Cairn Terrier


A compact and tough little dog previous bred for hunting. Cairns are cheerful, lively and alert. They make great companions for children and tolerate/enjoy lots of playtime. They are bold and inquisitive, but like all terriers, are strong minded at times. They are affectionate and demand a lot of attention, but give a lot of love and fun in return.

Minimum Exercise:

Exercise/Activity Level: Medium to high. At least 1.5 hours a day in total. Cairns have what seems like boundless energy. They need a good garden to run around, long daily walks and plenty of playtime. Will become bored and destructive and bark a lot if not given the exercise and stimulation they require. At least 1 hour a day walking plus lots of playtime.

Size: 10-13 inches

Weight: 13-17 lbs

Colour: Grey, cream and tan, with a ‘salt n pepper’ effect of darker hairs in their coat, especially around the face and ears

Town or Country: Both

Low Allergy: Yes

Best Suited for: Highly active families, singles and couples who like playtime, can give strong leadership and would prefer a dog with a protective nature that will sound the alarm. Ok for first time owners if they like a challenge.

Group: Terrier

Originally From: Scotland

Original Purpose: Working. Hunting rats. Now mostly companion dogs.

Living Space: Medium. Cairns are small, but busy and inquisitive dogs. They need a good sized garden to play in. They will dig!

Coat: Medium, rough

Grooming: Medium to high. Brushed and combed once a week and have the coat stripped twice a year during the moulting season (spring and autumn).

Children: High. They like rough play and do well with older children say 7/8 years upwards who will entertain them.

Sociability with strangers: Wary of strangers and will bark. Makes a good watch dog.

Sociability with animals or other dogs: High. However needs firm socialisation and training as a puppy to accept other household pets. Generally fine with other dogs, but will stand their ground if challenged.

Trainability: High. Intelligent and love to please, but still have a stubborn side. Needs a firm alpha pack leader.

Noise Level: High. Will bark excessively if left alone and ignored. Needs plenty of exercise to overcome this. Will also watch the house by barking at strange things and people.

Known Health Issues: Very hardy

Lifespan: 12-15 years

Special Needs: Should not be overfed as they can easily put on weight    Send article as PDF