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Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier At a Glance

Country of Origin:


Breed Group:

AKC (Terrier); ANKC (Terriers); CKC (Terriers); FCI (Terriers); KC (Terrier); UKC (Terrier)


Small. Weight: Male: 14; Female: 13 lbs. Height: Male: 10; Female: 9.5 inches


Shabby, water-resistant double-coat.


Any color but White

Life Span:

14 to 15 years

Breed Profile

Affection Level – 100
Barking Tendencies – 100
Cat Friendly – 60
Cold Weather Tolerance – 80
Exercise Needs – 80
General Health – 70
Grooming Needs – 40
Hot Weather Tolerance – 80
Intelligence – 80
Kid Friendly – 80
Playfulness – 60
Shedding Level – 60
Social Needs – 100
Watchdog Ability – 100

Did You Know?

A Cairn Terrier appeared in “The Wizard of Oz” and his name is Toto.

Cairn Terrier Overview

This is the smallest of the Terrier dog breeds. The Cairn Terrier was originally bred in the Scottish Highlands for their working ability, not their looks. This breed is sturdy and strong, but not overly heavy.

Cairn Terrier Characteristics

This dog breed is smart, resolute and brave. The Cairn Terrier breed is spirited, bossy, extremely intelligent and independent. The breed is quick to give chase and tends to bark at every new sight and sound. These are intense and active dogs.

Cairn Terrier Temperament

This dog breed is lively and somewhat restless, always seeking an adventure. The breed is friendly and loving, yet daring and bold. This dog breed loves to play and adores stimulation. The dog is always loyal and alert with a very mischievous nature. This dog breed has a special affinity to children over the age of six.

Cairn Terrier Care

This dog breed should be brushed several times a week. The hair around the eyes and ears of this dog needs to be trimmed regularly. This dog breed tends to gain weight easily and care should be taken never to over feed. The breed is prone to a number of health issues. This dog breed is especially allergic to fleas. The breed is not well suited to outdoor living and prefers to be inside with their family.

Cairn Terrier Coat

This dog breed has a double coat. They have a rough outer coat and a soft, short, furry under coat. The coat is weather resistant, has a shaggy look and does not require trimming. The dogs shed little to no hair.

Cairn Terrier Training

The dog breed is curious, quick, and eager to learn. This breed is relatively sensitive, requiring firm, but gentle training and discipline. This breed loves to learn new tricks and has the ability to excel at obedience training. Without proper training and stimulation, the breed can become bored and a little destructive.

Cairn Terrier Activity

This dog breed has a tremendous amount of energy. This dog enjoys a daily, brisk walk. They are best suited to a fenced yard with sufficient room to run. The Cairn Terrier is not well suited to apartment or city living. When outdoors, this dog breed requires supervision as they are natural hunters and have a tendency to run off. The Cairn Terrier is excellent at playing ball and is happy to do so for hours.

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