Meet the Cute and Caring Cairn Terrier What Makes This Energetic Breed Special

Cairn Terriers photo
Small Breed X-Small Breed Patella Luxation Flea Allergy Dermatitis von Willebrand's disease (vWD) Cairn Terrier

Is the Cairn Terrier Right for You?

  • 1 Cairn Terriers are the perfect companion or family pet due to their playful and protective attitude.
  • 2 They do not enjoy being left alone and may not be a good choice for someone with a busy lifestyle.
  • 3 Cairn Terriers are great with children due to their restless personality.


Named for the โ€œcairns,โ€ or rocky holes, these terriers would crawl down in order to catch a fox or badger, the Cairn Terrier is one of Scotlandโ€™s original terriers. Dating back to the early 16th century, this breed of terrier was bred to track, hunt, and kill vermin, as well as being an effective watchdog. Being a clever and obedient breed, the Cairn Terrier has also had a career in entertainment. In fact, one of Hollywoodโ€™s most famous dogโ€™s is a Cairn Terrier, and that dog is Toto from The Wizard of Oz.

Quick Facts

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    12-15 years

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    Hair Length


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    Male Height

    10-13 inches (25-33 cm)

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    Male Weight

    14-18 pounds (6-8 kg)

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    Female Height

    9-12 inches (23-30 cm)

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    Female Weight

    13-17 pounds (6-8 kg)

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    Litter Size

    4-6 puppies


The Cairn Terrier is an excellent companion as well a good family pet. A hyperactive dog, the Cairn Terrier can be incredibly affectionate, brave, and can be easily trained. They are, however, highly sensitive and do not like to undergo a strict training session. In fact, they are good companions for children because of their impatient, restless nature and high indoor activity. The dog always loves to be attended by their owner and doesnโ€™t like to be left alone. Male Cairn Terriers also tend to exhibit a strong tendency to protect their territory and are always prepared for a fight with other male dogs..


All colors are acceptable in show dogs with the exception of white. Brindle, black, tan, sand, red, and gray are often found in the same litter.

Health Concerns

The normal lifespan of a Cairn Terrier is 12-15 years. The most common health problems that affect Cairn Terriers are:


A powerful, courageous, and well-built dog, the Cairn Terrier has a beautiful, luxuriant bushy outer coat and a smooth silky undercoat, with red, brindle, blackish, sand, and gray shades. The dog has a broad head with hairy topknot and eyebrows, black colored nose, a strong muzzle, and a broad, sturdy skull. They have dark eyes and small erect ears, with a short and hairy tail. The average height of the breed ranges from 10 to 12 inches and they weigh 13 to 16 pounds.

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