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Cairn Terrier

Personality:Cheerful, alert, busy and independent-minded

Coat & Grooming:The Cairn is a double-coated breed; regular brushing and occasional professional grooming required

Energy Level:Very Active; Cairns are active, curious dogs who appreciate lots of long walks and places to explore

Originally: Scotland

Nicknames: Cairn

Size: Small

Meet the Cairn Terrier

​Cairns are about 10 inches high at the shoulder, about 15 inches long, and should weigh 14 pounds for males and 13 pounds for females. They aren’t heavy-boned, but they’re strong, well-muscled little guys when in good condition. Cairns should give the picture of a small, shaggy, alert dog, with head, tail, and ears up, eyes shining with intelligence, and ready for anything. They come in several colors, and it’s near impossible to predict adult color based on the puppy coat.

What's Their Story?

​Once upon a time in Scotland, a mound of stones used as a boundary or to mark a grave was called a cairn. Foxes and other furry pests would live within and beneath these rock piles. The Cairn Terrier was developed by Scottish farmers to dig into cairns and rout out the critters. The Cairn’s original job description explains their personality: independent, fearless, tough, smart, alert. These traits are all necessary for digging into a cairn alone and confronting sharp-toothed rodents.

What are they Like?

​A British club devoted to the breed says Cairns are the “best little pal in the world.” They’re small enough to snuggle on the loveseat with Grandma and sturdy enough to romp on the lawn with the kids. And Dad won’t be embarrassed to be seen walking this small dog—Cairns may not be big, but they’re not foofy little lapdogs. They do best with lots of close contact with their family, and should be trained with positive reinforcement and a firm but loving touch.

See more Cairn Terrier photos here

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