Family Pet Guide > Dogs > Terrier > Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier

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with kids
with seniors
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Training Needs
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Size: Small (10 to 25 lbs.)
Lifespan: Long (12 to 15+ years)
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The Cairn Terrier is a courageous, tenacious, and hard-working little terrier, bred in the Scottish Highlands by farmers to rout rodents from rock piles (called "cairns"). Cairns are shaggy little alarm systems--big dogs in small packages--making them great dogs in city or country, known for their smarts, strength, and weatherproof coat. Cairns are friendly yet independent dogs that get along well with everyone, especially kids, and live actively well into their teens. Cairns seem to have a natural fondness for children, and are very forgiving about any hurt small children may inflict on them. For this reason, however, kids should always be watched and taught carefully how to properly treat their family pet. Don't mistake this small dog for a lap dog, however--Cairns are known as being a "man's dog" and scrappy terriers that aren't overly affectionate or snuggly.

The most famous Cairn of all time was "Toto" in The Wizard of Oz.

General Care

Cairn Terriers are intelligent, curious dogs eager to please their people making them simple to train, but they will get bored easily by repetition so training sessions should be kept short, varied, and interesting. Cairns are very sensitive, and harsh punishment is discouraged. Cairns are great ball players and love long walks, needing only a good romp daily. Be careful off-leash, however--Cairns are instinctive hunters who will take off after real or imagined squirrels, rabbits, and other prey. Cairns are also "diggers", however, who don't like to be left alone outside, so don't expect to leave your dog "tied out" or in a fenced-in yard unattended. The Cairn's shaggy, weatherproof double coat only needs about an hour of brushing per week, but their long teeth should be brushed regularly.

For more information on Cairn Terrier ownership and care, check out the Cairn Terrier Club of America.

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