The Cairn Terrier: a small and cheerful dog

Twee Cairn Terriër honden in een grasveld

Cairn Terrier is a small dog with a lot of energy. In the past, this breed was widely used in hunting animals, this is also where his name “Cairn” comes from. Cairns are piles of stones that serve as landmarks or memorials. Foxes, badgers and otters often hid in these. The Cairn Terrier is a dog that listens well to his owner’s wishes.

He also likes to play with children, for this reason the breed is very popular with families. Besides a friendly character, this breed also has quite a bit of spirit. The hunting instinct is still hidden in this breed, which makes it very fond of hunting and digging. Would you like to learn more about the Cairn Terrier? Then read this article.


The history: a dog that was used for hunting

The Cairn Terrier originally comes from the Scottish Isle of Skye. Here this breed was kept to hunt small game, such as foxes, badgers and otters. This breed was also used to protect farms against vermin. In the 19th century you could therefore find this breed widely among Scottish farmers. In the beginning, it was difficult to determine the origin of this breed, because many Terriers from this region were simply called the Scottish Terrier. It was not until 1913 that the Cairn Terrier received its name and was recognized as a breed by the AKC.

At the time the Cairn Terrier received its name, this breed had primarily a white coat. Breeding white Cairn Terriers and crossing them with West Highland Whites was banned around 1920. Today, therefore, these dogs are no longer found in white. A fun fact is that this breed only became really popular when the movie the Wizard of Oz appeared. The dog Toto played a role in it and you guessed it, Toto was a Cairn Terrier.


The character: cheerful and intelligent

The Cairn Terrier is a small, friendly and cheerful dog. They are a tad stubborn, but with enough training this is well under control. By nature, this breed has the urge to chase everything that moves, this can be quite annoying for its owner. It is therefore important that this behavior is unlearned at an early stage. The Cairn Terrier is a hard worker and will gladly fulfill the wishes of his boss. Because this hunting instinct will always be present, it is wise to release a Cairn Terrier only on a private lawn.

A Cairn Terrier gets along well with people and other dogs. Especially to his owner this breed has a lot of love to give. Some people even call him: “the best little friend in the world”.  With strangers and other animals the Cairn Terrier often has some trouble, this can manifest itself in aggressive behavior. The Cairn Terrier is very alert, intelligent, brave and curious. This dog can take a beating and is therefore very suitable for a family with children. They love to play and romp with the children.

The Cairn Terrier also loves to dig. They like to dig small holes while walking, just to investigate things. If the Cairn Terrier gets enough exercise and feels himself safe in his environment, he will make a great pet.

Drie Cairn Terriër puppy´s

The appearance and physique of a Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a small breed with a height at the withers of about 30 centimeters. They weigh an average of eight to nine kilograms. A Cairn Terrier can be recognized by its short legs. His front legs are slightly forward, rather than to the right under his torso.

The head of a Cairn Terrier is shorter and wider than other Terriers.  Because of the construction of his head, he has a strong jaw. The coat on his head is generally of a different texture than the coat on the rest of his body. In fact, the fur on his head feels softer. His eyes are widely spaced and are black in color. What is very recognizable about this breed is that they have very shaggy eyebrows. The ears are small and pointed.

The body of a Cairn Terrier is muscular with a deep ribcage. Its back is of medium length. The build of the body is athletic. This breed carries its tail high, but not curled. Furthermore, the Cairn Terrier has a double coat that is very weather resistant. The coat consists of a dense undercoat and a hard topcoat. All coat colors are possible, except white. The ears are often a little darker than the rest of the coat.


The care of a Cairn Terrier: fairly simple

The care of the Cairn Terrier takes less time than the average dog. Weekly brushing and occasional bathing is enough to keep his coat and skin healthy. It is also wise to pluck loose fur by hand every now and then, to avoid tangles and other problems. The nails of a Cairn Terrier grow fairly quickly and should therefore be trimmed regularly.

The coat around the ears can be a little longer. Because dirt can remain in it, it is important that the ears are regularly cleaned. This also applies to the cleaning of the eyes. The Cairn Terrier can sometimes not like to be groomed, so it is essential to start at a young age with a fixed rhythm around the cleaning and grooming of the dog. This way he gets used to it faster and it becomes an easy job for the dog and for the owner. The care will go a lot better and takes less time when the dog is used to it.


Frequently oc