Cairn Terrier (Terrier Group)

Cairn Terrier (Terrier Group)

The Cairn Terrier has all of the characteristics of a terrier as you would expect, but with extra sensitivity and affection. The Cairn is bold, inquisitive, scrappy, and a bit stubborn, while at the same time is responsive to the commands given and always looking to please its owners.

Cairn Terriers are wonderful around children and enjoy a little rough play now and again. In fact, they have such a feisty part of their personality that they will stand up to any aggressive dog, regardless of size. This makes them an excellent watchdog. Cairn dogs may also be reserved around strangers and other pets in the house due to their dominant personality.

A Brief History Of The Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier breed has been around since the Middle ages, sometime during the 15th century. They were used successfully to hunt down badger, fox, and otter. The name “Cairn” is said to have been coined because the dogs were good at running otters out of the cairns (piles of stones used as memorials or landmarks).

These dogs could be found in several colors that ranged from gray to red to white. All of the color variations were considered Scotch Terriers as they were entered into the show ring. Only two dogs were labeled as part of the breed in 1873 – the Skye Terriers and the Dandie Dinmont.

In 1881, the group further divided into two more sections, the Hard-haired Terriers and the Skye Terriers. Eventually the Hard-haired Terriers were divided into the West Highland White, the Scotch, and of course the breed known today as the Cairn Terrier.

Although the breed went through a variety of names it was officially known as the Cairn in the early 1900s and became a highly popular breed in England during that time. They slowly made headway in the United States as well, and even featured in the movie, The Wizard of Oz.

Upkeep Requirements For The Cairn Terrier

Although this dog is quite small, it still needs a lot of daily exercise. A few long walks on the leash, in addition to vigorous games in the yard or around the house, will be plenty. They can tolerate moderate temperatures in both hot or cold climates, but not to the extreme.

The ideal living situation for the Cairn Terrier is to be able to play in a safe, fenced-in yard during the daytime hours and sleep inside with the family at night. Grooming requirements call for a weekly brushing to keep its wiry coat clean. A stripping is recommended once each year.

Health Concerns

The average lifespan for the Cairn Terrier is between twelve and fourteen years. There are no major Health Concerns in the breed. Minor health issues include CMO, glaucoma, and portacaval shunt. Rarely seen is GCL. Veterinarians suggest that the Cairn Terrier get specifically tested for GCL.

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