Cairn Terrier Breed Magazine features information, expert articles, and stunning photos from AKC judges, breeders, and owners.
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Official Standard of the Cairn Terrier General Appearance: That of an active, game, hardy, small working terrier of the short-legged class; very free in its movements, strongly but not heavily built, standing well forward on its forelegs, deep in the ribs, well coupled with strong hindquarters and presenting a well- proportioned build with a medium length of back, having a hard, weather-resisting coat; head shorter and wider than any other terrier and well furnished with hair giving a general foxy expression. Head: Skull - Broad in proportion to length with a decided stop and well furnished with hair on the top of the head, which may be somewhat softer than the body coat. Muzzle - Strong but not too long or heavy. Teeth-Large, mouth neither overshot nor undershot. Nose - Black. Eyes - Set wide apart, rather sunken, with shaggy eyebrows, medium in size, hazel or dark hazel in color, depending on body color, with a keen terrier expression. Ears - Small, pointed, well carried erectly, set wide apart on the side of the head. Free from long hairs. Tail: In proportion to head, well furnished with hair but not feathery. Carried gaily but must not curl over back. Set on at back level. Body: Well-muscled, strong, active body with well-sprung, deep ribs, coupled to strong hindquarters, with a level back of medium length, giving an impression of strength and activity without heaviness. Shoulders, Legs and Feet: A sloping shoulder, medium length of leg, good but not too heavy bone; forelegs should not be out at elbows, and be perfectly straight, but forefeet may be slightly turned out. Forefeet larger than hind feet. Legs must be covered with hard hair. Pads should be thick and strong and dog should stand well up on its feet. Coat: Hard and weather-resistant. Must be double-coated with profuse harsh outer coat and short, soft, close furry undercoat. Color: May be of any color except white. Dark ears, muzzle and tail tip are desirable. Ideal Size: Involves the weight, the height at the withers and the length of body. Weight for bitches, 13 pounds; for dogs, 14 pounds. Height at the withers - bitches, 9½ inches; dogs, 10 inches. Length of body from 14¼ to 15 inches from the front of the chest to back of hindquarters. The dog must be of balanced proportions and appear neither leggy nor too low to ground; and neither too short nor too long in body. Weight and measurements are for matured dogs at two years of age. Older dogs may weigh slightly in excess and growing dogs may be under these weights and measurements. Condition: Dogs should be shown in good hard flesh, well muscled and neither too fat or thin. Should be in full good coat with plenty of head furnishings, be clean, combed, brushed and tidied up on ears, tail, feet and general outline. Should move freely and easily on a loose lead, should not cringe on being handled, should stand up on their toes and show with marked terrier characteristics. Faults 1. Skull - Too narrow in skull. 2. Muzzle - Too long and heavy a foreface; mouth overshot or
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undershot. 3. Eyes - Too large, prominent, yellow, and ringed are all objectionable. 4. Ears - Too large, round at points, set too close together, set too high on the head; heavily covered with hair. 5. Legs and Feet - Too light or too heavy bone. Crooked forelegs or out at elbow. Thin, ferrety feet; feet let down on the heel or too open and spread. Too high or too low on the leg. 6. Body - Too short back and compact a body, hampering quickness of movement and turning ability. Too long, weedy and snaky a body, giving an impression of weakness. Tail set on too low. Back not level. 7. Coat - Open coats, blousy coats, too short or dead coats, lack of sufficient undercoat, lack of head furnishings, lack of hard hair on the legs. Silkiness or curliness. A slight wave permissible. 8. Nose - Flesh or light-colored nose. 9. Color - White on chest, feet or other parts of body.
Approved May 10, 1938
THE CAIRN TERRIER Breed History & Characteristics
By Tom Godwin
A breed of playful, ener- getic and courageous small terriers has been known for the past one hundred years as the Cairn. First exhibited by Mrs. Alistair Campbell in England in 1909 as a “short haired or prick-eared Skye Terrier,” her assertion that the breed was of the old small working terrier dog from the Isle of Skye. Following much deliberation and protest from the Skye Terrier Club, the breed would soon receive its o ffi cial designation as Cairn Terrier, a name rep- resentative of terrain, one was likely to find this small dog scampering about in the north of Britain. By 1913 the first Cairn Terrier Champions were recorded in Brit- ain. Th e year 1913 also saw America’s first Cairn registered with AKC. At years end in 1917, the Cairn Terrier Club of America was accepted into the ranks of AKC mem- ber clubs and the following year recorded America’s first champion of record for the breed. Breed origin and early history discus- sions invariably point to today’s Cairn descending from stock that can claim to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of
“BY 1913 THE FIRST CAIRN TERRIER CHAMPIONS WERE RECORDED IN BRITAIN. The year 1913 also saw America’s first Cairn registered with AKC.”
