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The Loveable Cairn Terrier

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Named for the piles of stones found in his country of origin, the Cairn was bred to hunt, and at heart he is a very fierce and tenacious hunter of small game animals. He has very strong teeth, claws for digging out his quarry, and is relentless in the pursuit of the fox and other animals.

The Cairn terrier makes a wonderful family dog and is great with children. Due to his fierce nature he should be socialized and well trained so his behavior is acceptable when around children and strangers. One of the very intelligent breeds, there is little this breed cannot be taught. From obedience to hunting to performing tricks this little bundle of power can do it all.

The typical Cairn weighs twelve to fourteen pounds and stands about twelve to fourteen inches tall. Cairns are sociable but are also happy when alone due to their independent nature. To keep this breed from getting into mischief always see he has plenty of toys and other things to keep him busy. Dog intelligence games are perfect for this high IQ canine, as is training to run dog obstacle courses.

While the Cairn will enjoy being spoiled into a lap doggie as much as any breed, this is a waste of his natural instincts to be active and constantly learning new tasks.

If you are considering a dog, the loveable Cairn terrier is definitely worth taking a serious look at.

Do you own this breed? Please relate your experiences as a dog owner in the space below.

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  1. Avatar Of Debi



    Our Sydney has been the life of our home since 2002. She has always been a delight and full of love and spirited personality. Everyone who knows her loves her. In 2014 she developed diabetes and cataracts in both eyes. Her hearing is also impaired. However, even with the extra care she requires now, we are still happy to be her people. She adds so much to our lives and she will be with us until the end of her days. After a proper mourning period we will try to find another Cairn to love.

  2. Avatar Of Lindsay Ogden

    Lindsay Ogden


    I have a Cairn… they are the MOST delightful dog – friend – companion. They are highly intelligent and love to learn. There is never a dull moment with this joy of a dog, great with kids and a lover of long walks… just don’t let them go! With mine, he would chase a rabbit or whatever for miles without giving up! Can’t recommend them highly enough

  3. Avatar Of Kelley Gaither

    Kelley Gaither


    I’m owned by several dogs,but the boss lady of the group is a cairn terrier/daschund mix named Tonka. I got her from my parent’s neighbors 9 yrs ago,when I’m ashamed to say I accidently slammed the car door on her(she was visiting my mom’s dog’s pups,and had followed me w/o me knowing it. I checked her over,and went to the neighbor,and told them what had happened,and how sorry I was,and that I didn’t think she was hurt,but if she was,I would take care of her vet bills. She said ‘well,she’s my grandkid’s dog,but I guess the new wore off..do you want her?Otherwise,it’s the pound’. Well,I couldn’t look into those 12 week old eyes and say ‘no’. So,she’s owned me ever since! btw,the other two dogs she runs around are an Irish Wolfhound/Airedale Terrier mix named Scooter(65 pounds) and an English Mastiff/Mountain Cur mix named Gator (80 pounds. Tonka weighs 12. She’s am Irish Wolfhound in a weiner dog’s body!

  4. Avatar Of Kathi Kelley Kathi Kelley says:

    I had a great Cairn Terrier, Klyde, for many years. Smart, loving, great companion. But oh, so stubborn. He only learned what he thought made sense. In a training class, he did all the sit, walk, heel, etc., but would not do a down. Even the trainer could not get him to do it. Then my nephew visited and showed us his well trained dog, who did a beautiful down. Klyde was jealous of the attention given my nephew’s dog. After my nephew left, I was complaining to my Mom that Klyde would not do the down. As soon as I said down, he did it. From then on he did a great down. Once he decided it would get what he wanted, he did it! Jealousy was a great motivator!

  5. Avatar Of Cynthia Sobkowich

    Cynthia Sobkowich


    Yes, I do own a Cairn Terrier, or should I say, he owns me. 🙂
    They are delightful dogs with a hilarious personality and constantly entertaining. Our Cairn has a language all his own and “talks” up a storm when he wants something. They are extremely smart. We also have a West Highland Terrier which is very similar. They are both excellent excavators so if you want a beautiful garden, this dog is probably not the best choice. If you want a loyal loving and very intelligent companion. I would say, go for it!

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