Like most breeds of Terrier, the Dandie Dinmont can best be described as a big dog in a little body. They are fearless and plucky, though not as apt as other breeds to posture toward bigger dogs – unless provoked. When tested, the Dandie will not back down. Though they are tiny, they are sturdy dogs with high energy levels. Dandies are vigilant watchdogs, and when you hear one bark, you'll wonder how such a deep voice came out of such a tiny dog. They are excellent family dogs, though should not be raised alongside toddlers. They are generally polite and dignified dogs, who can be trusted with visitors, though visiting animals can be another story.
Dandies only need a moderate amount of exercise. They are small and low to the ground so they aren't built for endurance activities like jogging. Walks and a bit of yard play will suffice for the Dandie Dinmont. They can be raised in the suburbs or the city, and are small enough to live comfortably in an apartment or condominium.
Training a Dandie Dinmont can be a challenge. These little dogs think they are the center and rulers of the universe, and until they are proven wrong, they act as such. Trainers must prove they are able to lead, or the Dandie will not listen. Consistency is key – give these little guys an inch, and they'll take a mile and a half. Positive reinforcement and lots of delicious treats are the best recipe for training a Dandie. Harsh treatment and discipline will result in a dog that simply refuses to listen. They have also been known to snap or bite when they have been pushed too hard.
Dandies are not as yappy as their terrier cousins, which makes them appealing, but they are one of the most dog-aggressive breeds. If you have a male Dandie, bringing another male into the home is probably not a good idea. They were originally used to chase and hunt small vermin, so cats, rabbits and pet rodents can be in danger around a Dandie, as well.
Dandie Dinmont Terriers are not great with small children. They have strict boundaries and toddlers can get bitten if they cross the line. An ear pull or an accidental kick or trip over a Dandie could result in disaster for a small child.