the pure British Terriers. Whether from the Isle of Skye, or the mainland of Scot- land, it is clear from writings and sketches that Cairn type terriers were earning their keep bolting game and ridding the croft- ers premises of nuisance vermin in records reaching well back to the sixteen hundreds. By the late teens of the last century, practice of interbreeding between Cairns and the close cousins, West Highland White Ter- riers, was disallowed by the Kennel Club in America, Britain would follow with a similar ruling a few years later. While the Westie evolved to an animal a bit taller at the withers and generally shorter backed, the Cairn maintained a moderate “not to short or too long” approach to both back
and leg length. Equally pursued by early fanciers/breeders was the e ff ort to avoid any characteristic appearance that leaned toward the longer muzzled and more sub- stantial Scottish Terrier. Examining pictures from the first fifty years of Cairn Terriers as a recognized breed and comparing to dogs of today, it is curious to note that the fancy has done well in preserving one of the original tenets of the breed club, “to promote the breeding of the old Working Terrier of the Highlands.” While many a coated breed has seen fash- ion dictate the presentation of its show dogs Cairn Terriers have stayed, to a much greater extent than some other breeds, unchanged through the decades. Helping
“WHETHER FROM THE ISLE OF SKYE, OR THE MAINLAND OF SCOTLAND,
it is clear from writings and sketches that Cairn type terriers were earning their keep bolting game and ridding the crofters premises of nuisance vermin in records reaching well back to the sixteen hundreds.”
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“As popular household companions the Cairn’s visibility grew steadily during its first fifty years as a recognized breed. CAIRNS HAVE BEEN FREQUENT MEMBERS OF BRITAIN’S ROYAL HOUSEHOLD
and in America who could deny the plucky demeanor of TOTO as Dorothy’s scruffy little soul mate in the classic Hollywood epic, ‘The Wizard of OZ’”.
to maintain the breed’s traditional appear- ance, the fancy has long admonished those who would scissor a Cairn’s coat, prefer- ring and promoting the terrier regiment of hand stripping to tidy the outline of this naturally coated dog. As popular household companions, the Cairn’s visibility grew steadily during its first fifty years as a recognized breed. Cairns have been frequent members of Britain’s Royal household and in Ameri- ca who could deny the plucky demeanor of TOTO as Dorothy’s scru ff y little soul mate in the classic Hollywood epic, “ Th e Wizard of OZ”. Th rough the early decades Cairn champions in America continued to come over from Britain. Into the nine- teen thirties as many as two thirds of AKC Cairn champions were British imports. Without question, the breeder and ken- nel whose activities and dogs have had the greatest impact on the Cairn Breed in North America would be Mrs. Betty Hyslop of Cairndania Kennels in Ontario, Canada. Owning or breeding some three hundred champions gave Mrs. Hyslop a keen eye for breeding as well as having the resources to import some of Britain’s best champions. Mrs. Hyslop’s direct influence lasted over sixty years until her passing in the late 1990s. Her legacy of the top-win- ning Cairns she promoted can be felt as yet in the generations of dogs down from her activities.
Today, the Cairn’s popularity goes well beyond the boundaries of Britain and North America. Fanciers in both North and South America are adding quality animals to their breeding programs from various European countries. Influences from countries that follow the British breed standard for Cairns have increased the diversity seen in the breed, mainly as it relates to the overall size of the exhib- its found in US show rings today. Specifi- cally, the British breed standard, revised in the early nineteen eighties, states a desired height at the withers for the breed of elev- en and a half to twelve inches. Th e stan- dard adopted by the Cairn Terrier Club of America in nineteen thirty eight, and still in e ff ect today, states a desired height of nine and half to ten inches. As deviation from desired size is not a disqualification, much size diversity is prevalent in the US show ring today. In large part due to the support from AKC for sanctioned events outside the purview of conformation, Cairns have enjoyed increased participation in events that clearly reach to roots of the breed’s original purpose. AKC venues as “Earth Dog,” “Agility,” “Barn Hunt” are events annually finding increasing numbers par- ticipating from the Cairn breed as breeders enjoy seeing their intelligent little dogs at work. While Cairns have scored multiple titles as obedience entrants, their partners
will tell you this independent minded ter- rier is always a challenge to work with. Living with a Cairn, as any owner will verify (particularly this author whose pop- ulation often exceeds twenty), is not for the sedentary. While Cairns have a steady disposition that can adapt to their owners lifestyle—be it apartment or farm—that isn’t to say that they don’t want to be busy. Th e Cairn has been often referred to as a big dog in a small body. Never shy or timid, but often cautious at first encoun- ters, Cairns exude personality and will stand their ground even in the face of over- whelming adversity. On their toes and ready for action Cairns invite the observer to “guess what’s on their mind.” Whether in the show ring or at home, human companions are constantly reminded that they must clearly establish themselves as “pack leader” or this persistent little dog will eagerly take the lead. BIO Tom and his wife Karin have enjoyed breeding and exhibiting Cairn Terriers for thirty years. Preparing and showing their own dogs the Godwin’s have finished nearly seventy AKC champions. Th ey are most proud of their unequalled record as breeders of having ended years owning and showing the number one Cairn Terrier in America six di ff erent times.
