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The Canadian Kennel Club Standard: The Original Standard


Canada is the only country in the world that uses the original Dandie standard. A brief history of the 3 written standards in use world wide will explain this phenomenon:

In 1876, Dandie breeders and experts from both sides of the English/Scottish border met in Melrose, Scotland to forge the original written Standard of Perfection.

The British standard remained as written, (with a small amendment changing the desired weight range from 14 - 24 pounds to 18 - 24 pounds) for about a century, until the Kennel Club (England) required that all canine breed standards conform to the same uniform written format. The original (1876) standard was thus changed during this process, and some of the more descriptive language was eliminated.

Since Britain is the “country of origin” for the breed, the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI), the ruling body for all of the world’s kennel clubs, (other than England, Canada and the U.S.) accepted the new British standard. (The FCI represents approximately 85 countries)

The American Kennel Club rewrote and recognizes its own written standard, which is approved only in the United States.

Thus, Canada is unique, as it is the only country in the world that recognizes and accepts the original Dandie standard. Over the years, experts have considered this one of the finest written and most eloquent and instructive of any breed standard.

The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada was formed in 1969 to protect, promote and perpetuate the Dandie Dinmont. It is also dedicated to ensuring that the current CKC standard ... the original standard, is protected and preserved.


The height should be from 8-11 inches (20-28 cm) at the top of the shoulder. Length from top of the shoulder to root of tail should not be more than twice the dog’s height, but preferably 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) less.


The preferred weight is from 18-24 lb. (8-11 kg). These weights are for dogs in good working condition.

Coat and Colour

The coat is a very important point; the hair should be about 2 inches (5 cm) long; that from skull to root of tail, a mixture of hardish and soft hair, which gives a sort of crisp feel to the hand. The hair should not be wiry; the coat is what is termed piley or pencilled. The hair on the underpart of the body is lighter in colour and softer than on the top. The skin on the belly accords with the colour of dog. The colour is pepper or mustard. The pepper ranges from a dark bluish black to a light silvery grey, The CKC Standard the intermediate shades being preferred, the body colour coming well down the shoulder and hips, gradually merging into the leg colour. The mustards vary from a reddish brown to a pale fawn, the head being creamy white, the legs and feet of a shade darker than the head. The claws are dark as in the other colours. (Nearly all Dandie Dinmont Terriers have some white on the chest, and some also have white claws).


Strongly made and large, not out of proportion to the dog’s size, the muscles showing extraordinary development, more especially the maxillary. Skull broad between the ears, getting gradually less towards the eyes, and measuring about the same from inner corner of the eye to back of skull as it does from ear to ear. The forehead well domed. The head is covered with very soft silky hair, which should not be confined to a mere topknot, and the lighter in colour and silkier it is the better. Cheeks starting from the ears proportionately with the skull have a gradual taper towards the muzzle. Muzzle deep and strongly made, and measures about 3 inches (8 cm) in length, or in proportion to skull as 3 is to 5. It is covered with hair of a little darker shade than the topknot, and of the same texture as the feather of the forelegs. The top of the muzzle is generally bare for about 1 inch (3 cm) from the back part of the nose, the bareness coming to a point towards the eye, and being about 1 inch (3 cm) broad at the nose. Nose black or dark-coloured. Mouth black or darkcoloured inside. Teeth very strong, especially the canines, which are of extraordinary size for such a small dog. The canines fit well into each other, so as to give the greatest available holding and punishing power, and the teeth are level in front, the upper ones very slightly overlapping the under ones. (Many of the finest specimens have a “swine mouth”, which is very objectionable, but is not so great an objection as the protrusion of the underjaw.) Eyes set wide apart, large, full, round, bright, expressive of great determination, intelligence, and dignity; set low and prominent in front of the head; colour a rich dark hazel. Ears pendulous, set well back, wide apart, and low on the skull, hanging close to the cheek, with a very slight projection at the base, broad at the junction of the head and tapering almost to a point, the forepart of the ear tapering very little - the tapering being mostly on the back part, the forepart of the ear coming almost straight down from its junction with the head to the tip. They should harmonize in colour with the body colour. In the case of a Pepper dog, they are covered with a soft straight brownish hair (in some cases almost black). In the case of a Mustard dog the hair should be mustard in colour, a shade darker than the body, but not black. All should have a thin feather of light hair starting about 2 inches (5 cm) from the tip, and of nearly the same colour and texture as the topknot, which gives the ear the appearance of a distinct point. The animal is often one or two years old before the feather is shown. The cartilage and skin of the ear should not be thick, but rather thin. Length of ear from 3 - 4 inches (8 - 10 cm).


Very muscular, well developed and strong, showing great power of resistance, being well set into the shoulders.


The forelegs short, with immense muscular development and bone, set wide apart, the chest coming well down between them. The feet well formed and not flat, with very strong brown or dark-coloured claws. Bandy legs and flat feet are objectionable. The hair on the forelegs and feet of a Pepper dog should be tan, varying according to the body colour from a rich tan to a pale fawn; of a Mustard dog they are of a darker shade than its head, which is a creamy white. In both colours there is a nice feather, about 2 inches (5 cm) long rather lighter in colour than the hair on the forepart of the leg.


Long, strong, and flexible; the back rather low at the shoulder, having a slight downward curve and a corresponding arch over the loins, with a very slight gradual drop from top of loins to root of tail; both sides of backbone well supplied with muscle; ribs well sprung and round, well developed and let well down between the forelegs.


The hind legs are a little longer than the forelegs, and are set rather wide apart but not spread out in an unnatural manner, while the feet are much smaller; the thighs are well developed, and the hair of the same colour and texture as the forelegs, but having no feather or dewclaws; the whole claws should be dark; but the claws of all vary in shade according to the colour of the dog’s body.


Rather short, say from 8 - 10 inches (20 - 25 cm), and covered on the upper side with wiry hair of darker colour than that of the body, the hair on the underside being lighter in colour and not so wiry, with a nice feather about 2 inches (5cm) long, getting shorter as it nears the tip; rather thick at the root, getting thicker for about 4 inches (10 cm), then tapering off to a point. It should not be twisted or curled in any way, but should come up with a curve like a scimitar. The tip, when excited, being in a perpendicular line with the root of the tail. It should neither be set too high nor too low. When not excited, it is carried gaily, and little above the level of the body.

Scale of Points

The relative value of the several points in the standard are apportioned as follows:

Head 10
Eyes 10
Ears 10
Neck 5
Body 20
Tail 5
Legs and Feet 10
Coat 15
Colour 5
Size and Weight 5
General Appearance 5