The Cairn Terrier belongs to the so-called low-bred terriers (FCI group 3). It is one of the oldest British or Scottish terrier species. A lover of the breed once described these dogs as leprechauns. And if you look at these little rascals, you can guess why.
The small pointed ears sit alertly on the head and there is usually an enterprising gleam in the eyes. The short shaggy coat always makes a "Cairnie" look a little daring. Yes, you can see the pixie in these lovable dogs!
Their shoulder height is only about 28 - 31 cm when fully grown. The dogs weigh 6 - 7.5 kg. Thus they belong to the rather small and compact dog breeds.
It is important not to underestimate the Cairn because of its small size. As a terrier he has a strong hunting instinct. You must know this if you want to get a dog of this breed. This hunting instinct can not and should not be suppressed, it is in the blood of the dogs. However, you can train and control it well with the right consistency.
Formerly they were bred for hunting rats, foxes, wild cats and martens. This has instilled a certain independence in the Cairn Terrier. Sometimes this is confused and has given the Cairnie a reputation for stubbornness. However, this is not usually the case.
Dogs of this breed are intelligent and attentive. They make their own decisions when they feel it is necessary. But they are also very docile and people-oriented. Cairn Terriers want to please their owner. Therefore, despite their independence, they are easily trainable with some consistency.
If you have a Cairn Terrier around, you will immediately notice the remarkable cheerfulness of these dogs. Mostly up for playing, always the mischief in the neck and nimble around. Cairnies are real "good mood dogs"!
At the same time, they are also remarkably sensitive to the mood of their people and many a time become the animal comforter.
Since they are also up for any fun and just Often very good-natured towards children, they are great family dogs. But they also feel comfortable with individuals. Their great adaptability makes them the ideal companion dog for almost everyone.
To their origin as fox and rat catchers Cairn Terriers also have their Fearlessness and self-confidence thanks to them. Despite their small size, they know how to hold their own. They are not aggressive at all and do not tend to bark more.
Their shaggy coat gives you a smart look. Bred standard coat colors are cream, gray, reddish and dark brown. Often the coat is also brindle. The colors black and white are not desired in breeding, but sometimes occur. Typical for all colors is a dark mask on the face.
The right food
In general, Cairn Terriers are very hardy dogs that have a long life expectancy. However, as with many small dogs, there is a certain tendency to the Patellar luxation. This is the name given to the patella popping out of the guide. This painful injury can be promoted by wrong nutrition. Therefore, you should pay attention to some points when feeding.
Risk factors for patellar luxation are obesity and poorly developed muscles. Cairn Terriers generally tend not to the former. These dogs are so agile by nature that overweight does not occur with healthy and sensible feeding.
Sensible feeding means first and foremost: pay attention to your dog and his needs. No two dogs are alike. Although many Cairnies are very agile, there are also calmer contemporaries. Perhaps your dog is a senior citizen and not as agile. In these cases, the amount of food must be adjusted to the level of activity.
Likewise, the rule of thumb is that the amount fed must be adjusted to the size of the dog. This is especially true in puppyhood.
To support healthy muscle tissue, you should make sure to feed protein-rich foods on a regular basis. These include poultry, offal, dairy products and fish.
However, the same as with all dogs applies to the Cairn Terrier. A balanced and varied diet is the basis for health. Taboo is for every dog sweets! This damages the tooth substance and can cause problems for the kidneys.
Cairn Terrier Care
The amount of grooming required for a Cairn Terrier is quite low. Their shaggy coat is weather resistant and dirt repellent. This is due to their original purpose as hunting dogs in the Scottish Highlands. Dogs that are used there must be weatherproof.
It is sufficient if your Cairnie thoroughly brushed with a coarse comb once a week. This removes any stuck dirt and prevents vermin. Too frequent brushing or combing can even be harmful to the structure of the coat.
The coat of the Cairnies is double-layered. Under the rough and robust top coat is soft undercoat. This warms and protects the dog. You should avoid damaging this undercoat by brushing too often. It is also not advisable to shear your dog to protect the undercoat!
About three to four times a year, your Cairn Terrier's coat should be trimmed. This means plucking out dead hair. This does not hurt the dogs. It is necessary so that the coat can grow back healthy and beautiful.
If you are unsure, ask an experienced breeder or dog owner. You can easily show yourself the right technique and your dog will not mind at all. It is important to get the dog used to trimming as a puppy.
Care also includes the Keeping the ears clean. To do this, if necessary, remove fallen hair. Clean the ears carefully with a soft cloth. The ear must get air, otherwise dogs are prone to ear infections.
You should also clean the eyes from dirt with a cloth from time to time. This likes to collect in the corners of the eyes and can lead to infections.
Cairn Terriers are smart and clever dogs that love to play. You can get an assortment of toy which keeps your dog mentally fit. Also Clicker Training could be fun for your Cairnie. The very docile little dogs want to please their human.
Cairn Terrier like to make small search games. You need the Regular head workto feel busy. As a reward for success, you can get a basic stock of healthy treats.
For the care of the coat is enough to use a special Dog brush with wire bristles. A coarse zinc comb rounds off the equipment.
Origin & History
The Cairn Terrier is a real Scotsman. His name is derived from the Gaelic word for cairn. It refers to the fox holes and rat burrows where he hunted.
It is known that as early as the 16th century Scottish clans kept small terrier-like dogs. Different clans had different breeding directions. Gradually, this evolved into what we know today as the Cairn Terrier.
Probably he is the oldest of the four Scottish terrier species. Only in 1911, however, they were the last of these four also officially recognized as a breed.
Around 1910, these dogs also became fashionable in neighboring England. The then King George V brought a Cairn Terrier from his vacation in Scotland. The public was enthusiastic and the interest in these dogs increased.
At that time, there were still white Cairns as well as a long-haired breeding form. These were later bred as separate breeds for better differentiation. From the Cairn, the long-haired Skye Terrier has emerged.
And the white West Highland White Terrier is also a relative of the Cairns. Until the 1920s, white Cairn Terriers were "sorted out" from a litter and registered as West Highland Terriers. In the meantime, both forms and colors are bred separately.
Today, Cairns are widespread and popular throughout Europe. In Germany they are known and bred since the 20s. Also in Canada and the USA you can find lovers and clubs today, which are dedicated to the smart little Scotsman.