Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament
What's Good About 'Em,
What's Bad About 'Em
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Temperament, Personality, Behavior, Traits, and Characteristics, by Michele Welton. Copyright © 2000-2014
The plucky Dandie Dinmont is one of the brightest of the terriers -- but also one of the most independent.
Undemanding, dignified, and relaxed in the home, the Dandie becomes bold and tenacious when his hunting/chasing instincts are aroused.
One look at his long, low-slung body and it's obvious that this breed isn't built for long-distance jogging or running beside your bike. He is content with daily walks and regular opportunities to play.
Though diplomatic with strangers, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is confident of his territory and makes a determined watchdog.
He doesn't put on a macho posturing act with other animals, as some terriers do, but he is exceedingly tough and will not back down from a confrontation. Two adult males are definitely an unwise combination.
Assertive and strong-willed, with a definite mind of his own, he requires consistent leadership. Obedience training should include food rewards and praise, for the Dandie is sensitive and proud. Heavy-handed training only makes him more obstinate and uncooperative.
If you want a dog who...
- Is a "big dog with short legs" i.e. built low to the ground, but with a robust body, heavy bone, and a strong temperament
- Is unusual-looking, with a curvy body, large expressive eyes, and a bushy topknot on his head
- Is calmer than most other terriers
- Needs only moderate exercise
- Is polite with strangers, but makes a determined watchdog with a surprisingly deep bark
- Doesn't shed excessively
A Dandie Dinmont Terrier may be right for you.
If you don't want to deal with...
- One of the most self-willed and independent of the terriers
- Aggression toward other animals -- chasing instincts
- Regular clipping/trimming of the coat
- Waiting lists (very hard to find) and a high price tag
A Dandie Dinmont Terrier may not be right for you.
- choosing the RIGHT breeder and the RIGHT puppy
- or choosing an ADULT dog from your animal shelter or rescue group – a dog who has already proven that he doesn't have negative traits
- training your dog to respect you
- avoiding health problems by following my daily care program in 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy
More traits and characteristics of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier
If I was considering a Dandie Dinmont Terrier, I would be most concerned about...
- Animal aggression. Like all terriers, Dandie Dinmonts can be scrappy with other dogs of the same sex. They are a determined force to reckon with if they decide to initiate or accept a challenge to fight. And because of their hunting background, most terriers have strong instincts to chase and seize small fleeing creatures. This can make for conflict if you own a cat. It may be much worse than that if you own a pet rabbit or hamster!
Terriers cannot be trusted off-leash. They will take off -- oblivious to your frantic shouts -- after anything that runs.
- Strong mind of their own. Terriers must be taught at an early age that they are not the rulers of the world. The toughness that makes them suited to killing vermin can frustrate you when you try to teach them anything. Terriers are stubborn and dominant (they want to be the boss) and will make you prove that you can make them do things. You must show them, through absolute consistency, that you mean what you say.
To teach your terrier to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. My Dandie Dinmont Training Page discusses the program you need.
- Defensive reactions. If you need to physically chastise a terrier, and you go beyond what THEY believe is a fair correction, terriers (as a group) are more likely than other breeds to growl or snap. As an obedience instructor, I'm always extra careful when putting my hands on any terrier for a correction.
I do NOT recommend terriers for small children. Many terriers will not tolerate any nonsense from little life forms whom they consider to be below themselves in importance. Many terriers are quick to react to teasing, and even to the normal clumsiness that comes with small children (accidental squeezing of their ears or pulling of whiskers or stepping on their paw). Many terriers are possessive of their food and toys and will defend these from all comers, including children.
- Grooming. Dandie Dinmont Terriers require clipping and trimming every few months, to keep their coat short and free of mats. But don't expect your pet Dandie Dinmont to look like the Dandie Dinmont show dogs you've seen in books or on TV. That particular look takes hours of work by experienced show groomers.
- Finding one and paying the price. In the United States, less than 100 new Dandie Dinmont Terrier puppies are registered each year. Compare that to over 60,000 new Golden Retriever puppies! And many breeders are charging $1000 and up.
To learn more about training Dandie Dinmont Terriers to be calm and well-behaved, consider my dog training book, Teach Your Dog 100 English Words.
It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will make your Dandie Dinmont Terrier the smartest, most well-behaved companion you've ever had.
Teaches your dog to listen to you, to pay attention to you, and to do whatever you ask him to do.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a healthy Dandie Dinmont Terrier. Health problems have become so widespread in dogs today that this book is required reading for ANYONE who is thinking of getting a purebred, crossbred, or mixed breed dog.
If you'd like to consult with me personally about whether the Dandie Dinmont Terrier might be a good dog breed for your family, I offer a Dog Breed Consulting Service.
Once you have your Dandie Dinmont Terrier home, you need to KEEP him healthy -- or if he's having any current health problems, you need to get him back on the road to good health.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy is the book you need.
Raise your dog the right way and you will be helping him live a longer, healthier life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.
Please consider adopting an ADULT Dandie Dinmont Terrier...
When you're acquiring a Dandie Dinmont Terrier PUPPY, you're acquiring potential -- what he one day will be. So "typical breed characteristics" are very important.
But when you acquire an adult dog, you're acquiring what he already IS and you can decide whether he is the right dog for you based on that reality. There are plenty of adult Dandie Dinmont Terriers who have already proven themselves NOT to have negative characteristics that are "typical" for their breed. If you find such an adult dog, don't let "typical breed negatives" worry you. Just be happy that you found an atypical individual -- and enjoy!
Save a life. Adopt a dog.
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