Are you interested in adopting a Cairn terrier? This breed is prominent for its vigor, intelligence, and friendliness, making it the perfect choice for a family pet.

The small size of these canines is in complete contrast to their bossy temperament, which can be tamed through training sessions. If socialized from a young age, Cairn Terriers befriend people and other animals easily.

There are numerous Cairn terrier guides online, such as the Holistapet dog guides, including essential information about this breed.

Here is everything you need to know about the appearance, personality, health problems, and training of these creatures.


Cairn Terriers have a specific body structure, featuring a wide head, pointed ears, and short legs. These canines are generally no taller than ten inches and weigh 14 pounds on average. Their eyes are hazel, whereas their coat includes almost every shade but white. The eyebrows of these creatures make them look human and influence their facial expressiveness.

Moreover, the facial expressions of Cairn Terriers are responsible for their absolutely adorable look or their surprisingly fierce appearance. Another amusing fact related to their appearance is the size of their paws, which aren’t equal. The size of their front paws is larger when compared to the hind paws.


Despite being small in size, Cairn Terriers have a big personality. These affectionate, vigorous creatures are remarkably intelligent and a little bit mischievous. They are curious and independent, thus spending most of their time chasing vermin, hunting, digging, and investigating scents. Irrespective of its independence, this breed is believed to be amazingly loyal and devoted to its family.

Cairns prefer spending time indoors while playing with the kids or following their owners around from room to room. Also, they always accompany their pet parents at the front door when greeting a visitor by behaving friendly towards the guests. Nevertheless, the friendliness of this breed stems from early socialization. While still a puppy, you are supposed to expose your canine to a variety of sounds, sights, and people.

It’s of vital importance for Cairn terrier owners to invite visitors regularly, take their dogs to busy locations, make sure they meet the neighbors while taking them on strolls, etc. The social skills of these canines have to be brushed up from a young age in order for them to befriend people easily. Find out more about the characteristics of this dog breed.

Additionally, the activity levels of Cairn Terriers are unusually high, hence requiring regular physical and mental stimulation. Unless stimulated enough to channel their energy, they turn into destructive and noisy creatures. Owners must be assertive and dominant to prevent the stubbornness of this breed from getting on the surface.

Potential health problems

In general, Cairn Terriers are healthy, but they are susceptible to certain health conditions, which owners should be aware of before adopting one. For instance, they are prone to suffering from craniomandibular osteopathy, referring to a condition that affects the skull bones of puppies, making these bones unusually large. Symptoms tend to develop when puppies are between the age of four and eight months.

Canines with craniomandibular osteopathy experience swollen jaw and glands, impeding them from opening their mouth. Consequently, puppies might drool, experience fever and atrophy of the chewing muscles. While this condition is mostly treated with pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, some severe cases require jaw surgery.

Another condition that affects puppies is cryptorchidism, a term describing the inability of either one or both testicles to descend. The testicles of puppies should descend until they turn two months. If not, the retained testicle must be removed surgically to prevent the risk of cancer. Follow this link,, to learn about the causes, prevention, and treatment of cryptorchidism in dogs.

Hypothyroidism is another health condition that Cairn Terriers are at risk of developing. It refers to the failure of the thyroid gland to produce enough of the thyroid hormone, which is in charge of growth and metabolism regulation. The deficiency of this hormone is believed to trigger other conditions, such as alopecia, epilepsy, lethargy, pyoderma, obesity, etc.

Legg-Calve-Perthes disease is related to the hip joint, occurring when a limited amount of blood is delivered to the head of the femur. Puppies between the age of four and six months are likely to start limping and experiencing leg muscle atrophy. Additionally, Cairn Terriers are likely to suffer from diabetes, which is caused by high levels of blood sugar. Nevertheless, pet owners can regulate diabetes through exercise, medication, and a healthy diet.


Training is of essential importance when it comes to Cairn Terriers, given their rebellious behavior around docile individuals. Pet owners are supposed to establish themselves as leaders to prevent these canines from behaving stubbornly in the future. For example, obedience training teaches this breed not only about obedience but also basic commands and socialization.

Cairn Terriers must be exposed to people and other dogs while still young to diminish their aggressiveness. The only way to prevent the members of this breed from bossing around is by showing them that you’re the boss through training. Also, hush training is worth implementing because of the loud nature of the breed. Once your canine stops barking, make sure to reward him/her with a treat and always say hush.

Final word

A Cairn terrier is a devoted, affectionate, intelligent, and loyal pet.

Adopt one!