Fun Cairn Terrier Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Cairn terrier facts are interesting!

Cairn terriers originally came from the Scottish highlands and the Isle of Skye and grouped in the Skye terriers class alongside the West Highland White terriers. They were historically bred to control the vermin population in and around Scottish farmlands.

Cairns belong to the small dog species and have shaggy fur and a downy undercoat.

They were introduced as the short-haired Skye terrier in the United Kingdom, but with the breeders of Skye terriers opposing the name, they were renamed to Cairn terriers.

These dogs are known to come in a variety of colors, ranging from cream to red, and were considered Scotch Terriers once they began entering into more domestic environments.

Cairn terriers were registered into the American Kennel Club in 1903, and in 1917, they were required by the American Kennel Club (AKC) to be registered as the West Highland White Terrier.

If you liked these true facts about cairn terrier dogs, then you'll surely like these facts about pocket pitbulls and beagle lab mixes too!

Interesting Cairn Terrier Facts

What type of animal is a cairn terrier?

Cairn terriers are dogs belonging to the terrier breed and are considered to be one of the earliest working dogs of Scotland.

What class of animal does a cairn terrier belong to?

Cairn terriers belong to the mammal class of animals. The presence of mammary glands to feed their young one, along with three ear bones, fur or hair, and the neocortex (region of the brain), are the defining factors of mammals.

How many cairn terriers are there in the world?

An accurate number of cairn terriers is impossible to pinpoint as they have been domesticated all around the world.

Where does a cairn terrier live?

Cairn terriers are mostly found in households as pets. These dogs are known for having a high energy level and are excellent as pets! Their temperament makes them unpredictable as they are more feisty, stubborn, clever, and persistent.

What is a cairn terrier's habitat?

Cairn terriers are mostly indoor animals and are a great match for households with children, given they are properly supervised. They love to play and, given their small size, are perfect for a small household.

Due to their weather-resistant coat, extreme weather makes little difference to their playtime outside the house. Snow, rain, or the sun has no effect on them. Their wiry outer coat keeps them dry in storms, and the dense furry undercoat keeps them warm even in the coldest of winters!

Who do cairn terriers live with?

Cairn terriers live with humans as pets. They aren't socially adept, and will act reserved with strangers, and are alert to the presence of strangers. As pets, these small dogs are loyal and intelligent, having a high rate of adaptability.

However, a cairn terrier is not for people who want a relaxed lap dog! They are extremely energetic and can get aggressive with other dogs and deadly with rodents or other small pets.

They are bossy with other pets but, in comparison to other terrier breeds, are willing to co-exist with them if proper training is provided.

How long does a cairn terrier live?

The average life span of a cairn terrier is between 12-15 years. All terrier breeds have a different life span, with the cairn terrier being one of the terrier dog breeds to have a long life expectancy.

Health problems might have an effect on their lifespan if they are not properly cared for and given their routine vaccinations and health checkups.

How do they reproduce?

Cairn terries reach sexual maturity at the age of eight months.

The gestation period for cairn terriers lasts around 60-63 days after conception.

They have a litter size of two-10 puppies. There is no fixed color pattern for the puppies as they can range in a variety of colors like cream, red brindle, black and deep red. This factor makes it impossible to predict what a litter is going to look like!

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of cairn terrier is of least concern as with their huge popularity and demand as one of the smallest breeds of dogs, with a quirky and fun-loving personality they are bred all across the globe and can be found in households all over the world.

So to put in perspective, these small dogs are perfectly safe and will not be nearing extinction or worrying numbers for a long time!

Cairn Terrier Fun Facts

What do cairn terriers look like?

Cairn terrier information and facts are educational!

Cairn terriers are small, quick, and sturdy dogs who make great companions. They have a wide head and short legs that exude strength but not heaviness.

They have a harsh coat that is wiry on top and downy below. Their small form factor, along with their alert nature, intelligent personality, and brave exploratory nature, make them great for owners who cherish loyal and independent thinking breeds of dogs.

How cute are they?

These little dogs are cute to the core! In some cases, they like to snuggle with their owners, but in most cases, they are exploratory dogs who require a great amount of activity. Watching them run around and dig the ground with their tiny paws is an absolute joy!

How do they communicate?

Cairn terriers are known as one of the chattiest species of dogs and bark a lot! They try to make conversation with their owners and will even try to form sentences!

And like all other breeds of dogs, they communicate through vocalizations and auditory communication like barking, whimpering, growling, panting, and sighs. They also communicate by utilizing scent and pheromones.

How big is a cairn terrier?

Cairn terriers are one of the smaller dogs alongside small dogs like the chihuahua and pugs.

