Breed of the Week: Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier

Breed of the Week: Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier

Appearance: 

The Cairn Terrier stands at 9-10 inches at the shoulder and weighs ideally 13-14lbs.  This breed is a short legged terrier type with a rough outer coat that can be any color other than white with brindle, grey, and wheaten being most common.  The Cairn Terrier requires moderate grooming and many enthusiasts recommend hand stripping the coat as opposed to clipping to maintain texture.  One of the most notable features of the breed is the fox like and alert expression in a rounded face with pointy ears.

Temperament: 

The Cairn Terrier is an active and sturdy breed designed to hunt animals that have gone to ground. They have a high prey drive and must be trained early to avoid chasing other animals. They are also considered lively and intelligent and generally do well with people in almost any environment when given adequate exercise.

Health Concerns:

Cairn Terriers are prone to diseases of the eyes and thyroid.  Joint problems are also problematic for the breed and many breeders screen for common genetic issues before breeding to reduce the overall incidence of genetic defect in the breed.

Fun Facts

  • Cairn Terriers have done well in movies- the most well known being Toto in the Wizard of Oz played by a female Cairn named Terry.  “Dennis the Menace” and “I love Lucy” also featured Cairn Terriers.
  • The Cairn Terrier was originally developed in Scotland as the Short Haired Skye Terrier.
  • Cairns are built to dig and many farms employ Cairn Terriers to lower rat and mouse populations.