The cheerful Cairn Terrier is one of Scotland’s original dog breeds, bred for its ability to enter burrows and find hiding vermin in piles of rocks (or “cairns”, which is where it gets its name).

The Cairn Terrier is a short-legged, small to medium-sized dog measuring 27-31 cm at the withers and weighing 6-8 kg. It is a strong dog with an alert, foxy expression and a playful demeanour.

Cairn Terriers come in a range of colours such as wheaten, cream, red, grey and dark grey to almost black, also sometimes with brindling in any of these colours, and often with dark points.

Their weather-resistant double coat consists of a hard, profuse outercoat and a soft, close undercoat. Cairn Terriers need weekly brushing and combing.

This is a very social, lively dog that easily befriends people and especially seems to like being around children. Amenable and very loving, the Cairn Terrier is also a mischievous dog with a great sense of humour. It’s an extroverted, happy and loyal breed that’s an ideal companion dog for people of all ages.

The Cairn Terrier tends to get along well with other dogs but if you have cats or other household pets, you must teach your Cairn to accept them at an early age in order for them to get along. Because this is an independent and often stubborn dog, it needs firm and gentle training.

With high levels of energy and a strong hunting instinct, your Cairn Terrier needs to be given time and opportunity to play and run around, while you can expect it to dig whenever it can.

Cairn Terriers can be prone to some breed-specific health issues such as dislocating kneecaps and eye problems, but a healthy Cairn can be expected to live up to 15 years.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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