It’s thanks to Sir Walter Scott that the Dandie Dinmont Terrier acquired its name. In 1815 Scott published his book “Guy Mannering”. A principal character in the book was a Border farmer named Dandie Dinmont who kept a pack of the Mustard & Pepper terriers, as they were then known. Scott’s character was based on a real Border farmer; James Davidson from Hyndlee near Jedburgh. The book was a massive success and the Mustard and Pepper dogs became now known hence forth as “Dandie Dinmont Terriers”. As a result, this previously unknown terrier enjoyed massive success and became much sought after in the 19th century. No less than QueenVictoria and French King, Louis Philippe and the Tzar of Russia all had Dandies. They were also very popular with the landed gentry and the ordinary folk of Victoria’s reign. Demand outstripped supply and they were often “dognapped” and sold in London and further afield.
The 1st recorded breeder of the “Dandie” was William “Piper” Allan born at Bellingham, Northumberland in 1704. Although not himself a gypsy, Willy enjoyed the company of gypsies & travelling folk. He was a great character, a tinker, a player of Northumbrian pipes, hunter, fisherman and water bailiff on the Conquet Water. He died at Holystone, near here, on 18th February 1779 and is buried across the road in an un-marked grave in All Saints Churchyard. Willie’s son Jamie also a famous piper and was appointed as personal piper to the Countess of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle. Unfortunately he was also a ne’er-do-well, horse thief, deserter and bigamist. But he also cherished and continued to breed and develop his father’s Dandies. After Jamie’s death in November 1810 the prize dog, “Old Pepper” was sold to Mr Francis Somner of Yetholm. Francis Somner was Border farmer and seed merchant from Erlston near Kelso. In 1820, during harvest, he came across “Nette”, one of James Davidson’s dogs. He was so taken with her he bought her and she, along with “Charlie” & “Old Pepper” (above) were the foundation of the famous line of Somner Dandies. It is from these dogs, along with “Old Ginger”, a foundling caught on the Duke of