Courtesy Anita Kay Simpson

AKC Gazette breed column: Survival of this rare terrier breed depends on getting the word out to potential owners about the Dandie’s charm and personality.

Everyone smiles when they see a Dandie Dinmont Terrier. They can’t help it. Whether on show grounds, sidewalks, or parks, the smiles are always there. The general public will ask, “What is it?” The knowledgeable will say, “How nice to finally see one!” Regardless, they all greet the Dandie with a big smile.

Bringing new folks into a rare breed is challenging, and necessary for the breed’s survival. If the Dandie were a wild species, it would be on the endangered list. The gene pool has become a gene puddle, and it is up to the lovers of the breed to spread word of its virtues to prospective owners.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America has welcomed exhibitors of Border Terriers, Corgis, Saint Bernards, Irish Wolfhounds, Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, and Sealyhams, to name just a few. Our members’ past dog experiences have brought new and fresh ideas to the Dandie club.

An example is Gary and Kathy, successful breeders-exhibitors of Border Terriers. They visited my Dandies at several shows and were supportive and helpful. I sold them a bitch who was pick of the litter. Within three years they made her the DDTCA’s Dandie of the Year and a bronze grand champion, and they had their first Dandie litter!

The Dandie is a great introductory breed for a person who is new to the sport. The novice will need help with the basics of showing a dog, as well as the specific grooming needs of the Dandie. Living near a breeder or exhibitor is helpful so the new exhibitor can get assistance in both of these areas, but it is not necessary. Most Dandie fanciers are willing to share their knowledge with new owners.

The owner-handler has a better chance of success in showing a Dandie than with many more popular breeds. I co-owned a nice Dandie male with Tyan, a dog groomer who wanted an attention-getting model for a grooming competition. He helped hold dogs one day, and the following day he helped with grooming and showing. The next weekend he arrived dressed for the ring and brought his partner, Tom, a computer consultant, who thought the whole thing was silly. They both quickly got “hooked,” however, and are now ardent Dandie owners and exhibitors. Tyan has also been successful with his Dandie at grooming competitions, showing the breed to a whole new audience of dog lovers. Tom became an excellent handler, showing to Best of Opposite Sex at the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America national specialty.

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Everyone smiles when they see a Dandie. They can’t help it. Get a Dandie, and keep on smilin’! —Karen Dorn, guest columnist

Barbara A. Baese, DDTCA (fine_n_dandie@hotmail.com):
We need to take action and get more Dandie owners involved in the fancy. Perhaps one step may be posting flyers that read something like this:

WANTED: Big-eyed, short in stature but large in personality, fully coiffed, rare canine with lots of love to give seeking interested humans looking for an unusual experience in and out of the show ring. Must be willing to take a risk, work hard, learn as you go, and dedicate most of your free time to training and grooming. Benefits include wagging “rotor” tails, big paws, and sloppy kisses. Novices encouraged to apply. No age limit, and hairdressing experience a plus. Apply with the next Dandie exhibitor you meet, or contact the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America secretary for more information via the club’s website.

Further information about Dandie Dinmont Terriers can be found here and here, and on the website of the breed’s national parent club, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of America.

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