Dandie Dinmont Terrier

It is generally concluded that the first origin of the Dandie Dinmont is unknown. But this has not stopped the theorists who, over the years, have proposed some rather bizarre combinations as the breed's ancestors. The most plausible explanation of the Dandie's origin is that it was developed from the numerous native terrier breeds that abounded in the hill country along the border between Scotland and England, particularly in Coquetdale, an area of Northumberland famous for its terriers.

What is known is that as far back as the 17th century these dogs were owned by several families who lived near Coquetdale and were used to kill badger, fox, and otter. One family in particular, the Allans, is closely associated with the breed. Willy "Piper" Allan, the family head who died in 1704, kept a pack of terriers which, despite handsome offers to buy, he refused to sell. After Piper's death, two generations of Allans kept the strain alive, parting with the occasional dog in exchange for favours received. Presumably a tenant farmer by the name of James Davidson obtained a pair of the Allan dogs, bred them and named each according to its colour: "Mustard" or "Pepper," varying these names with such adjectives as old, young, big, little and so on.

Outside of their local area the terriers were unknown until 1814, when Sir Walter Scott published his novel Guy Mannering. In it, one of the characters was patterned after Davidson. Scott called him "Dandie Dinmont" and, like Davidson, he kept a pack of pepper and mustard terriers. Soon the breed, then called the "Pepper and Mustard," was very much in demand. By the time of Davidson's death in 1820 the breed had been renamed the Dandie Dinmont and they were being extensively bred in farms along the border as well as in other parts of England.

So much confusion prevailed as to correct breed points that in 1876 the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club was formed and a breed standard draughted that, with minor weight changes, remains the same today.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier was first registered in Canada in the years 1888- 1889.

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