All is far from fine and dandy for the Dandie Dinmont terrier as, with fewer than 300 being born worldwide annually, the breed is feared to be facing extinction.
Moves are afoot to arrest that decine, however, as a visitor centre is being created in the Borders, along with a statue, to raise the profile of the breed.
The Kennel Club Educational Trust is putting up £20,000 of the estimated £65,000 cost of the centre and statue, at the Haining in Selkirk, both to be unveiled in June next year.
The Dandie Dinmont terrier is one of 28 dogs currently on the Kennel Club’s vulnerable native breeds list, also including the bloodhound and smooth collie, and will be celebrated at the new centre.
The Dandie Dinmont, believed to have originated from terriers bred in the Borders in the 17th century for hunting badgers and otters, is named after a character in the 1815 Walter Scott novel Guy Mannering, making it the only breed of dog to take its name from a fictional character.
Fewer than 100 puppies of the breed are registered with the club a year, with another 200 being born elsewhere in the world annually.
Paul Keevil, co-ordinator of the Dandie Dinmont Discovery Centre project, said: “Old Ginger was born at the Haining in 1842 and, as the father of the breed, it can be considered the birthplace of the Dandie Dinmont terrier. Every Dandie in the world today goes back ultimately to Old Ginger.
“The actual kennels he was born in and the kennel run still exist in the grounds of the Haining.
“It is exciting for us that the trustees of the Haining are not only allowing us to open the Dandie discovery centre at this important landmark but are also making the entire Haining Estate dog-friendly.”
Alexander Stoddart, the Queen’s sculptor for Scotland, has been commissioned to produce a bronze statue of Old Ginger, to be unveiled on June 4 next year, the 175th anniversary of his birth.
Mike Macbeth, president of the Dandie Dinmont Terrier Club of Canada and international co-ordinator for the project, said: “Selkirk is the ancestral home of the Dandie Dinmont. It is therefore appropriate that the discovery centre be located in the actual kennel where the father of the breed was born.”
The centre’s unveiling will be the highlight of a three-day convention of more than 150 Dandie Dinmont enthusiasts from all over the world.
Mr Macbeth added: “The restoration of Old Ginger’s kennel was unlikely without funding from the Kennel Club.
“Those of us in the international Dandie community are grateful for the Kennel Club Educational Trust’s support for the Dandie Dinmont Discovery Centre.”
Gerald King, chairman of the trust, said: “We are delighted to be able to support this valuable new initiative.
“Paul and Mike have given so much to the promotion and protection of this wonderful, loving family dog, as well as support to other vulnerable native breeds in the UK.
“With their dedication to the breed and all the work they have done, it is hoped it will go some way to safeguarding the long-term future of this charming breed.”
The Dandie Dinmont Terrier Discovery Centre and sculpture will be unveiled at the culmination of a three day international gathering of over 150 breed enthusiasts from 11 different nations on the 4th June 2017 at The Haining, Selkirk, Scotland.