CAIRN TERRIER APPEARANCE:
Cairns stand between 9 and 13 inches (23-33 cm) at the withers and weigh 13 to 18 pounds (6 to 8 kg). European Cairns tend to be larger than American Cairns and, because puppy mills do not care about breed standards, many Cairns available today are much smaller or much larger than the breed standard. Cairns that have had puppy-mill backgrounds can weigh as little as 7 pounds or as much as 27 pounds.
The Cairn Terrier has a harsh, weather-resistant outer coat that can be cream, wheaten, red, sandy, gray, or brindled in any of these colors. Pure black, black and tan, and white are not permitted by many kennel clubs. While registration of white Cairns was once permitted, after 1917 the American Kennel Club forbade registration as Cairn Terriers of what became the West Highland White Terrier. A notable characteristic of Cairns is that brindled Cairns frequently change color throughout their lifetime. It is not uncommon for a brindled Cairn to become progressively more black or silver as it ages. The Cairn is double-coated, with a soft, dense undercoat and a harsh outer coat. A well-groomed Cairn has a rough-and-ready appearance, free of artifice or exaggeration.
The Cairn Terrier is a breed of dog of the terrier category. It is one of the oldest terriers, originating in the Scottish Highlands, used for hunting burrowing prey among the cairns.
These dogs are generally healthy but many have allergies. Often the allergies take the form of skin conditions. Corn is often the culprit, so an owner of a Cairn Terrier should routinely try to avoid feeding foods and treats that contain corn. Even if the Cairn does not show symptoms of corn allergy, because corn allergies are so prevalent and can show up at any time in the life of the dog, it is recommended to avoid corn even with a healthy dog.
This breed also suffers more than usual from dislocated kneecaps and inherited eye diseases. Ocular Melanosis (OM) is an eye disease that is found almost exclusively in Cairns.
Cairn Terriers are intelligent, strong, and fearless. Like most terriers, they are stubborn and love to dig after real or imagined prey. Because their prey drive is so strong, a Cairn Terrier should never be permitted off leash unless in a securely fenced area. Even the best behaved Cairn is no match for his or her instinct. If you want a dog that you can walk off leash, consider another breed.