Cairn Terrier Puppies

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The Intelligent, Lively, and Fearless Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier originated in Scotland, where it was used to assist hunters in catching medium-sized game, such as foxes and badgers. Cairns are social dogs who love to be around people and make great family companions.

Cairn Terrier At a Glance

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Cairn Terrier At a Glance

  • Size: 11"-12", 13-18 lbs.
  • Lifespan: 9-15 years
  • Energy Level: medium
  • Coat: Harsh and coarse
  • Shedding: light
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Dog Group: Terrier
  • Common Nicknames: Toto, Cairn

Cairn Terrier Breed Guide

Learn More About Cairn Terriers

  • Temperament

    Cairn Terriers are intelligent, lively, and fearless little dogs with great personalities. They're very friendly and can get along with just about anyone, but may be assertive with other dogs. Cairns are at their happiest when spending time with their families, so they're not the type of dog that can be left alone for long periods of time. Because of how in tune they are with their owners, Cairn Terriers are sensitive and don't like to be scolded. However, they're obedient and eager to please, so you shouldn't have to scold them too often! When given enough exercise, attention, and love, Cairn Terriers make great family companions.

  • Health

    Cairn Terriers are typically very healthy, but they can be at risk for obesity, dental problems, and diabetes.

  • Activity Level

    The Cairn Terrier has a moderate amount of energy. A daily walk is usually enough to take care of a Cairn's exercise needs. These pups also enjoy running around off-leash in a secure, fenced area.

  • Grooming

    The Cairn Terriers' coat is easy to maintain. Weekly brushing keeps their coat healthy, and hand stripping will maintain their coat's texture. It is important to develop a grooming routine early so that brushing and hand stripping aren't viewed as a negative activity.

  • Shedding

    Cairn Terriers will shed very little, and any loose hair that they do have can be hand stripped.

  • Appearance

    Many people are familiar with the Cairn Terrier's appearance because of Toto from The Wizard of Oz, who was a Cairn Terrier. These little dogs are known for their rugged appearance and shaggy coats, which can be cream, deep red, brindle, gray, or black.

  • History

    The Cairn Terrier has its origins in the Scottish Isle of Skye, where it was used to hunt medium-sized game like badgers, otters, and foxes. Particularly, these dogs excelled in getting otters out of the cairns, or mounds of stone that served as landmarks or memorials. At the time, all terrier breeds in Scotland were classified as Scotch Terriers, but a new classification system separated the Scotch Terriers into two categories: Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Skye Terriers. The Skye classification included Cairn Terriers, among other terrier breeds like Scottish Terriers and West Highland White Terriers. At the time, the three breeds were only distinguished by color, but they all developed into distinct breeds in the early 1900s. Cairn Terriers came to the United States around 1913, and eventually gained much fame through Toto from the Wizard of Oz, who was a Cairn Terrier.