The Cairn Terrier is one of Scotland's oldest breeds, as well as its own degree of fame - it was the breed used for Toto in the Wizard of Oz. Originally a working dog from Scotland, it was named after the way it would chase prey down the burrows and stacked rock formations in Scotland.
Stubborn, independent yet affectionate, the Cairns Terrier is a delightful breed suited to energetic young families.
Appearance, Health and Hygiene
The Terrier is a small, bright and alert dog, with a shaggy double coat that comes in a variety of colours. It stands about 28 centimetres tall.
It is a sturdy breed, but it is known to be susceptible to a number of health problems. As with any breeds, obtaining a health clearance is vital to ensure a healthier pet. It has been known to display flea allergies, and can suffer from night blindness. They also can overeat, so a careful owner should monitor them closely.
Its hygiene needs are simple. A brush every couple of days to straighten the coat, remove any burrs and discourage matting, and a bath monthly. While brushing, the owner should look for lesions, spots or any irregularities. The eyes and ears can be carefully trimmed, and the claws trimmed as required. Regular brushing of the teeth is also recommended.
Temperament and Trainability
A Terrier first and foremost, so this breed will love to chase! Luckily, it is a quick and clever dog, so they're a pleasure to train. It is active, cheerful and full of energy.
While they are quite intelligent and respond well to training, they are a mischievous breed, so an owner should expect their Terrier to be something of a handful. It is recommended that an owner enrol their puppy in obedience classes.
Good training starts young. Despite being rather adorable puppies, care must be taken to implement proper discipline and training at a young age to ensure the dog is well-behaved when it's older. It has a sensitive temperament and should never be scolded or disciplined harshly. The breed can be stubborn and independent, so in the absence of a firm and leading owner, they will go their own way.
As it is a plucky breed, it can sometimes forget its actual outside size, so an owner must be careful to supervise the Terrier when it meets larger dogs.
As a Pet
The Cairn Terrier makes a wonderful addition to a family home. Boisterous and energetic, they will play well with children. They can live in smaller homes and apartments, but they will need daily exercise to burn off the Terrier energy. Without proper mental and physical stimulation, they'll bark out of boredom and become destructive.
One of the key factors in a Terrier's temperament is to look at the parents of the puppy to gauge temperament. This is a quite useful approach and can save a lot of stress down the line. Knowing the parents and siblings of the puppy are an excellent way to tell what the puppy should be like as an adult dog.
Early socialisation is vital. Introduce the new dog to friends and family at a young age. Smaller pets should be kept out of reach, and the garden too should be kept out of the Terrier's way, as they love to dig.
The Terrier in public can be a loud, active dog so care must be taken to properly supervise and be firm when the dog is becoming a little too boisterous for its own good. A lead is also recommended as the Terrier can be prone to chasing.