The Dandie Dinmont Terrier emerged from the Border mists of Scotland and England in the late 1600’s. The breed has only two colours. Mustard and Pepper and that would often be their pet names. Dandies were bred to hunt vermin, otters and badgers and they were prized by poachers and gypsies alike for their hunting and flushing of vermin. The Dandie Dinmont is one of many British breeds of dogs on the Kennel Club vulnerable native breeds at risk register, on average less than 100 are born every year in UK. Today Dandies are not seen as a fashionable dog, however they are hardy and full of fun but can be stubborn! They have a distinctive “topknot”. They are also known for their long, low slung bodies and short legs. Their life expectancy is about 14 years
The 1st recorded breeder of the “Dandie” was William “Piper” Allan born in 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, a hunter, a fisherman and water bailiff on the Conquet Water. He died at nearby Holystone, 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 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.
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 Hawick. The book was a massive success and the Mustard and Pepper dogs became known henceforth 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 Queen Victoria, the 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.
A group of dedicated Dandie Dinmont enthusiasts has been working for several years now to establish a Dandie Dinmont Terrier Heritage Trail throughout the Border Lands of Scotland and England – the home of the Dandie. The trail will take visitors on a “journey” through the Borders to the places where the Dandie came from and explain the important historic connections of the breed to such places as Kirk Yetholm, Rothbury, Oxnam Kirk, Abbotsford, The Haining and Bowhill, to name but a few.
With your support, we plan to create a series of beautifully crafted Lectern Boards thatwill tell the story of the Dandie. Each Board will be site specific and will cover the history, character, and temperament of the Dandie and acknowledge the early contribution of “Piper” Willie Allan as well as the traveller and gypsy folk of the 17th and 18th centuries.
We will explain the contribution of the Border farmers, such as James Davidson, alongwith the other early breeders in developing the Dandie we all know and love today. The important contributions of Sir Walter Scott, the Duke of Buccleuch, and Queen Victoria will be also be covered and finally how the Dandie is connected to the towns and great houses of the Borders, such as The Haining, BowHill and Abbotsford.
We already have planning permission for the first board at Kirk Yetholm, the home of the “Gypsy Kings”, which we plan to unveil in June, with others to follow as soon as funds allow. As well as the Lectern Boards there will be a QR code linked to a website, to guide visitors around the Borders, along with a printed Tourist Leaflet of the Trail for distribution to Tourist Information Centres, hotels and guest houses etc.
The Link to the fund raiser is below
For further information on the Dandie Dinmont
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club Welcome to the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club (ddtc.co.uk)
The Southern Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club is www.southerndandies.com
Dandie Derby Dandie Derby – The Dandie Dinmont Derby, walks
All the Clubs have a puppy coordinator please see their website for further information. The Kennel Club also has a puppy finder page Find a puppy | The Kennel Club