Dog Breed

Cairn Terrier

MischievousConfidence King
Primary image of Cairn Terrier dog breed
Full Name
Cairn Terrier
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Life Span
14 - 15 years
13 - 14 pounds

Hardy, Fearless, Assertive, Gay, Intelligent, Active

Bred For
Bolting of otter, foxes, other vermin
    Family Considerations
    Child Friendly

    Is the Cairn Terrier good with children?

    The Cairn Terrier is about average in how friendly they are with children. They can be friendly and loving with children, but we recommend that they get early socialization, and are not left alone with children for extended periods.
    Stranger Friendly

    Is the Cairn Terrier friendly with strangers?

    The Cairn Terrier is not automatically friendly with strangers and we would not recommend for a living situation with frequent guests.
    Dog Friendly

    Is the Cairn Terrier friendly with other dogs?

    The Cairn Terrier is not naturally friendly with other dogs, but with a good amount of early socialization as a puppy they can learn to get along with most breeds of dog. Proper training is required before letting the Cairn Terrier go off-leash or to dog parks.
    Likes to Cuddle

    Does the Cairn Terrier like to cuddle?

    The Cairn Terrier appreciates affection and that includes kisses and snuggles!

    Does the Cairn Terrier like to play?

    The Cairn Terrier will almost always be ready for play! The Cairn Terrier is great for a family with children, or otherwise, an environment that is always ready for play.
    Service Dog Ability

    Does the Cairn Terrier make a good service dog?

    The Cairn Terrier would not be a great fit as a service dog for several reasons.
    Overall Ease of Breed
    Ease for Novice

    Is the Cairn Terrier good for first-time owners?

    The Cairn Terrier is a good breed for first-time owners. A good fit for first-time owners are friendly breeds that are motivated to please their owner. This means they can be trained, and are rarely aggressive and overpowering.
    Training Potential

    How well can the Cairn Terrier be trained?

    The Cairn Terrier can be trained very well. With discipline and a routine training program the Cairn Terrier can be incredibly well-trained.
    Amount of Shedding

    Does the Cairn Terrier shed a lot?

    No! The Cairn Terrier does not shed very much, and can be an excellent fit for someone who suffers from dog allergies.
    Ease of Grooming

    Is the Cairn Terrier easy to groom?

    The Cairn Terrier requires an average amount of grooming. Taking your Cairn Terrier to the pet salon will make your life easier, but its possible to groom a Cairn Terrier on your own as well.
    Exercise Need

    Does the Cairn Terrier need a lot of exercise?

    The Cairn Terrier has a lot of energy and getting daily exercise is very important, both for their well-being and for their focus, which is important when you train them.

    How smart is the Cairn Terrier?

    The Cairn Terrier has average intelligence. They are smart and witty, but do not need to be constantly challenged mentally, as some other breeds.
    Amount of Barking

    How much does the Cairn Terrier bark? Does the Cairn Terrier bark too much?

    The Cairn Terrier barks all the time. They are big talkers, and want to show it! In general, barking and being expressive can be beneficial, such as for guarding property or livestock. But it is important to consider whether heavy barking suites your lifestyle.
    Guard Dog Ability

    Is the Cairn Terrier a good guard dog?

    The Cairn Terrier can serve as an excellent guard dog. It is both physically intimidating and also enjoys having a "job" to protect its family and property.
    Tolerates Being Alone

    Is the Cairn Terrier good at staying alone? Is the Cairn Terrier independent?

    The Cairn Terrier is not very independent and does not do great when left behind for longer than a couple of hours. This is one of the most important things to consider when getting a new dog.
    Home and Environment Considerations
    Good for Apartment Living

    Is the Cairn Terrier a good apartment dog?

    The Cairn Terrier is an excellent dog breed for an apartment. Some daily exercise is still important, but if they get that then the apartment will be more than enough for them to call home.

    How big is the Cairn Terrier?

    The Cairn Terrier is one of the smallest dog breeds- suited well for apartment living and very convenient for travel.
    Tolerates Heat

    How much does the Cairn Terrier tolerate hot weather? When is it too hot for a Cairn Terrier?

    The Cairn Terrier can tolerate some heat, but should not be over-exposed to hot weather. In general, they can live in hot weather climates, but would do best with air conditioning or at least a fan in their home, especially where they sleep.
    Tolerates Cold

    How much does the Cairn Terrier tolerate cold weather? When is it too cold for a Cairn Terrier?

    The Cairn Terrier does not tolerate cold weather very well, and we would not recommend having a Cairn Terrier if you live in a very cold weather climate. Even if your home is warm, it can be inconvenient to go on walks, and you may need to have a sweater for your Cairn Terrier.
    Potential to Run Away

    Does the Cairn Terrier try to run away?

    The Cairn Terrier does not have a large drive to run away. They can still be distracted and run, so precautions should be taken, but overall they have a less than average urge to run away.
    Physical Characteristics
    General Health

    Is the Cairn Terrier a healthy dog? The health of a Cairn Terrier should be measured not just by how many years they live, but also by how many health issues they've had. It is important to know which health conditions your breed is prone to- hip problems, eye problems, bloating, and arthritis are all common dog health problems.

    The Cairn Terrier is one of the healthiest breeds. Exercise and a high-quality diet are still high priorities, but overall the Cairn Terrier has excellent health.
    Energy Level

    How energetic is the Cairn Terrier?

    The Cairn Terrier has a lot of energy and this needs to be considered before bringing the Cairn Terrier into your home. Can you give your Cairn Terrier enough exercise? They will need several small daily walks, or a large dog park trip to get all of the energy out.
    Amount of Drooling

    How much does the Cairn Terrier drool?

    The Cairn Terrier does not drool at all.
    Prey Drive

    Does the Cairn Terrier have a large prey drive? Does the Cairn Terrier like to chase birds, cats, and other small animals?

    The Cairn Terrier has average prey drive. They will probably enjoy chasing after birds and other small animals at the park, and it may be an issue at the home if you have small animals, but with some training and introduction can usually learn to live with them.

    Is the Cairn Terrier atheltic?

    The Cairn Terrier is athletic and has average levels of endurance. They need a lot of exercise, and can be an exercise partner as long as it's nothing too extreme.
  1. Terrier
  2. Toy Terrier
  3. Cairn Terrier
The Cairn Terrier is a purebred dog that belongs to the Toy Terrier sub group, which falls under the larger Terrier dog breed group.
Terrier group: Anyone who has had a terrier knows that they come with a big personality. Across the Terrier dog group there is much variation, but they are all feisty, proud, and extremely loyal to their family. With this strong personality comes stubbornness, so they are not the easiest dog, especially for a first time dog owner. However, with training and a strong owner, they can be some of the most rewarding dogs- their strong personality is fun, active, and will always bring something new. Terriers were originally bred for hunting, exterminating small vermin, and home protection. Terriers are a healthy and athletic breed. Because of this they require a good amount of exercise.
Toy Terrier sub-group: Expect craziness and cuteness all in one. The toy terrier is a toy dog that is very small, perfect for your lap, and will provide endless amounts of love. But at the same time, at their core they are a terrier- with a big personality and plenty of confidence that exceeds their size a hundred times over. They are very alert, so can even serve as a bit of a watchdog- certainly compared to other toy dogs. They were bred to hunt vermin, so they like when they have a job, and they have more energy than the average toy dog. Because of their proud personality, they may not be immediately friendly with strangers or other dogs.

Cairn Terriers for adoption

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