The Cairn Terrier dog breed is most likely the oldest of the Scottish Terriers and the one that has changed the least in appearance over the centuries. It is said to be the ancestor of the West Highland White Terrier and the Scottish Terrier; it was born in the island of Skye. Its origins are linked to those of other Scottish terriers. In particular to those of the Skye Terrier. Its name comes from the Celtic term “Cairn”, which indicated the typical Scottish rocks.
Already in the eighteenth century this breed was very well known, but it is said that it appeared in Scotland already in 1500, in fact in some documents of the time we read about these dogs, which were also bred by James VI of Scotland. Initially they were used for hunting mice, as this breed is good for hunting, with the passing of the centuries it has become an excellent companion dog. Moreover, it is a good guard dog, it is good in agility and obedience tests.
Although it was selected for a life in the country, to flush out otters, foxes and badgers and in general to hunt smaller animals, since the beginning of the 1900’s it has increasingly become a city and apartment dog for those who were looking for a small, but active and energetic dog breed.
This breed is widespread in England, Canada and the United States, in Italy very little.
Character of the Cairn Terrier dog breed
The Cairn Terrier is a lively, cheerful, playful dog, in short, an excellent companion; it is also agile, alert and a hard worker. He likes to be in the company of his humans, as he likes to always be the center of attention and especially play with them. He is lively, sometimes too much so you must always have something to offer him, to do, to share with him. Being alone without stimulation is for him a source of frustration, stress and boredom. And sometimes this can prove quite destructive.
He is a small dog with a great temperament and is also very determined and brave, but he is never aggressive. Females tend to be more independent than males and according to some breeders, males become more attached to their owners. It has a tendency to bark a lot if it hears an unaccustomed noise, so it is also excellent as a guard dog. It is necessary to work on the barking during training, otherwise we can find a dog that barks every little noise it hears.
As far as training is concerned, it is very simple with this species; in fact it is a very obedient and patient dog, furthermore it is a sensitive dog and needs firmness but not a too hard and severe training. It gets on very well with children as it never gets tired of playing, and it is a breed that does not give problems to live in an apartment, even if the best thing would be to have access to a garden from the house, so that it can also stay outdoors for a while. He loves the warmth in winter and likes to be in his own special place in the house where he can relax and be on his own. This desire is short-lived, however, and will soon return to play and demand attention.
If socialization has been early, he will have no problem living with another dog or cat.
Appearance of the Cairn Terrier dog breed
The Cairn Terrier is a medium-small dog, the height at the withers for the male is about 31 centimeters for a weight ranging from 7 to 8 kilograms. It has a slender, agile and flexible constitution capable of moving with a very loose gait; the body is robust and compact. The limbs are of medium length, the front ones are not too heavy, the hind ones are strong and muscular. The tail is short but well proportioned and well furred.
The head is small but well-proportioned, also very hairy, the muzzle has a typical fox expression, intelligent and very friendly, the truffle is black, rather large. The ears are small and pointed, the medium sized eyes are generally dark with thick eyebrows that give it that funny look.
The coat is semi-long, while the undercoat is short. The top coat is very abundant and rather hard and can be slightly wavy, while the undercoat is soft and dense.
The colors of the coat are cream, red, gray or almost black and sometimes grizzled, are very typical black shades on the ears and muzzle. The color of the coat can change with increasing age and is water resistant.
Care and Health of the Cairn Terrier Dog Breed
The Cairn Terrier seems to be a delicate breed, instead it is quite hardy, it tolerates both heat and cold well, it is robust and no major diseases are known. It is allergic to fleas and tends to gain weight so it should not be overfed.
It has a life expectancy ranging from 12 to 15 years and even more.
Regarding the care of the coat, it should be brushed several times a week as it is delicate and has a downy undercoat. A bath is also recommended once a month. The hair around the eyes and ears should be trimmed regularly. The Vairn Terrier loses very little hair.