Origin of the Cairn Terrier
The Cairn Terrier originated in the Highlands of Scotland and on the Isle of Skye, The Cairn Terrier is one of the oldest terrier breeds with some records dating back to the 16th Century referring to these earth dogs. They were officially recognised under the name Cairn Terrier by the Kennel Club in 1910 for the show ring. The name was obtained from the Scottish word "Cairn" which means pile of stones. They were given this name because they were used in hunting packs by the Highlanders to remove vermin hiding in the piles of rock.
Description of the Cairn
The Cairn is quite amazing when it comes to colour because there are many variations and they can also change colour as they mature. A light wheaten puppy with only a few dark hairs on its back can turn into a very dark brindle mature dog. The most common colours are Wheaten, Grey, Red, Silver and brindling can occur in all these colours. They can not be White, Black or Black and Tan. Having said this a dark brindle dog to the untrained eye could almost be considered black..
They should have a double coat which consists of a thick undercoat and a harsh top coat, bearing in mind this dog was breed for the Highlands of Scotland so they needed to be protected accordingly. This coat should also be water resistant as it was required to protect the dog from snow and sleet in its native homeland.
The UK Breed Standard (which applies in Australia) states the Cairn should be 11 to 12 inches (28-31 cm) at whither and weigh between 7 to 8 KG. Their temperament should be game however not aggressive, inquisitive, intelligent, mischievous and above all wish to please their owners,
The cairn is sometimes referred to as fox like. This is because they should be light footed, agile and free in movement. They are also cunning, and their small dark eyes can create a fox-like expression. Their average lifespan is generally 12-15 years some living several years longer.
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