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The Cairn Terrier

Although the Cairn Terrier has been around since the 1500’s it was not first publicly presented until 1909 and then became more popular after the 1930’s. It is one of Scotland’s original terriers and is probably a contributor to today’s Scottish, West Highland White and Skye Terrier breeds. It was named after the piles of small stones that were used to mark both farm borders and graves. This breed was use to rout out small animals from their lairs that they had in these stone piles. But today this breed is now more of a companion dog. One of the most famous Cairn Terriers ever was “Toto” in the film “The Wizard of Oz”. It has some particular talents such as it is good at hunting and tracking as well as being good at agility, competitive obedience and being able to perform tricks.

Breed Specifics The Cairn Terrier is part of the Terrier Group and was officially recognized by the AKC in 1913.

Height: Dogs – 10-13 inches ; Bitches – 9-12 inches
Weight: Dogs – 14-18 pounds ; Bitches – 13-17 pounds
Length: These are normally between 14¼ to 15 inches from the front of the chest to the back of the hindquarters.

Longevity: Live for about 12 to 15 years.

Description This is an active, but game and hardy small working terrier of the short legged class. Although it is strongly built it is not heavy and will stand well forward on its forelegs. Its gait is very free moving. It will have strong hindquarters with its well proportioned build and a medium length back. They have a hard weather resisting coat with a short but wider head than any other terrier. They generally have a foxy expression to their features. The muzzle should be strong but not too long or heavy and the nose is always black. The eyes should be set wide apart and rather sunken with shaggy eyebrows. They should be medium in size and either hazel or dark hazel in color (this depends on the color of the dogs coat). They have small pointed ears which are carried erectly and set wide apart on the side of the head (they should be free of long hair). Color: Any color except white and they should have dark ears, muzzle and tail tip.

Temperament This little dog is spirited, hardy and a restless little busybody. They are also alert, loyal, merry, lovable and mischievous (such a lot to pack into something so small). But not only are they friendly they are independent as well (the female tends to be more independent than the males). They are also very curious, fearless and bold. They can be easily trained and like to do tricks. This breed needs firm but not harsh training as they are quite a sensitive breed.

Health Issues They should not be over fed as they gain weight easily and so treats should be limited. They also tend to be allergic to fleas.

Lifestyle They are quite well suited to living in an apartment as long as they get sufficient exercise. This breed can be very active indoors so can cope okay without any yard to use. However, if you do live in an apartment then you will need to walk them daily or take them to the park each day for a run around.

Grooming There coat has a natural shaggy look to it and takes quite a bit of maintenance. Unfortunately if their coats are neglected it can soon become matted. They should be brushed several times each week and you need to be gentle because of their soft undercoat. They should be bathed once a month and as the coat dries they should be brushed. It is important that you trim around the eyes and ears with blunt nosed scissors as well as having their nails clipped regularly. This breed sheds little or no hair.

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