One of Britain’s vulnerable native breeds – with only 88 puppies registered with the Kennel Club last year – the Dandie Dinmont Terrier can boast an amazing history, and a bronze statue will soon stand near the kennels where ‘Old Ginger’, the founding father of the breed, was born.
Old Ginger was born at The Haining, Selkirk, in the Scottish Borders on 4 June 1842, and today every living Dandie Dinmont can trace their line back to him. The breed was mostly unknown until its appearance in Sir Walter Scott's novel Guy Mannering, where a character called 'Dandie Dinmont' owned a number of these terriers – and eventually gave the breed its name.
Dandie Dinmont owners and lovers have commissioned Alexander "Sandy" Stoddart, the Queen's Sculptor in Ordinary for Scotland since 2008, to produce a bronze statue commemorating Old Ginger. Mr. Stoddart, known for his monuments of Scottish historical figures, has called the sculpture “a literary, cultural and indeed canine project”.
“I was and am keen to make the Old Ginger memorial for a variety of reasons. First, I am philosophically kindly disposed to the doggy tribe. I’d like to do something in the line of commemorating a fellow creature, long dead, who is the progenitor of so many to whom that loving-kindness has been directed,” he said. "Also, 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, and so this opportunity arises. In all honesty 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 will be unveiled on June 4, 2017 – Old Ginger’s 175th birthday. The Haining Charitable Trust has set up a page to raise the funds for the statue.