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A BREEDERS PERSPECTIVE ON JUDGING THE CAIRN TERRIER “ S eventy eight little haystacks to evalu- ate, and in the end I had learned this breed”, this if somewhat para- ity of the animal to perform its ancestral task. For the Cairn that defines desired attributes such as su ffi cient coat for protec- tion, lithe and agile structure and a height at the withers and su ffi cient back length for mobility in confined spaces. Also, of course, proportionally large teeth for both o ff ensive as well as defensive purposes. By Tom Godwin
that is often more interested in its sur- roundings than the coaxing of a judge for its attention. Th e desire to interact with other dogs in its “space” and the confi- dence to stand its ground speak the Cairn’s game and hardy demeanor. Th e Cairn should exude these three words in an atti- tude often seen in the group ring that says to a group of other terriers, ‘Come on and follow me.’ Can “active, game, hardy” be judged with a dog posed on a table for examination? If so then expression here is the key indicator, it’s the desired penetrat- ing “foxy” glance that reveals much about a Cairn’s possession of the sought after game and active nature so admired in the breed. While General Appearance defines the essence of breed type for a Cairn, many other conformational characteristics must be considered in evaluating the best breeding or show exhibit. As one would expect, the standard rather concisely describes proper eyes, nose, ears, mouth, tail and other anatomical features, many that are amplified in parent club clarifica- tions. Beyond these specific features how- ever are desired attributes that help define the quality of an exhibit. A Cairn Terrier, while often referred to as a member of the “Short Legged” class of terriers should not be viewed a short legged. Breeders are often quick to clarify that Cairns do not themselves have short legs in proportion to their overall body size and in fact point out that the word medium is used several times in the breed standard to stress that the breed should be viewed as one with no extremes. Cairn Terriers, as with several of their terrier cousins, developed from a linage of go-to-ground ancestors. While not all Cairns today have the opportunity to play out their natural instincts, evaluators of the breed should always reflect of the abil-
phrased quote, came from a breed semi- nar presented to the Cairn Terrier Club of America by the beloved judge Ms. Ann Rogers Clark, recalling her first size- able entry of Cairn Terriers to adjudicate. While few will ever possess the skills that Ms. Clark had mastered to evaluate breeds, I share her comment here as it was presented to remind us that no amount of preparation and study can substitute for knowledge gained by the opportunity to immerse your- self in the challenges faced in having to sort through a substantial breed entry. So with so few, or most likely no, opportunities for the majority of us to ever evaluate an entry the size just referred to, where can we look for the key to the essence of breed type. Th e AKC Cairn Terrier Breed Stan- dard (unchanged since 1938) seeks, as most standards do, to paint a word pic- ture in its opening “General Appearance” paragraph. All as breeders are challenged to produce animals that display the great- est number of these most essential char- acteristics. Beyond the described physical characteristics that can be more or less easily identified such as, profuse harsh coat, a head wide in proportion to muzzle length, and a well-proportioned body of medium back length, are the more subtle, and often elusive, especially when evaluat- ing in photographic terms, attributes that reveal the true character of the dog that is a Cairn Terrier. Th e more elusive, yet so essential to the proper nature of the Cairn, are traits revealed in the opening words of the standard; “active, game, hardy”. Th e three simple words may truly reveal themselves in the show exhibit
With any discussion of Type we must address the attributes of proper movement. Th e key here is clearly “no wasted motion”. Th e gait is free and easy, when viewed from the side, with no bounce in the top line and equal front reach as compared to rear drive. An extended front reach without compensating rear population results in wasted motion. Dogs should move along easily and not be “speed gaited” to create the appearance of greater ground covering action. Coming and going is most impor- tant and should be viewed as straight from the shoulder/hip to the ground with no side to side movement or structural weak- ness (cow hock). Cairns were not field dogs but rather the Crofter’s companion to bolt quickly between obstacles in search of vermin. In general appearance the Cairn car- ries a natural trim. Evened up, but nev- er scissored or sculpted, hair of a uni- form length of two inches over the body is desired. BIO Tom and his wife Karin have bred Cairns under the Terriwood prefix since 1985. Avid owner handlers the God- win’s are proud to have bred and shown nearly seventy champions including many multiple specialty and group winners. A true highlight is to have attained #1 in the breed five di ff erent years. Tom has served the CTCA as VP and Secretary as well as worked on Judges Education for many years.
