Until recently, Cairn terriers were the most popular terriers in Great Britain (until they were overtaken by Westies). It comes from Scottish island Skye and it used to hunt foxes and otters here already in the times of Mary, Queen of Scots. That’s also where its name comes from – foxes hid in piles of stones (stone in Latin is cairns).
Nowadays, it is a typical, assertive terrier, very joyful, playful and frisky. It likes to have company and it is full of energy. It is a very good dog as it is vigilant and self-confident. It can also bark very loudly and uses its whole heart for watching, it will defend its master with all its energy. Among other terrier breeds, this breed belongs to those who are more obedient, less stubborn and easier to train. But it can’t deny its hunting instincts and even the most obedient cairn terrier can start chasing game during a walk. Some dominant individuals might also have problems getting on well with other dogs and very often, cairn terriers can’t stand cats, they tend to hunt them.
It is a very adaptable dog with regard to environment. It will be happy in a flat, on a farm and in the country as well. Its company and a lot of activities are much more important to it; without them, this dog suffers. It is crucial to let him do a lot of physical activities. It might appreciate agility or frisbee for example but playing with older children helps as well (and you’ll kill two birds with one stone and tire both the dog and the children). If you don’t care about it enough and it doesn’t have enough physical activity, it can start to take its frustration out on your furniture, for example.
Even though it is one of the less stubborn breeds, it is still a terrier and can grow way over your head especially in puberty. You have to arm yourself with patience during its upbringing and it will also thoroughly test your determination. Everything will be much easier if you set up clear and constant rules related to its territory, feeding time and walks as well as other aspects of living together. While well-chosen rewards can motivate it greatly, punishments might have a negative impact on its psyche.
It looks very similar to a west highland white terrier. Tiny body of a cairn terrier is covered by typical dizzy thick fur which does not require much care. Trimming three times a year is usually enough. Gross guard hair are pulled out and only an undercoat stays from which a new gross fur grows.
Do you have a cairn terrier at home? Is its upbringing more difficult than that of a human teenager or it isn’t so bad with its stubbornness and wilfulness?