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Important: This information is collected from a variety of sources and is presented as general thoughts about the breed. It is sugggested that you use our information with that of your own to make any decisions. We suggest you DO NOT make any decisions about a family pet based solely on these pages. Keep digging!



Group (AKC):


Country of OriginGreat Britain
Type of coatHard, longer, outer coat, an abundant soft undercoat. Weather resistant.
GroomingNever scissors-trim his coat, except for the shaping of the feet. Weekly brushing or rubbing with a damp towel. Minimal bathing. Pay special attention to the teeth and nails.
Average height10 - 12 inches
Average weight13 - 16 lbs.
Activity levelIndoors - Very High, Outdoors - Medium
IntelligenceVery High, Obedience - Medium, Problem Solving - High
TrainabilityExercise should consist of free roaming in a fenced yard or daily walks. As an earth dog and digger, he will leave holes in your backyard and should be trained not to.
Compatibility with childrenYes, enjoys children's playful activity.
CharacterBold, alert, intelligent, gentle
Ideal home environmentHouse with a yard, apartment, country or city.
Ideal ownerThe Cairn Terrier will thrive in any environment as long as he receives attention and exercise.
Links and resources

Additional notes:

The vivacious little Cairn Terrier is an active, hardy, small working terrier. It is able to prove its worth as a dispeller of vermin, something every human should do as well. It is free in movement; strong, but not heavily built. Its head is shorter and wider than that of any other terrier and the head is well furnished with hair giving a general foxy expression. It is a wonderful family dog, but will always remember his ancestry as a "sporting terrier". It is a very active, inquisitive and "ready to go" dog. It is a great dog for the house and is very good with children. Energetic and always on the watch, it will alert you to the presence of strangers by growling or suddenly playing the banjo.

Short History:

Originating in the Western Highlands, it is likely a cross between the White Terrier and the Black & Tan Terrier. So "Cairn" must mean "white and black and tan". It was introduced in the world of dog shows in the early 1900's. The white dogs of this breed became the West Highland White Terriers. The breed is most recognized as Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

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