Dandie Dinmont Terriers are active, independent, and intelligent dogs. They enjoy dog sports such as agility, earthdog trials, flyball, hiking, retrieving, tracking, Frisbee, musical freestyle, and rally and standard obedience which also helps them bond with their families. Dandie Dinmont Terriers also bond with people by serving in animal-assisted therapy. Although seemingly good with children, as with all dogs, extremely close supervision is needed to prevent accidental injury to the dog and its subsequently developing fear-based defensive aggression.
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier originated from the border regions between Scotland and England known as the Cheviot Hills during the 1600's. Bred to hunt badgers, they were also skillful in hunting vermin, rabbit and otter. Several theories exist as to the origin of the Dandie, one of the most popular being that a cross between an Otterhound and some type of terrier produced the earliest examples of the breed. The hound-like ears of the breed and its exceptionally deep and loud bark are additional factors that lend credence to this theory. A second theory claims that the breed evolved from the Rough-Haired Terriers of the Border District. The breed owes its name and popularity to an 1814 novel by Sir Walter Scott in which a character named Dandie Dinmont owned a pack of these terriers, and the Dandie Dinmont is the only AKC-recognized breed to be named after a fictional character. The dog's small size and big personality made it a natural choice for bringing to America, and the dogs earned their keep during trans-Atlantic passages by killing rats and entertaining the crew. The American Kennel Club recognized the breed in 1886, just two years after the club itself was founded.