Cairn Terrier

Breed Details


Exercise Requirements:

Grooming Requirements:


8 kg (approx)

Life Span:

13-16 years (approx)


The Cairn Terrier is a hardy little terrier, with a fox-like expression. The head is broad in proportion to the length. The nose is black. The deep, wide-set eyes are hazel in colour with shaggy eyebrows and topknot. The erect ears are small and set wide apart covered in short hairs. The tail is in proportion to the head with short hair. The shaggy, double, weather-resistant coat has a harsh outer coat with a soft undercoat. The coat comes in any colour except for white, including red, brindle, blackish, sand, and various shades of gray, often with dark ears, muzzle, and tail tip.


The Cairn Terrier originated in the 1500s, in Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye, and is one of Scotland's original terriers. At one point it was considered the same breed as the Scottish Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier up until the 1900s when the breeds began to be bred separately. The Cairn is also said to be related to the Skye Terrier. The Cairn was named for the way it would squeeze down into "cairns" and bark at fox and badger until the farmer could arrive to kill it. "Cairns" were rock dens where badgers and fox lived, usually in piles of small stones used to mark Scottish farm borders and graves.


The Cairn Terrier is an alert, animated, hardy, little dog. Loyal, curious, cheerful, lovable, and friendly, they enjoy playing with children. This breed can be taught to do tricks. A fearless, bold vermin hunter.


These are active little dogs, which need exercise. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs; however, they enjoy a good walk. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe open area off lead, such as a large fenced in yard. That shaggy "natural" looking coat actually takes quite a bit of maintenance and a neglected coat soon becomes a sorry, matted mess. Brush several times a week, being gentle with the soft undercoat. Once a month, bathe the dog and brush the coat while it dries. The Cairn sheds little to no hair.