In 1969, as the wood crackled in the cozy fireplace, seven people sat together in the parlour of a home in the capital of Canada and formed the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada. The club was founded to preserve and protect this rare, unique and endearing breed.
It took several years before the fledgling DDTCC hosted its first booster show, which drew an entry of 16 dogs. By 1974 the club had the confidence and the funds, to hold its first Specialty Show, which attracted dogs from all across Canada and the United States to compete under British judge Audrey Hall-Parlby, (the daughter of the immortal Phyllis Salisbury of Salismore fame, and a Dandie breeder in her own right.) Since that time, the DDTCC has held its Specialty show ever other year, with the entries showing an increase with each decade. The 23rd bi-annual Specialty was held in November 2018 with a total of 51 dogs entered in the official and unofficial classes. When you consider that on average, less than a dozen or so Dandies are registered in Canada each year, the enthusiasm and support for our Specialty shows is remarkable!
For the past three decades, usually in conjunction with the Annual General Meetings, the club holds its annual “Fun Day” – which is not only our club picnic, and games day but an open house … an opportunity for people to see 30 or more Dandies in one location. We laughingly call it the “Olympics of Dandies”, but in essence it is a series of “see if your dog will humiliate you” competitions. The events include running races (reminiscent of the ones held half a century ago at old Bellmead kennels in England), obstacle courses, a “gourmet” competition, where Dandies are asked to consume peculiar foodstuffs from cocktail olives to bananas (most of them eat everything!), and a masquerade competition which inspires people to dress their dogs from everything from “Yankee Doodle Dandies” to “Crocodile Dandee”. One enterprising couple slithered their dog into a pair of pantyhose, put a mustache on his nose and instantly transformed him into a sea lion.
As Fun Day is our annual fund-raiser, we charge nominal amounts to enter each event, and each participant must bring a wrapped gift as their entry fee, which are then used as prizes for each competition. There is a fee for the luncheon between the AGM and the Fun Day events, and a silent auction further adds to the club coffers.
This shows our congenial and light side. But the DDTCC is also serious and concerned about the present state of the breed. Already one of the rarest breeds in North America, fewer puppies are being born each year. At the current rate of attrition, it is possible the breed will not survive successfully over the next few decades. Consequently, the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada has several initiatives, designed to promote, protect and preserve our beloved breed.
On one hand we are dedicated to promoting the Dandie, which we do at our well known “cuddling parlours” that we hold at several public events annually – such as the former Uxbridge Scottish Festival in Uxbridge, Ontario – which allowed the public to hold, cuddle and fall in love with our breed. However, we do not seek to make the breed “popular”, as this would be as disastrous for Dandies as it has been for other breeds.
The club holds regular grooming clinics, to teach our owners how to care for their dogs’ coats themselves, and we have various get-togethers throughout the year. Our members will go to any length to help the club, to help preserve the Dandie Dinmont, and, in addition, to preserve the original standard.
This is an important point. Perhaps a brief history of the standard would clarify our raison d’etre. In 1876, Dandie experts from both sides of the border met in Melrose, Scotland to forge the original written Standard of Perfection for the Dandie Dinmont. The British standard remained as written, (with a small amendment regarding the desired weight range), for about a century, until the Kennel Club (England) required that all canine breed standards conform to the same format. The original (1876) standard was changed, during this process.
As Britain is the “country of origin” for the Dandie, the FCI, (the ruling body for approximately 85 countries) accepted the new British standard. Only Britain, the USA and Canada are not members of the FCI. However, the American Kennel Club has 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 accepts the ORIGINAL standard. This standard is one of the finest written and most descriptive and instructive of any breed standard. The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada is dedicated to ensuring that this original Dandie standard is preserved.