Cairn Terriers are small and well-proportioned dogs with a weather-resistant coat. The outer coat is harsh and can be any color except white, and the undercoat is short, soft, and close. The hair around the head of these dogs gives them a foxy expression. Cairn Terriers are short-legged animals with a strong muzzle and hazel, wide-set eyes. They have small and pointed ears and obvious eyebrows. These dogs measure approximately 10 inches at the shoulder and weigh 13 to 14 pounds. With proper care, they live up to 15 years.
Cairn Terriers are hardworking dogs that love to run and explore. They are loving and devoted pets, but they are not especially fond of cuddling.
This breed is alert and active, making it an ideal choice for fit and active families. Cairn Terriers love to play and they never seem to tire. Although they need a lot of daily exercise, they do well in apartments and are generally easy to manage.
The most famous Cairn Terrier is "Toto" from The Wizard of Oz. Following the release of this movie, the breed's popularity as a companion animal increased.
Cairn Terriers are hardworking dogs that love to run and explore. They are loving and devoted pets, but they are not especially fond of cuddling. They do well in apartments, but they need a lot of daily exercise. These dogs love long walks, running around in the backyard with kids, or chasing squirrels at the dog park.
These spirited, scrappy, and clever dogs bore easily and benefit from puzzle toys and daily mental stimulation. They also need companionship. Without attention and stimulation, these dogs may become depressed, moody, and destructive. Additionally, they are a sensitive breed and pick up on the emotions of their human family. Household anger and tension will be reflected in their mood and behavior.
Only families with a lot of extra time and energy should consider purchasing or adopting a Cairn Terrier. These dogs do not do well when left alone for extended periods of time.
Cairns are fairly healthy compared to other dog breeds, but they are at increased risk for certain health conditions, some of which are potentially serious. Cataracts, allergies, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, diabetes, and allergies are all known to affect this breed. Additionally, Cairn Terriers are at risk of developing globoid cell leukodystrophy, a genetic neurological disorder.
Cairn Terriers are also known to suffer from von Willebrand's disease, Legg-Perthes, and portosystemic shunts, which affect the liver. Craniomandibular osteopathy, a bone disease, is another risk. Because being overweight increases the risk of numerous health conditions in dogs, it's important not to over feed Cairn Terriers and to maintain a healthy weight in the breed.
These dogs live 12 to 15 years, provided they receive routine veterinary care, timely vaccinations, and proper nutrition.
Cairn Terriers are not as disobedient and incorrigible as many people think. However, these dogs need obedience training. Otherwise, they may try to push and test their human family members. If these dogs become bored, they will become destructive. Toys and daily walks help.
They learn quickly and respond best to positive reinforcement, such as play, praise, and treat rewards. Consistency provides the most success, and it's important that these dogs never sense any wishy-washiness. This breed will take advantage of any weakness their trainer exhibits.
They like to learn new tricks and they have a strong instinct to chase small animals and dig. Early training can help minimize some of the breed's powerful hunting and digging instincts and prevent problems associated with these instinctive behaviors. Socialization helps prevent these dogs from becoming overprotective and competitive for attention, and it also ensures they are comfortable around new people.
As one of the easiest dogs to groom, Cairn Terriers are a good choice for families who dislike or are uncomfortable with grooming. Weekly combing is usually all that is needed to keep shedding under control and prevent loose hairs from ending up on furniture and clothing. Regular combing will also prevent matting.
Dead hair should be stripped from the Cairn Terrier's coat at least twice each year. Inexperienced owners should consult a professional groomer before attempting hand stripping at home. Uncooperative Cairns may need professional grooming for their own safety.
The nails should be trimmed every few weeks, and the teeth need regular brushing to keep the mouth healthy. Routine dental examinations can help prevent problems from occurring. During weekly grooming sessions, the ears should be cleaned and checked for signs of infection, such as redness, odor, and discharge.
The Cairn Terrier breed originated in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye and was originally grouped in the "Skye Terrier" class of dogs, alongside the West Highland White and Scottish Terriers. However, these three breeds started being bred separately during the early 1900s.
Cairn Terriers were originally developed to aid Scottish farmers who needed help getting rid of pests on their properties. "Cairn" refers to the piles of stones used as markers for graves and property lines throughout the Scottish countryside, and these dogs were bred to dig into these rock piles in search of vermin.
Today, these small dogs excel in agility, obedience, and tracking trials. They also make excellent companion animals.
The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Cairn Terrier in 1913.