Cairn Terrier

Lifestyle Needs

Cairn Terrier

The Cairn Terrier is a small, sturdy little dog with a slightly shaggy double waterproof coat.  He will have the Terrier’s instinct to hunt and is said to enjoy swimming.  He is generally full of character and would make a suitable family pet, provided that he has plenty of activity that he can join in with.  He will need daily exercise and regular grooming.

Genetic Diversity
(Known as Coefficient of Inbreeding: 'COI'. It should be as low as possible.)

The UK Kennel Club breed average COI is 6.8% - See 'A Beginners Guide to COI'

Gene Pool Size
(Known as Effective Population Size: 'EPS')


EPS is a measure of how many individuals are contributing genetically to a breed population. It is a measure of the size of the gene pool in a breed. Lower than 100 is considered critical by conservationists and below 50 brings a breed close to extinction. For more information see the Kennel Club article.

Health and Welfare Problems due to Conformation
(Body shape and physical characteristics)

None known

BVA/KC Health Schemes:

  • Eye disease: Abnormal pigment deposition (APD)  (annual testing). All dogs used for breeding must be examined under the Eye Scheme; Posterior lens luxation

Estimated Breeding Values (EBVs) : No EBVs are currently available for this breed

DNA Tests Available
DogWellNet and IPFD Harmonisation of Genetic Testing for Dogs (HGTD)

  • Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GCL) (Krabbe Disease)
  • Craniomandibular Osteopathy (CMO)
  • Gallbladder Mucocele Formation

Availability of a DNA test does not mean that it is always necessary or even desirable for breeders to use this test.

Other Breed-Specific Health Screening Schemes

  • Bile acid testing of puppies.
  • Putnam scoring for Patellar Luxation

Ask the breeder to show you the certificates for the above tests/screening for both parents. If any of the above tests have not been considered necessary by the breeder (and there may be good reasons), ask her to explain why.

Other Diseases Reported
(For which there are currently no genetic or screening tests for sire or dam)

  • Atopy
  • Hypoadrenocorticism (Addison’s disease)
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Renal dysplasia
  • Ocular melanosis
  • Addisons disease
  • Epulide tumours (benign) on gums

Ask the breeder about the medical history of the parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Consider carefully whether to purchase a puppy if some of these or other diseases are in the family line.

Ask about the breeder’s policy in cases of serious genetic diseases occurring to your puppy in later life. Good breeders will request to be informed of such events in order to improve future breeding decisions.

You are strongly advised to buy from a breeder who uses (or is prepared to use) the AWF Puppy Contract and Puppy Information Pack (PIP):

The breeder should also be familiar with the CFSG/DBRG Code of Practice for Dog Breeding

Or the Kennel Club’s Assured Breeders Scheme Standard and Guidance:
Standard PDF | Guidance PDF

Breed Health Information