Cairn Terrier Dog Breed
|Life Span:||12-15 years|
|Litter Size:||4-6 puppies|
|Recognized By:||CKC, FCI, AKC, UKC, ANKC, NKC, NZKC, APRI, ACR|
|Color:||All colors are acceptable with the exception of white. Brindle, black, tan, sand, red and gray are often found in the same litter.|
|Male Height:||10-13 inches (25-33 cm)|
|Male Weight:||14-18 pounds (6-8 kg)|
|Female Height:||9-12 inches (23-30 cm)|
|Female Weight:||13-17 pounds (6-8 kg)|
|General info courtesy of terrificpets.com. Additional information about this breed can be found on their website.|
|Living Area:||Indoor with regular exercise.|
The Cairn Terrier is a small athletic looking dog that has a mischievous and intelligent look. Often their face is described as being almost fox-like in appearance with sharp pointed ears that are set relatively high on the head. The ears are always carried erect and the bushy topknot and longer hairs on the ears give a softened outline to the head. The muzzle is strong looking but not square and is somewhat pointed in appearance. The face has a definite stop between the deep set brown or hazel eyes that are framed by bushy eyebrows. The eyes of a Cairn Terrier seem to sparkle with intelligence and good humor and they are very interested in watching everything around them.
The body is relatively short and very compact. The dogs are sturdy looking without being heavy or stocky in appearance. The Cairn Terrier has different sized feet, with the front feet slightly larger than the back feet. The legs are short and very straight with longer, harsh fringe and feathering over the legs for added protection in moving through dense vegetation and brambles.
The short tail is always carried high and is usually wagging and in motion, especially when these active little dogs are one hunt or are out on a walk. They have a very springy gait and move fluidly despite their smaller size. Since they were originally a ratting breed, they have the coarse, outer coat that provides both protection and water resistance and the softer, insulating under coat keeps them warm even in cold weather. The coat is slightly wavy to straight but is never curly. The breed can be found in many different colors including gray, black, red, sand and brindle but cannot be white. White patches on the chest or feet are considered faults, but darker hair on the ears, legs, muzzle and tip of the tail is acceptable.
The Cairn Terriers coat consists of a wiry, coarse outer coat that covers a very fine, downy under coat. The outer coat may be any color except white and the inner coat will be the same color or slightly lighter in color than the outer coat. The coat is medium in length and is very straight, with very slightly longer hair on the furnishings on the legs and around the neck acceptable. A soft or curly coat is considered a fault in this breed.
White spots on the chest or feet are considered a fault but darker points are acceptable in all colors.
The Cairn Terrier was originally used as a ratting dog, hunting throughout farmlands in the areas around the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the 1500\'s. There are many terrier breeds that came out of this area, but the modern Cairn Terrier is considered to be the closest in appearance and personality to the actual ancestors of these terrier breeds. The Cairn Terrier received its name though its ability to push itself through the rocks that formed the cairns or stone fences after rodents and vermin that were problematic in the area. They were experts at driving the larger rodents or animals such as otters and badgers out of the cairns as well as hunting and killing the smaller animals. Although independent and prized for its ability to hunt, the Cairn Terrier was also valued as a watchdog and companion.
The breed became increasingly popular through the 1900\'s as more people in large cities looked for active and energetic smaller dogs for city living conditions. The Cairn Terrier today is primarily used as a companion dog although they are also used in earthdog trials, in obedience and agility competitions as well as for watchdogs.
For families and people that want a dog that is energetic, happy, intelligent and a very loyal pet and protector the Cairn Terrier is a perfect match. They are outgoing in their personalities and often don\'t seem to realize that they are a small dog. A natural watchdog, the Cairn Terrier can be stranger, dog and pet aggressive if not properly socialized. The Cairn Terrier will often attack much large dogs in their role as protectors, so care must be taken to keep them safe and away from larger breeds that could easily cause the smaller dog injury. With proper socialization they can be excellent companion dogs for both other breeds of dogs as well as non-canine pets. A natural hunter, Cairn Terriers will chase and need to be kept within a fence or on a leash to prevent them from running off on a hunt.
Cairn Terriers are good family dogs although they can be snappish and somewhat possessive of their food and toys. In a family with children the Cairn Terrier will always be involved in the children\'s games and play and loves to run and romp. Their boundless energy makes them a terrific pet for active families. Chasing balls and playing fetch is a favorite pastime of many Cairn Terriers.
Cairn Terriers are a people breed of dog and need to have contact with their owners and family on a regular basis. They do not do well if left alone for long periods of time or kept in a kennel. Bored or lonely Cairn Terriers can quickly develop destructive or problematic habits such as constant barking or problem digging. Consistent, positive training and challenges keep this breed stimulated both mentally and physically. Cairn Terriers quickly learn new skills and tricks and love to work for praise and attention. Cairn Terriers do need affection and attention and love to find a comfortable spot on the couch or, even better yet, on a lap and spend time with the family. They make an excellent housedog and will be very active. They do love to be outside and run and play, so a yard is recommended but with regular walks it is not absolutely required. Without the right amount of exercise the Cairn Terrier can become somewhat difficult to work with and may become less compliant and more headstrong.
Despite the natural good humor and rather independent attitude of the Cairn Terrier they are a breed that does not respond well to punishment. They are surprisingly sensitive to reprimands and changes in the owner\'s voice, so care needs to be taken to avoid speaking in harsh tones or raising your voice with this breed. Although not prone to being timid they can become more aloof and independent if they are mistreated, teased or not attended to in a positive fashion.
Thyroid Disease - Low Risk
The Cairn Terrier ranks #91 among all breeds for autoimmune thyroiditis prevalence. This is considered a low risk breed so your chances of obtaining a dog with the disease is small. It is still suggested that dogs meant for breeding still be tested to help bring the incidence of disease even lower (or even eliminate it).
|Rank Among Breeds||Number of Dogs Tested||Percent of Dogs With Disease|
You can download the full report (on all breeds) by the Michigan State University Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health. Here
Other Health Problems
Generally the Cairn Terrier is a very healthy breed. Some of the common health problems that are seen are a tendency to gain weight leading to obesity and flea allergies that result in skin rashes, excessive licking and scratching. There is also a problem in some Cairn Terriers with cataracts that cause vision problems as the dog matures. There are also some genetic conditions including a bleeding disorder known as von Willebrands Disease and Legg Calve Perthes, a degenerative condition of the hips. Occasionally the Cairn Terrier can also suffer from patellar luxation or slipping of the kneecap that can usually be treated non-surgically.