Cairn Terrier

Dog Breed Profile

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Cairn Terrier History

The Cairn terrier is a Scottish breed of small, ruggedly-built, haired terrier. The name is a reference to rocks called cairns that were used by shepherds to drive their flocks of sheep.

Time of Origin


Country of Origin


Cairn Terrier Physical Characteristics

The Cairn Terrier is a small, medium-to-large sized terrier that typically stands between 13 and 15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 18 and 26 pounds. They have a long, muscular, very slightly arched back, a muscular neck, and a medium-length, straight, coarse, harsh, wiry, or soft, short, fine, silky, or corded coat that can be any solid, speckled, or brindle colored. They have a pointy, erect, long, deep, wide, and triangular-shaped head. The wrinkles on the face start between the eyes and extend forward. The muzzle is wide and the skull is flat. The ears are medium sized, V-shaped, and stand erect. The tail is thick at the base and tapers to the tip. The Cairn Terrier’s eyes are round and dark brown in color. They have a level, deep, and broad skull. The teeth meet in a scissors bite. The legs are compact and sturdy. The feet are round and tight. The claws are sharp and retract into the paw. The Cairn Terrier is independent, brave, bold, and alert. They are difficult to house train and are usually unfriendly towards strangers.

Eye Colors


Nose Colors


Coat Colors


Height Range

Male Height Range: 10 – 11 inches

Female Height Range: 9 – 10 inches

Weight Range

Male Weight Range: 12 – 14 lbs

Female Weight Range: 10 – 12 lbs

Cairn Terrier Health

Description of breed health.


12-15 yrs

Cairn Terrier Health Concerns

Flea Allergy, Weight Gain

Cairn Terrier Temperament and Behaviour

The Cairn Terrier is a lively, courageous, and scrappy breed of dog. They are playful and devoted to their owners, but are also feisty and stubborn. They are highly intelligent and are quick to learn new tricks. They are particularly good at learning tasks that involve problem-solving, which make them ideal for advanced obedience work.

Cairn Terrier Activity Requirements

While Cairn Terriers are small, they are full of energy and love to play. They love to chase a ball and will love to spend their days exploring and playing outside. While Cairn Terriers may be small, they do require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation. They can be very rambunctious when left alone for long periods of time. A daily walk or a game of fetch can be a great way to keep a Cairn Terrier happy. They need plenty of play time to keep them from becoming bored. If you live in an apartment, a fenced-in backyard will give them room to burn off some of their energy.

Miles Per Day


Activity Per Day


Daily Food

1.3 cups

Kennel Club Recognition

American Kennel Club

Recognized by the American Kennel Club

Cairn Terrier is part of the Terrier group.

Visit the American Kennel Club website.

The Kennel Club

Recognized by The Kennel Club

Cairn Terrier is part of the Terrier group.

Visit the Kennel Club website.

Australian National Kennel Council

Recognized by the Australian National Kennel Council

Cairn Terrier is part of the Terrier group.

Visit the Australian National Kennel Council website.

Canadian Kennel Club

Recognized by the Canadian Kennel Club

Cairn Terrier is part of the Terrier group.

Visit the Canadian Kennel Club website.