Cairn Terrier


With roots that lie in the Isle of Skye and the Highlands of Scotland, the Cairn Terrier was originally grouped with Scottish and West Highland White Terriers; the breeds began to be separated in the early 1900s. The Cairn was skilled at hunting prey such as fox that lived in the ledges and rock piles (cairns) that dotted the farming countryside. A working Terrier, the Cairn likes to be busy; today’s dogs excel in agility and tracking trials. Made famous by Toto in the Wizard of Oz.


Small; females 91/2 inches, 13 pounds; males 10 to 12 inches, 14 pounds.


Any color except white.


Intelligent, spirited, curious, quick to learn. Can be stubborn and independent.

Good with children, but may be aggressive with other dogs. Enjoys chasing and digging; some bark.

Energy level:

High, but not high strung.

Best owner:

Active family or owner.


Daily exercise, leash, secure fencing (to prevent digging), obedience training, weekly brushing.

Life expectancy:

12 to 15 years.