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History and overview about the Cairn Terrier    


MS. Saddie

 Cairn Origin

Cairn Terriers originated in the 1500's on the Isle of Skye in the Scottish Highlands as a vermin killing dog. They excelled at removing rats and other rodents , as well as badgers and even foxes from the stone cairns commonly found on Scottish farms; thus their name  Cairn Terrier . Terra is Latin for earth, and all of the Terrier breeds are dogs that can "go to earth"  to chase their prey either in a den or tunnel, by digging them out. These dogs were bred for their working ability and practicality. Gradually , separate strains of this terrier became the Scottish, the Skye Terrier,and the West Highland White Terrier. The original Terrier defined as the Cairn. The Cairn is closest to its original ancestors and still excels in flushing out vermin.  The breed was first publicly presented in 1909, and became popular after the 1930's. The Cairn was first recognized by AKC in 1913. 

  It was a Cairn Terrier that played the part of  "Toto" in the movie The Wizard of Oz. 

Cairn Terriers are wonderful family pets. Cairns are a very healthy, hardy breed. They are very friendly, intelligent, full of spirit ( but not high-strung ). They are good watch dogs, but are not yappers or excessive barkers.They can be happy in a small apartment, but also love the outdoors and farm life. They will romp and play frisbee one minute and allow themselves to be dressed up in clothes the next.The Cairn Terrier is hardy little terrier, with a fox-like expression. Cairn Terriers are very hardy, loyal, agile, alert, frisky,lovable and friendly. Independent bundles of energy, but will listen if they see the human is stronger minded than themselves.They are long lived dogs, with few health problems. Many live well live well into their late teens. A cairn like any other dog can bark due to loneliness, boredom, or being confined. However, Cairns are rarely constant barkers, and can be trained not to bark at most stimuli.

The Cairn's  Personality:

Cairns are "people" dogs. They thrive indoors with their family and thrive on attention. The Cairn is not suitable for people with "no time for a dog". If left alone 12 hours a day, they will  let you know how unhappy they are. Make sure you leave plenty of chew toys, bones, and other (safe) toys as distractions if you plan to leave your Cairn unattended for long periods of time. When returning home give your dog plenty of praise and loving attention. Try to keep these long days to a minimum, the Cairn can become lonely.The Cairn is well suited for a family with children, they love children and enjoy lots of activity and playing together. However, it is always advised to supervise children when they are with any dog. This is best for the safety of the children and dog also.

 Cairns often like all people, rather than bonding to one individual or family. If you leave your Cairn with friends or a boarding kennel while away, they will not fret and may not even look back. They will be pleased to see you when you return, but will have been happy in the meantime! 

This ability makes Cairns ideal candidates for adoption even as adults. Rescue Cairns, re-homed adults or retired show dogs quickly become accustomed to their  new home and family as long as as they receive adequate attention and love.

 A Cairn is not a appropriate dog for outdoor life! Although they have harsh waterproof coats, it is not enjoyable for them to endure extreme outside temperatures,  hot or cold. They love company and attention and want to live in the house with their family. It is very easy to exercise a Cairn. Unlike many of the working breeds, a Cairn need not be walked for long periods of time each day. A short walk or a game of chasing a ball is sufficient each day.They are quite sturdy and train easily.

 The Cairn's double coat does not shed: Their coat consists of a harsh weatherproof outer coat and a soft undercoat. Little grooming is required; brushing with a steel pin brush and hand stripped twice a year with a stripping comb. Their coats come in a variety of colors, cream , wheaten, red, silver, charcoal, and any of these colors with brindling. Brindle means some black hairs interspersed with the other coat color. A Cairn can be any color but solid black, or white.  

Please keep in mind : The adult dogs color cannot be reliably predicted based on the puppy coat. Cairns often change colors many times even for several years. Quite often, especially if the dog has any brindling in their coat, the adult coat can become darker or lighter as the dogs ages.    

Life span : 12-15 years

Weight: 12-18 pounds ( ideally 14-15 pounds )

 Height: 9-13 inches tall