History of Cairn Terrier Dog Breed

Cairn terriers are one of the oldest breeds of dogs, originating in the Scottish Highlands. For centuries, they were used as hunting dogs, helping to track and flush out small prey such as rabbits and foxes. In the 19th century, they became popular pets among the British aristocracy, and their popularity soon spread to other parts of the world. Today, Cairn terriers are still prized for their hunting ability, but they are also cherished as loyal and affectionate companions.

In spite of their popularity, Cairn terriers were recognized by the Kennel Club only in July 1911. Prior to this, they were lumped together with Scotch Terriers and West Highland White Terriers as Skye Terriers (pertaining to the Scottish Isle of Skye). Out of these three, Cairn terriers were called the short-haired Skye Terriers. For years, breeders campaigned for official recognition of their breed. In 1912, the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom announced that Cairn terriers would henceforth be considered a separate breed.

Why Are They Called Cairn Terriers?

Their name refers to the fact that Cairn terriers were originally bred in the Scottish Highlands to hunt rodents and other small animals that inhabited the region’s rocky cairns. These little dogs were well suited to the task, as their short legs allowed them to easily maneuver among the stones, and their dense coats kept them warm in the cold mountain air. Today, these dogs still have all the attributes that made them successful hunters in their namesake environment.

What Does a Cairn Terrier Look Like?

They are relatively small dogs, they typically weigh between 10 and 15 pounds and stand about 9 to 13 inches tall at the shoulder. The body is compact and squarely built, with short legs that give the dog a low center of gravity. The head is broad, with a tapering muzzle and small, dark eyes. The ears are erect and may be folded over at the tips.

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The outer coat is wiry and coarse, while the undercoat is soft and dense. This double-layer of fur helps the cairn terrier to withstand both hot and cold temperatures. In addition, the coat is waterproof, making it an ideal choice for dogs who enjoy spending time outdoors. Grooming a cairn terrier is relatively easy, as they only require occasional brushing to remove dead hair. However, it is important to get their coat trimmed every few months to prevent matting.

Cairn Terrier Puppy

Cairn terriers are also known for having large litters of puppies. Most cairn terrier litters range from four to six puppies, but some litters can be as large as 10 or more. The average litter size for cairn terriers is six puppies. However, litter sizes can vary significantly from one dog to the next. Litters of two or three puppies are not uncommon, and some cairn terriers have been known to have litters of 12 puppies.

Cairn Terrier Temperament

Cairn terriers are a type of small dog known for their feisty personality. They are energetic and playful dogs that enjoy spending time outdoors. They are intelligent and quick learners, making them easy to train. Furthermore, they are also relatively easy to train, although they can be stubborn at times. Because of their small size, cairn terriers are well suited for apartment living. However, it’s necessary to keep them active and provide plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy.

Cairn terriers are a small, active breed that makes an excellent companion for families with children. They enjoy being part of a family. These dogs are lively and playful, but they can also be calm and relaxed when they need to be. They are very intelligent and easy to train, which makes them a good choice for first-time dog owners. Cairn terriers are also very protective of their loved ones and make excellent watchdogs.

They generally do well with other dogs and pets, but they may be territorial around strange dogs. In addition to that, their hunting instincts can sometimes lead them to chase smaller animals, so they need to be well-supervised when around other pets.  Overall, Cairn terriers are a great choice for families looking for a loving, loyal companion.

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Health Information

Cairn terriers are generally a healthy breed, but there are a few health risks to be aware of before getting a cairn terrier.

One of the most common health problems seen in this breed is patellar luxation, which is when the kneecap slips out of place. This can be painful for the dog and may require surgery, so it’s important to take x-rays of your dog’s joints. Other joint problems such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, and patellar luxation are also relatively common in this breed.

Cairn terriers are also prone to deafness and dental problems. Some other health concerns that have been seen in this breed include glaucoma, epilepsy, and heart disease.

Last but not least, a dangerous issue that affects Cairn terriers is genetic diseases. These can be anything from heart defects to eye problems. The Cairn Terrier Club of America provides a register of genetic issues to help breeders stop or minimize their occurrence.

How to Groom a Cairn Terrier

They are also relatively easy to care for, although they do require regular grooming. One common method of grooming a Cairn terrier is known as hand-stripping. This involves using a hand to remove the dead hair from the coat, and it can help to maintain the dog’s natural color and texture. Hand-stripping can be a time-consuming process, but many people believe that it is worth the effort to keep their Cairn terrier looking its best. In addition, Cairn terriers need to have their nails trimmed regularly, and their ears should be checked and cleaned on a monthly basis.

Price of the Breed

When it comes to choosing a Cairn terrier, one expect to pay anywhere from $1000 to $2000. This price range will vary depending on factors such as the breeder’s location, the dog’s coat color, and whether the dog is registered with a kennel club. Be sure to do your research before purchasing a Cairn terrier to ensure that you are getting a healthy dog from a reputable breeder.

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Are Cairn Terriers Working Dogs?

Cairn Terriers are often considered to be one of the best breeds of dogs for working purposes. They were originally bred in Scotland to hunt small animals, such as otters or other small vermin. Today, they are still used for hunting, but they are also popular as watchdogs, guard dogs, and companions.

A Famous Cairn Terrier

One of the most famous fictional dog character was played by a Cairn terrier. It was Toto! Toto is a fictional character who appears in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. He is Dorothy Gale’s pet dog, and is courageous and loyal. In the film, Toto is played by a Cairn terrier named Terry. 

Fun Facts

Here are a few fun facts about this lovable breed:

  • Cairn terriers are one of the smallest of the terrier breeds, with adult dogs typically weighing between 10 and 15 pounds.
  • The cairn terrier’s signature shaggy coat is actually quite waterproof, making them excellent swimmers.
  • Despite their small size, cairn terriers are fearless dogs who will stand up to much larger opponents if they feel threatened.
  • Cairn terriers are intelligent dogs who are quick to learn new tricks; they excel in agility trials and other dog sports.

Whether you’re looking for a playful companion or a fearless watchdog, the Cairn terrier is an ideal breed. There’s no denying how cute the Cairn terriers are. These lovable little dogs have a lot to offer families and individuals looking for a forever friend.


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