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The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament: Can You Tame This Independent Hunter?

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier temperament makes him a friendly dog, but a tough one. Have you ever heard of little dogs who like to act bigger than they actually are to ward off larger dogs? The Dandie Dinmont is one of those dogs.

Photo of Dandie Dinmont Terrier Potrait White Background

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament and Personality

Before you decide to bring one it will serve you well to understand the Dandie Dinmont Terrier temperament.


His determined nature makes for a very agile hunter.

However, it does not always translate well when it comes to training him.

This is because determination can lead to stubbornness, which may perhaps be his most challenging trait.

He is also incredibly intelligent, with some calling him one of the smartest Terriers in the Terrier family.


When you think of a Terrier, you’re probably thinking of a lively, tiny dog.

That picture that you hold in your mind is a perfect encapsulation of the Dandie Dinmont breed.


The Dandie Dinmont can be your best buddy…if you’re a human. Not all humans, though.

While he is nice to strangers, he makes it clear that he doesn’t trust them. Seeing a stranger, especially one that is approaching him and his family, activates his “watchdog mode.”

He has a tendency, however, to be scrappy with other dogs of the same gender.

And while he can be perfectly calm and relaxed while at home, if something perks up his hunting or chasing instincts, he can become an entirely different dog.

Photo of Dandie Dinmont Terrier Sitting In Grass


The Dandie is a very affectionate dog, and he is at his happiest when he can be with his family.

This, along with his ability to be a great watchdog, makes him an ideal family dog for families that love small dogs.


The Dandie is the personification of a big dog being trapped in a little dog’s body.

His independent streak means that he is fully confident in taking on those who are bigger than them.

Have you ever seen those cartoons where the tiny dog is yapping at a bigger dog with his entire body? And he just knows he’s scaring the larger dog who might actually become intimidated by this fierce, tiny thing?

That’s the Dandie Dinmont. He is confident and fearless, though he won’t aggressively pursue a larger dog unless the larger dog poses some sort of threat to him or his family.


What may seem like a boring task or even just an okay one may be the most fun thing the Dandie Dinmont has ever done in his life.

Taking him to the mailbox? Let’s go! Tossing him a new toy? He couldn’t be happier.

This is a dog that loves to have fun…almost as much as he loves to hunt. In fact, hunting is a form of fun for the Dandie Dinmont.

A Brief History of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed

Dandie Dinmont Terrier puppies originated along the Anglo-Scottish border between Scotland and England.

During the 1600s, hunters used them to catch badgers and otters.

Experts are not sure of which breeds came together to form the Dandie Dinmont. However, they believe the Dandie Dinmont is perhaps a cross between a Scottish Terrier and a Skye Terrier.

Training the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

The Dandie Dinmont is a typical Terrier when it comes to training. He is tough, and he is stubborn.

Photo of Dandie Dinmont Terriers Standing Behind Outdoor Chair

He knows his own mind, so he can be a bit overconfident at times. He forgets how small he is and thinks he can take on anyone who challenges him and he is convinced he will win.

You need to remain persistent, show him that you’re the boss and that you won’t let him walk all over you.

When he wants to listen, he can be very adaptable, and he does have a desire to please his master. You just have to be patient enough to get through his tough exterior to touch his soft inner core.

Helpful Dog Training Resource:

For help with training your dog, you should take a look at The Online Dog Trainer by Doggy Dan. Doggy Dan is an expert Dog Trainer based in New Zealand. His online resource contains Hundreds of Excellent Dog Training Videos that will take you step-by-step through the process of developing a healthy, happy well-behaved dog.


So, here’s something fun and incredibly rare for a dog that isn’t naturally hairless: the Dandie Dinmont doesn’t shed!

However, that doesn’t mean you get out of grooming him. You must strip his coat at least twice a year of the dead hair that accumulates within it.

You can either bring him to a breeder or groomer and have them do it, or you can learn how to do it yourself.

The breeder should be able to teach you when you buy the dog. Then you can do it yourself and save money.

You should brush him daily. You should also pluck the longer hairs from his coat every day to keep him looking neat and clean.


A half-hour at a time twice a day is all the Dandie Dinmont needs to be satisfied.

Exercise him with a brisk walk or even a toss of the ball around the yard.

Always keep him on a leash or in a fenced-in area when he is outdoors.

Photo of Dandie Dinmont Terriers  On Lawn Min

Even those that respond the best to training may still heed their hunter instinct and chase after potential prey.

This may go without saying, but Dandies are too small and long to run long distances. So, if you’re looking for a jogging buddy or a dog to run beside your bike, then this is not the dog for you.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier: Staying Healthy

The Dandie Dinmont's life expectancy is between 12 and 15 years.

Most Dandie Dinmont Terriers are healthy. There are, however, still some health issues that you need to watch out for, including:

Helpful Dog Health Resource

Note: Our Health is #1 Priority.  It should be no different or your Dandie Dinmont Terrier. But you need to help him. The Ultimate Guide to Dog Health is the answer. This handy guide will help you recognize the symptoms of the health problems above. Get the knowledge to stay ahead of these terrible issues that can rob your lovely Dandie from vigor and life. Help your friend make it to 15 yrs+ without pain and suffering.

Finding the Perfect Dandie Dinmont Terrier

Now that you know all you need to know about the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, are you ready to welcome one into your home?

To find one, you can either go through a breeder or contact the rescue and adoption agencies in your area to see what they have available.

Dandie Dinmont Terrier Puppies for Sale

The average Dandie Dinmont Terrier price is around $1,400.

The price of a Dandie Dinmont Terrier for sale can change, depending on who has them for sale. Typically, the highest price you’ll see for this dog is around $1,600.

Dandie Dinmont Rescue and Adoption

If you are in the market for a Dandie Dinmont puppy, you can ask your local rescue organizations or adoption centers if they have one.

Photo of Dandie Dinmont Terriers On Leash

An adoption is perfect for those who want to skip all the puppy training and go straight to a housebroken dog who has outgrown chewing.

If you’d like to check out a Dandie Dinmont Terrier mix, adoption and rescue centers are great places to look. Shelters tend to have more mixed breeds than purebreds available.

Dandie Dinmont Breeders

If you’d like to buy a Dandie Dinmont Terrier from a breeder, check out the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America.

In addition to the breeder referral page on their website, you can also check out some adorable Dandie Dinmont Terrier pictures!

Read This Before You Approach a Breeder

We put together and excellent No BS Guide to researching and selecting the best dog breed. Check it out Here!

Conclusion: Why the Dandie Dinmont Terrier?

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier temperament makes him just as good at being a watchdog as he is a family dog.

He thinks nothing of telling off an intruder, no matter how big the intruder is. But he’s not a nasty dog – he’ll curl up with his family any chance he gets.

He is a joy to groom in that he never sheds. However, this doesn’t mean you get off scot-free without having to do any maintenance.

Strip his coat at least twice a year and brush him daily. Be sure to pluck the longer hairs from his coat to keep him looking tidy.

This is not your exercise companion dog unless you don’t mind your exercise being on the lighter side.

You can’t take a Dandie Dinmont along for a bike ride (unless he’s riding in the basket!), or even a jog. He’s simply too long and too little to keep up with you for longer distances.