The vast majority of dog breeds of the third FCI group (terriers) originate from Great Britain. Some of them are „Scots". Perhaps they are best known, in a way, through the Black whiskey & White – a dignified, somewhat demonic with bushy eyebrows black Scottish terrier and a west highland white terrier sitting next to him. But another breed, also of Scottish terrier origin, I want to deal with. The distinctive feature is the first part of the name – „cairn". I wrote that many breeds of dogs get their name from their country of origin, city, or geographical land. It is no different with our hero. Lubomir Smyczynski wrote – about the Gaelic origin of the word „cairn", who marks out rocky hills, hillocks and barrows. The western part of the Scottish Highlands and the islands off the north coast of Scotland are the region of origin of this old breed.
The name of the dog is associated with agility attributed to the breed and the resulting agility in moving among boulders, stones, hills, while hunting has weasels, polecats, foxes or rabbits. This one is full of temperament „dishevelled" is an unusually lively, active pet in a very friendly, non-aggressive version. This is the type of country, busy dog whose hunting passion is especially for rats and other vermin. This very popular in Great Britain fur terrier owes its popularity to m.in. cheerful disposition, which composes somehow with its funny appearance – disheveled coat, which should not be artificially beautified. There is an opinion that the cairn is easier to train than other terriers. This is due to a certain ability to keep discipline.
While retaining the typical terrier temperament, males can exhibit leadership tendencies. Interestingly, the Cairn and the West Highland White share common ancestors but have different temperaments. I am very careful with individual experiences and opinions about a given breed. They are of the opinion that the Westie can, without warning (growl), set his teeth in motion when someone is bothering him too much, especially a little-known person. The following text confirms this „The bad effects of untimely love" (in Dog and Law section). The behavior described there, in cairn is unprecedented. Especially on a walk, a smiling face and a wagging tail seem to express love for the whole world. At the same time, this delightful companion seems to be very protective, almost caring. However, it is a dog with character, not a cuddly cuddly dog. Therefore, his handler should be consistent, calm, balanced and treat petting as a nice reference to the dog, but it can not be a permanent state. The general rule, which applies to every dog, is not to tolerate today a behavior that was absolutely forbidden yesterday. Consistency in dealing with the dog comes down to calmly following established rules and enforcing expected behaviour in specific situations, so that the dog can understand and learn what it is allowed and what it is not allowed to do. Especially lively dogs, dynamic, with character, independent, require a master who will be an authority. Our hero in relation to children is nice, tolerant. However, I think that especially small children should not be left alone with a dog. Especially the first contact should be in the presence of adults. For the sake of the child as well as the dog. Children are usually delighted with the dog but sometimes they are too insistent in playing and the dog’s self-defence may prove a danger.
Our hero’s lush, shaggy coat with its soft, dense undercoat provides good protection from the rain. Varied colouring, from creamy reddish fawn to grey, almost black, adds variety to the dog’s version. Hair cosmetics is quite simple. Smoothing a long coat is done by combing with a metal comb with a rather loose spacing of teeth, so as not to comb out the undercoat too much. Another useful metal comb should have a relatively thick spacing of teeth, properly rounded, so that when combing the coat it does not irritate the skin. Breeders especially recommend trimming the coat, approx. 5 times a year. The fine teeth of the trimmer blade do not penetrate the coat, they do not cut the hair but only collect the dead hair. A good method of removing the aforementioned hair is simply plucking with your fingers, but in my opinion, the above mentioned knife is a more convenient form of caring for the coat of our pet. Cairn terrier should not be shorn.
He feels the need to move and his lively, free behavior indicates that nothing gives him more pleasure than „racing with the wind". Russian word „walk" has many meanings, and among them – madness. The wild, intoxicating walk of the Cairn Terrier has something of the madness, „of devilish elation". Such a euphoric gallop can be observed in many breeds of dogs. But especially charming is this show with a small, short-legged dog. It is not difficult to encourage a Cairn to gallop. A laugh or other sound, a clap of the hands is enough. A separate and very complex subject for the cairn is the tennis ball. It is the whole composition of the master-dog relationship and a huge portion of joy, without end.
In Poland, cairn terriers are very popular. At the International Dog Show in Warsaw in 2012. 15 specimens were presented.
Exhaustive information about how our cuddly dog should look like can be found in the breed standard. I will therefore limit myself to a brief statement of the essential characteristics. Cairn terrier is a short-legged dog of the size 28 – 31 cm. Ideal weight – 6 to 7.5 kg. The head is relatively broad with a well-defined foot. Short muzzle in proportion to skull and brain like 3:5. Eyes well spaced, medium size, dark hazel, deep set. Ears small and pointed. The body in the shape of a slightly elongated rectangle. Back well tied. The coat of the cairn is very important, resistant to weather changes. It is of two types: the coat is very abundant, hard but not thick. Undercoat short, soft and dense. A sparse coat without undercoat is a serious deficiency. Slightly curly, wavy is acceptable. Coatings: cream, wheat, red-red, grey, almost black. Brushing of all these shades is allowed. Black, white and black toothed coats are undesirable. Dark ends of hair on muzzle (mask) and ears are very characteristic and typical. Tail – short, abundantly hairy, without feathering, carried cheerfully, neither bent down nor up.
Photos courtesy of: CAIRN. ow. Jacob Tobrucki
Jan Borzymowski: cairn trimming. The article mentions the issue of tidying up the coat of this dog. Breeders have rightly pointed out that this should be done with fingers and not with a trimming knife. Undoubtedly, maintaining the dog’s coat just so it does not look "as if a thunderbolt had struck a broomstick" is something different from the cynological, show preparation. In the latter case, the cairn’s coat should be prepared with fingers.