The Cairn Terrier

Exercise Requirements  
Grooming Requirements  
Weight8 Kg (approx)
Life Span13-16 Years (approx)


The Cairn is a medium sized dog, shaggy coated in appearance. He is 11 to 12 inches in height and around 7 to 8 kgs. He comes in a variety of colours from the palest wheaten to the darkest brindle. Cream, wheaten, red, grey or nearly black and brindles in all these colours are normal. His coat is double coated with a harsh outer coat and soft undercoat.

He is a normally balanced dog with equal body and leg length with a natural tail carried gaily. He has and expressive expression with a slightly shorter foreface, normal scissor bite and prick ears.


The Cairn is not a man made breed: he evolved naturally over hundreds of years in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. His ancestors were kept to hunt and kill vermin. Wach Scottish Laird had his own "cullach de madaidhean"(pack of dogs) and crofters had their own Madah or house dog.

In the early 20th century, there was much discussion and disagreement about the name for the breed, but eventually "Cairn Terrier" was agreed. In 1911, a Standard of points for the Cairn Terrier was drawn up, and this was a basis for the present-day Standard by which Cairns are judged.


He is a hardy dog, active, fearless, assertive but not aggressive. He has a lovely nature, friendly and loves being with the family. He is equally good with children and adults. This is a dog that has been bred to hunt vermin and digging is quite normal. A sand box or area for digging will save little pot holes in your garden.

The Cairn is a really sociable dog and it is not recommended that he is left for long times on his own. The Cairn is a dog that should be an integral part of the family. Two is better than one if you are not able to be at home for long periods. As with all Terriers the owners must be in charge and be the top dog in the family.

Care / Grooming

A Cairn needs a balanced diet with a good quality dry dog food. A general rule is, if you would eat the food yourself, then it is suitable for your Cairn. He thrives on a varied diet, raw meat, raw vegetables and fruit and breakfast cereals or dried wholemeal bread. Fresh clean water should be available at all times inside and out for your dog.

When you purchase your Cairn he should come with a diet sheet and also his vaccination card showing the date of his first injection. He should have been wormed regularly and you will need to continue this also taking into consideration, heartworm treatment and flea or tick treatments as well.

His toe nails should also be trimmed regularly as too long nails will spoil the way the pupy walks and he will scratch you as well.

A Cairn has a double coat that is low shedding but will need to be removed regularly either by clipping or stripping a few times a year. Regular grooming will keep the dog clean but bathing is fine when necessary.


The Cairn Terrier is generally a healthy happy dog with few problems. They do have a tendancy to become fat as they never say no to seconds.

Find Cairn Terrier Breeders
View Cairn Terrier Puppies for Sale | View Cairn Terrier Older Dogs for Sale