A group of six Canadian dog enthusiasts flew to the Scottish Borders in February following a call for help from British breeders of the ancient and endangered Dandie
Mike Macbeth, dog judge and President of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada said “The Dandie Dinmont was the choice of British royalty and nobility during the 19th
Century. But after the two world wars their numbers declined. In 2005 the Kennel Club (UK) designated the Dandie a ‘Vulnerable Native Breed’. Only 316 were born world-wide in 2013 and 17 in Canada, in 2014.”
Macbeth volunteered to be the International co-ordinator for an event called “Dandie Dinmont – 200 Years” to celebrate the Dandie Dinmont’s unique history.
The first named terrier and the only dog named after a fictional character (a farmer called “Dandie Dinmont” who owned these dogs) came to prominence following the publication of Sir Walter Scott’s novel “Guy Mannering
” in 1815. The book was a publishing sensation, selling out in just 24 hours.
On the exact day of the book’s bi-centenary, February 24th
2015, 75 breed enthusiasts from eight countries, (including six Canadians, two from Manitoba and four from Ontario) and 50 rare Dandies gathered to celebrate
at Abbotsford, Sir Walter Scott’s estate in Melrose, Scotland.
The response to the event was sensational, with extensive television, radio and press coverage including the Times of London, the BBC and the Telegraph.
The day before, the group was the guest of Richard, the 10th
Duke of Buccleuch, Britain’s largest private landowner, at his ancestral home, Bowhill. As his ancestors were significant breeders of the game little terrier, the Duke, who is head of the Scott clan, invited the gathering to see a 1770 painting by Gainsborough of his ancestor, the 3rd
Duke with his own Dandie Dinmont.
During the visit, Duke Richard, who is also Chief of Clan Scott, gave permission for Sir Walter Scott’s private tartan to be adopted by the Dandie Dinmont Terrier. This makes the Dandie the only breed of dog to have its own tartan.
The founding father of today’s Dandie Dinmont was a dog called "Old Pepper", probably a nomad or a poacher’s dog, who was caught in a trap on the Bowhill estate then owned by the 5th Duke of Buccleuch. The Dandies, who were all related to Old Pepper, tail male, returned to Bowhill for the first time in 175 years.
Duke also imported the first Labradors from Newfoundland and was involved in the breed’s development. It is somewhat contradictory that the same aristocrat helped to create both the most popular and one of the rarest breeds.
For more information, see the Facebook group page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/DandieDinmont200/