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If you’ve never seen a cairn terrier before, then think of the dog ‘Toto’ from the popular wizard of OZ film.
That adorable little grayish back dog with a scruffy coat was a Cairn terrier; terriers work well on film sets mainly because they are easy to train and can remain comfortable around a lot of people while trying to perform tricks for the camera.
On top of their large heads they have two medium sized triangular pointed ears that remain upright and alert at all times; these are placed quite wide apart on top of a broad head bearing two wide apart, beady round eyes.
Hair sprouts from most areas on the Cairn terriers face forming a beard around the edges and over the eyebrows; some owners choose not to trim this hair and allow it to grow thicker making the head look much more out of proportion to the body then usual.
This terrier has a compact body and little legs both covered in a thick double coat, the top layer usually looking scraggly and unkempt while the under coat is softer in texture.
At the back end the tail is small and curves into the body concealed under a layer of soft fur; in most cases the coat comes in dark earthy colors such as clack, grey, tan and a reddish brown, often a mix of two or more of these shades.
Cairn Terrier Temperament
There are many positive things to say about the Cairn terrier dogs, which is one reason why they have become such a popular variety to adopt.
You’ll find your terrier to be loyal, lovable and very friendly around both strangers and other dogs; though they can get aggressive if spooked by a fast running animal or person, as they were initially bred as hunting helpers.
Cairn terriers are extremely energetic and will need to de-energize at regular intervals with a quick walk in the park or a run in your back garden, though remember that this terrier variety was bred as a den animal and tends to enjoy digging holes whenever it has the chance.
Caring for your Cairn Terrier
Your biggest worry with Cairn terriers will be grooming them, their thin hair grows out very long and can quickly turn into a matted mess if you don’t trim it often.
If you don’t have a lot of time then you can choose to take your dog to a professional groomers, though this may start adding up in cost as a weekly expense.
To prevent matting simply brush their coat several times a week, a de-matting shampoo can also help to keep the hair from tying up into knots.
Exercising your Cairn Terrier
Like most other smaller sized dogs the Cairn terrier breed is particularly energetic, but have been known to survive for long periods of time in an enclosed environment when given plenty of attention and several hours of active play each day.
If you have a home with a back garden the best option is to allow your dog to run around for 2-3 hours each day and for those living in a city apartment take them for a walk in the park.
Cairn terriers that lack physical exercise will quickly gain weight and may gradually begin to show signs of negative behavioral problems.
Training your Terrier
Cairn terrier dogs were initially bred as farm hands, helping owners to track down and kill vermin, such as rats, badgers and foxes. For this reason you may find them to be quite stubborn and have a very independent spirit when it comes to doing as they are told.
Training should be started early on otherwise they may develop a belief that they are the dominant member of your family; be firm with your dog and learn several obedience training techniques to try on your terrier.
Height and Weight Measurements
Male and female Cairn terriers have a slight difference in both height and body weight measurements; a male will usually grow to a maximum height of 10 – 13 inches, where as a female will reach about 9-12 inches.
In terms of weight the males may weight up to 14-18 pounds and females 13-17 pounds in comparison.
Health and Longevity
In terms of Cairn terrier health this breed has strong genes and will live a maximum of 15 years or possibly a little longer if looked after well, though it is susceptible to certain minor eye ailments and issues with its heart.
More commonly owners over feed their terriers, which should be avoided because they will gain a lot of weight over a very short period of time leaving them lazy and unable to move their limbs; obesity is also a trigger for the other more serious heart conditions in terriers.
Cairn terriers are good around other pets such as cats and other dogs, so owners with more than one animal will do well with this breed. If you dislike dogs that bark a lot then the Cairn terrier is not for you, they are very alert and will let you know each time some one comes to the door.
This dog does not do well around kids, they may get easily spooked by the high pitch squeals of your kids and react badly.
For more information and everything you need to know about the Cairn Terrier, check out the highly recommended Cairn Terrier eBook and audio package today!