A statue of the so-called father of the Dandie Dinmont terriers – Old Ginger – was unveiled on Sunday, next to the kennels he was born in.
It was just one event in a weekend that saw more than 125 Dandies travel to the Haining in Selkirk – the largest informal gathering of the breed anywhere in the world.
The Dandie Dinmont is one of the rarest dog breeds, with just 316 born around the world last year.
The statue – said to be the most important dog statue in Scotland since that of Greyfriars Bobby – is the work of Alexander ‘Sandy’ Stoddart, the Queen’s Sculptor for Scotland since 2008.
He said: “I was keen to make the Old Ginger memorial for a variety of reasons.
“First, I’m philosophically disposed to the doggy tribe.
“I’d like to do something to commemorate a fellow creature, long dead, who is the progenitor of so many to whom that loving-kindness has been directed.
“This is a subject related to Scott, who was an artistic titan. I’ve long wanted to make something related to Sir Walter’s genius. I could not turn it down. I never got to make a statue of the man, but in this dog I might make my little contribution to the Scott heritage.”
The statue was unveiled by Michelle Ballantyne, Selkirkshire councillor, list MSP for the South Scotland region and trustee of the Haining Charitable Trust.
Old Ginger’s kennels have been turned into a Dandie Dinmont Discovery Centre, in a renovation grant-funded by the Kennel Club.
The centre was opened as part of the festival.
And one of the most popular events of the weekend, the Dandie Dinmont derby, saw more than 100 dogs take part.
Paul Keevil, UK co-ordinator of the event, said: “The Dandie Dinmont terrier is very much Scotland’s forgotten dog breed but has a committed and passionate following of enthusiasts from around the world.
“Both myself and my co-organiser, Mike Macbeth from Canada, are not a bit surprised that owners and devotees travelled far and wide to attend the festival.”
A service of remembrance was held at the grave of gamekeeper James Kerss, one of the breed’s early unsung heroes who had found Old Ginger’s sire, Old Pepper, caught in a poacher’s snare on the Bowhill Estate over 175 years ago.
On Sunday, the unveiling of the statue was preceded by a parade of Dandies through the centre of Selkirk, accompanied by two pipers, while Paul Eardley, chairman of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club, the world’s second oldest breed club, unveiled a plaque to celebrate its foundation in 1875 at the Fleece Hotel.