If your wondering if a Cairn Terrier is the right pet for you, here's a guide on common traits & characteristics to help you out.

Cairn Terriers were one of the original breeds of Scotland, originating in the Highlands and the West Cost Islands.
  The Cairn has been bred since time immemorial for his ability to go to earth, or claw his way through piles of rocks ("cairns") to get to the vermin hiding in these areas. Although not granted the name "Cairn Terrier" 'til 1910, for the show ring, he had previously been known as the "Short-Haired" or "Prick Eared" Skye Terrier.
They can be any colour except black, White or Black & Tan. That is any colour from Wheaten to Red, Red Brindle, Grey Brindle or Dark Grey Brindle.

Ideal Owners
Cairns love to have the company of people; love to sit on the couch with Grandma or Grandpa; go for a jog with Mum & Dad; tear around the backyard with the kids &; relax with all the family. If you want a loyal and loveling friend and have some love to share, or maybe you are a little lonely, with a Carin you have a friend who loves to listen, doesn't answer back, keeps your knee or feet warm and protects you and yours.

Average Life Span
The average life span of a Cairn is 12-15 years, with some living on to 18-20 years. Like humans, puppies' parents pass on to their progeny genes which can govern life span etc. Humans, by overeating, can shorten their lives. So, naturally, dogs by being overfed can die at a younger age.

Size & Weight
There is no significant difference between dogs and bitches. Ideal size is 27-30cm at the shoulder and weight 7-8kg.

The Cairn has not been given the title of "The Best Little Pal In The World" for nothing. The position he holds in the hearts and minds of people who have owned one or more is renown. He is companionable, amenable, loyal, loving, inquisitive, intelligent, yet with a mischievous sparkle in the eye that makes him so very lovable.

Being a dog that has to work in conjuction with other dogs they do not look for trouble but will defend their territory and family with great courage and devotion. Character and personality go together. Without character you cannot have personality. With a Cairn, there is nothing better than to be sitting reading a book, watching television or just relaxing on the couch and having a wet nose or paw pushed into your hand and a pairof bright eyes saying "I love you and you love me too.".

Breeding plays an important part in the temperament of a Cairn but let us not forget that temperament can be influenced by the environment that they live in. This is, happy home results in a happy Cairn, neurotic owner - neurotic dog!!

Compatibility with other pets
Sometimes there does need to be an adjustment period when introducing a Cairn to a family that already has pets. Do not try to rush things. Introduce different pets in a quiet, relaxed manner. Cairns are a very adaptable breed. When introducing a new pup to other pets, never make more of a fuss of one over the other/others. Never try to force the pace and expect pets to become "buddies" within five minutes. If you do, you could end up with a vet bill!

Care Requirements


Brush your Cairn with a fairly stiff bristle brush at least twice a week. First brush against the lay of the coat to remove loose, dead coat, then brush with the lay of the coat and then comb to make him/her "beautiful" once more.
If you walk your Cairn on gravel or a hard surface, the toenails will naturally be word down. But occasionally you may need to trim them back with nail clippers.
A hard biscuit each day will help to clean tartar from the teeth.
A Cairn is a double-coated dog. It is advisable that the top coat is stripped out at the onset of summber. Your breeder could help you with this or recommend someone to do it for you.


Exercise is most important, as it keeps your Cairn trim and builds muscle. By taking your Cairn for a walk, you can also get YOUR exercise.


All breeders registered with the "Cairn Terrier Club of Victoria Inc." are bound by a code of ethics to sell a pup in good health and with its first vaccination and not of an age younger than eight weeks. It is then up to you (the new owner) to have the next two vaccinations given at the appropriate times and follow up with an annual booster.


You, as a responsible owner, need to make sure all fences are of a suitable height and have no loose panels. If in doubt, put some netting around your fences, but remember, the weakest part in any fence is the gate. The are very easily opened and often left that way. We do suggest, if you are going out and can't take your Cairn with you, build a secure run where he/she could be locked away, safe and sound.


Dogs, like us, can become bored and if bored can get into mischief, sometimes causing barking if left alone all day. Give your dog toys to help alleviate boredom.








© Cairn Terrier Club Victoria, Australia 2006. Design by Tamara Whalley.