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Get to Know the Dandie Dinmont Terrier: The Einstein of the Dog World

With a strange name, strange looks, and even a strange origin story, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier is one quirky character.

Caroline Coile  |  May 16th 2016


It’s a strange looking breed with a strange sounding name. There are all sorts of tales about the origin of Dandie Dinmont Terriers and how their form reflects their function and so on, but just look at them: It is pretty obvious they were just bred to look like Albert Einstein.

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Dandy Dinmont Terrier by Shutterstock.

More interesting things about the Dandie Dinmont Terrier

  • True, there is historical evidence that the breed originated around the border of Scotland and England and that they were used to pull badgers, otters, and foxes from dens and hidey-holes and then kill them. But given those doe eyes, that seems hard to believe. I do not see Albert Einstein doing this.
  • The Dandie Dinmont Terrier has a very long body, short legs, somewhat arched topline, and a topknot of long hair on his head. Like Einstein.
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Dandie Dinmont Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • The Dandie Dinmont may be confused with the Cesky Terrier or Glenn of Imaal Terrier, but the Dandie is much longer in body and has a rounder head. It may also be confused with the Bedlington Terrier, but the Dandie has very short legs. And it may also be confused with the Skye Terrier, but the Skye has long, straight hair. He may also be confused with Albert Einstein, but the Dandie has four legs and cannot write.
  • Sir Walter Scott is believed to have modeled his character of Dandie Dinmont and his dogs in the 1814 novel Guy Mannering after a well-known owner of this breed. The dogs then became known as Dandie Dinmont’s dogs. They are the only breed to be named after a fictional character. Einstein Terrier would have been catchier, but he had not yet been born.
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Dandy Dinmont Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • The breed comes in two colors, pepper and mustard. The names for the colors are derived from the names of Dandie Dinmont’s dogs in the novel: Auld (“old”) Pepper, Auld Mustard, Young Pepper, Young Mustard, Little Pepper, and Little Mustard. These names were in turn derived from the names of the real-life owner’s dogs. Apparently, in those days, the repertoire of names was somewhat limited.
  • The Dandie was at one time considered a type of Scotch Terrier, but was recognized as its own breed in 1873.
  • The Dandie is one of the rarest breeds. If people realized how much they look like Albert Einstein, this would not be the case.
  • An old Scottish saying goes: “A Dandie looks at you as though he’s forgotten more than you ever knew.” Duh, like Einstein!
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Dandie Dinmont Terrier by Shutterstock.

  • A Dandie Dinmont named Harry (Ch Hobergays Fineus Fogg), owned by Bill Cosby, won the Terrier group at the Westminster dog show in 2007. In 1993, one named Champion Pennywise The Butler Did It won the Terrier group there. None has won Best in Show at Westminster.
  • Owners include, as previously noted, Bill Cosby and writer and civil rights activist Dorothy Parker.
  • And Dandie Dinmont Terriers are pretty smart! Like, um … a famous scientist.