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Cairn Terrier



No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.
- Christopher Morley

Cairn Terrier puppy

Magisterial's Caithness Wren

Cairn Terrier adults
Magisterial's Leo Hilgefort, "Leo" (left)
Magisterial's Lily Hilgefort, "Lily"

The Cairn Terrier  was originally bred in the British Isles as a hunting dog, working in packs to kill rats, badgers, and other small vermin. 

Known in his native Scotland for over 500 years, the Cairn Terrier is believed to be the oldest of the British terriers. 

The Cairn hails from the Isle of Skye but to avoid confusion with the existing Skye Terrier, he was named the Cairn Terrier in honour of the piles of rock he scrambled over while on the hunt. 

Although the Cairn Terrier is a small dog, standing just 10 inches high at the shoulder, he is often described as a "big dog trapped in a small dog's body". Like all terriers, he is an active, independent bundle of energy. He is extremely tough, resilient, and is not prone to injury. However, his fierce determination and unwillingness to back away from confrontation even if the other dog is much bigger can cause him to come to grief. It is also the main reason behind the absolutely essential backyard fence!

The Cairn Terrier has a harsh, weather-resistant double coat that may be any colour except white.

Perhaps the best known Cairn Terrier is "Toto" from the Wizard of Oz. Cairns are people dogs who thrive on attention and are NOT suitable for people without any time for a dog.  They are very active, inquisitive and "ready to go" dogs.  The Cairn is a great dog for the house and is very good with children.  Alert, energetic and always on the watch, Cairn Terriers are very territorial, and will alert you to the presence of strangers. 

Cairns are natural diggers who can only be discouraged through early and firm training. However, they are intelligent little creatures who are easily housetrained. Cairns are curious and independent but do require attention. Without enough human contact or proper training, they can become destructive and boredom barkers. A daily walk on leash (your Cairn won't be able to resist chasing squirrels or other small animals) provides the necessary exercise. 


Buying a Puppy
Dog Titles 

Disaster Proofing

Clubs and Organizations


The Cairn Terrier Club of Canada

Cairn Terrier Association of Ontario



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Maple Leaf Breeders

Maple Leaf

CKC Cairn Terrier Breed Standard

Photos displayed above courtesy of:
Adam Moore, Magisterial Kennels




Garry and Christine Peters
Site 22, Comp 8
RR #5, Station Main
Prince Albert, SK S6V 5R3
(306) 764-2437

Chriscairn Kennels Reg'd





Cathy Gonzalez
350 Godolphin Road
Warkworth, ON   K0K 3K0
(705) 924-2509 


Carol Kay
15 Mather Street
Perth, ON  K7H 3K7
(613) 264-9269


Cindy MacLean
139 MacLean Road
Thessalon, ON     P0R-1L0
(705) 842-3733

Syryn Reg'd

Adam Moore
292 McCutcheon Road
Roblin, ON  K0K 2W0
(613) 388-1118  

Magisterial Kennels

Jan Morgan
924 White Ash Drive
Whitby, ON  L1N 7S8
(905) 430-3647

Cairn Terrier puppy
Cabaret Cairns





Julie Trottier and Andre Plante
Quebec   G1N 1P5
(418) 849-7149

Graffiti Perm Reg'd Airedale and Cairn


Cairn Terrier Club of Canada
BC Division
Janice Lewis, Lower Mainland   
(604) 522-9363
Leslie Lundgren, Island 
(250) 748-5498

Ontario and Eastern Regions Rescue
Linda Kettlewell




Did you know?

The Cairn Terrier 
who starred in 
The Wizard of Oz as Toto 
was actually a female
dog named Terry.


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