Cairn Terriers – Playful and Fun-Loving Pets

Cairn Terriers

Cairn terriers are related to the Westie or the West Highland White. It is presumed to be a sub-breed of the Scottish terrier. A Westie is obtained when a variety of white terriers are crossed with the Cairn terriers of west Scotland. The Westie, therefore, is a white variant of the Cairn terriers that come in a variety of colors except white. On the other hand, Scotties, or the descendant of the short-haired Skye’s, have dark coats and longer bodies and heads.


The Origin of Cairn Terriers

The Cairns existed ever since the sixteenth century. In the eighteenth century, a lot of terriers were bred in the Scottish Highlands and in the Isle of Skye. The Scottish terriers comprise two categories: the Dandie Dinmont terriers and the Skye terriers. While the Dandie Dinmonts from a separate breed of their own, the sky terriers include the Westies, the Scotties, and the Cairns. The smallest of all these terriers is the Cairn.


The breed gets its name from the small piles of stone that were placed to mark the boundaries of Scottish graves and farms. Ever since its earliest days, the Cairn was used to corner smaller animals into these small piles of rock. Though not heavy, the breed is sturdy and strong.


However, it became popular only in the thirties. The appearance of “Toto,” Dorothy’s dog in the “Wizard of Oz,” enhanced the popularity of this breed. Cairn terriers are now popular as companions just as the American Pit Bull terriers. The breed has a talent for tracking objects, guarding the house, hunting, performing tricks, and competitive games.


The breed was specially christened “Cairn” in 1912 in honor of its exceptional talent in hunting down otters, foxes, and badgers that hid behind cairns, or small piles of rock. The American Kennel Club officially recognized them in 1913.


Basic Facts about Cairn Terriers

Here are some basic facts you would want to know about Cairn terriers:

They thrive indoors; however, if you want to keep your dog out of doors, you will have to provide a yard enclosed with fence.

  • Cairn terriers have a coarse, shaggy outer coat covering a short, furry under coat.
  • Any color of Cairn terrier is available, except white.
  • It is 9.5-10.0 inches tall and weighs from 13 to 14 pounds.
  • They love children aged six and above and are mischievous, restless, alert, and high-spirited.

Cairn Terriers

Caring for Your Cairn terrier

Care of your Cairn terrier includes the following steps:

  • Brush your dog regularly so that is coat doesn’t get matted and entangled.
  • Trim the hair around its eyes and ears regularly.
  • Feed your dog moderately as this breed can easily gain weight.
  • Exercise your dog regularly and include a play session with your dog on the leash.
  • Keep your dog on the leash when you take it for a walk in a public place.


As a pet owner or a breeder of Cairn terriers, you should note that the breed could fall victim to the following disorders:

  • A variety of allergy called atopy.
  • Cataract of one or both eyes.
  • Cryptorchidism, a condition wherein the testicles fail to descend into the scrotum.
  • Glaucoma, a disorder featuring increased pressure in the eyes.
  • A kneecap disorder called Patellar luxation.


Cairn terriers are quick-footed and agile, well suited for the entire family. They are inquisitive and fun-loving. Just remember the fun that Dorothy had with her little “Toto,” in the “Wizard of Oz.”


You can Also read about Canaan Dog – Dog Breed Info

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