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CAIRN TERRIER TEMPERAMENT AND EXPRESSION IN DETERMINING BREED TYPE
BY PAT JOYCE Pat Joyce is a member of the Cairn Terrier Club of America and an AKC judge. She has bred Cairns and has loved the breed since 1983. T he US Cairn Terrier breed standard of 1938 refers to a “general foxy expres- sion” in a hardy and game Terrier, but it gives no other description of expres- sion or temperament. Most Terrier breeders desire “keen Ter- rier expression” that demonstrates the alertness and prey drive for which Terriers were developed. Originally used as work- ing farm dogs that cleared the land and buildings of vermin, the Cairn lived inside the home with the family. Cairns are, therefore, highly social companions to their humans, but still highly vigilant for quarry. The breed is alert and intelligent, while remaining self-confident, independent, and fearless to the point of recklessness. Cairn personality may be stub- born, as they will decide on their own what they choose to do on any given day. Typically, this breed will know what their human wants, whether in house manners or in obedi- ence training—but a Cairn chooses whether to do it. A Cairn will look right at you and say, “OK, I know what you want. But before I do it today, I want to know what it’s worth to you?” Every day is a new negotiation, even if they have done the thing a hundred times already. In a show ring, a Cairn has a limited opportunity to dem- onstrate their full personality. Judges evaluate dogs for breed type based on factors such as size, proportions, coat, color, head, tail, and so on, but also from that characteristic called “expression.” As a longtime breeder, I object strongly when- ever I hear a Cairn referred to as a “head breed.” These are working Terriers. Correct structure of their entire bodies is critical to allow them to do their job. However, the quality called expression does result from features of the head. Cor- rect balance and proportions of the head give the impression of personality and temperament. To this end, the specific characteristics of a Cairn head and tail define and create the Cairn expression, unique to the breed.
Figure 1. Ideal equilateral triangle of the Cairn head seen from direct front. The triangle is formed from the nose, through the eye positions, to the tips of the ears. (Source: CTCA Illustrated Standard available for sale through the CTCA website.)
THE SKULL The Cairn head is said to be the shortest and widest of the Terriers, with a slight rounding of the skull between the ears. The head shape begins with a characteristic domed appear- ance in puppies and develops into broad, well-developed skulls in mature Cairns. The Cairn skull is best appreciated by cupping the top of the head between the ears with a flat, open palm. Judges should not be afraid to flatten any head furnishing during an examination, to properly assess skull
width and shape under the grooming. THE EQUILATERAL TRIANGLE
Viewed from the direct front, the perfectly proportioned Cairn head type gives the impression of an equilateral triangle from the nose, through the eyes, and extending to the tips of the ears. This positioning of the nose, eyes, and ears gives a distinctive balance that sets off the face of a Cairn. A narrow Cairn skull will not show an equilateral triangle. (See Figure 1.) Poorly placed eye set will tend to fall outside the lines from the nose to the ear tips. Poor ear placement will result in a triangle that is too wide or too narrow at the top.
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CAIRN TERRIER TEMPERAMENT AND EXPRESSION IN DETERMINING BREED TYPE
THE CAIRN MUZZLE IS NOT AS LONG, NARROW, AND SNIPY AS THAT FOUND IN A FOX. WHILE A CAIRN’S MUZZLE IS NARROWER THAN THE REST OF THE SKULL, IT SHOULD BE WIDE ENOUGH FOR A FULL COMPLEMENT OF TEETH.
