top of page


The Cairn Terrier Breed

From the mid - nineteenth century differences began to appear and separate breeds of the Scottish terrier developed - the Skye, Scottish Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier became well established, but their forefathers, the Cairn, remained comparatively unknown except in the remote sporting estates in Argyllshire and the Isle of Skye.


Early in the the 20th century the breed was officially recognised by the Kennel Club, however there was confusion over the name to call them.  As the first Cairns were brought over from Skye the dogs were originally called,  “short - coated Skyes”, or “Prick - eared Skyes”.  It was 1910 before they were offically called Cairn Terriers, after Skye Terrier breeders (who had been established as a named breed for 30 years) complained.


The breed is one of the oldest of the terrier breeds, originating in the Scottish Highlands and recognized as one of Scotland's earliest working dogs. The breed was given the name cairn, because the breed's function was to hunt and chase quarry between the rocks and cairns in Scotland.


If you want a dog who...

  • Is small, yet sturdy and tough -- not a delicate lapdog

  • Has a natural appearance

  • Needs only moderate exercise

  • Makes a keen watchdog

  • Doesn't shed too much

  • Co-exists with other pets more willingly than some other terriers


A Cairn Terrier may be right for you.

If you don't want to deal with...

  • The dynamic terrier temperament

  • Potential aggression toward small animals -- strong chasing instincts

  • Stubbornness

  • Regular brushing and clipping


A Cairn Terrier may not be right for you.

bottom of page