Illustration of Cairn Terrier

The Cairn is one of the native Scottish Breeds and from the 17th century had been used in the Western Highlands and the Isle of Skye to keep down vermin which were a threat to game. They often worked in small packs and they take their name from the Cairn – small outcrop of stones, common in the highland moors.

Several of the Scottish Terrier breeds: the Cairn (first exhibited as a short haired Skye Terrier) the Skye itself, the Scottish Terrier and the West Highland White share common ancestry.

The Cairn is remarkably unchanged in appearance throughout the centuries, lighter in build than the other terrier breeds from Scotland but a game, rugged and harsh coated sporting terrier.

Breed Group
Vulnerable Native Breed
How much exercise?
Up to 1 hour per day
Length of coat
How much grooming?
More than once a week
Supposedly sheds? *
Town or Country
Type of home
Minimum Garden Size
Over 10 Years

* If you are asthmatic or have an allergy, you should consult your medical advisor before considering obtaining a dog. More information can also be found on the Kennel Club website.

The Terrier Breed Group

Dogs originally bred and used for hunting vermin. 'Terrier' comes from the Latin word Terra, meaning earth. This hardy collection of dogs were selectively bred to be extremely brave and tough, and to pursue fox, badger, rat and otter (to name but a few) above and below ground. Dogs of terrier type have been known here since ancient times, and as early as the Middle Ages, these game breeds were portrayed by writers and painters.

Copyright © The Kennel Club Limited 2016. The unauthorised reproduction of text and images is strictly prohibited.