Cairn Terrier – G.W. Little

Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier Dog Breed Information

Cairn Terrier

The Cairn is a very old breed, with records going back as far as 500 years. They're named for the piles of stones in Scotland that were used to mark farm borders and grave sites, and it was the Cairn's job to dig out the small animals that often roosted or denned there.

Cairns make wonderful family pets. They're definitely a big dog stuck in a small dog's body! They are lively, sturdy, merry little dogs with plenty of patience, and they love playing with children. They're independent and require a firm (although not harsh) hand in their training. They need to know that someone else rules the roost in their house or they'll quickly take over the job.

Because of their intelligent nature, Cairn's are naturally curious and love to go off exploring. They might submit to being a lapdog for a few minutes, but soon their attention will waver and they'll be off to investigate something new! Due to this they need a fenced yard and should always be on leash when on a walk. They also love to dig, so they need supervision if you don't want all your flowers uprooted.

Cairns need exercise or they can get destructive or turn into barkers. A small yard is enough to keep them happy as long as they get a brisk walk everyday to burn off some of their energy.

Probably the most famous Cairn Terrier in history was Toto from "Wizard of Oz". Millions fell in love with his sweet little face!

Cairns are generally healthy dogs, although their diet needs to be kept in check. They have the tendency to gain weight, and are very adept at begging for treats from their owners. They need daily brushing or their coat will look much the worse for wear! Their life expectancy is generally 12-15 years.

If you would like more information about this great little breed, you can visit American Kennel Club at If you would like information on adopting a Cairn Terrier in dire need of a loving family, you can visit or


Size 10 - 13 inches
Weight 14 - 18 pounds
Accepted Colors Any color except White
Grooming Daily brushing and monthly trimming is necessary
Origins Scotland
Registration AKC, FCI, UKC, CKC
Group Terrier
Notes The Cairn is one of Scotland's oldest working breeds.