THE MUZZLE The proper Cairn muzzle is shorter in length than the skull, from the stop to the occiput, with a 4:5 ratio. (See Figure 2.) The Cairn muzzle is not as long, narrow, and snipy as that found in a fox. While a Cairn’s muzzle is narrower than the rest of the skull, it should be wide enough for a full complement of teeth. The Cairn underjaw is full enough to accom- modate the lower teeth and to give strength in battle. The muzzle connects to the skull under a well-defined stop, with widely separated, but parallel, planes when viewed from the side. Snipy muzzles as seen in a fox are associated with poor dentition and missing teeth, and are not desirable in this breed. THE EYE The ideal Cairn eyes are medium in size, oval in shape, and deeply set under “eyebrows” created by the stop and the bony rise of the skull. The eyebrows are further accentuated by shagginess of the head furnishings. The position of the eyes and the furnishings gives Cairns an almost human expression. (See Fig- ure 3.) Cairn eyes are dark hazel or brown. White eye sclera is covered by black eye rims, creating a Cairn gaze that is dark and piercing. “Ringed eyes” (visible white sclera) detract from the intensity. The most important component of Cairn expression is that highly-attentive “game-on” stare that betrays Cairn intelligence and independence—and terrorizes their prey. THE EAR Cairns should have small and pointed ears, with medium leather. They are set wide apart on the top of the skull. The ears form the outer corners of the equilateral head triangle. Cairns generally carry their ears erect, but may move their ears up and down with their moods. Groomed ears are typically free of long hairs. The ear tips are accentuated by dark color coming from a fine undercoat that covers the leather, not from skin pigmentation.
Figure 2. Side view of the Cairn head showing 4:5 ratio of muzzle to skull. The definite stop and the “eye brows” create widely-separated, but parallel, planes of the muzzle and skull. (Source: Image of “Brora” Kilmaree’s Highland Lass, provided by Liz Scougal and used with her permission.)
Figure 3. An expressive Cairn with a broad skull, equilateral triangular head, wide-set ears, deep-set and dark eyes, dark eye rims and no visible sclera, and that happy Cairn tongue! (Source: Image of “Bonnie” Orso Rosso Diamonds in your Eyes, provided by Olga Malinina and used with her permission.)
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CAIRN TERRIER TEMPERAMENT AND EXPRESSION IN DETERMINING BREED TYPE CAIRNS TERRIERS ARE OUTSTANDING COMPANION DOGS TO THEIR HUMANS, BUT THEY STILL MAINTAIN THE HIGH PREY DRIVE AND INDEPENDENT HUNTING STYLE OF THEIR WORKING PAST. EXPRESSION DESIRED IN A CAIRN IS CREATED PRIMARILY BY THE HEAD AND TAIL, GIVING THE IMPRESSION OF A SMALL, FRIENDLY, ALERT TERRIER WITH AN INTENSE GAZE AND AN INDEPENDENT PERSONALITY. “ ”
the withers to the length from the prosternum to the point of buttock. A proper Cairn displays a level topline, and has a tail set that is neither high nor low. The Cairn tail is carried at a 12 to 2 o’clock position, but may vary greatly according to the mood of the dog. A Cairn that is bored or in season may lower the tail despite otherwise good tail and hind- quarter conformation. When sparred or otherwise alerted, a Cairn may pull its tail well forward of the 12 o’clock posi- tion. At no time should the tail be permanently curved or bent. As a rule, Cairns carry their tails well above the hori- zontal when gaiting at a fast walk. A “flag pole” tail in the ring is not always the marker of the best Cairn tail in the opinion of this breeder-judge. During hunting or coursing, a rapidly moving Cairn will lower its tail to use it as a rud- der for balance. Cairns Terriers are outstanding companion dogs to their humans, but they still maintain the high prey drive and independent hunting style of their working past. Expression desired in a Cairn is created primarily by the head and tail, giving the impression of a small, friendly, alert Terrier with an intense gaze and an independent personality. Friendly and playful, a Cairn uses its eyes, ears, tongue, and tail to signal desire to love their human. Well, at least they do until the Cairn sees that quarry. Then the real expression begins.
THE NOSE The Cairn nose is solid black, medium in size, and bal- ances the proportions of the face. The nose is clearly vis- ible and framed by generous furnishings on the muzzle. All Cairns are born with dark muzzles. However, it is normal for muzzle color to fade with age, especially in lighter-col- ored Cairns without coat brindling. Judges should question any dramatically dark muzzles or ears not consistent with coat color. Cairn lip and eye rim color is solid black, similar to the nose. THAT TONGUE! Nothing specifically describes a Cairn tongue in breed standards. While some handlers and judges may object to a Cairn with a visible tongue or may question if the dog is overheated, every Cairn fancier values the visible tongue as a marker of expressiveness and temperament. No Cairn smile is complete without that visible tongue. The mobile Cairn tongue, combined with a piercing gaze and, perhaps, a quiz- zical head tilt, all reflect the basic happy, independent, and intelligent personality characteristic of this breed. AND WHAT ABOUT THE TAIL? A properly proportioned Cairn should have a body that is fifty percent longer than high, comparing the height at
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Pat Joyce is a retired MD specialist in Infectious Disease and Public Health. She has owned and loved Cairn Terriers since 1983 when she picked the breed after reading the AKC dog breed book in her local public library. She is an AKC Breeder of Merit as well as an AKC Judge, working initially for approval of the Terrier Group. Her dog “Gordo” is a Platinum Grand Champion and won Best of Breed at Westminster Kennel Club in 2013.
