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The Cairn is a native of the western highlands of Scotland as well as the Isle of Skye, part of the Hebrides Islands, north of Scotland. The breed owes its name and its existence to the pile of rocks erected to identify a boundary or mark a grave. These cairns became favorite hiding places for foxes and other pests, A small but game terrier was needed to go into the cairns and rout out the vermin. The lairds of Scotland kept packs of the tousy terriers for hunting and extermination purposes.
This breed's history is parallel to that of the Skye, the West Highland White and the Scottish Terriers and goes back about 500 years. From a large variety of types in various locales, four distinct breeds slowly emerged: the Cairn, Skye, Westie and Scottie. When the Cairns were first exhibited in 1909, they were called Short-haired Skyes. This produced a howl from the Skye fanciers, resulting in the name Cairn.
Bursting with energy and a joy of life, the Cairn is independent in nature and intently curious, requiring firm instructions. Their terrier nature implores them to dig—whether in a burrow or a flower bed makes no difference to them.
The Cairn has been a neat, compact, cheerful and alert companion since the 1500s. These attributes have made them the favorite terrier in Great Britain, bringing them the honor of being called "the best little pal in the world" by the British Cairn Terrier Club. They reached American shores in 1913, where they have enjoyed a sensible middle-of-the-road status. The breed's sturdiness serves them in good stead as a child's dog.
The short muzzle and erect ears give the breed a keen expression. Its moderately short tail is carried gaily. Ring presentation calls for some "tidying up," since the Cairn's shaggy coat gives the dog a tousled appearance, much like "Toto" in The Wizard ofOz.



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