Cairn Terrier Puppies: History, Health, And Care Tips & More

The cairn terrier puppies are cheerful, active little earth dog that was developed to confidently hunt foxes and other small, furry prey in the rugged Scottish terrain. Being vigilant and inquisitive, cairns appreciate having a place to explore and dig. A Cairn looks like a small, alert dog with shaggy fur, an upturned head, tail, and ears, with intelligently flashing eyes. Cairns are strong enough for a fun romp on the grass and small enough for a laptop snuggle.

Cairn Terrier Puppies Overview

Official Name Cairn Terrier
Common Name Cairn Terrier
Pet Height 9 to 10 inches
Pet Weight 13 to 14 pounds
Lifespan 13 to 15 years
Good With children, dogs, families, seniors
Temperament anxious, friendly, gentle, playful, willful
Intelligence high
Shedding Amount occasional
Exercise Needs medium
Energy Level active
Vocal Level when necessary
Drool Amount low
Breed Group terrier
Breed Size small (0-25 lbs.)
Coat Length short, wiry
Colors black, cream, gray, red, white
Patterns brindle
Other Traits apartment-friendly, cold weather tolerant, easy to groom, easy to train, good for first-time pet owners, good hiking companion, strong loyalty tendencies


One of the earliest terrier breeds is thought to be the Cairn Terrier. The Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye are where they first appeared. Initially, the West Highland White Terrier, Scottish Terrier, and Cairn Terrier were considered to be one breed. Farmers used them to capture and dispose of mice, squirrels, and other vermin. Before being shown to a dog show in the UK in 1909, the Cairn Terrier was known as the Short-haired Skye Terrier. Breeders of Sky Terriers did not like the name, thus Cairn Terrier was chosen as a middle name. Until the farmer arrived to take it, they would force their way inside and bark at their prey.


The tenacious tiny cairn terrier has a strong frame and short legs on top of a large head. The cairn, who rarely stands higher than 10 inches and weighs roughly 14 pounds, is the ideal size for long cuddling sessions on his owner’s lap but strong enough for rough play. Almost all colors, excluding white, are possible for Cairn terriers, who can come in a variety of patterns and markings. Cairns has short, shaggy coats that require little care and little to no shedding.


The founder of the Animal Hospital of Factoria in Bellevue, Washington, Shlomo Freiman, DVM, is a cairn terrier owner and believes they make excellent tiny pets. Cairns are what I would call “terrier-lite” dogs since they are intelligent, active, and have a mischievous side, but they are also much easier to care for than other terrier breeds. Cairns prefer to get along well with other dogs, are affectionate, and like playing. They can be a fantastic option for novice dog owners, and according to Freiman, he frequently suggests the cairn to his clients searching for a tiny breed.


Grooming Cairn terriers is rather understated. Cairns appreciate long walks or playtime with their owners because they are often an active breed. Cairns are very sociable dogs who enjoy playing with other dogs and spending time with their owners. So that there is a consistent approach and your cairn terrier puppies are aware of the boundaries, enlist the assistance of everyone in the home.

Cairn Terrier Health

Find a reputable breeder who will provide you with the health clearances for both of your puppy’s parents if you are purchasing Cairn terrier puppies. 

Craniomandibular Osteopathy: This has an impact on a growing puppy’s skull bones, causing them to enlarge erratically. The dog can cope with the painful disease with the aid of anti-inflammatories and painkillers. By the time the cairn terrier puppies reach the age of a year, the uneven bone growth usually decreases and eventually stops. Although the lesions can heal, some dogs develop lifelong jaw issues that make eating difficult.

Cryptorchidism: The inability of one or both testicles to descend into the scrotum is known as cryptorchidism. By the time the cairn terrier puppies are two months old, the testicles should have totally descended. Retained testicles are often inactive and, if left untreated, can develop cancer. The procedure of neutering is surgical.

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Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy: This degenerative condition, also known as Krabbe’s disease, affects the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. Affected cairn terrier puppies either pass away at a young age or are put down. A test that can now detect this disease’s carriers is readily available. Breeding dogs ought to be examined.

Hypothyroidism: This is a thyroid gland condition. Epilepsy, alopecia (hair loss), obesity, lethargy, hyperpigmentation, pyoderma, and other skin diseases are thought to be caused by it. Diet and medicine are used to treat it.

Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease: The hip joint is affected by this condition. The blood flow to the head of the femur, which is the big back leg bone, is reduced if your Cairn has Legg-Perthes, and the part of the femur that attaches to the pelvis starts to deteriorate. Typically, the earliest signs—a limp and muscle atrophy—appear when cairn terrier puppies are four to six months old.

Patellar Luxation: This issue, sometimes known as sliding stifles, affects tiny dogs frequently. Patellar luxation is a painful condition in which the knee joint (typically of the back leg) moves in and out of place. Although many dogs with this illness live quite normal lives, it can be devastating.

Ocular Melanosis/Secondary Glaucoma: This condition, which was once known as pigmentary glaucoma, has only recently become more prevalent in the US (since 1984). Search the sclera (the white area of the eye) of both eyes for any tiny spots or patches of extremely dark pigmentation. The pigment deposits build up and reduce the anterior chamber’s capacity to discharge liquids.

Portosystemic Liver Shunt: Due to a congenital anomaly, blood might flow around the liver through certain blood arteries. The liver consequently fails to adequately purify the blood. Typically, surgery is your best bet.

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