Short-legged and strongly built, Cairn Terriers have a foxy expression, hard coats and small, pointy ears. Whilst not heavily built, they are well-muscled, workman-like little dogs that stand well forward on their front paws. Their double coats are weather resistant, with hard, profuse outer coats and short, soft, close undercoats.


Size Small

Cairns come in cream, wheaten, red, grey or nearly black with brindling in all colours.

Coat Length Short Medium
Weight/Height Range Both dogs and bitches measure between 28-31cms at the withers and weigh between 6-7.5kgs.

There are a few breed-specific problems and choosing a pup from healthy stock will reduce the possibility of these arising. These problems include dislocating kneecaps and hereditary eye problems.

Breed Classification The Cairn is a member of the terrier group. They were originally used for fox hunting and as ratters; today are companions.

Feeding & Ownership


Feeding of this little dog is relatively easy, however care must be taken that they do not become overweight.


Food Cost $5 to $10



This is a cheerful, alert, lively and extrovert breed and makes ideal friends for children as they can tolerate rough play and have great senses of humour. They will also get on with other dogs, although some will stand their ground. They must, however, be taught at an early age to accept cats and other household pets as they will give chase once older.



These can be independent and stubborn dogs; therefore, training must be done gently and firmly.

Energy Medium
Suitability for Children High
Tendency to Bark Low
Overall Exercise Requirement This breed is bursting with energy and must be given time to run and play. However the hunting instinct is so strong, they will take off. Their terrier nature implores them to dig – be it in the fields or in your favourite rose garden!
Suitability as a Guard Dog High
Ease of Transportation High
Level of Aggression Low
Other Animal Compatibility Medium



They should be brushed and combed once a week. During moulting, which usually occurs twice a year, the coat should be hand stripped to remove the dead hair.


Grooming Requirements More than once a week
Amount of Hair Shed Moderate

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