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Dandie Dinmont Terrier Breed Standard
General Appearance
Originally bred to go to ground, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is a long, low-stationed working terrier with a curved outline. The distinctive head with silken topknot is large but in proportion to the size of the dog. The dark eyes are large and round with a soft, wise expression. The sturdy, flexible body and scimitar shaped tail are covered with a rather crisp double coat, either mustard or pepper in color. 

Size, Proportion, Substance

Height is from 8 to 11 inches at the top of the shoulders. Length from top of shoulders to root of tail is one to two inches less than twice the height. For a dog in good working condition, the preferred weight is from 18 to 24 pounds. Sturdily built with ample bone and well developed muscle, but without coarseness. The overall balance is more important than any single specification.

The head is strongly made and large, but in proportion to the dog's size. Muscles are well developed, especially those covering the foreface. The expression shows great determination, intelligence and dignity. The eyes are large, round, bright and full, but not protruding. They are set wide apart and low, and directlydandie dinmont forward. Color, a rich dark hazel. Eye rims dark. The ears are set well back, wide apart and low on the skull, hanging close to the cheek, with a very slight projection at the fold. The shape is broad at the base, coming almost to a point. The front edge comes almost straight down from base to tip; the tapering is primarily on the back edge. The cartilage and skin of the ear are rather thin. The ear's length is from three to four inches.

The skull is broad between the ears, gradually tapering toward the eyes, and measures about the same from stop to occiput as it does from ear to ear. Forehead (brow) well domed. Stop well defined. The cheeks gradually taper from the ears toward the muzzle in the same proportion as the taper of the skull. The muzzle is deep and strong. In length, the proportions are a ratio of three (muzzle) to five (skull). The nose is moderately large and black or dark colored. The lips and inside of the mouth are black or dark colored. The teeth meet in a tight scissors bite. The teeth are very strong, especially the canines, which are an extraordinary size for a small dog. The canines mesh well with each other to give great holding and punishing power. The incisors in each jaw are evenly spaced and six in number.

Neck, Topline, Body
The neck is very muscular, well developed and strong, showing great power of resistance. It is well set into the shoulders and moderate in length. The topline is rather low at the shoulder, having a slight downward curve and a corresponding arch over the loins, with a very slight gradual drop from the top of the loins to the root of the tail. Both sides of the backbone well muscled. The outline is a continuous flow from the crest of the neck to the tip of the tail. The body is long, strong and flexible. Ribs are well sprung and well rounded. The chest is well developed and well let down between the forelegs. The underline reflects the curves of the topline. The tail is 8 to 10 inches in length, rather thick at the root, getting thicker for about four inches, then tapering off to a point. The set-on of the tail is a continuation of the very slight gradual drop over the croup. The tail is carried a little above the level of the body in a curve like a scimitar. Only when the dog is excited may the tip of the tail be aligned perpendicular to its root.

There should be sufficient layback of shoulder to allow good reach in front; angulation in balance with hindquarters. Upper arms nearly equal in length to the shoulder blades, elbows lying close to the ribs and capable of moving freely. The forelegs are short with good muscular development and ample bone, set wide apart. Feet point forward or very slightly outward. Pasterns nearly straight when viewed from the side. Bandy legs and fiddle front are objectionable. 

The hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs and are set rather wide apart, but not spread out in an unnatural manner. The upper and lower thighs are rounded and muscular and approximately the same length; stifles angulated, in balance with forequarters. The hocks are well let down and rear pasterns perpendicular to the ground.

The feet are round and well cushioned. Dewclaws preferably removed on forelegs. Rear feet are much smaller than the front feet and have no dewclaws. Nails strong and dark; nail color may vary according to the color of the dog. White nails are permissible. Flat feet are objectionable.


This is a very important point: The hair should be about two inches long; the body coat is a mixture of about 2/3 hardish hair with about 1/3 soft hair, giving a sort of crisp texture. The hard is not wiry. The body coat is shortened by plucking. The coat is termed pily or pencilled, the effect of the natural intermingling of the two types of hair. The hair on the underpart of the body is softer than on the top.    

The head is covered with very soft, silky hair, the silkier the better. It should not be confined to a mere topknot but extends to cover the upper portion of the ears, including the fold, and frames the eyes. Starting about two inches from the tip, the ear has a thin feather of hair of nearly the same color and texture as the topknot, giving the ear the appearance of ending in a distinct point. The body of the ear is covered with short, soft, velvety hair. The hair on the muzzle is of the same texture as the foreleg feather. For presentation, the hair on the top of the muzzle is shortened. The hair behind the nose is naturally more sparse for about an inch.

The forelegs have a feather about two inches long, the same texture as the muzzle. The hind leg hair is of the same texture but has considerably less feather. The upper side of the tail is covered with crisper hair than that on the body. The underside has a softer feather about two inches long, gradually shorter as it nears the tip, shaped like a scimitar. Trimming for presentation is to appear entirely natural; exaggerated styling is objectionable.

The color is pepper or mustard.

Pepper ranges from dark bluish black to a light silvery gray, the intermediate shades preferred. The topknot and ear feather are silvery white, the lighter the color the better. The hair on the legs and feet should be tan, varying according to the body color from a rich tan to a very pale fawn.

Mustard varies from a reddish brown to a pale fawn. The topknot and ear feather are a creamy white. The hair on the legs and feet should be a darker shade than the topknot.

In both colors the body color comes well down the shoulders and hips, gradually merging into the leg color. Hair on the underpart of the body is lighter in color than on the top. The hair on the muzzle (beard) is a little darker shade than the topknot. Ear color harmonizes with the body color. The upper side of the tail is a darker shade than the body color, while the underside of the tail is lighter, as the legs. Some white hair on the chest is common.

Proper movement requires a free and easy stride, reaching forward with the front legs and driving with evident force from the rear. The legs move in a straight plane from shoulder to pad and hip to pad. A stiff, stilted, hopping or weaving gait and lack of drive in the rear quarters are faults to be penalized.

Independent, determined, reserved and intelligent. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier combines an affectionate and dignified nature with, in a working situation, tenacity and boldness.

Page Last Updated: Sunday, August 22, 2010 15:39 EST
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