One of the most veteran breeds to come out of the British Isles is the Cairn Terrier; Cairn Terriers can be traced back as far as the sixteenth century, where according to reports they were first bred. The spiritual home of the Cairn Terrier is in the far flung Island of Skye not far off the North West Coast of Scotland.
This strong and hardy form of Terrier was bred by local farmers to chase natural pests, especially badgers and wild foxes that were threatening to overrun this beautiful but rugged region of Scotland. The dog’s role was to enter the dens where these wild animals would live and breed and destroy them or at least chase them off. They earned their title from the name “Cairn”, which describes the practice adopted by the unwelcome members of the wild animal population of marking their den with a pile of rocks known in the Scottish vernacular as a Cairn. The Terrier was smart enough to recognize this pile of rocks as a signal to go into search and destroy mode and the farmer were smart enough to name this wily and tenacious little dog the Cairn Terrier.
As the breed grew in popularity there was much conjecture that the Cairn Terrier be regarded as an offshoot of the West Highland white Terrier, the Skye Terrier and the Scottish Terrier all of whom came from the same region and undoubtedly shared some of the same genetics. However, almost one hundred years, ago the American Kennel Club recognized the Cairn Terrier as a breed in its own right.
Appearance wise, it is impossible not to recognize the Cairn as part of the Terrier clan, while certain comparisons can be made to the fox family, especially around its face and head. The Cairn Terrier, despite being small and stocky, is very proportional, with a broad head, eyes and ears set wide apart atop a narrow snout. Its coat and tail are a shaggy combination, and the Cairn comes in a variety of colors ranging from red, black, sandy brown and gray. Interestingly enough as the Cairn Terrier ages, its coat may change color many times as it sheds.
As a family pet the Cairn Terrier is outstandingly loyal and in a permanently positive frame of mind, which is impossible to ignore. Insatiably loving and friendly, they get along with everybody and everything that crosses their path.
Training a Cairn Terrier can be a challenge as the dog will be constantly testing it owner during the process. Once the dog recognizes who is the boss, then the training should go a lot smoother, as the Cairn is inherently intelligent and eager to please.
What should never be forgotten is that the Cairn is a hunter by nature and if left alone in a yard for too long will be compelled to dig something up. Discipline will curtail this trait as well as lots of healthy exercise.
As the late Andy Warhol once said, “everyone should be famous for at least twenty minutes, and probably the most famous Cairn Terrier of all time was the one, who remains nameless, who played the part of “Toto” in the nineteen thirties classic film, “the Wizard of Oz.”
Cairn Terrier is a responsive and alert dog giving them the ability to excel in training and hunting. cairn terrier dogs can be stubborn and will test their owners to understand how the rules of the household work. For more information visit our website.
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