Cairn Terrier Dog

We elaborate about Cairn Terrier dog breed with Cairn Terrier temperament, training, appearance, weight, life spam and much more information about this breed.

Other Names

Cairn (Pile of stones)

Dog Breed Group

Terrier Dogs


13-16 lbs.


9 to 10 inches tall at the shoulder

Average Life Span

13-15 years.

Cairn Terrier Appearance

The Cairn Terrier has a short, compact body, with a broad head, small erect ears, bushy eyebrows, large teeth, and strong legs with long nails.

Cairn Terrier Temperament

Cairn Terrier Temperament: They are bold, alert and intelligent dogs, friendly and playful. They are excellent with children, they can withstand rough play, making them great family pets. They get along well with other dogs and other animals, but only if they are taught from a young age. Males of this breed can be dominant. They are good watchdogs and warn when something is wrong. You have to remember that these are Terriers and they like to dig.

Cairn Terrier Temperament Summery

  • Hardy
  • Intelligent
  • Fearless
  • Assertive
  • Gay
  • Active

Cairn Terrier Training

They can be independent and stubborn, so they require loving but firm and stable training, which must begin at an early age.

Cairn Terrier Cleanliness

The Cairn Terrier should be brushed and groomed once a week to keep the coat and skin healthy. The coat is shed usually twice a year, when it must be brushed away to remove dead hair. It is advisable to take it every eight weeks to a professional to brush it.

Cairn Terrier Exercise

They are playful and cheerful dogs that require daily walks to stay fit and happy. Your leash should always be on because your Terrier instincts will make them hunt down just about anything, letting you loose only if you’ve been trained to come back when you call.

Cairn Terrier Health

Allergies . It can be caused by inhalation, contact, or poor eating behaviors. They can have allergies to fleas, grass, different environmental conditions or induced by toxins, allergies are the most common cause of skin diseases in this breed. Allergies can be chronic or seasonal, mild or severe, and tend to worsen with age. The treatments today are more effective, the environmental controls, the antihistamine treatment and the sensitizing injections are some of the treatments that have progressed in the last years.

Patellar Luxation : Slipping in the knee joints (also known as a dislocated patella or spilled fluid). It is a common problem in small breeds. In this condition, the kneecap slides out of its groove and moves against the thigh bone (femur) rather than in its natural groove. Although it is a hereditary condition, small and active breeds tend to develop it as a result of their natural activities (jumping from one place to another around objects such as furniture and others).

Perthes Legg disease: (Commonly confused with hip dysplasia) It is due to the death of the head of the femur bone. This causes wear and tear and promotes arthritic changes. After the disease has advanced it is difficult to diagnose since the symptoms of hip dysplasia or Legg Perthes are very similar. This condition is congenital and has no known cure. The pain that accompanies arthritic changes can be controlled with steroids.

Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA): It is a group of diseases that involve all the gradual deterioration of the retina. It is diagnosed by retinoscopic examination using an electroretinogram (ERG). Early in the disease, dogs are affected by night blindness and lack the ability to see in low light and later day vision also fails. As their vision deteriorates, they can adjust to their disability very well, as long as their environment remains constant. Some breeds are affected at an early age, while in other breeds, PRA develops much later.

Cataracts: Causes a loss of the normal transparency of the lens of the eye, which can occur in one or both and lead to blindness.

Von Willebrand disease (VWD):It is an inherited (non-sex-linked) autosomal bleeding disorder characterized by prolonged bleeding times (somewhat similar to hemophilia in humans) and a mild to severe factor IX deficiency. The DNA test for von Willebrand disease is now available. Reproduction between carriers can produce offspring that, in theory, will be 25% healthy, 50% carriers, and 25% sick. Ideally, the reproductions are in healthy pairs or of healthy and carrier where the disease would not affect any of the puppies. Not all dogs affected with VWD will have serious bleeding problems, but they are at risk whenever they need to undergo surgery or have an accident. Only some unlucky dogs affected by the disease will seriously bleed from a puncture or minor wound.

Krabbe disease (GCL): It is a degenerative disease of the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Affected puppies die at a very young age or have to be euthanized. It is a hereditary condition for which an available test that can identify carriers can currently be performed. Breeders can use this test to eliminate GCL in this breed.

cairn terrier temperamentCairn Terrier History

There is evidence indicating that the oldest specimens of this breed Cairn or Short Haired Skye Terrier as it was known in the mid-19th century were owned by Captain Martin of MacLoed Drynock, of the Isle of Skye. Captain MacLoed was a great mountain sportsman and a keen otter hunter. He kept a strain of Short Haired Gray Skye Terriers for forty years before emigrating to Canada in 1854. The strain was kept alive by Mr. John Macdonald, of Bridge of Ose Kennels, Isle of Skye. Mr. Macdonald worked as a game warden for the Chief of the McLeod Clan, Dunvegan Castle, for over forty years. In 1917 he wrote that he and his brother had had this strain for the last seventy years. Mackinnos of Kilbride was another kennel of good Short Haired Skye Terriers. These dogs were descendants of an ancient breed, owned by Farquhar Kelly of Drumfearn, Isle of Skye in the 17th century. All of these strains have played an important role in the initial lines of the pioneer breeds.

Mrs. Alastair Campbell and Mrs. Maria Hawke were the pioneers of the Cairn Terrier as we know it today. It was their perseverance that led to the Cairn Terrier being recognized by the Kennel Club in 1910. On May 29, 1912, the Kennel Club Committee gave the Cairn Terrier a separate registration. They can now compete in shows and championships in the UK. From the hands of these ladies in 1933, one of the most influential and important Cairns of all time was born. Eng. Ch. Splinters of Twobees would go on to indelibly mark the breed. He was the winner of 8 awards as a stud dog and his distinctive marks are present in the animals we know today.

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