Cairn Terrier

Terrier Group

Adult and puppy Cairn Terriers against white background

Height at Shoulders

9-10 in

Weight

13-14 lbs

Life Expectancy

13-15 yrs

History

The Cairn Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds, originating in the Scottish Highlands as a hunting dog. Their name came from the cairns in the region that they would so often chase quarry between. Up until the early 1900's, the Cairn Terrier was lumped under the name Skye Terrier with a few other Scottish terrier breeds. In fact, Cairn Terriers began showing up at dog shows in the United Kingdom in 1909 under the name "Short-haired Skye Terriers". Opposition from Skye Terrier breeders lead to the official naming of Cairn Terriers as their own breed. One strange characteristic of this breed is that most dogs are left handed, which correlates to superior performance in tasks related to scent.

Breed Characteristics

While not all Cairn Terriers will display the exact characteristics typical of the breed, most share a personality and temperament can be generalized by the characteristic rankings below. 

Intelligence

Affection Towards Family

Friendliness Towards Strangers

Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

Exercise Needs

★★★★★

★★★★★

★★★★☆

★★★★☆

★★★★☆

Energy Level

Sensitivity

Noise Level

Prey Drive

Shedding

★☆

★☆

★☆

★★★☆☆

Intelligence

★★★★★


Affection Towards Family

★★★★★


Friendliness Towards Strangers

★★★★☆


Friendliness Towards Other Dogs

★★★★☆


Exercise Needs

★★★★☆


Energy Level


Sensitivity

★★★★☆


Noise Level

★☆


Prey Drive

★☆


Shedding

★☆

Common Traits

Happy, fun-loving, and playful

Classic terriers that love to bark, dig, chew, and chase small animals

Thrive on attention and companionship- may become destructive and unhappy if left alone for long

Curious and quick to learn, but also independent and a little stubborn

Have a "soft" personality and don't respond well to harsh training or scolding