Is the Cairn Terrier the Right Dog Breed for You?

by PetCloud / Breed Search / 13 Jul 2020

Cairn Terrier

Originally bred as a worker, this breed was used to chase vermin out of the fields where it was bred on Scotland's Isle of Skye. You may have seen evidence of this breed's acting skills as one talented Cairn named Terry played the role of Toto on the Wizard of Oz. This breed is a popular companion dog today. Learn all you need to know about this loveable breed here. 

 

 

Breed Snapshot: 

  • Size: Weight: 4.5-7.3 kg. Height: 23-33cm
  • Coat: Weather-resistant outer coat in shades of grey, brindle, black, cream, red, or wheaten.
  • Energy: Medium to high energy. They require at least 30 minutes of exercise per day.
  • Lifespan: 12-17 years
  • Country of Origin: Scotland
  • Breed Type: Terrier
  • Other Names: None.
  • Great Breed for: Apartment dwellers, families, homes in urban or rural settings. 

 

What Is a Cairn Terrier?

The cairn terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds as well as one of the smallest members of the group. A celebrated ratter, the breed was originally bred on the Isle of Skye to help farmers control populations of vermin. The breed was highly skilled at its job, intelligent, brave, and tenacious. It retains these qualities but is also extremely affectionate and a popular companion dog.  

Cairn terriers love attention and don't enjoy being left alone too long. They also have a mind of their own and if left to their own devices, they may engage in unwanted behaviors like digging, barking, and chasing other animals. Even so, these dogs are bright, alert, and respond very well to positive reinforcement training.  

 

What Do Cairn Terriers Look Like?

Cairn terriers have small compact bodies and are adorned with a double coat. They have a weather-resistant top coat and soft, dense undercoat. When left ungroomed, they can appear adorably scruffy in appearance, but they are utterly confident in their good looks. These dogs have triangular little ears and a short upright tail. They are similar in appearance to West Highland White Terriers but their coloring tends to be darker and often changes color slightly with age. 

 

What Makes the Cairn Terrier Special?

The Cairn Terrier is highly loveable and enjoys being at the center of its family. It's very adaptable to numerous living situations. It will happily roam a big house or be perfectly content with a cozy bed in an apartment. The breed can be quite fearless and has little trouble enjoying life with other larger dogs in its home. In fact, don't be surprised if it rules the roost. 

 

How Often Do I Need to Groom My Cairn Terrier?

To groom your Cairn Terrier, you should plan to brush its coat about once per week. Bathe as needed, but most owners find that a bath every three months suffices. Many owners prefer to have their Cairn terrier trimmed or have the coat stripped to keep the dog neater in appearance. Its nails may need to be trimmed twice per month.  

 

How Often Should I Walk My Cairn Terrier?

The Cairn Terrier enjoys playing outdoors but it may require supervision or it may dig in your garden. It does not require a lot of exercise though. It should have at least 30 minutes of daily exercise. A couple short walks or time in the backyard usually suffice.  

 

How Do I Train My Cairn Terrier?

Cairn Terriers respond quite well to positive reinforcement training. There isn't much these dogs can't learn. Pet Cloud features dog training classes in blocks of six-week, one-hour sessions with registered trainers. An experienced trainer will visit your house or apartment and use positive reinforcement techniques as recommended by the RSPCA to teach your Cairn Terrier puppy.  

 

Quickfire Cairn Terrier Questions: 

Can I leave my Cairn Terrier alone during the day?

 

Cairn Terriers don't like the idea of being alone for long periods of time. They do best when one of its companions is on the scene. They can be trained to grow accustomed to their alone time, but it's important to get them used to the schedule as soon as possible with positive training.  

 

Are Cairn Terriers barkers?

Cairn Terriers are not excessive barkers, but they can develop the habit. If you want to reduce this inclination to bark, talk to your trainer about teaching it silence commands. 

 

Are Cairn Terriers prone to health risks I should know about?

Many dog breeds are associated with certain health conditions. Cairn terriers may be prone for conditions such as patellar luxation, hypothyroidism, and secondary glaucoma. Sometimes over breeding can cause a heightened risk for these conditions so always choose a reputable breeder when obtaining your purebred dog. 

 

Where can I get a Cairn Terrier?

If you're open to rescuing and adopting a Cairn Terrier dog, check with your local rescue agencies. You may be able to find a dog who simply needs the right living situation and companion. With the right setting and owners, this breed is likely to thrive. Check out the RSPCA's adoption guide to see if this is the ideal solution for you. If you want to purchase your Cairn Terrier from a reputable breeder, be sure to use this guide for finding the right breeder from the RSPCA. 

 


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