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Cairn Terrier

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Cairn Terrier (Brindle, Standing)
Brindle, Standing

Breed Information


2022: #70

2021: #74

2020: #73

2019: #72

2018: #69

2017: #69

2016: #70

2015: #70

Name Cairn Terrier
Other names Cairn, Toto Dog
Origin United Kingdom
Breed Group Terrier (AKC:1913 & UKC)
Size Smallest
Type Purebred
Life span 12-15 years









Male: 10-13 inches (25-33 cm)

Female: 9-12 inches (23-30 cm)


Male: 14-18 pounds (6-8 kg)

Female: 13-17 pounds (6-8 kg)









Litter Size 2-10 puppies
Puppy Prices

Average $1200 - $2000 USD

A Cairn Terrier puppy taken from decent breeders will cost you approximately $1,200 to $2,000 normally. If you choose a show-quality puppy, then be ready to pay around $2,500 or more.

Breed Characteristics


3 stars

Apartment Friendly

3 stars

The Cairn Terrier will do okay in an apartment if it is sufficiently exercised. It is very active indoors and will do okay without a yard.

Barking Tendencies

5 stars


Cat Friendly

3 stars

Child Friendly

4 stars

Good with Kids: This is a suitable breed for kids and is known to be playful, energetic, and affectionate around them.

Dog Friendly

3 stars

Exercise Needs

4 stars

These are active little dogs that 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 that 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.


3 stars

Moderate Maintenance: Grooming should be performed regularly to keep its fur in good shape. Little to no trimming or stripping needed.

Health Issues

2 stars

Hypoallergenic: Yes


4 stars

Ranking: #35 Full Ranking List


4 stars

Shedding Level

3 stars

Moderate Shedding: Expect this dog to shed regularly. Be prepared to vacuum often. Brushing will reduce shedding as well as make the coat softer and cleaner.

Stranger Friendly

3 stars


3 stars

Moderately Easy Training: The Cairn Terrier requires a firm but never harsh pack leader. Obedience school is recommended for this breed, as they can be quite stubborn and will exert independence from a timid leader.

Watchdog Ability

4 stars

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Cairn Terrier Puppy (Lying, Face)
Lying, Face

Cairn Terrier Names

Rank Boy Names Girl Names
01 Charlie Daisy
02 Cooper Roxy
03 Jack Lola
04 Tank Ella
05 Oliver Sophie
06 Toby Lulu
07 Luke Belle
08 Oliver Bailey
09 Oscar Nala
10 Gizmo Roxy
100 Cute Puppy Names ›


This is a working terrier, and it should be hardy, game and active. It is short-legged, and longer than it is tall, but not as low to the ground as the Sealyham or Scottish terriers. Its build enables it to fit into close quarters in pursuit of its quarry. Its head is shorter and wider than any other terrier, giving it good jaw strength. Its weather-resistant coat consists of a soft, close undercoat and a profuse, harsh outer coat. Furnishing around the face adds to its somewhat foxy expression.

The Cairn Terrier is the essence of terrier; plucky, spirited, bold, inquisitive, hardy, clever, stubborn and scrappy. It is responsive to its owner's wishes, however, and tries to please; in fact, it is surprisingly sensitive. This breed can be a good house pet as long as it is given daily physical and mental exercise in a safe area. It enjoys playing with children and is tough enough to withstand some roughhousing. It can be aggressive with other dogs and chases small animals; it loves to sniff, explore and hunt. It digs; some bark.


The Cairn Terrier is considered to be one of the oldest terrier breeds. They originated in the Scottish Highlands and the Isle of Skye. Cairn Terriers were originally lumped in with the Scottish Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier as one breed. However, in the 1900's the three began to be bred separately and individual breeds were developed. The Cairn Terrier's principle duty is that of a ratter. They were utilized by farmers to catch and kill mice, squirrels and other rodents. The Cairn Terrier was originally known as the Short-haired Skye Terrier until they were brought to the United Kingdom's dog show in 1909. Sky Terrier breeders did not take well to the name and a compromise was reached with the name Cairn Terrier. The Cairn Terrier was given his new name for the frequent trapping of fox and badger in the very common cairns(man made piles of rock used for marking locations) all over Scotland. They would wedge their way inside and bark at their prey until the farmer came to claim it.


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