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“We’re not in Kansas now Dorothy…”

When we talk about old breeds the Cairn Terrier always gets a mention.  These little guys and girls were some of Scotland’s earliest working dogs.

The definition of a ‘Cairn’ is a mound of rough stones typically on a hilltop and this terrier got his name due to these landmarks where he was used to hunt and chase in these areas.  He would flush out a wild foul or bird (also known as quarry when used as a hunting term).  Then his owner would then shoot the target as it took flight. However the word Cairn wasn’t added to this dogs name until much later when it entered the show arena.  Their genetic history goes back to the Isle of Skye.

Physically the breed needed to be active and hardy. A wide short head means he has strong jaws and a long body and short legs allowed him to squeeze through tight spaces when chasing his quarry.  They needed to be alert and tenacious.

The Cairn Terrier comes in a variety of shades and looks a little like his relatives the Norwich Terrier and West Highland Terrier.  He is fairly weather resistant with a rough shaggy outer coat and softer undercoat. With grooming, this pooch should be hand stripped as shears can quickly ruin their outer coat.  Stripping means you pull the old dead hair out by the roots.  It’s important to keep the coat in good condition to protect from weather and dirt.  This technique, which must be done with care, also encourages new growth.  (Just the coat that is… the legs will stay short, hee hee.) But seriously, this guy is bold and clever.  He loves playing and chasing (especially small animals).  Exploring and digging is high on this guy’s list.  Even with their hardy weather resistance and independence, Cairn Terriers enjoy being a household dog and still love to hang with their owners.

Remember the famous ‘Toto’ from the Wizard of Oz?  That was a Cairn Terrier.

Photographed above is the super-cute Violet and please be sure to check out Coco the Cairn Terrier bringing joy to her owner in the video below… Och aye the noo.


Leah & Angela OMeara

Hound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)