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Short History of the Breed
Over 200 years ago, on the ancient Isle of Skye and in the Scottish Highlands, the ancestors of today's Cairn Terrier earned their keep routing vermin from the rock piles (called cairns) commonly found on Scottish farmland. These early terriers were highly prized and bred for their working ability, not appearance. Such characteristics as courage, tenacity and intelligence, housed in a sturdy body clad in a weather-proof coat, armed with big teeth in strong jaws, were sought generation after generation. Gradually the breeds known as the Scottish Terrier and the West Highland White evolved and were named. The Cairn (the last to be formally named) remained the closest to the original small working terrier, bolting the fox, otter and weasel, sharing the meager fare of the crofter's household.
Physical Description and Size
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.
Cairn Terriers are intelligent, strong, and loyal. Like most terriers, they are stubborn and strong-willed, and love to dig after real or imagined prey. Cairn Terriers have a strong prey instinct and will need comprehensive training. However, they are highly intelligent and, although very willful, can be trained. Although it is often said that they are disobedient, this is not the case provided correct training is applied. These are working dogs and are still used as such in parts of Scotland. Some Cairn Terriers are very independent and do not make good "lap dogs". The image of Cairn Terriers being like "Toto" from the Wizard of Oz is a partial misconception. In reality, these dogs do not always like to snuggle and would heartily object to being kept in a basket.
These are active little dogs, who need a daily walk. Play will take care of a lot of their exercise needs, however, as with all breeds, play will not fulfill their primal instinct to walk. Dogs who do not get to go on daily walks are more likely to display behavior problems. They will also enjoy a good romp in a safe open area off lead, such as a large fenced in yard.
Cairn Terriers should always be hand stripped. Using scissors or shears can ruin the dog's rugged outer coat after one grooming. Hand stripping involves pulling the old dead hair out by the roots. This does not harm the dog in any way. Removing the dead hair in this manner allows new growth to come in. This new growth helps protect the dog from water and dirt
Health Issues and Life Expectancy
Life expectancy is about 12-15 years. Do not over feed the Cairn for it tends to gain weight easily. Treats should be limited, even though the dog may be almost irresistible when begging. Cairns tend to be allergic to fleas.
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Resources, Research, and Other Terrier Enthusiasts Materials.
|Name of Resource||Material Type||Description||Comments|
|Dog Adoption Guide , Pedigree||Interactive Questionnaire||Take the Profiler to narrow your choices to the Group which you can best care for. Is a Terrier really right for you?||Terriers are not for everyone. It is essential that one has the patience to care properly for these fiery, challenging breeds.|
|Select-A-Dog Questionnaire , Pedigree||Interactive Questionnaire||Narrow your choices down to a list of the top 10 breeds best for you and your lifestyle.||Did you match a Terrier in your top 10 selections? Is Terrier really the right breed for you?|
Latest page update: made by sands904
, May 6 2009, 3:44 PM EDT
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