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THE CAIRN TERRIER A synopsis of the Illustrated Guide to the Cairn Terrier
BY LYNNE NABROS LYDIA HUTCHINSON JOE VERNUCCIO KATHLEEN SPELLMAN THE LATE BETTTY MARCUM & MOLLY WILDER
HISTORY From the earliest recorded history of man and dog, there have been accounts of small terriers working with farmers to control the vermin that inflicted costly predatory raids on the crops and domes- tic animals of the crofts on which they all lived. In each geographi- cal area, different assets and abilities were sought in these dogs. In the Highlands and Outer Islands of Scotland, what was needed var- ied as well. Gradually, they came to be somewhat distinct in type, and the West Highland and the Scottish Terrier, as well as what we now know as the Skye Terrier, were named and recognized. Still, there was a small terrier, rather scruffy in appearance, smaller in bone than the Skye and the Scottie, more agile than either, which had no name. Various nomenclature was assigned to them and discarded when these names conflicted with names used by other breeds. With much discussion in the doggy press of the day, finally the name Cairn Terrier was settled on. From that time forward, the Cairn Terrier has stood alone as the “original” old working terrier of Skye, closest in type to the dog the crofters on Skye depended upon to rout the badger and otter from their land. This dog shared the crofter’s fare, meager as it might have been, and worked tirelessly in the cold and wet terrain with him. GENERAL APPEARANCE The Cairn is a study in contrasts—he is a “big” dog in a small package; nothing about the dog is delicate. He has a medium length of leg—neither short nor long. There should be some daylight under the Cairn. He is a working terrier and needs sufficient length of leg to climb or jump over rough terrain. A great word picture was created when one of the founders of the breed, Mrs. Alastair Camp- bell, was quoted as saying “They should be light-footed and almost dance along…like polo ponies, sturdy but light in their action and body.” Thus, a Cairn should be lithe, flexible and athletic.
BODY AND LEGS The Cairn’s ribs extend well back on his body, and the ribs are joined to a strong loin and connected to well-muscled hindquarters. He has a medium length of back, decidedly not a short back which would give the impression of squareness. The Cairn is not square. His body length is one and one-half times his height. This medium length of back is essential for a dog that must leap and bound, and more critically, be able to turn around inside a cramped earthen tunnel in order to exit the burrow. The body is strong and substantial, not weedy or coarse. The rib cage is well sprung and tapers to a heart shape, neither barrel shaped nor slab sided. The ribs extend well back on the body and the rib cage should extend to the elbow in a mature dog. The breastbone should be clearly discernible. Length of loin is medium, strong and supple, giving the dog the necessary flexibility to turn in a tight tunnel and to maneuver among the stones and outcropping of his native habitat. The neck length is medium. The topline is level and the tail is set on at back level. There should be a prominent point of buttocks beneath the tail, extending out beyond the set on of the tail. Well-developed muscles should be obvious, especially in the hind quarters.
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The Cairn Terrier: A synopsis...
BY VARIOUS AUTHORS continued
adding to the distinctive look of the Cairn. Black and tan markings or patterning of any kind (other than brindle) are objection- able. There is no preference for any color. SIZE AND CONDITION There has been a progressive increase in the average size of the Cairn Terrier in the last 25 years. Historically, the Cairn has varied somewhat in size, but the Standard says the Cairn should be 13-14 pounds and stand 9 ½ to 10 inches tall. The Cairn Ter- rier must, above all, be balanced. The pro- portions given in the Standard must always be applied. When a Cairn Terrier appears square, or close to square, he is in direct contradiction to the Standard, regardless of his height. A Cairn must also have medium bone. Nothing about the Cairn is delicate or refined, and nothing is coarse or bulky. The Cairn is a solid little dog, surprisingly heavy for his apparent size. IN THE RING The Standard says the Cairn should be shown in “Full good coat” which means plenty of coat, dense and properly straight, although a slight wave is permissible. The coat should be two to three inches long over the entire torso, not stripped down on the back with long coat on the sides and belly. The head of a Cairn Terrier should have a natural, somewhat untidy look, and there should be sufficient hair on the neck to pro- tect this working dog. The coat of a Cairn Terrier should be worked entirely by hand, never cut by scissors or knife. Scissors may be used only around the feet and tips of ears. A Cairn Terrier’s tail is one of the more dis- tinctive characteristics of the breed. When a Cairn is presented in a proper coat, the tail will naturally be densely coated, especially at the base, groomed to be shorter near the tip, longer at the base, like an inverted ice cream cone. The Standard calls for the Cairn to be shown on a loose lead, and this is most important for the natural appearance of the dog. A loose lead should have a moderate amount of slack in it. Exhibitors handling the Cairn Terrier should be on their feet. The dog should be standing free and even moving about, like the lively, active dog he is. When gaiting, the dog should trot freely and gaily by his handler’s side.
