The Cairn Terrier is the beloved breed that was featured in the movie, The Wizard of Oz. It was the movie that brought the breed to popularity and still is one of the most popular pets of the Terrier breed. The Cairn Terrier is a sturdy little dog that is high spirited and lively, and he showcases this by always walking high on his toes. He has a lot of great qualities that make him a great family pet, but there are things to know about the breed before you embark on adding one to your family. Since all breeds have their good points, and all have traits that may not be welcoming to you and your family or your lifestyle, learning about the breed is the best way to determine if this dog is the best for you. Here are seven things you didn’t know about the Cairn Terrier.
1. They are fearless
Cairn Terriers are fearless dogs that were bred to be hunters. They love to chase and are extremely independent and curious little dogs. They can quickly get themselves into trouble because of their drive to explore, chase and get out and roam. It is very important that your Cairn Terrier isn’t allowed to have free reign to take off and run and walk away from you or they will take off and explore far and wide. They should always be leashed – at all times – when with you, or kept confined in a fenced in yard.
2. They are stubborn
Cairns are known to have a stubborn streak, like most of the Terrier breeds. They may give you grief while training them, show their stubbornness not to learn, however, they are capable of being trained, and trained well if the right techniques are used and with patience and discipline. They respond best to training with high praise and treats as opposed to yelling or harsh discipline tactics and should be shown who is the leader of the pack and who is in charge, early on. Cairns are often seen in obedience training competitions, which shows you that they are trainable.
3. They are barkers
Most terriers are known to be barkers, but the little Cairn has a bigger tendency to let his voice be heard. Whether they are outside or in, Cairns like to show people who is boss. They also like to alert you to every sound and sight they see, so you must be quick to stop his alert. If you are not accustomed to a lot of barking or do not have the coping skills to deal with excessive barking, the Cairn Terrier may not be the right dog breed for you. People who live in close proximity to other people may find that this dog is not the best choice; apartment living, or houses where neighbors are close are ones who will want to take the barking into consideration before adopting a Cairn.
4. They can be bossy with other pets
Yes, Cairn Terriers can adapt to other pets in the household, although they can show a bit of bossiness with them, especially if they are similar in size or smaller. Cats are one of the most common pet that Cairns will tend to harass a bit and chase. That being said, they typically do adapt to other pets and are better at adjusting to other pets in the family than an of the other breeds of terriers. Outside of other household pets, other animals may be an issue for your Cairn. Because they were bred to hunt, Cairns are known to have chase issues and will often view other animals as reason to get a good chase going.
Cairn Terriers are possessive little dogs. They are especially possessive of their toys and food and do not like to have anyone mess with their things. This goes for other animals, children, strangers or anyone who they think is going to take what is there’s. You will also want to socialize your puppy early on, in regards to his food and toys to help him not to feel anxious about others being around what he thinks is only his. Training your pup early on how to be tolerant of other animals around their food and toys can help, although they will always have a certain amount of possessiveness – it is just part of their nature.
6. They have a considerable number of health issues
While all breed of dogs have their certain risks of health issues and ones that are common for their particular breed, the Cairn has a long list of health concerns that can become a problem for them. If you are not prepared to deal with health issues with your puppy, this may not be the best breed for you. Some of the most common health risks for the Cairn include, joint problems, cataracts, skin problems, degenerative disease of the nervous system, epilepsy, and more. Regular vet checks can help prevent or catch problems early.
7. Not the best breed with children
If you have small children, a Cairn Terrier may not be the best breed for your family. Cairns are not the most friendly and accepting of small people. They typically do not do well with some of the nonsense that children often display with dogs; pulling of the tails, whiskers, and ears. They also do not do well with all the running and loud noises that also typically come with children in the household. They tend to react quickly to these types of actions and will defend themselves in these situations.