Cairn Terrier Information

Overview

The Cairn Terrier is a small but hardy working dog originally bred to help Scottish farmers get rid or pests on the property. The breed is most recognized as playing the role of Toto in The Wizard of Oz. The Breed was first developed in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. They were originally classified as Skye Terriers alongside West Highland White Terriers and Scottish Terriers. The name "Cairn" means rock dens that badgers and foxes live in out in the countryside. The little dogs would squirm into the cairns or holes and hold the predator for the farmer to kill. Today the breed excels in agility, obedience and tracking trials.

Cairn Terrier
Basic Info
NameCairn Terrier
Other NameCairn
OriginUnited Kingdom
Size Type Small Dog Breeds
Breed Group Terrier Dog Breeds
Life Span14 to 15 years
TemperamentAffectionate, Hardy, Energetic, Sensitive, Intelligent
Height9 to 10 inches
Weight13 to 14 lbs
ColorsWheaten, Black & Tan, Red, Tan, Grizzle
Puppy Price$1000 - $1500 USD

Cairn Terrier

Physical description

Body Type

The Cairn's head is broad in proportion to length with a defined stop and a crop of hair on the top. The hair on the head is somewhat softer than the coat hair. The muzzle is strong but not long or heavy. The eyes are set wide apart and somewhat sunken. The eyebrows are shaggy and the eyes have a keen terrier expression. The small, pointed ears are set wide and carried erect. Hair on the head gives the Cairn a foxy impression. The tail is not feathery but is well furnished with hair. It is in proportion to the head and carried proudly. The body is strong and well-muscled. Ribs are deep and coupled to the hindquarters. The back is level and of medium length. The overall impression is of strength without heaviness. The Cairn's shoulders are sloping. The legs are of medium length proportionately and are not heavy-boned. Forelegs are straight and should not turn out at the elbows by AKC standards. The forefeet may turn out slightly. The hind feet are smaller than the forefeet. Pads are strong and thick, helping the dog stand well.

Color

The Cairn has a double coat that is shaggy and weather-resistant. The undercoat is short and furry. The outer-coat is coarse while the undercoat is soft. The coat comes in a number of colors except white. Colors include red, blackish, shades of gray and sand. The ears, muzzle and tail tip are often darker colored. The final coat color is hard to predict since the color changes several times throughout the dog's life.

Coat

The Cairn has a double coat that is shaggy and weather-resistant. The undercoat is short and furry. The outer-coat is coarse while the undercoat is soft. The coat comes in a number of colors except white. Colors include red, blackish, shades of gray and sand. The ears, muzzle and tail tip are often darker colored. The final coat color is hard to predict since the color changes several times throughout the dog's life.

Characteristics
Good with Kids
 
Cat Friendly
 
Dog Friendly
 
Trainability
 
Shedding
 
Watchdog
 
Intelligence
 
Grooming
 
Popularity
 
Adaptability
 
Hypoallergenic  Yes

Grooming

The Cairn's coat has a shaggy natural look that is deceiving. The breed's coat actually takes a good bit of maintenance even though it sheds little to none. An unkempt coat will go from shaggy and natural to a matted mess. To avoid this, brush the dog several times a week. Brush the undercoat very gently. Bathe once a month and brush the coat out while it dries. Using blunt-nosed scissors, trim the hair around the eyes and ears. Carefully clip the nails. Brush teeth two to three times a week with canine toothpaste.

History

The Cairn Terrier is one of Scotland's original terriers. The breed was developed in the 1500s in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. At one time, it was considered to be the same breed as the West Highland White Terrier and the popular Scottish Terrier. During the 1900s the terriers began to be bred separately. The Cairn is also thought to be a relative of the Skye Terrier. The Cairn name comes from rock dens where foxes and badgers lived. The cairns were actually piles of stones that marked Scottish graves and farm borders. The terrier would squeeze down into the cairns, cornering the animals until farmers could come and kill the predators that ate small farm animals. The breed was publicly presented in 1909 and grew popular after the 1930s. The AKC first recognized Cairn Terriers in 1913.

Temperament

The Cairn Terrier is known for his animated antics, alertness and cheerfulness. They are lovable and loyal, curious and friendly. They delight in playing with children. Although they have somewhat of an independent nature, they will listen when the human is stronger willed that the dog. Cairns are very intelligent and are often taught to perform cute tricks. They are a popular breed in Hollywood. They are still bold and fearless hunters who love to dig. They need mental and physical exercise to stay healthy and happy. They need firm discipline and training without harshness. Without this discipline, they may become destructive and bark excessively. Care should be taken to watch after them outdoors. They like to chase rabbits and may get lost or in the way of danger.


Interesting Cairn Terrier Facts

  • In addition to Toto, Little Ricky of the I Love Lucy series had a Cairn Terrier named Fred.
  • Some breeders require buyers of Cairns to agree to obedience school.
  • A healthy and active Cairn Terrier can live as long as 17 years.