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Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terrier
  • Hair: Short and Soft
  • Personality: Bright
  • Size: Small
  • Temperament: Fiesty, Fun and Energetic
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Cairn Terrier

Best known as "Toto" from the Wizard of Oz, the Cairn Terrier is a small, hardy working terrier. Originally bred to aid Scottish farmers in ridding their properties of pests, Cairns today use their tenacity to excel in obedience, agility, terrier and tracking trials. Alert and active, this breed possesses a harsh, weather-resistant outer coat that can be any color except white. The hair around the head gives him a general foxy expression.

A Look Back
The Cairn originated in the Highlands of Scotland and the Isle of Skye, initially grouped in the "Skye Terrier" class alongside the Scottish and West Highland White Terriers. In the early 1900s, the three breeds began to be bred separately. The name "Cairn" refers to the rock dens that foxes and badgers lived in throughout the countryside. The dog would squirm down into these "cairns" and bark to hold the predator until the farmer killed it.

Right Breed for You?
Cairns love their families, but may try to test their owner’s limits, so obedience training is necessary. Although they learn quickly, the Cairn may always have the instinct to dig and chase small animals, so new owners should be prepared for these behaviors. Regular brushing and exercise are also necessary to keep the breed fit and happy.

If you are considering purchasing a Cairn Terrier puppylearn more here.

  • Terrier Group; AKC recognized in 1913.
  • Ideal size about 10 inches tall at the shoulder and 14 pounds.
  • Fox/rat/otter hunter.

© The American Kennel Club, Inc.


Cairn Terrier Breed Standard

Terrier Group

General Appearance
That of an active, game, hardy, small working terrier of the short-legged class; very free in its movements, strongly but not heavily built, standing well forward on its forelegs, deep in the ribs, well coupled with strong hindquarters and presenting a well-proportioned build with a medium length of back, having a hard, weather-resisting coat; head shorter and wider than any other terrier and well furnished with hair giving a general foxy expression.

Head
Skull
 - Broad in proportion to length with a decided stop and well furnished with hair on the top of the head, which may be somewhat softer than the body coat. Muzzle - Strong but not too long or heavy. Teeth - Large, mouth neither overshot nor undershot. Nose - Black. Eyes - Set wide apart, rather sunken, with shaggy eyebrows, medium in size, hazel or dark hazel in color, depending on body color, with a keen terrier expression. Ears - Small, pointed, well carried erectly, set wide apart on the side of the head. Free from long hairs.

Tail
In proportion to head, well furnished with hair but not feathery. Carried gaily but must not curl over back. Set on at back level.

Body
Well-muscled, strong, active body with well-sprung, deep ribs, coupled to strong hindquarters, with a level back of medium length, giving an impression of strength and activity without heaviness.

Shoulders, Legs and Feet
A sloping shoulder, medium length of leg, good but not too heavy bone; forelegs should not be out at elbows, and be perfectly straight, but forefeet may be slightly turned out. Forefeet larger than hind feet. Legs must be covered with hard hair. Pads should be thick and strong and dog should stand well up on its feet.

Coat
Hard and weather-resistant. Must be double-coated with profuse harsh outer coat and short, soft, close furry undercoat.

Color
May be of any color except white. Dark ears, muzzle and tail tip are desirable.

Ideal Size
Involves the weight, the height at the withers and the length of body. Weight for bitches, 13 pounds; for dogs, 14 pounds. Height at the withers-bitches, 9½ inches; dogs, 10 inches. Length of body from 14¼ to 15 inches from the front of the chest to back of hindquarters. The dog must be of balanced proportions and appear neither leggy nor too low to ground; and neither too short nor too long in body. Weight and measurements are for matured dogs at two years of age. Older dogs may weigh slightly in excess and growing dogs may be under these weights and measurements.

Condition
Dogs should be shown in good hard flesh, well muscled and neither too fat or thin. Should be in full good coat with plenty of head furnishings, be clean, combed, brushed and tidied up on ears, tail, feet and general outline. Should move freely and easily on a loose lead, should not cringe on being handled, should stand up on their toes and show with marked terrier characteristics.

Faults
1. Skull - Too narrow in skull.
2. Muzzle - Too long and heavy a foreface; mouth overshot or undershot.
3. Eyes - Too large, prominent, yellow, and ringed are all objectionable.
4. Ears - Too large, round at points, set too close together, set too high on the head; heavily covered with hair.
5. Legs and Feet - Too light or too heavy bone. Crooked forelegs or out at elbow. Thin, ferrety feet; feet let down on the heel or too open and spread. Too high or too low on the leg.
6. Body - Too short back and compact a body, hampering quickness of movement and turning ability. Too long, weedy and snaky a body, giving an impression of weakness. Tail set on too low. Back not level.
7. Coat - Open coats, blousy coats, too short or dead coats, lack of sufficient undercoat, lack of head furnishings, lack of hard hair on the legs. Silkiness or curliness. A slight wave permissible.
8. Nose - Flesh or light-colored nose.
9. Color - White on chest, feet or other parts of body.

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