Cairn Terrier Dog Breed Information, Images, Characteristics, Health

Basic Information - Cairn Terrier for Sale

Terrier dog
United Kingdom
Height Male:
25 - 33 cm9 - 13 inches
Height Female:
23 - 33 cm9 - 13 inches
Weight Male:
5 - 8 kg11 - 18 pounds
Weight Female:
5 - 8 kg11 - 18 pounds
Life Span:
12 - 15 Years
Litter Size:
2 - 10
Other Names:
Cairn, Toto Dog
Colors Available:
Black, Brindle, Cream, Wheaten, Red, Grey
Medium length and wiry
Affectionate, Alert, Cheerful, Courageous, Curious, Energetic, Friendly, Independent, Intelligent, Lively, Loving, Loyal, Outgoing, Playful, Responsive, Social, Stubborn, Territorial
Low Maintenance
Kids Friendly:
New Owners Friendly:

History - Cairn Terrier for Sale

cairn terrierThe Cairn Terrier originates in the Scottish Highlands. This feisty little dog was given the name Cairn, as he used to hunt prey between the Scottish cairns. At first the dog was grouped as a ‘Skye Terrier’way back in the 1900s with the Scottish and West Highland White Terrier. Then the different breeds began to be bred separately.

The name Cairn Terrier didn’t appear in print till 1887. It was in 1912 that the Kennel Club of the United Kingdom recognized the Cairn Terrier.

Description - Cairn Terrier for Sale


cairn terrier puppy - descriptionThe small sturdily built working Terrier is intelligent and courageous. Bright-eyed, he is small and active and he just loves to work- and party hard with his human family. You’ll see if you’ve got a ball you want to throw for him, his tail is quivering in anticipation and his ears are erect and alert to any noise. He is smart, independent and courageous.

Coat of Many Colors:

The Cairn Terrier has a tough, weather-resistant coat that can be any color but not white. He has a waterproof double coat – the outer one being wiry while the undercoat is soft. You’ll find the coat in man colours such as grey, black, red and brindle with dark points on the ears and muzzle.

The interesting thing with a Cairn is that when you get a puppy, you can’t be sure what color he will end up being as it changes over the years. The ears are fox-like, small and erect, and the natural medium-to-short tail is held straight out.

Characteristics - Cairn Terrier for Sale

cairn terrier dog - characteristicsThe Cairn Terrier is a fearless, jaunty little dog, known for his courageous spirit and inquisitive nature. He may be small, but he is stubborn. He will respond well to training and socialization which will turn him into the most awesome pet for families. He can make a wonderful friend and playmate for children too. Socialization and training ensures he gets on well with other pets in the household too.

He is small and energetic, and therefore not the kind of dog you can ignore in terms of exercise. He’ll need a good walk every day and he just loves to chase a ball as it takes him back to the days when he was used to chasing- and catching mice.

He isn’t your typical lap-dog at all and with the right care he becomes a devoted, loyal and loving companion.

Health Problems - Cairn Terrier for Sale

cairn terrier puppies - health problemsThe Cairn Terrier is a robust little dog, and with good care can reach 14 years of age and even older. However, with every dog breed there are some health concerns particular to that breed. With your Cairn Terrier look out for a disease known as Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GCL).

Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GCL)

Known also as Krabbe Disease, Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD) is a rare but fatal disease. It is caused by a mutation on the dog’s DNA. There is abnormal processing of an enzyme needed for the production of myelin, a substance that protects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. The dog is weak, it has tremors and isn’t co-ordinated. The Cairn Terrier is a breed of dog more susceptible to GCL.

Bone and joint diseases

Your Cairn Terrier may well suffer with joint diseases. These diseases, such as luxating patella which is about loose knee joints, and hip dysplasia which is a degenerative hip disease, can cause plenty of pain and discomfort for your pet.

Eye Diseases

Glaucoma is an eye disease where there is pressure on the eye, causing inadequate fluid drainage. Without treatment, there can be damage to the optic nerve which can lead to blindness.

Caring The Pet - Cairn Terrier for Sale


cairn terrier dogs - caringThe Cairn Terrier sheds very little and the coat is easy to groom. Give him a thorough brushing twice a week to rid him of loose hairs. Some trimming will be needed as the coat can become shaggy and unruly.

Brush his teeth at least 2 or 3 times a week to prevent tartar build up that can lead to bacteria, gum disease and possible tooth loss.


The Cairn Terrier is small but he is an active dog and therefore needs to be on a high-quality dog food. If you feed him a commercially manufactured food, make sure its appropriate to his age, size and activity levels.

He is a small dog so you want to be careful about not letting him become overweight. Try and alternate his commercially manufactured food with some home-made rice, vegetables and meat and also include some raw meat in from time to time. This is of particular importance as chronic skin allergies are common in all terrier breeds. Make sure that there is always a clean bowl of fresh water available to him day and night.

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