Cairn Terrier – Friendly Terrier From the Harsh Mountains of Scotland

The Scots love terriers and have developed Cairn Terriers among other breeds. The dog should be versatile, attentive, courageous, and at the same time friendly to his family. The fluffy Scot meets all these requirements and convinces with a successful combination of toughness and affection. The Cairn Terrier is a good choice for families who need “a lot of dogs” of a small size.

Terrier With a Great Desire to Please

The harsh climate defines life in the Scottish Highlands. Back in the Middle Ages, dogs helped people hunt, guarded the yard from rats and foxes, and informed strangers and visitors in advance. The Cairn Terrier is originally from the Highlands and has adapted to a modest life with long active days. These terriers have always been valued and loved by family members, taking on a permanent role and responsibilities on the farm. In the UK, this breed is now often kept as a family dog.


The Cairn Terrier is a “cool dog” in the truest sense of the word. He courageously meets all dangers, be it martens, foxes, or rats. This terrier knows no fear – accordingly, he is very independent and determined. In everyday life, this can certainly lead to a companion dog making decisions for its owner. However, compared to other terrier breeds, the Cairn Terrier is quite reserved and easy to train. His close family ties and willingness to cooperate are firmly rooted in his legacy. He loves to spend time with his people, whether it’s games, long walks in nature, or lounging on the couch.

Training & Maintenance of the Cairn Terrier

Since the Cairn Terrier has rather short legs, he should not climb stairs or jump from high places such as sofas for the first few months. In addition, like most small dogs, he is precocious and quickly develops a noticeable will of his own. He needs clear rules and consistent leadership from the start. Many Cairns love to dig and are true escape masters. So don’t forget to protect your garden from dogs!

Like terriers, Cairns also have a pronounced hunting instinct. But because he is also equipped with a lot of willpower, he is easy to work with. Make sure from the very beginning that he is not successful in hunting. The towline is a valuable aid to free running in the first few months. Only when the recall is reliable is it time for your four-legged friend to explore the world without a fuse. Racing, tugging, and prey play give your dog a suitable substitute for hunting and at the same time strengthen your bond with each other.

Cairn Terrier Care

Cairn Terriers have a coarse but not shaggy coat. If they are regularly combed, they practically do not lose hair. Dog’s leather trim should be professionally trimmed by hand about three to four times a year. It can’t be cut! You should check your ears, eyes, and nails at least once a week. These friendly little dogs can live up to 17 years old.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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