Two Cairn Terriers showing variations in coat color.
|Country of origin
|Classification and breed standards
||Group 3 Section 2 #004
||Group 2 (Terriers)
||Group 4 - Terriers
|Not recognized by any major kennel club
|This breed of dog is
The Cairn Terrier is a
breed of dog of
category. It is one of the oldest terriers, originating in the
Scottish Highlands, used for hunting burrowing prey among the
Cairns stand between 9 and 13 inches (23-33 cm) at the
weigh 13 to 18 pounds (6 to 8 kg). European Cairns tend to be larger than
American Cairns and, because
do not care about breed standards, many Cairns available today are much smaller
or much larger than the breed standard. Cairns that have had puppy-mill
backgrounds can weigh as little as 7 pounds or as much as 27 pounds.
The Cairn Terrier has a harsh, weather-resistant outer coat that can be
cream, wheaten, red, sandy, gray, or
any of these colors. Pure black, black and tan, and white are not permitted by
kennel clubs. While registration of white Cairns was once permitted, after
1917 the American Kennel Club required them to be registered as
West Highland White Terriers. A notable characteristic of Cairns is that
brindled Cairns frequently change color throughout their lifetime. It is not
uncommon for a brindled Cairn to become progressively more black or silver as it
ages. The Cairn is
double-coated, with a soft, dense
and a harsh outer
coat. A well-groomed Cairn has a rough-and-ready appearance, free of
artifice or exaggeration.
Cairn Terriers are intelligent, strong, loyal and fearless. Like most
terriers, they are stubborn and strong-willed, and love to dig after real or
imagined prey. Cairn Terriers have a strong prey instinct and will need
comprehensive training. However, they are highly intelligent and, although very
willful, can be trained. Although it is often said that they are disobiedient,
this is not the case provided correct training is applied. They are excellent
with children and make wonderful family dogs. These are working dogs and are
still used as such in parts of Scotland. Like most terriers, they require large
amounts of exercise.
These dogs are generally healthy but many have
Often the allergies take the form of skin conditions.
Corn is often the
culprit, so an owner of a Cairn Terrier should routinely try to avoid feeding
foods and treats that contain corn. Even if the Cairn does not show symptoms of
corn allergy, because corn allergies are so prevalent and can show up at any
time in the life of the dog, it is recommended to avoid corn even with a healthy
This breed also suffers more than usual from dislocated
inherited eye diseases.
Ocular Melanosis (OM) is an eye disease that is found almost exclusively in
Health problems are more common with US strains. UK Cairns tend to be less
highly bred and less susceptible to most of the listed problems.
The dog named
the 1939 screen adaptation of
The Wizard of Oz is a Cairn Terrier.
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