The Cairn Terrier Temperament – A Big Dog in a Small Body
Toto, the little dog from the Wizard of Oz, is a perfect example of the Cairn Terrier Temperament – lively, intelligent and loyal.
This charming little dog originated in Scotland, where he was used to hunt and kill vermin from around the cairns, or piles of rocks. He was bred to chase, so he has a very strong prey drive. He won't be able to resist the opportunity to run after anything that looks like prey. You must be extremely cautious about letting your Cairn off leash, because he will go after anything that moves, and he won't come back when called.
Does Your Family Suit the Cairn Terrier Temperament?
If you have older children, they will enjoy the company of a Cairn Terrier very much. He is great fun and will happily accompany your family on all your outdoor activities. He is not a particularly cuddly dog and won't willingly snuggle up on your lap. He prefers to be on the move with you than sitting still. This is one dog temperament that remains playful and active until he is quite mature.
As with all terriers, the Cairn can be stubborn and independent and try to be the boss. This aspect of your dog's temperament means that you need to show him that you are in charge. He is afraid of nothing and if he thinks he rules your home, he can get into trouble. Early and regular training throughout his life is the key to owning a well behaved Cairn Terrier.
Your Cairn Terrier will often bark at the slightest sound. This is typical of terrier dog temperaments, and it can make him unpopular with your neighbors. You will need to train him to stop barking on command, and confine him when you aren't there to keep an eye on him.
Watch Video of Two Playful Cairn Terriers
The Cairn Terrier and Other Animals.
He can be taught to live harmoniously with pets of other species if he is socialized with them from a young age. I have also found that the Cairn Terrier temperament is calmer if he is given toys to hunt. Throw a squeaky toy for him, and watch him pounce on it and shake it. This gives him the opportunity to express his normal behaviors. However, you can never trust a predatory dog temperament around potential prey, so don't leave your Cairn unsupervised around small animals.
Your Dog's Temperament and Your Garden!
The Cairn has large feet and strong claws, which serves him well for the purpose of digging out rats and mice. This doesn't make him very popular when he digs holes in your back yard or destroys your carefully laid out garden.
You won't be able to reliably train him out of digging; it is just too ingrained in him. To make sure your flowers survive his company, use a decorative fence to keep your Cairn away from them. Alternatively, keep your dog in the back yard and plant a nice garden at the front of your house. Another good idea is to give your dog his own area to dig in, whether it be a corner of your yard or a child's sand pit. Bury his squeaky toys in the sand and he will enjoy digging them up and biting them.
This busy little dog needs activity, so it's important that he gets plenty of exercise. With active dog temperaments like that of the Cairn Terrier, you'll find that you will be more active too, and this will be good for your health. If he doesn't get the exercise he needs, he will become bored and will bark more, dig more and generally be more of a problem.
The Cairn Terrier is the ideal dog for active families who have time to train and socialize their dog as he grows up. He is sturdy, intelligent and always keen to go on adventures with you.
If you are looking to add a playful, intelligent and energetic four legged pet to your family, then you can't go wrong with the Cairn Terrier temperament.
Other Terrier Dogs
The Cairn Terrier is a memebr of the Terrier Group of dogs. Dogs in this grop come in various sizes, and are ALL full of spunk and spirit. Though they have many things in common, each terrier also has varying temperaments. Here are a few other terriers and their temperaments: