Do Cairn Terriers Shed? And Other Important Things to Know

Cairn Terriers are intelligent small dogs with shaggy coats and dark eyes, large teeth, and sharp, pointy ears. These dogs were first bred in Scotland, where they were used to hunt for vermin within rock piles or cairns – hence the name. It’s a great breed, but surely there are many things you want to learn before deciding to buy or adopt a Cairn puppy, so below you can find answers to some of the most common questions about this dog breed.

Do Cairn Terriers Shed?

The quick answer is that they do shed, but they are not heavy shedders, they are a little below average when it comes to shedding.

If you share your home with dogs, then you should expect to deal with dog hair on furniture, clothing, and floors. Cairn Terriers’ hair always grows and falls out in a natural process known as shedding.

While Cairn Terriers do shed, so does every other dog too.

While Cairn Terriers do shed, so does every other dog.

Shedding varies in time and intensity depending on the breed, but it is relatively low in Cairns that have a short and wiry coat protecting the softer undercoat. As such, they are a low-maintenance breed that requires minimal grooming. However, there are periods of the year when dogs are bound to shed more, which commonly happens during seasonal changes or after littering. Shedding leaves behind a mess that often requires cleaning, but there are easier ways to control it.

How Do You Deal with the Shedding?

You can control shedding perfectly through regular grooming and stripping or clipping sessions. The Cairns are a low-maintenance breed that only requires weekly grooming to reduce shedding. In addition to weekly grooming, all wire-haired breeds such as the Cairn Terrier also require regular stripping to reduce matting that often occurs on their outer coat. Regular clipping of your Cairn is important because it reduces shedding. You can use clippers on older dogs, but hand-stripping is recommended for puppies and younger dogs. In this process, dead hair is pulled out from its rooting. The hand-stripping process should be done carefully to avoid hurting the dog because the pain may make it shy away from any future stripping.

Do Cairn Terriers Have any Common Health Problems?

Cairn Terrier is a healthy breed with few serious health problems and a life expectancy of 12 to 17 years, but the breed is prone to some allergy-related problems, cataracts, and common skin conditions.

If you decide to adopt a Cairn, then there are some hereditary conditions that you should always look out for as well, and these include soft tissue sarcoma, luxating patella, Von Willebrand disease, cataracts, progressive retinal atrophy, ocular melanosis, entropion, hypothyroidism, krabbe disease, corneal dystrophy, and hip dysplasia.

How Big Do Cairn Terriers Grow?

Cairns grow to a height range of 9 to 10 inches and weigh between 13 to 14 pounds. Females commonly stand at a height of about 9.5 inches and gain up to 13 pounds while their male counterparts may attain 10 inches of height and gain up to 14 pounds.

When Do Cairn Terriers Reach Full-sized Growth?

There is a common misconception that the growth of dogs stops once they become one-year-old. While this is a fair estimation, it does not seem to be true for all breeds. Living conditions and nutrition determine when the puppies reach the peak of their growth, and even puppies of the same litter may not reach this peak in one instance. However, generalizations about the time can be made based on size categories. Cairns are classified as small dogs, and dogs in this category often do attain their full body size by the time of their first birthday.

Do Cairn Terriers Make Great Family Pets?

Yes, you could say that Cairn Terriers make great family pets. They are playful in nature and love company. They are very affectionate towards children, and can make great play buddies.

They can also be described as an active, confident, independent, passionate, curious, and intelligent breed. Their playful and curious nature originates from their natural use in digging out vermin, because they are so playful and active, they dislike containment or extensive cuddling. They also do not enjoy being alone for a long time, so Cairn Terriers are actually better suited for families than single people.

Little furry creatures are not the best of friends for Cairn Terriers, and this is perhaps due to their past use in rooting out foxes, rabbits, otters, and other vermin on farms. The Cairns are less likely to distinguish between hamsters, cats, and other vermin. When outside, they should always be kept on a leash to prevent them from fulfilling their urge to chase small animals.

In a multi-pet household, though, they shouldn’t have much trouble accepting other pets. The only thing that could cause trouble is that Cairns can be protective of their food.

Is a Cairn Terrier Suitable for Living in an Apartment or Does It Need More Space?

Your Cairn may not do well if it is left alone because it is an extremely social breed. This breed of dogs can live happily in apartments in spite of their natural urge and curiosity that leads them into constant burrowing. However, your Cairn will still need sufficient exercising if they are living indoors, and with enough indoor exercising, they do not need to go out very often.

Daily walks can keep your Cairn Terrier healthy and happy, but you should always keep it on a leash because they are naturally stubborn and less obedient. Professional dog training is occasionally necessary to direct the dog’s focus. Let your Cairn Terrier live among you as one of your family members or with another dog, and it will be a happy pet. Otherwise, you may find yourself with a noisy, bored, lonely, and destructive dog!

In Conclusion

To sum it up, Cairn Terriers are slightly below average when it comes to shedding, so regular grooming is necessary with this breed. Other than that, this is a great dog breed that can handle living in an apartment and gets along with children very well. The only real downside to this breed is their natural instinct to chase other smaller animals, which will require you to always keep the dog on a leash when you take him/her outside.


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