The breed became more popular in the 1900's as people moved increasingly into towns and came to value the properties of this active and energetic little dog, that was also ideal for harsh city living conditions.

Cairn Terrier Temperament

The Cairn Terrier temperament makes him the ideal dog for families who want an energetic, happy,devoted dog and protector in a small package. They have very outgoing personalities and like many terriers often don't seem to realize that they are a small dog.

This is a breed that craves attention and affection from their people and do not respond well if left alone for long periods of time or kept in a kennel. Bored or lonely they can quickly develop destructive or problem behaviors such as constant barking or excessive digging.

Training :Consistent positive training and challenges keep this breed stimulated both mentally and physically. They quickly learn new skills and tricks and love to work for praise and attention.

Children: Cairn Terriers are good family dogs although they can be snappy and somewhat possessive of their food and toys.

Cairn Terrier TemperamentMost suited to a family with older children, they love to be involved in the children's games. Their boundless energy makes them a terrific pet for active families. Chasing balls and playing fetch is a favourite game. There are lots of other great dog breeds that are good with children

Exercise: Medium, A very adaptable breed will need regular exercise if they don’t have a yard or garden to play in, otherwise thrives on regular walks and  family games in the park.

Dog Breed Information and Pictures

Cairn Terrier Temperament,

Cairn Terrier

Comparable Breeds

Cairn Terrier Information and Breed Notes

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The Cairn Terrier Temperament Is Plucky, Tenacious,Spirited, Bold and Inquisitive


The Cairn Terrier was bred originally to root out otters, foxes, rats and other vermin across the rugged farmlands and harsh terrain of the Western Isles of Scotland in the 1500's.

The name comes though their ability to nimbly negotiate across loose rocks that made up the local fencing and their ability to work in the cliffs and crags along a treacherous shoreline, where they were were experts at driving larger rodents and animals from their rocky hiding places. Although independent and prized for their hunting ability, the Cairn was also much valued as a watchdog and companion.


norwich terrier norfolk terrier

Norwich Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Do You Have A Cairn Terrier? We would love love to hear your story - Tell us why they are your favourite breed. Do You Have A Related Question? - Just ask and we will be happy to help .

Protection level: A natural watchdog, they can be stranger, dog and pet aggressive if not properly socialized.

Grooming: Easy and simple upkeep, regular brushing every other day with a stiff bristle brush or a pin brush, grooming both the outer hair and the softer, dense inner coat to keep mats from forming is sufficient. Cairns are also considered to be a suitable dog breed for allergy sufferers.

Health: Generally healthy but with a tendency towards obesity if allowed to over indulge. Cataracts can be a problem as the dog matures.

Possible Genetic disorders are von Willebrands Disease(a bleeding disorder similar to haemophilia) and Legg Calve Perthes (a degenerative condition of the hips) & patellar luxation. Finding  a reputable breeder and ensuring adequate pet insurance will of course always bring extra peace of mind regards the well being of your furry friend.

  The Ideal Cairn Owner Terrier Owner Is Patient  and fun loving,  who has the time to play and exercise this active and feisty little dog. Be careful of a tendency to excessive barking and guarding their food or toys. As always if you like this breed, please do the research  and ensure that you are choosing the right dog for your own lifestyle. For more information, why not visit this breeds national club or learn more about different  types of small dog breeds.


 The American Kennel Club and Others

The Cairns's bustling inquisitiveness means owners are never lonely when he’s around. He learns quickly but makes up his own mind whether to listen or investigate an intriguing hole.

This friendly little dog is always happy to see people and will bark to share his joy with the world, they’ll also spread the word when a rabbit , cat or other critter enters the area.

Chris Walcowicz- the Perfect Match

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© 2010-2015 Choosing-A-Dog-Made-Easy. All rights Reserved.Not intended to replace professional opinion or recommendation. Always consult your vet for advice about the medical condition of your pet.

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Older Children


Ease Of Training

Novice Owners

Breed Popularity

Breed Health




Other Dogs

Shedding Amount

 Younger Children


Active Lifestyle


Apartment Living

Cats Or Small Pets

How many registrations per year that are made for this breed. Generally breeds are popular for a reason and high popularity breeds are often a great place to start your search.

How willing and able this breed is to protect you, your family and your  home , how territorial they are and how dominant they can be. This is not necessarily  a sign of how aggressive the breed is.

Not to be confused with protection/guarding this is how alert , how vocal and how trusting your dog is. Even tiny dogs can make great watchdogs.

Being able to physically manage your dog is a vital consideration, dogs are much stronger than humans pound for pound.

 Breed Stats At A Glance:  1-5 Scale 5 is most or best 1 is least or worst

Nearly all dogs are trainable, some breeds  however are inherently more stubborn, wilful, lazy or less intelligent than others. Stubborn and stupid is a bad combo, Clever and eager is a good combo!

A variable combination of trainability, inherent temperament, dominance or natural aggression make some breeds less suitable for the novice owner  than others.

Older children are much more able to understand how to treat their dog appropriately. Parents must guage the maturity of their own children before choosing a dog.

Very young children are liable to annoy or provoke a dog and can injure smaller ones through rough play. They can themselves be knocked down or accidentally hurt by a larger or over enthusiastic dog.

A combination of how naturally active this breed is and how much daily exercise they will need. Under stimulated dogs can develop unwanted problem behaviours such as excessive barking, chewing and digging.

Some breeds happily live in apartments as long as they get enough daily exercise. Some however need big yards and lots of space. Some breeds bark a lot  so think of your neighbours!

Some breeds love nothing more than snuggling up on the couch with you whilst others are much more aloof.

Playfulness represents how eager, willing and exuberant your furry pal will be when it comes to getting down and joining in the fun.

Representing yearly averages as some breeds only shed seasonally, some shed throughout the year, and some hardly shed or dont shed at all.

How much upkeep you will need to do to keep your dog looking their best and being healthy, grooming, brushing, cleaning and  bathing etc.

All dogs can suffer health problems. Some breeds however, either through over breeding or inbreeding are more prone to serious congenital disorders than others.

How well does this breed naturally get on with other dogs? Proper socialization will mitigate most  intolerance. Intact  males generally are more problematic with other intact  males

Some breeds have naturally higher prey drives than others, however nearly all dogs can live with small animals providing they are introduced young enough and are well socialized.

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