Dog Breed Profile

Cairnese History

The Cairn Terrier, commonly known as the “Scottie”, is a Scottish terrier, and one of the oldest of the “Toy” breeds. The Scottie is a lively, affectionate, and spirited little dog with a sweet expression. The origin of the name “Cairn” is unclear. One theory is that it is derived from the Gaelic word “Ceann”, meaning head. Another possibility is that it derives from the Highland village of that name, some 40 miles south west of Inverness. The kennel club standard for the Scottie states that the “name ‘Willie’ has most frequently been bestowed”

Time of Origin


Country of Origin

United States Of America

Cairnese Physical Characteristics

The Cairn Terrier is a small, stocky, compact, and well-proportioned breed that typically stands between 10 and 13 inches tall at the shoulder and weighs between 15 and 18 pounds. They have a round head, a medium muzzle, and a medium length nose. The Cairn Terrier has a long tail that is carried curved over the back. The hair on the neck, legs, and front part of the ears is short and smooth. The hair is longer on the shoulders and on the back, forming a cairn. The face is wedge-shaped, with prominent cheek muscles, large, erect ears and a low, arched brow. The body is muscular, with well-developed forelegs, and the tail is thick at the base, tapering to a point. The legs are straight and strong and the floor is level. The tail is carried high over the back. The Cairn Terrier is brave, smart, alert, very energetic, and fearless.

Eye Colors


Nose Colors


Coat Colors


Height Range

Male Height Range: 8 – 13 inches

Female Height Range: 8 – 13 inches

Weight Range

Male Weight Range: 10 – 20 lbs

Female Weight Range: 10 – 20 lbs

Cairnese Health

Description of breed health.


12-14 yrs

Cairnese Health Concerns

Hip Dysplasia, Patellar Luxation, Cataracts, Glaucoma

Cairnese Temperament and Behaviour

The Cairnese is a calm, fearless, and friendly breed of dog. They are gentle, sensitive, and protective, but not overly aggressive. They are highly intelligent and easy to train, but need consistent leadership. They are highly suspicious of strangers, but are known to be very good with kids and are very loyal to their owners.

Cairnese Activity Requirements

Cairn Terriers were bred to hunt small vermin and rodents, so they require a great deal of energy. They are energetic and friendly, and they can make wonderful companions for an active person. The lifespan of a Cairn Terrier is around 12 to 14 years, so they don’t require as much exercise as some breeds. However, they do require at least one long walk or short jog every day. They shouldn’t be expected to stay in the yard alone for long periods of time. Cairn Terriers do very well in homes with yards. They should not be kept outside all the time. They do fine in apartments, but they will enjoy getting out for walks and spending time in the garden. If you are interested in a Cairn terrier, be sure you are able to meet their exercise and socialization needs.

Miles Per Day


Activity Per Day


Daily Food


Kennel Club Recognition

American Kennel Club

Not Recognized

Cairnese is part of the Unclassified group.

Visit the American Kennel Club website.

The Kennel Club

Not Recognized

Cairnese is part of the Unclassified group.

Visit the Kennel Club website.

Australian National Kennel Council

Not Recognized

Cairnese is part of the Unclassified group.

Visit the Australian National Kennel Council website.

Canadian Kennel Club

Not Recognized

Cairnese is part of the Unclassified group.

Visit the Canadian Kennel Club website.