The Cairn Terrier is from the Isle of Skye, Scotland, and is a working terrier. Traditionally, this breed’s job was to protect small farms from foxes and other vermin. The cairn terrier would squirm his way into piles of rocks, called cairns,to get to a hiding fox. He would then either flush the vermin or hold it there so the farmer could dispatch it.
Cairn Terriers are active little dogs who love to play.
Originally classified as a Scotch Terrier and then as one of the Skye Terriers, he became known as the Cairn Terrier in 1912. The breed is closely related to the West Highland White Terrier, and in early years the two were cross-bred. The Cairn Terrier today is still a game, hardy, working terrier. These dogs are short-legged but should be proportional, with most standing between 9.5 and 10 inches tall. The skull is broad, muzzle strong, eyes hazel, and nose black. The ears are upright and small. The tail is short and carried upright.
The coat is double, with a hard outer coat and a soft undercoat. The coat may be any color except white. The Cairn Terrier needs weekly brushing and combing to keep shedding to a minimum. Hair should also be trimmed from the tips of the ears, tail, and feet. Many Cairn Terriers are allergic to fleas, so keeping the dog free of these pests is important.
Cairn Terriers are active little dogs who love to play. Although they enjoy a walk morning and evening, walks are not enough exercise for this little dog. A Cairn Terrier also needs a chance to play, chase a ball, or jump for a small flying disc. All off-leash exercise should be within a fenced-in yard, because Cairn Terriers love to chase squirrels and other small animals. If your terrier takes off after a small animal, all the calling in the world will not bring him back.
Train your Cairn Terrier puppy with firmness and consistency. Harsh punishment is not necessary. Be sure, though, that your Cairn Terrier puppy knows you are in charge. Like children, they will test your limits, but need discipline to turn out well. Training should continue on into adulthood to keep this bright breed’s mind active. Cairn Terriers are also quite good at many canine sports, including agility, obedience trials, tracking, and terrier competitions.
Cairn Terriers are great family dogs. They are affectionate and enjoy children and their games. They are sturdy enough to take some rough play, but kids should be taught to treat them with respect. Cairn Terriers prefer to be with people; when left alone for too many hours, they are prone to get into trouble. Most Cairn Terriers also get along well with other dogs. They are fine with cats when raised with them but will chase strange cats who come into their yard. Cairn Terriers should not be trusted with smaller pets. Health concerns include eye problems, liver shunt, and knee problems.