Cairn Terrier general features, temperament, health

Cairn Terrier breed face

FCI # 4, Origin: Great Britain, Group 3.2 Terriers. Small-sized Terriers.

Height: 9-13 in, Weight: 13-18 pounds

Grooming: Low, Shedding: Low, Coat: Harsh coat with the softer undercoat.

Color: Any color, except for white.

Ease of training: High, Energy level: High, Span of life: 12-15 years.

Breed: The Cairn Terrier is a Golden Mean between black and white in the group of short legged terriers. And indeed, if the Cairn was completely black and with a slightly longer muzzle - here we go - Scottish Terrier, if he was absolutely white - that's for sure - Westie. In the Cairn Terrier's coat are playing all possible colors of the??rocks and stones of their beautiful homeland - Scotland. Probably all Terriers of Scotland came from the same ancestors - the local small wire-haired Terriers, which were mentioned already in 16th century. On the territory of the Scottish county Argyllshire there were some small terriers, the grandparents of a Sky, Scotch, West Highland White and Cairn Terriers.

The name of the breed was not chosen by chance. ??Cairn?? - ??is a pyramid built of stones. Those pyramids can be seen very often in the Scottish highlands and they are forming a perfect hiding place for foxes. Small Cairn Terriers were moving freely in the mountainous landscape, penetrating into the rocky barrows, squeezing between the stones, performing high jumps up in a confined spaces. In addition to hunting, these dogs were guarding the crops from the badgers, houses and barns - from the rats.Therefore it was almost impossible to buy a good working terrier - they were simply priceless.

Up to 1924 the Cairn Terriers were crossed with the West Highland White Terriers. White puppies, that were born from two Cairns, were registered as Westies, and colored pups received from parents - Westies were registered as the Cairn Terriers. In 1924 the crossing of these two breeds was finally forbidden.

Due to the easy grooming of the Cairn Terriers and their "sunny" character, the popularity of this dogs in European countries is very high. They are common in France, Britain, Germany and Scandinavian countries. High-quality livestock of the Cairn Terriers exist now in Australia, as well as in the U.S. But in America there is adopted their own standard for this breed: dogs of the Northern American breeding are more stocky and compact.

American breeding are more stocky and compact. In September 1909 the Cairn Terriers were exhibited at the North of Scotland for the first time. An expert on this day was the publisher of the newspaper "Our Dogs" Mr Theo Marpls. Dogs have made an indelible impression on him, becoming in his words, "a little sensation." In 1911, the first breed standard was drawn up until now it is the foundation of the modern standard.

The peak of Cairn Terrier's popularity in Europe has fallen to 30th of the twentieth century, after the film "The Wizard of Oz." Only few people know today, that the primary role of the beloved by all kids doggie Toto was played by a very cute Cairn Terrier, named Terry. The popularity of a Cairn Terrier in Europe over the years has not diminished.

Cairn Terrier dog breeds

General Features: Similar to the more expressive Highland Terrier of the past, the modern Cairn Terrier is a successor to the source of a livestock on which basis were formed West Highland White, Sky and Scottish Terriers. Highland terriers were bred for hunting such animals as badgers, otters, foxes. Way to the modern breed's name was rocky, and the name Cairn was chosen for this little dogs, to reflect their ability to pull the beast from the rocky crevices among the mounds.

Disheveled, unkempt, a little Cairn Terrier with his muzzle expressions resembles a fox. He has a rough double coat. Undocked tail and pointed ears of a Cairn Terrier are defiantly sticking up. Cairn Terrier's muzzle is short, head size should be proportional to the body. This compact dog is a natural hard worker.

With many features common to all terriers, Cairn has his own unique characteristics. The form of his head, short and wide, short muzzle, narrow and sharp, strong expression of a "stop"; furrow between the eyes, "smoothing" on the forehead, wide-set ears, and the proportions of the body (not too low on the legs, but more extended than Sealyham or Scottish Terriers). ??All that distinguishes Cairn from the other Terriers.

Rough, tough coat of a Cairn Terrier has a well-developed soft undercoat and requires no trimming, but only slightly corrects that the overall appearance was neat. On the head - an abundance of wool, softer than on the body, and perfectly protecting from damages. The most important thing for the exterior of a Cairn Terrier - the correct head (they say Cairn with a good head - a "ready winner") - and the characteristic coat.

Cairn Terrier may have any color except for white, preferably with dark ears, muzzle and tail. The most common are all shades of red, brown, fawn.

Temperament: Through the years of breeding the Cairn Terrier changed his appearance much less than his counterparts: Scotties, Westies and Sky Terriers, as the breeding was implemented strictly by the principle of conservation of the old type of Terrier. Therefore, communicating with the Cairn Terrier, you always feel the contact with the history itself.

Cairn Terrier is a strong, brave little companion dog, which has an enviable health and longevity. Possessing all the virtues of Terriers, the Cairn Terriers are surprisingly devoid of their shortcomings. It is a fantastic sunny nature and cheerful disposition, rather than the bright exterior that is a real value of these dogs. They are not quarrelsome and not cocky, though they still can stand for themselves. The Cairn Terriers usually live in harmony with any other domestic animals. This is due primarily to the fact that the original Cairn was a flocking dog, who always lived and hunted in a team, so they get along well with their own kind. These dogs are compliant, accommodating and very pleasant.

Cairn Terrier breed photo


The Cairn Terrier can be faithful to the end. The watchdog instinct is very well developed in Cairn Terrier, and the dog realizes it, actively protecting the owner's family, territory, home and belongings. A true relationships with the Cairn Terrier - ??is love and respect for him. Without these two components it is unlikely to get a good union between man and dog. But, despite the great contact with the owner, open nature, compliance, Cairn still can not be just a blind singer of your will. The Cairn Terrier is not a German Shepherd, who is waiting for your instructions.

After all, the ancestors of Cairn Terriers have worked in the rocks and holes hunting the wild animals away from the owner, so at the critical moment, Cairn had to take the decision himself, relying only on his own intelligence. Therefore, the Cairn Terrier need consistent and firm training, otherwise he will "take the reins in his hands". Cairn Terrier raised up properly is the pride of his owner. Now, many hunting abilities of a Cairn Terrier are almost forgotten. People appreciate these dogs as an excellent companions, best friends for themselves and their children. Cairn's temperament enables them to successfully participate in a mini-agility, they are considered to be one of the most promising breeds for this type of activity. They are learning easy and with the great pleasure, because this occupation is very interesting for them, and a quick reaction of the Cairn Terriers is just fantastic.

In Sweden and Germany, these dogs are successfully used in the Police Service to search for drugs. Also the Cairn Terrier is often used as a dog "psychiatrist", they participate in the programs of psychological support to seriously ill people.

Cairn Terrier does not feel himself as a dog of a small size. He is kind and condescending to the dogs of a small breeds, is always pleased to offer them the game and communication. With the large dogs Cairn will lead a conversation on an equal footing. Cairn Terrier is a completely self-sufficient person.

Health problems: In general the Cairn Terrier is a very healthy breed. Still some Cairn Terriers may have allergies. Also overweight might be an issue.

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