Cairn Terrier: Temperament, Breeders, Price, and Puppies For Sale


Sensitivity to strangers
Affection for family
Suitable for first-time owners
Ease of grooming
Energy level

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The Cairn Terrier: a small, affectionate and ancient Scottish dog…

The Cairn Terrier is a dog breed officially recognized by the FCI and the AKC; we must say that this dog is a true Terrier in all of its characteristics. Lively and happy, it is perfect for those who consider dogs as life companions and also as playmates for fun moments; a real opportunity to smile whenever we watch our Cairn running happily toward us.

Cairn Terrier: Origins

Probably The Cairn Terrier is the oldest Scottish terrier, from this dog breed comes the West Highland White Terrier and the Scottish Terrier. However, the Cairn proudly kept the fame given by its name which is inspired from the Celtic word “cairn” and refers to the typical Scottish stack of stones. And like a stone this little furry dog has endured over time.

Back in the 17th Century this dog breed was already widespread and well-known; some documents from the same century state that Jacob VI from Scotland used to raise Cairn Terriers.

This dog breed is also famous in its homeland under the name of “Short-haired Skye Terrier”, but today is only known as Cairn. During many years the Cairn Terrier attended Dog Shows, but made its debut in the Inverness Dog Show in the year 1909. Nowadays, it is highly popular in England, Canada and the US.

Cairn Terrier: Physical Characteristics

The Cairn Terrier is an agile dog and has a deep chest; it is well-proportioned and well-built but it is not thick. This funny four-legged cutie moves in a loose way and also it is known because of its energy and resistance. Its body physical structure is slim, and was selected and used mainly for otter hunting. This means that this dog needed to know how to move with extreme agility in rocky ground, surely this is the reason the Cairn is not a heavy dog.

In fact, the Cairn Terrier walks forward with long and powerful steps, it has a strong impulse, also it is flexible and moves with a natural and easy elasticity. The coat must be double; the outer coat is bushy and rough but not thick; and the undercoat is softer. As a result it has a resistant coat to cold temperatures and humidity, the typical weather of its homeland.

The permitted standard colors for this cheerful little dog are:

  • Deep Red
  • Sand
  • Wheat
  • Grey or mainly Black

It could have darker colors on the ears and the muzzle, it is even permitted the color grey in all its shades, but the Cairn Terrier should not be completely black or white, or black and tan.

The height to the withers is approximately 9-11 inches (25–30 cm.) and its weight can be around 13 lb (6 kg.); this dog is not really a “purse dog”. In fact, the Cairn Terrier has a temperament that would make it impossible to put it inside a woman’s purse. The muzzle has a foxy expression, adorable and smart; and also it has a big black nose. The ears are small, pointy and straight. Its eyes are hazelnut colored; they are quite deep with long and bushy eyelashes, which sometimes give it a funny expression and sometimes a very serious expression.

Cairn Terrier: Health

The Cairn Terrier has a deceptive appearance, it looks like a delicate dog breed but it is actually very resistant. This dog surely would not make you suffer.

You must pay special attention to its hair; it must be brushed at least once a week and bathe according to the general recommendations. Also, you must regularly cut its hair with a technique called Stripping and Trimming, besides taking good care of its coat will prevent severe problems such as fleas.

As for everything else, the Cairn Terrier does not have any issues worth mentioning, it is a rustic and resistant dog that has an excellent health and an average lifespan of 12 years.

Cairn Terrier: Temperament

As we mentioned before, the Cairn Terrier has a cheerful and lively temperament. Its personality is absolutely wonderful, it is not at all a naive dog; it is agile, alert and hard-working. Besides its joyfulness, the Cairn Terrier is also courageous; its brave and cheerful disposition is well-known by those who own it; and for better or worse they could prove its determination. We must say that it is never aggressive; this dog knows how to be restrained, honest and tenacious.

There are people who can confirm that the Cairn is always full of joy and will to live, otherwise it would not be considered a “real” Cairn Terrier. Until now we have only met real Cairn Terriers and we can assure they are really funny but not suitable for those that are after a quiet and calm dog that respects the night rest.

However, the Cairn Terrier can get adapted to any type of place; it is not disobedient, so this dog can be part of any family, even with children. In fact, if you want, it can be your guardian dog, alerting you if it hears unfamiliar noises. This dog is loyal to its owner, loves playtime and always wants to be the center of attention.

Cairn Terrier: Price and Puppies for Sale

The price of a Cairn Terrier puppy could be around 1100 dollars; 900 English pounds. It is not at all cheap; it is a loved dog in its homeland and has gained popularity in the US and Canada.

There is a passionate community of this dog breed, as you will see on the documentary video we posted below. This makes its price and fame rise up.

Cairn Terrier: Documentary video

A video to describe this dog so you can see the unique Cairn Terrier in action; its adorable face, its well-cared coat, and its lively and cheerful movements, everything in one video.

Cairn Terrier: Breeders

In this section you can find the best registered breeders in countries such as: England, Australia and in the US; but also New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, Scotland, India and South Africa; where you can find all the information you need. It is important to purchase from a reliable breeder, to insure that your puppy has been:

  • Raised to have good character and good health;
  • Carefully selected (its parents were chosen without any genetic diseases);
  • Properly socialized, so that it is not too aggressive or fearful;
  • Vaccinated and well-cared for.

When you adopt a puppy, a reliable breeder provides you with an official veterinarian certificate, in which it is formally stipulated that the animal is in perfect health and dewormed.

You can ask for a pedigree certificate, which allows you to check your dog breed´s purity. An animal with pedigree has certain characteristics that distinguish it among the others.

Now that we have mentioned the most important aspects, you can go to your new four-legged friend, who is certainly waiting for you.


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