The Cairn Terrier originated in Scotland. It is one of the oldest terriers as well as one of the oldest working breeds in Scotland; it was bred to hunt burrowing prey.
The average Cairn Terrier stands between 9 and 13 inches tall and should weigh 13 to 18 pounds, although some can weigh as little as 7 pounds or as much as 27 pounds. It has a harsh outer coat that can be red, sandy, gray, cream, wheaten or brindle, and a soft, dense undercoat.
The breed is loyal and strong. It can be stubborn at times and can be difficult to train because it is so headstrong. It has a tendency to dig due to its origin as a burrowing breed. The breed is still used as a working dog in some parts of Scotland.
Grooming the Cairn Terrier can be a process. It should always be hand stripped and never stripped with scissors or shears. Removing the dead hair by hand-pulling it out by the roots allows for new hair growth.
The Cairn Terrier generally lives for about 15 years. The breed has several hereditary health problems, as well as non-hereditary maladies. Some of these problems include: cataracts, ocular melanosis, progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dystrophy, Krabbe disease, hip dysplasia, Legg-CalvÃ©-Perthes syndrome, craniomandibular osteopathy, Von Willebrand disease, hypothyroidism, portosystemic shunt, luxating patella, and entropion.