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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HEAD—Strongly made and large, not out of proportion to the dog's size; the muscles showing extraordinary development, more especially the maxillary. SKULL—Broad between the ears, getting gradually less towards the eyes, and measuring about the same from the inner corner of the eyes to back of skull as it does from ear to ear. The forehead well domed. The head is covered with very soft silky hair, which should not be confined to a mere topknot, and the lighter in colour and silkier it is the better. The cheeks, starting from the ears proportionately with the skull, have a gradual taper towards the muzzle, which is deep and strongly made, and measures about three inches in length, or in proportion to skull as three is to five. The muzzle is covered with hair of a little darker shade than the topknot, and of the same texture as the feather of the fore-legs. The top of the muzzle is generally bare for about an inch from the black part of the nose, the bareness coming to a point towards the eye, and being about one inch broad at the nose. The nose and inside of mouth black or dark coloured. The teeth very strong, especially the canine, which are of extraordinary size for such a small dog. The canines fit well into each other, so as to give the greatest available holding and punishing power, and the teeth are level in front, the upper ones very slightly overlapping the under ones. (Many of the finest specimens have a “swine mouth,” which is very objectionable, but it is not so great an objection as the protrusion of the under jaw.) EYES—Set wide apart, large, full, round, bright, expressive of great determination, intelligence and dignity; set low and prominent in front of the head; colour a rich dark hazel. EARS—Pendulous, set well back, wide apart and low on the skull, hanging close to the cheek, with a very slight projection at the base, broad at the junction of the head and tapering almost to a point, the fore part of the ear tapering very little, the tapering being mostly on the back part, the fore part of the ear coming almost straight down from its junction with the head to the tip. They should harmonise in colour with the body colour. In the case of a pepper dog they are covered with a soft, straight, brownish hair (in some cases almost black). In the case of a mustard dog the hair should be mustard in colour, a shade darker than the body, but not black. All should have a thin feather of light hair starting about two inches from the tip, and of nearly the same colour and texture as the topknot, which gives the ear the appearance of a distinct point. The animal is often one or two years old before the feather is shown. The cartilage and skin of the ear should not be thick, but rather thin. Length of ear, from three to four inches. NECK—Very muscular, well developed, and strong; showing great power of resistance, being well set into the shoulders. BODY—Long, strong, and flexible; ribs well sprung and round, chest well developed and let well down between the fore-legs; the back rather low at the shoulder, having a slight downward curve and a corresponding arch over the loins, with a very slight gradual drop from top of loins to root of tail; both sides of backbone well supplied with muscle. TAIL—Rather short, say from eight inches to ten inches, and covered on the upper side with wiry hair of darker colour than that of the body, the hair on the under side being lighter in colour, and not so wiry, with a nice feather, about two inches long, getting shorter as it nears the tip; rather thick at the root, getting thicker for about four inches, then tapering off to a point. It should not be twisted or curled in any way, but should come up with a curve like a scimitar, the tip, when excited, being in a perpendicular line with the root of the tail. It should neither be set on too high nor too low. When not excited it is carried gaily, and a little above the level of the body. LEGS—The fore-legs short, with immense muscular development and bone, set wide apart, the chest coming well down between them. The feet well formed, and not flat, with very strong brown or dark-coloured claws. Bandy legs and flat feet are objectionable. The hair on the fore-legs and feet of a pepper dog should be tan, varying according to the body colour from a rich tan to a pale fawn; of a mustard dog they are of a darker shade than its head, which is a creamy white. In both colours there is a nice feather, about two inches long, rather lighter in colour than the hair on the fore-part of the leg. The hind-legs are a little longer than the fore ones, and are set rather wide apart, but not spread out in an unnatural manner, while the feet are much smaller, the thighs are well developed, and the hair of the same colour and texture as the fore ones, but having no feather or dew claws; the whole claws should be dark; but the claws of all vary in shade according to the colour of the dog's body. COAT—This is a very important point; the hair should be about two inches long; that from skull to root of tail a mixture of hardish and soft hair, which gives a sort of crisp feel to the hand. The hair should not be wiry; the coat is termed pily or pencilled. The hair on the under part of the body is lighter in colour and softer than that on the top. The skin on the belly accords with the colour of dog. COLOUR—The colour is pepper or mustard. The pepper ranges from a dark bluish black to a light silver grey, the intermediate shades being preferred, the body colour coming well down the shoulder and hips, gradually merging into the leg colour. The mustards vary from a reddish brown to a pale fawn, the head being a creamy white, the legs and feet of a shade darker than the head. The claws are dark as in other colours. (Nearly all Dandie Dinmonts have some white on the chest, and some have also white claws.) SIZE—The height should be from 8 to 11 inches at the top of shoulder. Length from top of shoulder to root of tail should not be more than twice the dog's height, but, preferably, one or two inches less. WEIGHT—From 14 lb. to 24 lb. the best weight as near 18 lb. as possible. These weights are for dogs in good working order.

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In the above standard of points we have a very full and detailed account of what a Dandie should be like, and if only judges at shows would bear them in mind a little more, we should have fewer conflicting decisions given, and Dandie fanciers and the public generally would not from time to time be set wondering as to what is the correct type of the breed.

A Dandie makes an excellent house guard; for such a small dog he has an amazingly deep, loud bark, so that the stranger, who has heard him barking on the far side of the door, is quite astonished when he sees the small owner of the big voice. When kept as a companion he becomes a most devoted and affectionate little friend, and is very intelligent. As a dog to be kept in kennels there is certainly one great drawback where large kennels are desired, and that is the risk of keeping two or more dogs in one kennel; sooner or later there is sure to be a fight, and when Dandies fight it is generally a very serious matter; if no one is present to separate them, one or both of the combatants is pretty certain to be killed. But when out walking the Dandie is no more quarrelsome than other breeds of terriers, if properly trained from puppyhood.

There is one little matter in breeding Dandies that is generally a surprise to the novice, and that is the very great difference in the appearance of the young pups and the adult dog. The pups are born quite smooth-haired, the peppers are black and tan in colour, and the mustards have a great deal of black in their colouring. The topknot begins to appear sometimes when the dog is a few months old, and sometimes not till he is a year or so old. It is generally best to mate a mustard to a pepper, to prevent the mustards becoming too light in colour, though two rich-coloured mustards may be mated together with good results. It is a rather curious fact that when two mustards are mated some of the progeny are usually pepper in colour, though when two peppers are mated there are very seldom any mustard puppies.

The popularity of the Dandie has now lasted for nearly a hundred years, and there is no reason why it should not last for another century, if breeders will only steer clear of the exaggeration of show points, and continue to breed a sound, active, and hardy terrier.