"Cairn-Terrier-Garten1" by Ketterechts at the German language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cairn-Terrier-Garten1.jpg#/media/File:Cairn-Terrier-Garten1.jpg
“Cairn-Terrier-Garten1” by Ketterechts at the German language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Physical Appearance

The Cairn is a small, sturdy, shaggy-coated terrier. They weigh 13 to 14 pounds and stand about 10 inches tall. They have short legs and are strongly but not heavily built. Cairn Terriers have a hard, weather-resistant coat. Their head is shorter and wider than any other terrier and has enough hair to make it look foxlike. The breed has very large teeth and large feet with thick pads and strong nails. It has strong muscular shoulders. They come in a variety of colors, which tend to darken with age.


This breed is very smart and confident. It is an alert breed that is ready for action. The Cairn is also inquisitive and fast to learn. Like all terriers, the Cairn is independent and little on the stubborn side. If he doesn’t know who is in charge, he will take charge. Even though his nature is independent, he is still sensitive. Be aware that his feelings can be easily hurt. He doesn’t respond well to being corrected harshly or scolded. The best way to train them is in a kind and positive way. With the right training, the Cairn is able to master numerous tricks and commands. However, it is difficult to get them not to do what they love to do the best, dig and bark.

Fun Facts

  • The most famous Cairn Terrier played Toto in The Wizard of Oz. She was paid $125 per week for her movie role, and lived to be 11 years old.
  • The Cairn Terrier was developed more than 200 years ago on the Isle of Skye by a man named Captain Martin MacLeod.
  • The Cairn Terrier believes he is bigger than he actually is. He may try to stand up for himself against big dogs or animals.
  • It was given the name cairn because the breed’s function was to hunt and chase quarry between the cairns in the Scottish Highlands.