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Breed Profile

Cairn Terrier

WEIGHT: 13 to 14 lbs
HEIGHT: 10 inches
COLOR(S): Any color but white.
Cairn Terrier Puppies
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The Cairn Terrier is a peppy, very hardy little terrier. This breed has a compact and strong body with a water-resistant coat and a fox-like expression. It is active and game; it is an effective watchdog. It is also very affectionate and makes a good family dog. Presumably everyone remembers a Cairn called "Toto" in the film "The Wizard of Oz."


The Cairn Terrier is a spirited, hardy, restless little dog. This breed is somewhat independent, but friendly. It is a big dog in a small dog's body. This breed is naturally patient with children and very playful. It is alert, loyal, and mischievous. This dog is very curious, fearless and bold. It is highly intelligent, easily trained and likes to do tricks. This breed is sensitive; it needs firm, but not harsh, training and discipline. Without attention and proper training, the Cairn Terrier can become destructive and/or bark excessively. This breed likes to dig searching for vermin; it is not wise to leave it unsupervised in a landscaped yard. It can be a chaser and should not be left off its lead in an unsecured area. Never leave your Cairn Terrier tied out, as it may fight larger dogs to protect its turf, sometimes with tragic consequences. Females tend to be more independent than males and some breeders feel that males are more affectionate. Some of the breed's talents are: hunting, tracking, watchdogging, agility, competitive obedience, and performing tricks, it also excels at Terrier (Go-To-Ground) trials. This breed will get enough exercise running around a small yard, but if you live in an apartment, it will need a daily walk or a romp in the park.


Weather-resistant double coat with a harsh outer coat and a soft undercoat. Brush several times a week, being gentle with the soft undercoat. A neglected coat soon becomes a sorry, matted mess. Once a month bathe the dog and brush the coat while it dries. Trim around the eyes and ears with blunt-nosed scissors and clip the nails regularly. This breed sheds little to no hair.


Glaucoma, liver shunt, luxating patellas, and hereditary eye diseases. Other health concerns include: skin allergies, globoid cell leukodystrophy, and Legg-Perthes.


Cairn Terriers exercise should consist of free roaming in a fenced yard or daily walks. As an earth dog and digger, a Cairn Terrier will leave holes in your backyard and should be trained not to.


Training should also be taken to secure unwanted barking.

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