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THE DANDIE DINMONT TERRIER.
A COMMON belief prevails that Sir Walter Scott invented the Dandie Dinmont terrier. Such was, however, not the case, and long before 1814, when “Guy Mannering" was written, and in which Scotland's great novelist and poet introduced the character of Dandie Dinmont with his terriers Auld Pepper and Auld Mustard, Young Pepper and Young Mustard, and Little Pepper and Little Mustard, similar dogs had been kept amongst the sporting farmers, gipsies, tinkers, and potters who resided about the Borders, or travelled there, extending their peregrinations well into the south of Scotland, and even to below Carlisle.
Sir Walter was, however, responsible for the name this quaint variety of terrier bears at the present time. One of his characters in the story alluded to is “Dandie Dinmont,” who, without being drawn from any particular individual, was no doubt intended to represent a type of farmer at that time common
enough on the Borders-strong, burly agriculturists, with a passion for sport of all kinds, and perhaps their pleasantest employment was when, aided by their terriers, they were digging out and killing some fox that had been making reprisals on their flocks. Such men were by no means uncommon in those times, Nature's rough gentlemen, unaffected and unspoiled, and there was no need to draw upon the imagination for so fine a character as "
Dandie Dinmont” of Charlieshope, with which the variety of dog of which I write has become so strongly identified.
After the production of “Guy Mannering,” the character of “Dandie Dinmont was by common consent applied to one James Davidson of Hyndlee, with whom, however, Sir Walter Scott was not acquainted. Still, the description appeared to fit him well, and although he had never read the story himself, his friends would, out of sheer fun, repeat passages to him, over which it has been said Jamie was wont to fall asleep.
This Davidson occupied a farm on Lord Douglas's estate at Hyndlee, Roxburghshire, bordering the Teviots, and in addition to being a keen sportsman bore a character for his "bluff outspokenness and honesty, as well as being a strong, powerful man, and quite as hard in constitution as men
reared and brought up as he had been usually are. He possessed an extra good strain of terriers, and although he sometimes had as many as ten and twelve couples of them, they had but two names amongst them, the blue or grey ones all alike being called “Pepper,” whilst those of a sandy or fawn hue were known as “Mustard."
From these dogs owned by James Davidson it is. generally supposed the best strains of the modern Dandie Dinmont terriers are descended, and here I must at the outset draw attention to the practice now so common of calling these dogs "Dandies," leaving out the Dinmont and terrier. This custom has become so prevalent that it is used not only in speaking of them, but by some persons in writing of the variety.
I do not know whether to consider the Dandie Dinmont terrier fortunate or unfortunate in having so many chroniclers.
No variety of dog has had so much written about him in the newspapers, and, moreover, Mr. Charles Cook, of Edinburgh, wrote his monograph, a remarkably handsome volume, beautifully illustrated, published by David Douglas in 1885, and which is now out of print. A good clean copy
is now worth something like thirty-five shillings. About thirty years ago the columns of the Field were pretty well inundated with letters.