The Cairn Terrier today is a modern attempt to preserve the old-time working terrier of the Isle of Skye, where they were used to flush rodents, otters, foxes, badgers and other vermin from rocks, cliffs and ledges on the wild shores of their misty isle. Other names have been Scotch Terrier, Highland Terrier, Tod-hunter, Skye Otter Terrier and Short-haired Skye Terrier. Modern-day Cairn Terriers remain true to their heritage: they are short-legged, hardy, versatile, active and game. Much like the character “Toto” in The Wizard of Oz, Cairn Terriers are adventurous, alert, playful, loving and wonderful companions for adults and children. This cheerful breed is highly intelligent, and most Cairn Terriers have a stubborn streak. Their fearless tenacity can lead them into trouble if their owners are irresponsible. They also love to chase and dig and are great swimmers.
Mature males should stand 10 inches at the withers, while females should be 9½ inches in height. There is one, and only one, correct weight for the Cairn Terrier: 14 pounds for males and 13 pounds for females, measured at 2 years of age. Cairns have a shaggy, harsh, weather-resistant double coat that typically benefits from professional grooming. The terrier coat requires hand stripping, because cutting or shearing the coat can damage its natural weather-protective characteristics. Cairns should also be brushed on a regular basis to remove dirt and dander. Their coat may be any color except white.