Just Dandie! Lit­ter of five pups boosts breed that’s rarer than the gi­ant panda

Scottish Daily Mail - - Christmas Campaign - Daily Mail Re­porter

THEY are rarer than the gi­ant panda, blue whale and the snow leop­ard.

But it is feared the en­dan­gered Dandie Din­mont could dis­ap­pear from the world with barely a whim­per.

The world’s old­est ter­rier has been for­got­ten over the last 40 years, with would-be own­ers hav­ing their heads turned by de­signer dogs. It has led the ter­rier to fea­ture on the Ken­nel Club’s top ten vul­ner­a­ble breeds list ev­ery year since the rank­ings be­gan in 2003.

Which is why this lit­ter of five Dandie Din­monts has given dog lovers a ray of hope.

‘A lit­ter like this is so very im­por­tant for us,’ said Paul Keevil, a Dandie Din­mont breeder. ‘Three pup­pies is av­er­age and four is lucky, so to have five is fan­tas­tic news.’

Dandie Din­monts were es­tab­lished in the 1700s on the Scot­tish Bor­ders and were orig­i­nally called mus­tard and pep­per ter­ri­ers ow­ing to the colour of their coats.

Un­like trendy cock­apoos or poo­dles, they were bred to work, hunt­ing ground ver­min such as foxes, bad­gers and ot­ters.

Their name changed af­ter Sir Wal­ter Scott’s 1815 novel Guy Man­ner­ing, which fea­tured a farmer called Dandie Din­mont who kept the ter­ri­ers. In 2015, the num­ber of pups in the UK sank to an all-time low of 79, ris­ing to just 80 the next year. Mr Keevil said: ‘In 2017 the to­tal went up to 123.’

Now the ar­rival of healthy quin­tu­plets has boosted their re­cov­ery. He added: ‘For the first nine months of 2018, we had a to­tal of 108 – up on the same pe­riod in 2017.’

Owner and breeder Andy Kennedy is car­ing for the five male pup­pies – as well as their mother Jessie – at his home in Wat­eras

‘Old-fash­ioned Bri­tish dogs got for­got­ten’

looville, Hamp­shire. He has found homes for two and is look­ing for buy­ers for the oth­ers at £1,000 each. He will keep the fifth.

A fourth gen­er­a­tion Dandie breeder, the 54-year-old’s grand­fa­ther Alas­tair, of Dum­friesshire, was a vet for the Dandie Din­mont Ter­rier Club and an­other an­ces­tor, John Mather, was a founder mem­ber. He said: ‘The fact that we have five pup­pies is quite a re­spon­si­bil­ity. We want them to do well and go to good homes whose own­ers will be am­bas­sadors for the breed.’

Mr Keevil, who is a found­ing mem­ber of the Ken­nel Club’s vul­ner­a­ble breed com­mit­tee, added: ‘Dandies were pop­u­lar un­til the 1970s and since then fash­ion­able breeds and de­sign­ers dogs with en­dorse­ments from film stars and celebri­ties came along and the good old-fash­ioned Bri­tish work­ing breeds just got for­got­ten about.

‘Work­ing breeds be­came re­dun­dant and had to be re­trained to be­come com­pan­ions and had to make the tran­si­tion from field to fire­side. Some dogs did that bet­ter than oth­ers. Dandie Din­monts are a rea­son­able size to pick up and they love hu­man com­pany and are af­fec­tion­ate and also adapt very well to life in towns and coun­try.’ The Ken­nel Club says the breed is rarer than the gi­ant panda, whose num­bers stood at 1,864 in the lat­est cen­sus in 2014. There are be­tween 5,000 and 12,000 blue whales, and around 5,000 wild snow leop­ards.

Ray of hope: Five mis­chievous Dandie Din­mont pups spill out of their bas­ket Andy Kennedy with the pups’ mum Jessie

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