BREED DESCRIPTION & INFORMATION
Ch. Uniquecottage Gold Skye (Charlie)
Photo courtesy: Chriscairn Kennel
Note: The breed registries indicated above are the most recognized all-breed registries. The breed may also be recognized by other registries not indicated here. For further details about dog registries, please see the document: Dog Breed Registries in North America.
* The FCI is the World Canine Organization, which includes 84 members and contract partners (one member per country) that each issue their own pedigrees and train their own judges. The FCI recognizes 339 breeds, with each being the "property" of a specific country. The "owner" countries of the breeds write the standards of these breeds in co-operation with the Standards and Scientific Commissions of the FCI, and the translation and updating are carried out by the FCI. The FCI is not a breed registry nor does it issue pedigrees.
Approximately 28-31 cms (11-12 inches) at withers, but in proportion to weight.
Note: The AKC Standard indicates height for males is 10 inches and females 9½ inches.
Ideal weight is 6-7.5 kgs (14-16 lbs)
Note: The AKC Standard indicates weight for males at 14 lbs and females 13 lbs.
A Brief History of the Cairn Terrier Breed:
Until 1873, Terriers originating from Scotland were grouped together as Scotch Terriers. At this time, they were separated into two groups: the Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Skye Terriers. The Scottish Terrier, West Highland White Terrier and the Cairn Terrier were grouped within the Skye Terriers classification. All three of these breeds were developed from the same stock which originated in the islands and highlands of western Scotland and quite often were found in the same litter, distinguished only by colour. By 1881 a club for Hard-Haired Scotch Terriers was formed and the first standard was approved in 1882. Toward the end of the 19th century and early in the 20th century, breed fanciers started to breed separate lines. By 1908, the stud books were opened to the West Highland White Terrier and in 1909 classes were offered at the show at Inverness for "Short-Haired Skyes." This name, however, was found to be confusing and was eventually changed to "Cairn Terrier of Skye" and then shortened to simply the Cairn Terrier.
References and Additional Information:
- Cairn Terrier History from the American Kennel Club
- History of the Cairn Terrier from the Cairn Terrier Club of America
The Cairn is a happy, outgoing, independent, sturdy little dog who thrives on human companionship. He is very active, inquisitvie and energetic. Confident and fearless, he has been described as a "big dog trapped in a small dog's body." Extremely protective of his home and family, the Cairn makes an excellent watch dog who will always alert his family to approaching strangers.
The Cairn was originally bred to hunt fox, badger, otter and other vermin. He is a hardy little dog with a typical terrier temperament. Very intelligent, trainable and long-lived, the Cairn generally remains playful and active well into his senior years. He enjoys all types of dog sports, including agility and flyball.
The typical Cairn Terrier is somewhat independent yet very people-oriented and many seem to have an affinity for children. As a breed that was bred to hunt, the Cairn will give chase to all types of game (squirrels, cats, rabbits, other dogs, etc.) and inherently loves to dig. Therefore, a securely fenced yard and supervision around gardens are a must as is proper training from a young age.
In physical appearance, the Cairn is not as low to the ground as the Sealyham Terrier or the Scottish Terrier. The male Cairn should weigh 14 pounds and the female 13 pounds and should always appear in proportion to these weights. The breed still has very large teeth, large feet with thick pads and strong nails, and strong and muscular shoulders. The Cairn comes in several colours and the coat colour of the adult dog can differ substantially from the puppy coat. Changes in colour can continue for years with most brindles eventually becoming very dark and some wheatens and reds darkening also while others remain light.
The Cairn Terrier breed is generally very healthy and has an average life expectancy of 13-15 years, remaining active and playful well into his teen years. However, like all breeds, they are susceptible to certain health issues of a genetic nature. If you are considering the adoption of a Cairn Terrier puppy, or any breed, it is very important to be selective in choosing a responsible and reputable breeder. Ensure that the prospective puppy's parents have all health clearances. Breeding of any dog should not be done until after they have been proven to be free of evidence of significant hereditary diseases. (For more information on selecting a breeder, see the articles on the main Breed Listing and Breeders page.)
Recommended Health Screening:
For the Cairn Terrier, the CHIC* database includes health screenings for:
- Patellar Luxation
- Eye Examination by a board Ophthalmologist
- Congenital Cardiac Database
- Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GCL)
Additional Health Resources:
- Health Related Concerns Genetic Anomalies of the Cairn Terrier Due to advances in canine medicine, health problems are being treated, prevented, and/or avoided by careful breeding. The problems listed at the Cairn Terrier Club of America do occur occasionally in the Cairn Terrier.
- Canine Inherited Disorders Database Cairn Terrier
- Health and Nutrition Growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website which includes information on several health and nutrition related issues.
- Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) Providing a source of health information for owners, breeders, and scientists that will assist in breeding healthy dogs. CHIC is a centralized canine health database jointly sponsored by the AKC/Canine Health Foundation (AKC/CHF) and the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA).
- AKC Canine Health Foundation Working towards developing scientific advances in canine health.
- Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF)
- Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA)
- Ontario Veterinary College (OVC)
- University of Pennsylvania Hip Improvement Program (PennHip)
- HealthGene HealthGene Corporation is the leading provider of veterinary DNA diagnostic services in Canada.
- Labgenvet Laboratory of Veterinary Genetics is a Canadian diagnostic laboratory that offers a comprehensive service of DNA tests for veterinary genetic diseases.
- CKC Breed Standard
- AKC Breed Standard
- UKC Breed Standard
- The Kennel Club (UK) Breed Standard
- FCI Standard No. 4
The Cairn Terrier's coat requires regular and thorough brushing. (Shedding is minimal if brushed and combed weekly.) Hair around the feet and between the pads should be kept trimmed. Of note: Many Cairns are allergic to flea bites; therefore it is important to ensure that your Cairn is free of fleas.
- Grooming Your Cairn
- Grooming This section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website includes tips, articles and information covering all aspects of dog grooming along with a listing of Groomers from across Canada.
The Cairn Terrier is an intelligent and curious little dog who is very quick to learn. It is important from the beginning to let your Cairn know who is in charge; however, harsh punishment is never needed for this sensitive breed. Training should be done using firm, consistent and positive reinforcement methods. Training sessions should always be fun and challenging to avoid boredom.
- Training For training information, see this growing section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website for tips, articles, as well as listings of training centres across Canada.
Choose from a wide variety of items from Dogwise.com
- Clubs, Sports & Activities For information on the many sports and activities you can get involved in with your dog.
- Working Dogs The Working Dogs section of the Canada's Guide to Dogs website provides information and listings of organizations that are involved in various dog jobs, such as Guide Dogs, Therapy Dogs, Police Dogs, Protection Dogs, and much more.
- cairn-list Cairn Terrier Discussion Yahoo! Group
- CanadaCairns Cairn Terriers of Canada Yahoo! Group