General Information About The Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier Dog Breed Information

Are you familiar with Toto, the courageous little terrier from The Wizard of Oz? Cairn Terriers were Toto’s breed. The character was everything a terrier should be: strong, brave, resilient, and energetic, befitting his breed. An ancient adage regarding terriers in general goes, “He stands on his toes.”

The Cairn Terrier enjoys playing and requires regular walks. However, this breed can adapt to any environment where it can be a willing member and busybody. Its assertive terrier tendencies are held in check by a competent owner. Find out more on this link

Origins and History

The breed’s origins may be traced back to Scotland. The Cairn’s forebears have been documented in the Western Highlands ever since the early 1600s. They have always had a range of vermin-killing terriers.

The Cairn Terrier was originally described as a distinct breed in 1887. It chased the rats that inhabited the barren game moors’ cairns (piles of stones) and endangered the game there. Although the tiniest of the working Scottish terriers, they were used during packs to chase foxes, otters, and even badgers, which they were more than willing to accomplish. 

Their dense shaggy coat, which shielded them from the weather, and their brave temperament made them ideal candidates for the job. This breed has remained mostly unchanged over time.

Health Issues 

Whereas the Cairn Terrier is a relatively healthy breed, it is susceptible to various genetic eye problems. Thus eye testing is required before breeding. Like many other tiny dog breeds, Terriers might have kneecaps that fall out of position from time to time. Various problems afflict the breed, some of which can be tested for using DNA. Therefore, the breed club keeps a careful eye on health and should be contacted for the most up-to-date data. Read more on this page

Exercise Requirements

Cairn Terrier Dog Breed - Native

The Cairn Terrier is a high-energy breed that requires at least an hour of daily walking, preferably with plenty of fascinating scents when it comes to canine exercise. They’re terriers, so they’ll need plenty of activities to keep their brains and bodies occupied. Dog activities, engaging toys, and, for many, the opportunity to dig!

Feeding and Nutrition

Small dogs have a rapid metabolism, which means they burn energy quickly, even though their small stomachs force them to eat frequently. Small-breed meals are developed with particular amounts of critical nutrients for balanced canine nutrition, as well as smaller kibble sizes to accommodate smaller mouths. It also helps digestion by encouraging chewing.


The Cairn may be little, but it’s so self-assured that it’s easy to overlook its stature. It has the traditional Terrier individualism and no-nonsense demeanor. Yet, it’s a friendly dog that can fit in anywhere, from a city flat to a rural farm. The Cairn is a watchdog, kid playmate, and all-around family companion who is alert, energetic, and interested. You can easily say that its personality is so rich and diverse. 

Cairns and children get along swimmingly when both are properly supervised and trained. Cairns are tough and tolerant of bops on the head or paws stomped on. Even so, it’s critical to keep them safe from a child who doesn’t know how to properly handle a dog.

Despite its tiny stature, don’t assume the Cairn to be a lap dog. It may give you a moment or two of its time, but he has a lot on his plate. Just don’t let them dig up your garden: his huge feet and powerful nails, not to add its terrier tendencies, are ideal for this quest.

The Cairn is intelligent and fast to pick up new information. So no need to shout at him or treat him harshly; as long as he understands you’re in charge, he’ll react to positive reinforcement like praise, play, and goodies. If you’re firm and persistent in what you want of him, he’ll gladly serve as your leader’s follower. Allow this bold and persistent little dog to get the impression that you’re wishy-washy, and he’ll take over your home. 

He’ll get bored with no training, supervision, or proper amounts of play, biting, barking, and digging to keep himself busy. Please don’t let this happen! Keep him busy every day with fascinating walks or treks and enjoyable playtimes, and test his brain – he has a fantastic one — with puzzling toys as well as training that are engaging and ever-changing. Allow him to chase a ball inside on rainy or snowy days, or encourage him to practice hide & seek.


The waterproof, thick coat of the Cairn Terrier should be combed as well as brushed once a week it comes to dog maintenance. The fur should be manually cleaned to exfoliate excess hair during molting, which happens twice a year.


The Cairn has a classic terrier attitude toward dog training, and they’re more eager to please than many other breeds. Therefore, if you can encourage them with fun, prize training, they may attain a surprise high level of performance, even becoming professionals in different kinds of activities.

Because they have a natural desire to hunt as well as chase, it is critical to teach them how to behave properly when they are around people. Still, even then, it is best to keep them on a leash unless you are in a safe, secure location. So what do you think? Is this the right breed for your home or not? 

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