The shoulders are well laid back and fit smoothly on the body, so that the neck and shoulders are smoothly joined. The upper arm should be approximately the same length as the shoulder blade, and it should be joined at a 45-degree angle to the shoulder blade. Legs are medium length and should be covered with hard hair of moderate length. Bone in the leg, as in the rest of the Cairn, is medium. Feet must be thick, toes well arched with large, short, and strong, black nails. Forelegs are perfectly straight, but the feet may turn out slightly. Rear legs must be well muscled and the angulation should match that of the front quarter. Hocks are short, perpendicular to the ground, and turn neither in nor out, the rear feet falling only slightly behind a straight line dropped from the point of buttocks. Most important is the word “Medium.” This is essential in describing the Cairn. He must be balanced and proportionate in every aspect. The Cairn should always be considered a working dog, with a natural appearance. He is moderate in every way, without exaggeration in any part. DETAILS The Cairn Terrier’s head is medium in size, like everything else about the Cairn, balanced and in proper proportion to the body. The expression is full of life, intel- ligent and keen. Both skull and muzzle should be broad in proportion to length, with a pronounced, deep stop between the eyes. The muzzle is full, holding a full set of large, strong teeth in a scissor or level bite. The furnishings on the skull and muzzle serve to shield the dog from briars, and thus should not be too soft, though they may be somewhat softer than the body coat. The eye of a Cairn Terrier is oval in shape, medium in size, widely spaced and deep set, under a brow that creates a pronounced stop. They are not round or prominent. The color is dark hazel. Ear placement is critical to the Cairn’s expression. They are placed on the corners of the skull, not too close together, nor too far apart, and they should be carried erectly, at attention. Ideally, the tips of the ears and nose should form an equilateral triangle along which the eyes are aligned. The top
one third to one half of the ear should be free of long hair and covered with short velvety hair. The tail of a Cairn is moderate in length, straight, thick and strong, set on at back level. It should be well furnished with dense hair, and should appear much thicker at the base, tapering to the tip. Carriage should be up, though not necessarily vertical, and it should never curl over the back. All Cairns should carry their tail above the horizontal when gaiting. MOVEMENT The Cairn should move freely and eas- ily, on a loose lead. There should be good reach in front and powerful drive from the rear, producing a smooth, ground-covering, effortless movement, with no bouncing of the topline. When viewed from the front, the legs should be a straight column of bones. From the rear the legs should be a straight column, hocks turning neither in nor out, and hocks should flex enough to see the pads from behind the dog. The foot- fall may converge slightly with faster move- ment, but the straight column from hip to pad should be maintained. The overall impression should be that of a dog that can trot smoothly and efficiently all day, climb- ing over piles of rocks, digging for prey. THE ALL-IMPORTANT COAT It is hard to overemphasize how impor- tant a Cairn’s hard, profuse double coat is to the dog’s survival in his native element. Its purpose is to prevent cold and wet from penetrating to the skin, and to pro- tect the Cairn from the teeth of his prey. The outer coat is profuse and harsh, and most importantly, the outer coat should be approximately the same length all over the body. Any resemblance to the “jacketed” or “sculptured” look of the more stylized ter- riers is objectionable and should be severely penalized. The undercoat should be short, soft and profuse, but will vary somewhat in density, depending on the season and cli- mate in which the dog lives. The Cairn Terrier comes in an array of colors, including cream, wheaten, red, red wheaten, gray, and silver. Brindles occur in all the above colors, as well as a black brindle. The dark “points” on the muzzle, ears and tail tip, are desirable and typical,
Th e Full Illustrated Guide to the Cairn Terrier is available for purchase from the CTCA website at: http://cairnterrier.org/ index.php/Publications. (Illustrations by Darle Heck)
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ANUARY 2020 • 315
IMPORTANT, DISTINCTIVE DETAILS JUDGES SHOULD LOOK FOR AND REWARD IN CAIRN TERRIERS
by LYDIA COLEMAN HUTCHINSON
MODERATION C airns are a breed without exaggerations. The word “medium” is stressed, appear- ing four times in the Stan- dard. This is not an elegant, stylized or flashy breed. We are currently seeing a trend towards dogs with “giraffe necks” and “German Shepherd rears”—a look totally wrong for a Cairn. These faults are usually seen on oversized dogs. Remember that Cairns, Scotties and Westies should all be approximately the same height. RECTANGULAR BODY SHAPE Balance and proportion are very important. The total body length should be approximately longer than the height at the withers. Even though Cairns are in the short-legged class of Terriers, their legs should not be so short as to prevent them from being able to hunt effectively in rough terrain. Again, remember the words “medium” and “moderate.” UNIQUE HEAD AND EXPRESSION Although the classic Cairn head can be compared to that of the Westie, it has a look and feel all its own. Broad and slightly rounded in skull, well-filled
