of the controversies that were continually recurring with regard to the points of a typical Dandie Dinmont there was formed in the year 1876 the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club, with the object of settling the question for ever, and for this purpose all the most noted breeders and others interested were invited to give their views upon it.
The standard of points adopted by the club is as follows:—
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