This section is from the book "The Terriers. A History And Description Of The Modern Dogs Of Great Britain And Ireland", by Rawdon B. Lee. Also available from Amazon: A History and Description of the Modern Dogs of Great Britain and Ireland: The Terriers.
The true breed, proceeds Mr. Scott, was quickly spread amongst Mr. Davidson's friends; but next to Davidson himself for keeping up and distributing the pure race at the early period of its history were the Rev. H. G. Baillie, of Mellerstans, and Mr. Home, of Carrolside. I think from this we get as much about the early history of the breed as is possible, and it certainly is strong proof that it existed in the last century, had certain otter hound-like characteristics, and that there were, at any rate, some of the strain considerably larger in size than others.
A rather noteworthy letter appeared much later in the Field, viz., in 1878, as to the origin of Mr. James Davidson's Dandie Dinmonts. This was written by Mr. J. Davison, then residing at Andover, Hampshire, who proceeds to say: "I, as rather more than a sexagenarian, and a Border man, and one who in almost his childhood took up with dandies, can, I think, throw some light on the origin of those possessed by Mr. Davidson. The Border 'muggers' were great breeders of terriers - the Andersons on the English side, the Faas and Camells on the Scotch side. In their perambulations they generally met once or twice a year at Longhorsley, Rochester (the ancient Bremenium of the Romans), Alwinton, or some other Border village. If they could not get a badger they got a foulmart, wild cat, or hedgehog, at which to try their dogs. The trials generally ended in a general dog-fight, which led to a battle royal amongst the tribes represented. "This afterwards led to a big drink and exchange of dogs. Jock Anderson, the head of the tribe, had a red bitch which, for badger drawing, cat, foumart, or hedgehog killing, beat all the dogs coming over the Border. Geordy Faa, of Yetholm, had a wire-haired dog terrier, the terror of not only all other terriers in the district, but good at badger, fox, or foumart. They met at Alwinton, where Willie and Adam Bell (noted terrier breeders) had' brought a badger they had got hold of at Weaford, near the Cheviots. Both the red bitch and the dog of Faa's drew the badger every time they were put in. 'Jock Anderson,' said Geordy, 'the dogs should be mated; let us have a grand drink, the man first doon to lose his dog.' 'Done,' says Jock. They sent for the whisky, which had never paid the king's duty, to Nevison's, at the little house, having agreed to pay 2s. a quart for it. Down they sat on the green, fair drinking; in eighteen hours Jock tumbled off the cart-shafts, and Geordy started off with the terriers. The two dogs were mated, and produced the first pepper and mustards, which were presented by Geordy to Mr. Davidson (Dandie Dinmont of 'Guy Mannering'); strange to say, the produce were equally the colour of pepper and mustard. The last pair I saw of what I consider perfect dandies were Robert Donkin's, at Ingram, near Alnwick, just before I left the north in 1838. I have been at shows, but never could identify any dandies shown as at all like the original breed belonging to the Telfords of Blind Burn, the Elliots of Cottonshope, the Donkins of Ingram, and other Border farmers. I am not a doggy man, but like to see all old breeds kept distinct".
Prior to the letter of 1869 dog shows had come into favour, and already classes had been provided for Dandie Dinmont terriers, even at such an early date as at Manchester in 1861, and at Birmingham the following year. As a rule these divisions were poorly represented, although in 1863 Mr. Aitken, of Edinburgh, sent a dog to Cremorne, where it was awarded but a third prize, the higher honours being withheld. For some time the variety made little progress, until an eventful show at Birmingham in 1867, where the two judges withheld all the prizes, much to the consternation of the exhibitors, one of whom, the Rev. W. J. Mellor, who showed his Bandy, which had been placed first at the same show the previous year, and usually won whenever he was benched during three or four subsequent seasons.
The Rev. Tenison Mosse was now on the scene with his little dog Shamrock; the newspaper correspondence was having its weight, and the Dandie Dinmont terrier was increasing in popularity. The very heavy Sir Douglas came into the ring, much to the chagrin of Scottish exhibitors, who said he was too big, and that his sire Harry was a mongrel, which he was not. Sir Douglas was a handsome, sensible dog of my own; he was too big, scaling 271b., but he won a considerable number of prizes, including first at the Border show, held at Carlisle, in 1871, the Rev. J. C. Macdona and Mr. S. Handley judging; a dog called Punch, also by Harry, and owned by Mr. Coulthard, being second. The general public were satisfied with the awards, but not so many of the Scottish fanciers, who were terribly cut up at the defeat of their own cracks.
At this show Mr. Bradshaw Smith, of Blackwood House, Ecclefechan, had four dogs and bitches entered; for about thirty years he had paid considerable attention to the Dandie Dinmont terrier, usually having a score or so of them in his kennels. Some of these were very good; his dog Dirk Hatterick, for instance, who had been written of as the "incomparable Dirk." Shem was another good dog; he had a bitch or two even better than either of these, and no doubt the whole of the inhabitants of his kennel were extremely well bred. They had been "boomed" somewhat, and it came as a great disappointment to many that at the Border Counties Show they were passed over altogether owing to bad condition. Dirk was one of the batch entered. As a matter of fact, the Blackwood House kennels had for years required a change of blood, they having become so inbred as to be delicate, weedy, and generally unsatisfactory. This was greatly to be deplored, as I believe they had originally been excellent dogs in every way, and Mr Cook tells us, in his monograph on the breed, that some of them would kill a badger outright. On an occasion when their courage was put to a severe test it was the custom to slip a terrier at two badgers at once, when the dog would "pin" the one and at the same time the other badger was inflicting severe punishment, which was borne without a murmur. The same authority says that in 1880 five of the Blackwood House Dandie Dinmonts were wilfully poisoned, and unfortunately the miscreant who did the deed was never discovered. When Mr. Bradshaw Smith died in 1882 the kennel consisted of thirteen terriers, which with a single exception were dispersed.