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 © 2000-2018
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.
Keep in mind that the inheritance of temperament is less predictable than the inheritance of physical traits such as size or shedding. Temperament and behavior are also shaped by raising and training.
- You can avoid some negative traits by choosing an ADULT dog from an animal shelter or rescue group. With an adult dog, you can easily see what you're getting, and plenty of adult Dandie Dinmonts have already proven themselves not to have negative characteristics.
- If you want a puppy, you can avoid some negative traits by choosing the right breeder and the right puppy. Unfortunately, you usually can't tell whether a puppy has inherited temperament or health problems until he grows up.
- Finally, you can avoid some negative traits by training your Dandie Dinmont to respect you and by following the 11-step care program in my book, 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...
- Strong mind of their own. Dandie Dinmont 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. To teach your Dandie to listen to you, "Respect Training" is mandatory. Read more about Dandie Dinmont Training.
I do not recommend terriers for homes with 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. 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.
- Potential 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.
- Finding one and paying the price. This is an uncommon breed, hard to find, and expensive. In addition, with fewer breeding partners available, Dandies are likely to be more inbred, which is never good for a breed's health.
To help you train and care for your dog
Dog training videos. Sometimes it's easier to train your puppy (or adult dog) when you can see the correct training techniques in action.
The problem is that most dog training videos on the internet are worthless, because they use the wrong training method. I recommend these dog training videos that are based on respect and leadership.
To learn more about training your dog to be calm and well-behaved, my dog training book is Teach Your Dog 100 English Words. It's a unique Vocabulary and Respect Training Program that will teach your dog to listen to you and do whatever you ask.
My dog buying guide, Dog Quest: Find The Dog Of Your Dreams, will teach you everything you need to know about finding a good-tempered, healthy dog.
My dog health care book, 11 Things You Must Do Right To Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy, shows you how to help your dog live a longer life while avoiding health problems and unnecessary veterinary expenses.