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The Cairn Terrier is perhaps the oldest of the
purebred British terriers. In Scotland, where
the breed originates, it was a common custom to
pile stones to mark a grave or property boundaries.
Small, wild animals often made their homes in
these "cairns." In the Western Highlands
and Isles of Scotland for the last 500 years or
so, breeders kept hounds for traditional hunting
and packs of terriers to flush out the smaller
vermin from the cairns, hence the name "Cairn
Terrier." The purest strains of these well-muscled,
energetic, and short terriers came from the Isle
of Skye and had been working there since at least
1810. The breed was officially recognized in 1910
in England, and soon after became popular in North
America as well. Cairn Terriers have adapted well
to city life and make fine family companions.
height for a Cairn Terrier is 10" (25.4cm)
for dogs, 9.5" (24.1cm) for bitches
weight for a Cairn Terrier is 14 lbs (6.2 kg)
for dogs, 13 lbs (5.8 kg) for bitches
Coat Type: The
coat of the Cairn Terrier has a profuse, hard
outer-coat and a short, soft, dense undercoat,
making it very weather-resistant. All colors are
acceptable except white. Regular brushing is required
and some hand-stripping may be required to maintain
the correct outline of Cairn Terrier's coat.
Affectionately referred to as "the best little
pal in the world," the Cairn Terrier is merry,
affectionate, and lively. Puppies can take up
to two years to settle into "calm" family
living, as they are extremely active.
Health Problems: The
Cairn Terrier is generally a very healthy breed.
Some health issues include hip dysplasia, eye
problems (cataracts, PRA, corneal dystrophy...),
Von Willebrand disease, luxating patella and Legg-Calvé-Perthes
syndrome. The average life span of a Cairn Terrier
is 15 years.
Although the breed has existed for several hundred
years in the British Isles, when it came time
to designate the breed officially, there was quite
a dispute as to what it should be named. Because
it had strong ties to the Isle of Skye, fanciers
referred to it as the Short-haired Skye Terrier,
much to the dismay of the Skye Terrier breeders.
In 1910, fanciers at last decided to name their
breed the Cairn Terrier to eliminate the confusion
that had arisen over the two breeds.
AKC: Group 4 - Terriers
ANKC: Group 2 - Terriers
CKC: Group 4 - Terriers
FCI: Group 3 Section 2 Small-sized Terriers
KC: Sporting - Terrier Group