The Breed History
These hardy terriers originated in the hills between England and Scotland and were brought to the public attention in the early 1800's in Guy Mannering, a work by Sir Walter Scott. Their breed origins are obscured but the Skye, Cairn and Scotch Terriers may have contributed to their development.
Breeding for Function
These were originally bred as hunting dogs, used particularly in otter tracking, but are now primarily companion dogs. They were also valued as courageous guard dogs.
Height at Withers: 8-11"" (20-28 cm)
Weight: females 18-24 lb (8-11 kg), males 18-24 lb (8-11 kg)
Coat: The dense double coat is about 2" long, and can be either pepper, a blue-gray to silver with tan or silver points, or mustard, a brown-red-cream spectrum with white points. Their topknot is long and the face fully haired; coat hairs are crisp but not wiry, but head hair is silky and soft. Regular grooming is important though they are considered low shedders.
Longevity: 12-15 years.
Points of Conformation: A large head, domed skull, prominent stop, and large eyes with heavy jaw set him apart from other terriers. Dandies are low to the ground and have a broad deep thorax, and scimitar-shaped tail. The ears are small and low and the leather is quite thin. Nose is of moderate size and pigmented dark colored or black. The lips and mouth mucous membranes are also dark. The canine teeth are quite large in this breed. The neck is thick and well muscled, and the topline is low at shoulders and has a mildly arched profile. Feet are round and small, and dewclaws are generally removed on the forelimbs. The dog's gait is straight and low with long strides.
Recognized Behavior Issues and Traits
Reported breed traits include: These dogs are reserved with strangers but affectionate, loyal companions around the home. They are very intelligent, bold, and strong willed, and will adapt to life either in country or city. Training should begin young. Because of their strong chase instinct, they should not be left off-leash unless they are contained in an enclosure. The bark is loud for their size, and they make good alarm bark defenders. They need human contact, and may become one-man dogs. Their overall activity levels are somewhat lower than other terrier breeds.
Normal Physiologic Variations
41.4% of Dandie Dinmont litters are delivered via cesarean section in the UK.
Hip Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing degenerative joint disease and hip arthritis. OFA reports a high incidence, but very few Dandie Dinmont Terriers have been screened to determine an accurate frequency.
Patella Luxation: Polygenically inherited laxity of patellar ligaments, causing luxation, lameness, and later degenerative joint disease. Treat surgically if causing clinical signs. Too few Dandie Dinmont Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Elbow Dysplasia: Polygenically inherited trait causing elbow arthritis. Too few Dandie Dinmont Terriers have been screened by OFA to determine an accurate frequency.
Persistent Pupillary Membranes: Strands of fetal remnant connecting; iris to iris, cornea, lens, or involving sheets of tissue. The later three forms can impair vision, and dogs affected with these forms should not be bred. Identified in 20.75% of Dandie Dinmont Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Glaucoma: Primary, narrow angle glaucoma occurs in the breed. Can cause blindness due to retinal damage, and secondary lens luxation. Age of onset 6 years and older. Screen with gonioscopy and tonometry. Frequency and mode of inheritance in the breed has not been determined. Dr. Hans Lohi in Finland has discovered a linked marker on chromosome 8 with a proposed autosomal recessive inheritance.
Hypothyroidism: Inherited autoimmune thyroiditis. 8.2% positive for thyroid auto-antibodies based on testing at Michigan State University. (Ave. for all breeds is 7.5%).
Distichiasis: Abnormally placed eyelashes that irritate the cornea and conjunctiva. Can cause secondary corneal ulceration. Identified in 5.66% of Dandie Dinmont Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Cataracts: Anterior, posterior and punctate cataracts occur in the breed. Identified in 5.66% of Dandie Dinmont Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005. CERF does not recommend breeding any Dandie Dinmont Terrier with a cataract.
Corneal Dystrophy: The breed can have an epithelial/stromal form of corneal dystrophy. Age of onset 2-5 years. Identified in 1.89% of Dandie Dinmont Terriers CERF examined by veterinary ophthalmologists between 2000-2005.
Portosystemic Shunt (PSS, Liver Shunt): Abnormal blood vessels connecting the systemic and portal blood flow. Can be intrahepatic or extrahepatic. Hepatic microvascular dysplasia may also be genetically related to this condition. Causes stunting, abnormal behavior, possible seizures, and can cause secondary ammonium urate urinary calculi. Diagnose with paired fasted and feeding serum bile acid and/or ammonium levels, and abdominal ultrasound. Treatment of PSS includes partial ligation and/or medical and dietary control of symptoms. One survey reported 1.6% of Dandie Dinmont Terriers were affected. Unknown mode of inheritance.
Pituitary-dependent Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing's Disease): Seven closely related Dandie Dinmont terriers were diagnosed with pituitary-dependent hyperadrenocorticism, suggesting an inherited basis. Caused by a functional pituitary tumor. Clinical signs may include increased thirst and urination, symmetrical truncal alopecia, and abdominal distention. Diagnosis by dexamethasone suppression test and ACTH stimulation test.
Oxalate Urolithiasis (Bladder Stones): The breed may have a predisposition to oxalate bladder stones.
Brachygnathism, Intervertebral Disk Disease, Oligodontia, Prognathism, Progressive Retinal Atrophy, and Ulcerative Keratitis are also reported.
Isolated Case Studies
Tests of Genotype: Direct test for mustard and pepper coat color is available from Health Gene.
Tests of Phenotype: Recommend hip and elbow radiographs, CERF eye examination (including gonioscopy), patella evaluation, thyroid profile including autoantibodies and cardiac evaluation.
- Breed name synonyms: Dandie
- Registries: AKC, CKC, UKC, KCGB (Kennel Club of Great Britain), ANKC (Australian National Kennel Club)
- AKC rank: (year 2008): 146 (77 dogs registered)
- Internet resources: Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America: http://clubs.akc.org/ddtca
Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada: www.dandiedinmont.org
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club (UK): http://ddtc.co.uk/
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