Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a popular family dog with a medium length harsh coat. It belongs to the terrier group.

Cairn Terrier breed Group


Size of the Cairn Terrier


Country of Origin


Time of original development

The Cairn Terrier can be traced back over 500 years. It first appeared in the show ring in 1909 in the UK.

The Cairn Terrier’s uses through History

The Cairn Terrier was used originally bred to hunt foxes, otters and vermin. Today, this popular breed of dog is kept simply as a companion pet.

Cairn Terrier temperament

The Cairn Terrier is an energetic, enthusiastic, friendly little dog with a confident attitude. It is a dog that loves the company of people, and children too. It is generally sociable and friendly with other dogs. Socialisation and training should be introduced from an early age. Care should be taken around cats, and contact with other smaller pets in the family should be avoided.

Colour varieties of the Cairn Terrier

The breed comes in many colours which include:

  • Brindle
  • Cream
  • Cream Brindle
  • Dark Brindle
  • Dark Red Brindle
  • Dark Wheaten
  • Grey
  • Grey Black
  • Grey Black Brindle
  • Grey Brindle
  • Light Red
  • Red
  • Red Brindle
  • Red Wheaten
  • Silver Brindle
  • Wheaten
  • Wheaten Brindle

Size and weight of the Cairn Terrier

Height bitch 28-31cms

Height dog 28-31cms

Weight (kilos) bitch 6-7.5kgs

Weight (kilos) dog 6-7.5kgs

Exercise requirements of the Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a lively and energetic dog that requires an hour of exercise off the lead daily. It’s a small dog, making it practical and adaptable to most living spaces. The Cairn Terrier can happily live in a city or apartment as long as it receives the adequate amount of exercise and stimulation.

Is the Cairn Terrier a good dog for a first time dog owner?

Yes. The Cairn Terrier is fairly easy to train. It is a small dog, making it an ideal choice for families with limited living space.

New owners should also be aware of the grooming costs involved for this particular breed.

Cairn Terrier coat length

Medium.The Cairn Terrier has a harsh coat. The featherings on the face, legs  and abdomedn can grow very long, without regular trimming and grooming.

Grooming requirements of the Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier requires daily brushing with a soft slicker brush to remove mud, twigs, tangles and matts.. The coat requires professional hand stripping by a professional dog groomer 2-3 times per year. Clipping and cutting the harsh outer coat will harm the coarse coat, ans should be avoided. Expect to pay from £30 upwards for a full grooming session for your Cairn Terrier.

Ears need to be cleaned and checked regularly for any sign of infection.


No. This breed sheds so is an unsuitable choice for allergy sufferers.

Health Issues in the Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a fairly healthy and hardy dog but prospective owners should be aware of the following known health issues recorded in the breed and consult their breeder:

  • Eye Problems
  • Hip Dysplasia
  • Luxcating Patella
  • Von Willebrand Disease

As with all pedigree dogs, it is very important to obtain a puppy from a reputable source where you can be guaranteed that it has been bred with a view to avoiding the inherent physical and psychological diseases of the breed.

Average lifespan of the Cairn Terrier

A healthy Cairn Terrier should expect to enjoy a life expectancy of between 12-17 years.

Approximate Cairn Terrier pedigree puppy price

Expect to pay around £400-£500 for a pedigree Cairn Terrier puppy. Litters are normally available. 835 Cairn Terrier puppies were registered with the Kennel Club in 2015. There are generally 2-10 puppies in an average litter.

Estimating how much a Cairn Terrier would need to be fed each day

A bitch or dog 7kgs requires 150gms of complete dry food daily. The weekly cost of feeding a 7kgs bitch or dog is around £3.50

Our figures are based on feeding an above average quality and popular complete dry food bought from a leading supermarket. A good quality feed is suggested for the energetic dogs in the terrier group.

Other financial costs to consider when owning any dog breed

Remember to budget for essential pet treatments and procedures that are not covered by pet insurance policies including:

  • Worming and fleas preparations
  • Annual Vaccination boosters
  • Neutering or spaying
  • Microchipping
  • Dental treatment