Cairn Terrier Dog Breed Information

As the American Kennel Club’s 70th most popular dog breed, the Cairn Terrier is beloved – and for good reason. An testament to its popularity, the Cairn Terrier was one of Hollywood’s original canine stars, playing the role of Toto in the 1939 blockbuster, “The Wizard of Oz.” If you’re thinking of expanding your family, here’s what you need to know about Cairn Terriers.

A Little History
Descending from 15th century terriers in the Scottish Isle of Skye, the Cairn Terrier’s ancestors were bred to exterminate vermin. The word “Cairn” was used to describe a stack of stones used to mark a grave, and such rock piles often attracted mice and other rodents. Given their small size, the Cairn was best-suited to drive-out unwanted visitors. Their lineage is shared with other popular breeds, such as the Skye Terrier and the West Highland Terrier, and in 1912 they were officially recognized as a distinct breed.

What are Cairn Terriers Like?
A member of the Terrier Group, the Cairn is small, weighing less than 14 pounds and standing at a maximum height of 10 inches. With a foxy expression, they have broad heads, wide set ears, and hazel eyes. Their coats are weather resistant, and can be any color but white. Additionally, their coats can change colors many times for several years.

Known for their cheery attitude and alert expressions, Cairn lovers describe this breed, as hardy, fearless, and loyal little pups. In fact, the British breed club’s motto for the Cairn is, “the best little pal in the world.” These bold but sensitive companions enjoy playing with children, and thanks to their sturdy build, they can handle a little roughhousing.

Caring for Cairn Terriers
The Cairn requires daily mental and physical exercise. Make time for a brisk walk, or provide a secure space where your pup can let loose. Their coats should be combed weekly, and stripped twice a year. They are certainly capable of withstanding the elements, but this breed prefers to live indoors. An occasional bath and nail trim will help to keep them clean and comfortable.

Cairn Terriers have one of the longest life expectancies among small dog breeds, living between 12 and 15 years. They are, however, prone to conditions such as Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GCL) 1, craniomandibular osteopathy (CMO), and glaucoma1. You should visit your veterinarian routinely to monitor for signs and symptoms of health conditions.

The Cost
Most breeders charge up to $1,000 to adopt a Cairn Terrier. Pet parents should also be prepared to spend about $1,200 on expenses in the first year, to cover veterinary services, food, and supplies. After that, routine veterinary care can cost about $500.00 each year. Illnesses and injuries can also be expensive; surgery to treat CMO or glaucoma can cost thousands of dollars. With a pet insurance policy from 4Paws, pet parents can focus more on their pet’s health, instead of worrying about the cost.

Sandy Says
Comments from our Chief Pet Officer
The Cairn Terrier is a great breed for apartment life. They are affectionate and friendly with children, making them an excellent addition to almost any household. Because they are highly intelligent, they are relatively easy to train. However, they also have a lot of energy, so they must exercise regularly. 2