The Dandie originated in Scotland and the border counties, and the earliest accounts of the breed – initially known as Mustard and Pepper Terriers – date back to around 1700.
The actual foundation stock of the Mustard and Peppers is unknown, and several theories about the breed’s origins exist. Some believe that the Dandie Dinmont Terrier was the result of a cross between an old Scotch Terrier and a Welsh Harrier (also referred to as an Otterhound). Another theory is that the Dandie originated from a rough-haired borderland terrier crossed with a Dachshund.
However, there is irrefutable evidence that the border gypsies, travelling tinkers and itinerant musicians (as they were referred to at the time) used Mustard and Peppers for field work, poaching and hunting. They would also occasionally enter their dogs in badger-baiting, dog-fighting and other contests designed to measure the prowess of their individual terrier strains.
Bagpiper William Allen (1704–1779), better known as ‘Piper’ Allen, is believed to have had the purest strain of Mustard and Pepper Terriers, and although he preferred to keep his dogs for himself, he occasionally gifted a puppy in exchange for a favour.
James Davidson, a tenant farmer in Hindlee, was lucky enough to end up with a breeding pair from Piper Allen. One of James’ direct descendants now lives in North Shropshire with his Dandies.
The breed’s name
The Mustard and Pepper Terriers had several different names through the early years. They were usually named after the breeder’s farm, e.g. ‘Catcleugh’ Terrier, ‘Hindlee’ Terrier or such.
Ultimately, the breed was named after a fictional character in Sir Walter Scott’s novel Guy Mannering, published in 1814. It is said that the character Dandie Dinmont was based on Mr Davidson, who went on to become a recognised breeder with the game dogs he acquired from Piper Allen.
Dog shows and standards
Dog showing didn’t really exist in England until the latter half of the 19th century. In fact, the first event to include Dandie Dinmont Terriers as a category was in Manchester in 1861. These early Dandies were considered to be of poor quality, and so the first-place award was withheld. Efforts were then made to improve stock, and in 1872, Robert and Paul Scott’s Peachem was the first Dandie to be awarded first place.
In 1876, a standard that defined how the Dandie Dinmont Terrier should be bred was put in place. Changes were made in 1877, 1892 and 1901, but the standard wasn’t fully revised until the 1990s.
The first Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club show was held in 1877 in Carlisle with an entry of 85 Dandies, which was won by Reverend S. Tenison Masse’s Shamrock.