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.