Cairn Terrier

The Cairn may be small, but he’s an active family member who wants to play and play.

Daily Care

Grooming Tips

Cairn Terriers are generally easy keepers, although weekly brushing and combing are recommended, as well as periodic hand-stripping to maintain the coat’s texture.
Having a comb and soft slicker brush handy will help with the grooming tasks. With a new puppy, spending time together in grooming sessions helps to accustom him or her to being worked with and is an opportunity to develop the bond between you.
Check the ears on a weekly basis for signs of infection, irritation, or wax build up. Cleanse regularly with a veterinarian-approved cleanser and cotton ball. Brush the teeth at least once per week to prevent tartar buildup and fight gum disease. Additionally, nails should be trimmed once per month if the dog does not wear down the toenails naturally.

Exercise Tips

Cairn Terriers are quite high-energy characters and they like to be kept busy both physically and mentally. Ideally, they need to be given a minimum of one hour’s exercise every day and if a house boasts a very secure garden, these terriers like nothing more than to spend time outside letting off steam as often as possible during the day.
It’s important to keep these terriers mentally stimulated as a way of preventing boredom from setting in which could lead to a dog finding their own ways of amusing themselves. This is often manifested in some unwanted behaviors which include digging and being destructive around the home.
With this said, Cairn Terrier puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.

Feeding Tips

Cairn Terriers require a small amount of high-quality food to maintain a healthy weight, making the breed an inexpensive one to feed. Take care not to overfeed and turn your Cairn Terrier into a stuffed sausage. Choose a natural dry dog food with human grade meat as a base, rather than a grain, and it should have no added synthetic preservatives or flavorings.
If you get a Samoyed puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it’s important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy’s diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don’t develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it’s best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them a lower quality diet. It’s best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it’s good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It’s also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog’s life by several years so it’s important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Like many large breeds, Saint Bernard can experience bloat, a life-threatening condition where the stomach distends and twists. The causes of bloat aren’t fully understood, but experts agree that multiple, small meals per day and preventing vigorous exercise around mealtimes may help reduce the chances of it happening.

Health Tips

This is a long-lived breed with an average life expectancy of 13 to 14 years. Cairn Terriers are generally healthy dogs, andresponsible breederstest their stock for health disorders and communicate with other dedicated breeders regularly, working together for breed health and preservation of the breed’s unique qualities.


Cairns are very smart and love their families, but they may try to test their owner’s limits, soobedience trainingis necessary. Although they learn quickly, the Cairn may always have the instinct to dig and chase small animals, so new owners should be prepared for these behaviors. Earlysocializationandpuppy training classesare recommended and help to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion.
Puppies should be properly socialized to develop the amiable, outgoing personality that is characteristic of the breed. They’re successful in performance and companion events such as earthdog, barn hunt, obedience, and agility.


The Cairn Terrier is considered to be one of the oldest terrier breeds. They originated in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Cairn Terriers were originally lumped in with theScottish Terrierand theWest Highland White Terrieras one breed.
However, in the 1900s the three began to be bred separately and individual breeds were developed. The Cairn Terrier’s principal duty is that of a ratter. They were utilized by farmers to catch and kill mice, squirrels and other rodents. The Cairn Terrier was originally known as the Short-haired Skye Terrier until they were brought to the United Kingdom’s dog show in 1909.
By the turn of the 20th century, Britain’s terrier fanciers had sorted out the various Scotch earthdogs and began breeding Cairn, Scottish, Skye, and West Highland White terriers as distinct pure breeds. Cairns were exhibited at British dog shows of the era, and the AKC recognized the breed in 1913.
The breed’s public profile received a tremendous boost in 1939, when a Cairn named Terry was chosen to play Toto in MGM’s production of “The Wizard of Oz.”