A male cairn terrier can grow up to 9.84 in - 15 in (25 cm - 38.1 cm) in body length and up to 9 in - 10 in (22.86 cm - 25.4 cm) in height, whereas the female cairn terrier is somewhere between 9.05 in - 11.81 in(23 cm - 30 cm) in length and 9 in - 10 in (22.86 cm - 25.4 cm) in height, much like the males.

How fast can a cairn terrier run?

There are not many records for the running speed of cairn terriers, but they are known to be slower than other smaller dog breeds. From what record we have, it is believed that they can reach a speed of 18mph (28.96kmph) at top speed!

How much does a cairn terrier weigh?

Males have a maximum weight of 14 lb (6.35 kg), and females have a maximum weight of 13 lb (5.89 kg), excluding cases of extreme obesity.

What are their male and female names of the species?

Just like in cases of all dog breeds, males cairns are called dog, and female cairns are called bitch.

What would you call a baby cairn terrier?

A baby cairn terrier is called a puppy. Cairn terrier puppies are born after a gestation period of 60-63 days after conception.

A puppy is born deaf and blind and depends on the mother for all their nutritional needs. And it grows, a puppy may go through a change in its color coat. Cairn terrier mix puppies become less predictable as they might acquire the coat and characteristics of cairns or other dogs used in the breeding process.

What do they eat?

In the wild and on farmlands, they are able to hunt and eat vermin and other pests that are harmful to humans, depending on their training.

In domestic environments, they need to have a balanced diet which included canned food, fruits, vegetables, and cooked eggs.

Are they slobbery?

The cairn terrier dog breed is known for its low drooling habits.

If you are a neat freak who does not like drool and sweaty spots on you after your playtime with your dog, then the cairn terrier dog breed is perfect for you!

Would they make a good pet?

Cairn terriers make excellent pets are they have a loving and friendly personality (wary of strangers) and love to play games like fetch. They are affectionate as companions and are great family dogs. With proper training and motivation, they can become very obedient.

Cairns have a short-medium coat which makes them easy to groom and take care of. They shed less, too, meaning their fur is not much of a nuisance if you like to keep your house clean.

But everything always comes with its pros and cons! The cons for cairns is that they are highly likely to get bored if you don't take them out on walks and will show other problematic terrier temperament issues. And they might reject training if you don't show strong leadership towards them.

They can co-exist with other pets if they are introduced to the pet right when they are a puppy.

Did you know...

When the breed was introduced as the short-haired Skye terrier to the United Kingdom in 1909, the already existing Skye terrier breeders opposed the name, and as a compromise, the name 'Cairn terrier' was used for this breed.

Even though cairns were around for a long time, the name Cairn Terrier did not appear in print until 1887. Their existence has been recorded going as far as the 1600s, when they were found on the Isle of Skye, much like the Skye Terriers.

In 'The Wizard Of Oz', the dog 'Toto' is played by a terrier. But since the author of 'Wizard Of Oz', L. Frank Baum, did not specify the breed, there are debates on whether the dog was a Cairn or a Yorkshire terrier.

Cairns are extremely stubborn and will not give up on whatever they are trying to do. A story from Britain about a cairn working on the seaside to clear otters is quite famous where the cairn grabbed the otter and did not let it go even when the otter pulled it underwater.

The owner had to dive underwater and rescue his dog!

In the old days, they were used to keep away pests and other vermin like rats and mice by digging through the ground and flushing them out.

They are one of the most fearless dog species out there! If their training is all about getting rid of pests, then they act like little barbarians and will hunt aggressively for pests and other nuisances!

Characteristics and health issues

As always, taking care of your pets is one of the most important processes of eliminating health-related issues that can be found among them.

Cairn terriers suffer from a number of health-related issues. Some of these are eye problems like cataracts and ocular melanosis. They might also suffer from the liver shunt, a case where blood vessels bypass the liver and cause issues with liver functions.

Hip and elbow issues are also found in them in cases the joint has not been correctly developed, causing mobility issues along with pain.

Getting your own cairn terrier

A cairn terrier puppy can cost you anywhere between $800 - $1200 USD.

Since they shed little, it's better to hand-strip them. Using tools like scissors or shears can ruin your cairn's coat. Removing the dead hair by hand-stripping helps the skin and coats to remain healthy.

Before getting yourself a cairn terrier, it is important to get them examined to make sure they don't carry any skin diseases or other injuries.

If you are into adopting, then you will find a large number of cairns in rescues. To popularize cairn terrier rescue and adoption, cairns are called 'best little pal in the world' by a British breed club.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including the American water spaniel, or the cheagle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our cairn terrier coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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