© Isselee (Eric Isselée) |

Cairn Terrier

Breed origin: Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye
Original purpose: Bolting of otter, foxes, and other vermin from among rocks, cliffs, and ledges on the wild shores of their misty isle.

AKC recognized: 1913
AKC group: Terrier

Size: Weight: males around 14 lbs; females around 13 lbs
Size: Height: males around 10 inches; females around 9½ inches
© Cynoclub |
Color: Any color except white.

Life span: 14 to 16 years.

General characteristics/temperament: The Cairn Terrier is a small, hardy working terrier with a harsh, weather-resistant outer coat. They are alert, active, confident, intelligent, tenacious, and long-lived. They remain active and playful well into their teen years, and tend to have a natural affinity for children, making them great companions for families with children. Cairn Terriers love their families and are quick learners, but may try to test their owner’s limits, so obedience training is necessary. Most of them like to dig and chase small animals, which may present a problem for some owners.

© Perrush (Stefan Hermans) |
Good with children? Yes

OK in apartments? Yes

© Organicaphotography (David Pickles) |
Intelligent? Yes

Suitable canine sports/activities: obedience, agility, terrier, tracking

Exercise requirement: A brisk walk daily on a leash.

Grooming requirement: Brush and comb thoroughly weekly to minimize shedding.

Known health problems: Allergies, cataracts, ocular melanosis, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dystrophy, Krabbe disease, hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes syndrome, craniomandibular osteopathy, von Willebrand disease, hypothyroidism, portosystemic shunt, luxating patella, entropion.

Additional photos of Cairn Terrier

Recommended books for further reading:

Cairn Terriers (Complete Pet Owner's Manual)
By Patricia Lehman
Published in 2009
96 pages

Cairn Terrier (A Comprehensive Owner's Guide)
By Robert Jamieson
Published in 2004
160 pages

The New Owner's Guide to Cairn Terriers
By Sandra Murray
Published in 2004
160 pages

The Cairn Terrier
By Christine Carter
Published in 1996
224 pages

Show more books

Other websites for additional information:

American Kennel Club breed page
Cairn Terrier Club of America
Wikipedia breed information page
Cairn Terrier Club of America Rescue

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Page Last Updated: February 1, 2018

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