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Cairn Terrier Breed Information

Owning a Cairn Terrier today gives you some connection to the ancestors of this small working dog from the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. An intelligent and strong-jawed dog, the Cairn Terrier gets its name from the piles of rock called cairns that are often found on open ground in Scotland.

Following the Scottish Terrier and others in being named, the Cairn Terrier still closely resembles the working dog of 200 years ago, which at the time earned their keep getting vermin out of the cairns and chasing weasels and other animals.

Today this terrier makes a good pet, (Toto, from The Wizard of Oz, was a Cairn) even in smaller homes and apartments, tending to live a long life and remain active for many years. A somewhat muscular dog, with big teeth and large nails for digging, the Cairn can be tenacious so it must be supervised and treated with loving care.


Cairn Terrier Temperament

The Cairn Terrier is not a breed that is comfortable living outside, in spite of its love of play and hunting type of activity. As a pet, this breed is best kept close to the family and not tied outside, protecting the dog from possible larger animal attack. The Cairn also needs time alone, to rest without interference from the family. Generally, they will let you know when they are ready to play again.

Excellent with children and tough physically, their temperament is still such that they do not tolerate being mistreated or teased. Typically, this breed is independent in nature, although each Cairn Terrier has distinct personality traits. However, being held for long periods is not one of the Cairn’s favorite activities.

Cairn Terrier Breed


Cairn Terrier Size and Color

A healthy Cairn Terrier is alert and ready, a dog with somewhat shaggy appearance but with small pointed ears and tail up. Color varies in Cairn Terriers, though no particular color is favored over another by owners. In fact, the Cairn’s color can change over the years, with many shades getting much darker as time passes.

Generally 10 inches or less in height and under 14 pounds, the Cairn is a small package but is sturdily built and loves to play with children. This dog stands slightly forward on short, strong legs and strong hindquarters, its sturdy body is covered with a shaggy coat, the teeth are large, and the eyes are usually hazel in color. One noticeable feature of the Cairn Terrier is its deep, strong rib cage. Keep in mind that while sturdy, this is not a heavy breed.

Cairn Terrier Size and Color


RELATED :: Cairn Terrier Health Guide


Cairn Terrier Feeding and Grooming Requirements

A quality diet is best for any dog, but the Cairn Terrier should not be overfed because it tends to gain weight. With proper care, the Cairn will live to be 14 or 15 years old. Most people knowledgeable about the Cairn will tell you that giving the breed treats should be a limited thing, especially because the Cairn’s personality leads it to beg for more.

As far as grooming, the Cairn Terrier is not difficult. The coat is not overly long while still having a shaggy appearance. To keep matting and tangles under control, you would want to provide your dog with a daily brush and bath every two weeks. Then, hair growing around the ears and eyes would need to be trimmed. As mentioned, the Cairn Terrier also uses its nails for digging so these too should be kept trimmed.

Cairn Terrier Feeding and Grooming Requirements


Cairn Terrier Exercise Needs

The Cairn Terrier, because of its small stature, does not need a huge yard or open space to run, but owners should make sure that their pet gets sufficient exercise, such as a visit to the park or some outside activity in the yard.

European Cairns are generally larger than American Cairns, and some of the dogs in this breed that fall well outside the normal size are the result of irresponsible breeding. With daily exercise and proper training, you will have a delightful addition to your family.

Cairn Terrier Exercise Needs


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