How To Care for Cairn Terriers

Girl with cairn terriers

Cairn Terriers, or "Toto Dogs," are friendly little creatures. They love to bark and do not work well in a household where silence is expected; barking is their way of communicating and expressing their joys, sorrows and every emotion between the two. An active, healthy and thriving breed, Cairns do have a high energy level, though they are not obnoxious. Cairns love being around their owners, despite being independent and inquisitive. Cairns come in all colors, except white.

  1. Remember that Cairns are den animals. This breed needs a safe, enclosed place for retreat when feeling tired or just needing a break from the world. A kennel or crate works well for this breed, and you should also place your Cairn in a crate when traveling. Your dog will not be happy if she is expected to sleep directly on the grass or on a living room floor.
  2. Because these terriers are very inquisitive and will take off after something that catches their eye if they are not protected, you should provide them with an enclosed area for play.
  3. Cairns are relatively easy to feed, only requiring a small portion of a dry dog food to maintain their health. You should be careful to not overfeed your Cairn, or else he may start to resemble a Ball Park Frank!
  4. It is important to keep in mind that Cairns have high energy levels. Exercise them regularly to maintain their mental and physical health. Cairns love to participate in vigorous activities that require them to use their brains. Give them toys to entertain them when they're alone. Cairns are capable of entertaining themselves, but much prefer human interaction.
  5. Grooming is very important when you have a Cairn Terrier. Get your dog used to being handled as a puppy, since you will come in contact with every part of her body during the grooming process. You should purchase a spray bottle of conditioner to work into your dog's coat weekly. Then, use a brush and brush against the grain of the dog's hair. Afterward, brush down as normal. Twice a month, your dog's top coat should be thinned. You can do this with a fine stripping knife.
  6. It is imperative that Cairns are trained, as they can be stubborn and, if untrained, will become their own bosses. Even a well-trained Cairn may occasionally decide to do things his own way just for sheer, independent joy.
  7. Lastly, you should learn to appreciate the unique qualities of this breed. You should come to understand that they will chase bugs, squirrels, bikes, and anything that is moving. That is why you should keep them in enclosed yards with plenty of room to play.

    You should not expect your Cairn to be silent, either; they'll bark at birds, the television, the doorbell and even the phone. A Cairn will bark just to hear the sound of her own voice. Always remember that they do not bark to irritate.

    You should also expect your Cairn to dig. These dogs will dig up your flower beds and lawns looking for rodents to kill. They were bred for it!


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