Breed Group: Terrier
Height: 9 to 10 inches at the shoulder
Weight: 13 to 14 pounds
Life Span: 14 to 15 years
The Cairn may be small, but he’s an active family member who wants to play and play. He is smart, if somewhat independent. The Cairn has a foxy expression and a tough, weather-resistant coat that can be any color but white.
Did You Know the Cairn Terrier is Intelligent and Easy to Train?
The most famous Cairn of all? Why, that would be Toto, who along with Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore in “The Wizard of Oz.”
The bright-eyed, up-for-anything Cairn Terrier was bred in Scotland to dig into piles of rocks – the cairns from which he gets his name – in search of vermin. Today he’s a full-time family pet and companion, but he’s no lap dog. With his head up, ears and tail twitching, he’s always game for a long walk, wrestling with the kids, or ridding the backyard of invading squirrels.
The shaggy-coated Cairn only weighs 13 or 14 pounds, but he’s a little dog who clearly has no idea just how small he is. He’s intelligent and fairly easy to train, with a streak of what some would call independence, but you might call stubbornness.
Cairn Terriers are very affectionate, particularly with children, and while some small dogs can’t handle the rough-and-tumble games kids play, the Cairn Terrier loves them. He’ll even invent some of his own.
That’s not to say every Cairn Terrier will automatically be great with children. Adult supervision of playtime along with training and socializing of the dog are still required. But in most cases, kids and Cairns are a match made in heaven.
With small furry creatures, it’s a very different story. The Cairn still remembers rooting out otters, foxes, and other vermin on Highland farms, and he’s not likely to make a distinction when it comes to cats, hamsters, and other small animals. Always walk him on leash so he can’t indulge the urge to chase other animals.
The Cairn Terrier is a low-maintenance dog, needing just a weekly combing to keep shedding under control. Cairn Terriers don’t do well if they’re left alone for long periods, and are not happy as backyard dogs. Let him live as a member of your family, preferably with the company of another dog, or you might find yourself with a lonely, bored, noisy, and destructive nuisance.
Other Quick Facts About the Cairn Terrier
The Cairn Terrier is a rugged little dog with a shaggy coat, sharply pointed ears, large teeth, and dark eyes. He’s a bit longer than he is tall and has a natural tail, meaning it isn’t docked for length. His coat can be cream, deep red, brindle, light gray, or black.
When you get a Cairn puppy, you never know what color he will turn out to be. A Cairn’s coat color can change over the years, often becoming darker with age.