Dandie Dinmont’s Selkirk origins to feature on The Secret Life of Dogs

Paul Keevil with his dogs at The Tweed.
Paul Keevil with his dogs at The Tweed.

An under-threat terrier breed native to the Borders will be given a welcome boost next week as The Secret Life of Dogs helps raise its profile by highlighting its plight on prime-time television.

The final episode of the ITV series airs on Tuesday evening, and it was part-filmed at the Haining in Selkirk, recognised as being the home of the Dandie Dinmont terrier.

Dandie Dinmonts Stumpy and Lettie at St Marys Loch. (photo credit: Harriet Buckley)

Dandie Dinmonts Stumpy and Lettie at St Marys Loch. (photo credit: Harriet Buckley)

The three-part documentary has been exploring the relationship between humans and dogs as narrator Martin Clunes seeks to offer an insight into the science behind the close bond that people form with their canine companions.

The last episode of the show takes a look at the dog’s identity as man’s best friend, through a series of stories, including that of the Dandie Dinmont.

Filming for the slot took place in spring last year, and it shows the dogs and their owners filmed arriving by all different modes of transport at the Haining for its Dandie Dinmont Derby racing event.

Interest in the breed’s association with Selkirk began with the purchase of a painting at auction in 2012, which led Paul Keevil, its buyer and a Dandie Dinmont enthusiast, to investigate further into the origin of the breed.

Paul Keevil outside the kennels at The Haining where there is a plaque for Old Ginger.

Paul Keevil outside the kennels at The Haining where there is a plaque for Old Ginger.

Since then, the Haining has played host to the world’s largest ever three-day gathering of the vulnerable-breed dog, and it will soon be home to a bronze bust of the original Dandie Dinmont, called Old Ginger, and a £65,000 Dandie Dinmont discovery centre.

Mr Keevil said: “We are delighted to be involved with The Secret Life of Dogs and are particularly pleased that they are paying attention to the heritage of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier, now an endangered breed.

“The earliest recorded dog, considered father of the breed, was Old Ginger, born at the Haining in Selkirk on June 4, 1842.

“We will be erecting a bronze statue at the Haining marking his 175th birthday on June 4, an event which has 110 visitors from 14 different countries confirmed to attend, along with 80 Dandie Dinmonts.”

Owners from across the world will again make a pilgrimage to the Georgian mansion to celebrate the pedigree’s provenance next June.

Mr Keevil added: “We encourage the people of Selkirk and anyone interested in the breed to come along and support this event.”