Cairn Terrier

Fun facts about the Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier originated from Scotland in the Highlands and is one of the oldest terrier breeds. The name originates from the breed being used to hunt chase quarry between the cairns in the Highlands.


We’ve gathered some useful and interesting facts on this loyal breed, with some extra help from our BorrowMyDoggy community.



Chow and Bella, doggy members from Coventry

What is a Cairn Terrier?


Cairn Terriers are a small but sturdy Scottish dog breed, originally bred to hunt rodents and foxes. As with most dog breeds, they have now become popular companion dogs for families. They have an average lifespan of 12-17 years and are a great choice of breed for first time owners due to their adaptability and loyal nature. If you are wondering if Cairn Terriers are hypoallergenic, they are said to be, as they hardly shed. Although, if you do suffer with allergies then we’d recommend researching it further as no dog is completely allergy free.


A fun fact about Cairn Terriers: they became very popular after the Wizard of Oz came out as Toto is a Cairn Terrier.


Bailey, a Cairn Terrier from Ireland - he looks excited for his walk!


How much exercise does a Cairn Terrier need?


Cairn Terriers are known for being energetic little characters, they like to constantly be stimulated. They require up to an hour of exercise each day. They love being outside so it’s impawtent to have garden space for some fun in between walks, whether you own one or are looking to borrow one.


Louise, who owns Monty, says he:


“is a 10 year old male, in good health, though perhaps not as spritely as he used to be. He's a very good natured boy who loves going for walks. Around 3 miles are probably his limit nowadays, although get him on the beach and his energy and speed will surprise you!”


Here’s Monty, dreaming about his next walk to the beach.  


What is the Cairn Terrier's temperament?


Cairn Terriers are very confident little characters that are constantly happy. It is rare for them to show aggression but, as with any breed, training needs to be thorough early on to ensure this.


They are eager to please and will always provide constant entertainment with their sweet natured character. They are a good choice for a family pet as they particularly love children.


Owner member, Terry, says his Cairn Terrier, Henrik:


“is is a lovable, fun, social terrier with bags full of personality. He's social around people and other dogs, and extremely gentle with children and other animals. He's a very curious dog and has a mind of his own. He likes to sit on chairs and look out of windows, gazing thoughtfully at the world.”


Doggy member, Spike, from Lincoln


Are Cairn Terriers easy to train?


Cairn Terriers are very intelligent dogs but can be rather stubborn at times as they are fairly independent. Ground rules need to be learnt early on and they would benefit from obedience classes to keep them stimulated so they grow up into well-behaved companions. They will always have a cheeky side but it will only provide entertainment and a laugh if you can forgive them.


Jo’s Cairn Terrier, Mr Smudge, is a great example of this:


“Mr Smudge loves having tummy tickles and lots of cuddles. He's very affectionate and loving. He's a lover of squeaky toys he'll spend ages squeaking them and the louder he gets the happier he is. Ear rubs very welcomed and his naughty side is he's a sock bandit only dirty socks will do. His favourite time to play is bedtime anytime after 10pm the squeaky toys come out.”

High paws to our lovely community for letting us share these facts about their Cairn Terriers. Paws crossed you found them helpful :)


  • Looking into getting a Cairn Terrier but want to spend some time with one first?

  • Would your Cairn Terrier love some extra walks and attention?

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