Dog Breeds

Cairn terrier

Cairn terrier is an active and snappy low-legged terrier with the appearance of a disheveled rascal. Energetic, full of serenity, extrovert, not very fond of obeying people, although passionately learning new tricks. It has a hard and rough coat that doesn’t molt if properly groomed. Cairn loves outdoor movement and open space, where he enjoys hunting rodents.


Cairn terrier is a dog with a cheerful disposition, energetic and strong. He is characterized by a high temperament and a strong character. He is confident, but not aggressive, sociable and friendly towards people. Very attached to the owner, but is not obtrusive. He can patiently wait until he finds time for him. This does not mean, however, that you can leave him alone or isolate him from his family, because then he is disobedient and looks for impressions on his own paw. It easily adapts to new conditions, so you can take it anywhere with you.

A representative of this breed is considered a good companion to children, but he does not like rough treatment. He gets along better with older children, the little ones must first be taught how to handle the dog properly.

Cairn loves outdoor movement and open space, where he enjoys hunting rodents. The owner of a house with a garden must reckon with the fact that if his pet smells a mole, he will dig half the lawn to get to it. The voles and mice can’t count on peace when cairn is in the area.

Cairn terrier

He usually tolerates other dogs and does not start fights, but accosted by an aggressive brother will not give up without a fight. His relations with cats or other small animals are much worse, because it is difficult for him to refrain from pursuing them.

As a quadruped, alert and perceptive cairn can handle the role of a guardian. Works well with a larger quadruped, which alerts you about a suspicious situation. This small terrier can live in a block of flats, but a walk on a leash is not enough for him. He seems tireless when running after the ball or rushing in the thickets. It swims perfectly, it will also keep up with a runner, cyclist
or rider on horseback (however, do not force too young animals).

The tendency to chase fast-moving objects means that he may get into trouble, so it’s better to drive him on a leash in the city.


Originally, cairn terriers worked as hunting dogs. They were used mainly to hunt otters – they spat them out of the water. Sharpness, courage and short stature made them ideal for hunting foxes, cowards, weasels and badgers. They were able to drive the prey out of inaccessible crabs, but also to follow it into a narrow hole. Modern cairns are mainly companion dogs. Although they are not subject to work trials, they can participate in Norse competitions. Some are doing well on agility or flyball.

Cairn terrier. Training and education

Cairn is an intelligent dog, but stubborn and independent, so you can not count on being absolutely obedient. Hunting instincts often prevail, and if the wind turns an interesting clue, they may not return on call. From the beginning, you need to practice calling and reward your pet every time you walk.

The representative of this breed is a learned student. He likes when the owner is satisfied, so he will learn both the rules of obedience and? many tricks. However, this requires consistency, patience and? motivation (e.g. favorite delicacy). During training, the cairn must have fun, monotonous exercises quickly bore him. Besides, nothing will be achieved with a shout.

Cairn terrier

Puppies of this breed need to be treated gently, but do not allow them everything, because it is difficult to change their habits later. They need socialization with people, other dogs and different situations. Can you take advantage of classes in dog kindergarten? Cairns learn chastity quite quickly and they rather do not destroy objects in the environment if they have their own toys – balls, squeaking mascots or natural teethers.

Who is this race for?

A cheerful and active cairn is a good dog for a family with children. He will also be a good friend of an older person if he gives them enough traffic. An accident of this breed does not need a lot of experience in raising dogs, but the owner must be patient and consistent.

Cairn terrier. Advantages and disadvantages


  • requires systematic care treatments
  • has a tendency to chase small animals and fast-moving objects
  • stubborn and independent


  • attached to the owner but not obtrusive
  • a good companion for older children
  • alert and perceptive
  • can play some sports and participate in work trials
  • Suitable for housing if it has enough traffic
  • properly cared for does not lose hair


The Cairn Terrier is a healthy breed and its representatives usually enjoy excellent conditions until old age. A rough, dense coat protects them well against the cold and? moisture, so in winter they don’t need clothes. They endure the heat a bit worse, in the summer they cannot be exposed to long exposure in the full sun.

Cairn terrier

A representative of this breed is prone to eye diseases – progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), glaucoma and cataract. Occasionally there are problems with heart disease (mitral valve disease), liver disease and cystic kidney disease. You should also check your teeth regularly and remove scale.


Cairn terrier has a good appetite and he is not picky. However, he has a tendency to gain weight, so do not overfeed it, and the diet should be adapted to the lifestyle of the dog. You can give ready-made dry food (easier to keep the coat on your face clean) from a reputable company’s average protein content. If we decide on homemade food, it must be supplemented with calcium and vitamin and mineral supplements. It is also worth giving raw (or “whole” as chews) raw fruit and vegetables.

