If you are thinking of adopting a Cairn Terrier, you may want to consider a few things first. Although this breed of dog is small (it is the smallest in the terrier line), it is not a guarantee that you can handle its care and development.
Here are a few of a Cairn Terrier's qualities that may win you over. It is a dog that has a very natural appearance and looks simply adorable when it is scrappy looking. Its coat doesn't shed as much as other breeds. Its energetic temperament is often curbed easily by moderate exercises like a brief run to the park or a few minutes of digging in the yard. It is a sturdy animal and persistent as heck. It also gets along well with some of your other farm or house pets.
Here are a few of a Cairn Terrier's qualities that may bowl you over. It is a fireball and can be very stubborn when it comes to basic training and obedience instructions. It takes a lot of creativity on your part to keep your pet mentally and physically entertained. It likes to dig. It likes to chew on things. It likes to bark more than any other breed. It has to undergo regular brushing and clipping, especially with the dogs that sport wiry coats. And lastly, Cairn Terriers are known to suffer from a considerable number of health problems.
Breeding Cairn Terriers can be a pickle. Many breed enthusiasts are not at all thrilled by the prospect of puppy mills. Puppy mills is a brand associated to any irresponsible breeders who do not take the time and effort to correctly match parent Cairn Terriers, so that the offspring remain healthy. Responsible breeding is when the Cairn Terriers' approved specifications are met and carried religiously throughout the breeding program. Some of these specifications include: height (9 - 13 inches at the withers,) weight (13 to 18 pounds) and standard coat colors like: brindled, cream, gray, red and sandy. Coats that come in pure black, black and tan, and pure white are not permitted according to conformation standards.
Irresponsible breeding has led to many Cairn Terriers that are way below or way above height and weight specifications. Not only is this considered "undesirable" as a breed trait, it also causes a lot of the dog's health-related problems. Cairn Terriers, as a rule are easy and natural breeders. They can have many litters over the span of their years. Responsible breeding however suggest that the good traits of the breed are strengthened, while the undesirable traits are stamped out.
Responsibly breeding Cairn Terriers is a matter of DNA (genetic) testing and temperament testing. DNA testing is carried out to make sure that the dog's body remains sound and healthy for most of its years. Inherent sickness is one of the major health issues for Cairn Terriers, and responsible breeders are careful not to match sires and dams that will most likely give birth to a very sick litter of puppies. Temperament testing is important as well. Retaining intelligence and soundness of mind in the breed is vital.