The daily dose is best divided into two meals. It is not advisable to serve the dog’s bones, because they can contribute to the formation of hard deposits in intestines.


Cairn terrier has a hard and rough coat that doesn’t molt if properly groomed. It requires systematic trimming, i.e. removing dead hair once in two and half a month or three months depending on how quickly it grows back. This procedure is performed with your fingers (you can attach the attachments) or with blunt trimmers (sharp cuts will cut the hair and destroy it).

The coat should be the same length all over the body, just around the head is slightly longer and creates a ruff. The first trim is carried out on puppies around four months old. Treatments should be short, but you have to repeat them often to get your dog used to it and that the hair grows evenly and obtained a rough structure. It’s enough to comb Cairn once every two weeks with a powder brush and a thin comb so as not to remove the undercoat.

Cairn terrier

After each trim, we bathe the quadruped in a shampoo for rough-haired dogs (e.g. for terriers) and we use the same type of conditioner or balm. Other cosmetics can soften the coat. The dog should be thoroughly dried with a dryer at medium temperature, while modeling the hair with a brush. You have to remember about trimming claws if they don’t wear themselves and cutting hair growing between the pads (the dog will bring less sand and mud on its paws).

Regularly trimmed Cairn terrier does not require any special preparation for the exhibition. His coat is to be hard, protruding and give the impression of a slight disorder. We present it on a ring adapted to the color. Cairn terrier issues with a free hand – should he stand alone in front of the handler with raised tail and upright ears (you can encourage it with a treat or a toy).


It is best to use leather collars or with tape. For the first walks, an ordinary leash will be useful – only when the quadruped learns to walk calmly on it can it be replaced with an automatic one. It is also worth getting used to a transport cage and table used during care treatments.

Cairn terrier. History

Cairn terrier is one of the first dogs working in Scotland. “Cairn” means a stone mound or natural rock heap typical of the local landscape and aptly captures the character and the toughness of these little dogs that were said to be rock hard. Their ancestors were small, rough-haired quadrupeds seen in Highlands and on the Isle of Skye, and close cousins ​​are west highland white terrier, skye terrier and Scottish terrier. All were bred initially as dogs of one type – they only differed in a coat.

Thick thickets were unbeatable for large hunting dogs, but small terriers did very well in them, winning the favor of the Scottish nobility. She took them hunting and used them to search the mounds in which rats and other rodents were hiding.

In the sixteenth century, King James VI was to give a few “terriers” – as they were then called – to the King of France. Apparently, they were so valuable that they traveled on various ships, so that in the event of a disaster at least some would reach their destination.

The oldest cairn terrier kennel was founded by the Mac-Leodów family on the Isle of Skye around 1837. One of its members, an avid sportsman and hunter, traveling to Canada, took his favorite dogs with him and in this way they went across the ocean.

The first cairn appeared on display in the city of Inverness in 1860 under the name of a short-haired skye terrier. In the second half of the 19th century, this type of dog became the mascot of the Scottish cricket team from Aberdeen.

At the end of the 19th century, so-called Scottish type terriers on separate lines. At the Crufts exhibition in 1907, dogs with white (westie) and other colors were already shown in separate classes. The name short-haired skye terrier was misleading, so in 1910 lovers of the breed proposed the currently used: cairn terrier. The first club was also created then, and two years later the breed was registered by the English Kennel Club.

The first cairns often had white ointment because they were allowed to cross them with west highland white terriers (until 1917 in the United States, until 1923 in Great Britain). Today such a coat is defective. The dog that set the direction in breeding and started the current type, was born in England in 1933. Splinter of Twobees.


Cairn terrier – group III FCI, section 2, reference number 4

  • Country of origin: United Kingdom
  • Size: height at the withers 28-31 cm; ideal weight 6-7,5 kg
  • Coat: heavy, rough but not thick topcoat and short, soft and dense undercoat; slight wavy allowed; thin hair without an undercoat is undesirable
  • Color: one  colored (cream, wheat, red-gray, gray) and brindle; black markings on the ears and muzzle; Uniformly black, white and black and tan ointments are not allowed
  • Maturity: 12 months
  • Lifespan: 15-18 years
  • Weather resistance: high

Interesting facts

Cairns found their way into the books and cinema screens – the most famous are Toto the dog from “Wizard of Oz”, Fred from “I love Lucy” and Audrey from the soap opera “Neighbors”.

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