in muzzle with comparatively large teeth and a deep stop combine to give it a characteristic “Cairn-ness.” Ideal proportion in length is 4 (muzzle) to 5 (skull). An impish expression from medium-sized, dark brown, oval eyes is what is desired. And if that typical expression is accompanied by a win- some tilt of the head when alert, you’ve got it all! PROPER PRESENTATION Cairns are to be shown as naturally as possible. They should stand on their own without being stacked or propped up. They should move freely on a loose or “give-and-take” lead. When interact- ing with other dogs, they should own the ground on which they stand, with- out being overly aggressive. If they do become aggressive, they should respond to a quick correction with the lead. It is important that judges allow Cairns to interact with other dogs to see them standing on their toes as described in the Standard. CORRECT GROOMING Again, this is an honest, natural breed and should have a slightly scruffy appearance. They should not look sculpted with every hair perfectly in place. The use of artificial products is discouraged and should be penalized
when judging this breed. Head fur- nishings should look a bit rough with no teasing or chrysanthemum styling. A double weather-resistant, harsh coat is essential. The body coat should be approximately 2" long and should blend into the furnishings with no obvious line or definition. An improper trend in grooming is to show dogs in coat that is much too short, especially on the topline. All else being close to equal, dogs groomed in this fashion should be penalized. PROPER TAIL AND TAIL CARRIAGE Unlike the tails of several of the other Terriers of the short-legged class, correct tail carriage for the Cairn varies from vertical to somewhat off-vertical, i.e. 1:00 to 2:00 on a clock face. The latter carriage is actually preferred by many breeders in the UK. It is impor- tant that the tail itself be straight and A lovely, typey headstudy of a mature male Cairn. Note the keen expression and proper placement and size of his eyes. He also exhibits a correct equilateral triangle from the tips of his properly-set ears, through the center of his eyes on to his well-placed nose. He also has dark points on his ears and muzzle. His head is somewhat “overgroomed” but that does not take away from the overall excellence of this head. It is important when evaluating heads to check for breadth of skull, depth of stop, and strength and fill of muzzle.
A good example of a balanced male with a pleasing outline and proper proportions. Front and rear angulation is balanced with good pro sternum in front and “shelf” behind. Excellent tail set and carriage (although the tail carried somewhat toward one o’clock is also correct and preferred by some breeders).
This bitch is seen moving freely and easily on a loose lead. Her proper angulation front and rear allows her to move with equal reach and drive. Note that her head is not excessively elevated, allowing for freedom of motion. She also maintains a level topline on the move.
S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017 • 281
reach and drive is important. Lack of good muscle tone or poor angulation can lead to inefficient, short-strided movement. This fault is one of the cur- rent “drags of the breed.” Another fault that is being seen more frequently is dogs that are “tall on the hock” (lacking short hock-to-heel length), which pre- vents proper rear propulsion. TEMPERAMENT Cairns are generally outgoing and happy to meet everyone. Understand- ing judges do not penalize dogs that do not stand still during table examination, especially in inexperienced youngsters. This breed should not stand like wood- en soldiers in the ring but should be ever alert! ABOUT THE AUTHOR Lydia Coleman Hutchinson has lived with Cairn Terriers her entire life and has been actively breeding and show- ing them for over 60 years. Her par- ents’ and her WOLFPIT KENNEL has produced numerous top winners and top producers. Champions owned and or bred by WOLFPIT currently total 235, and WOLFPIT bloodlines appear in the pedigrees of dozens of other Cairn breeders. In addition to having actively bred Cairns for longer than anyone else in the US, Lydia is also the senior judge of the breed, having been approved as an AKC judge in 1964. Having judged large entries of Cairns in numerous foreign countries (including at the Centenerary shows of the Cairn Terrier Club in Scotland in 2010), she is quite aware of the cur- rent state of the breed worldwide.
“THE CAIRN HAS A LITHENESS, FLEXIBILITY AND SCOPINESS ABOUT IT AND SHOULD BE WELL-MUSCLED WITHOUT BEING HEAVY OR THICK.”
strong. The length is generally on a line with the top of the skull. CORRECT BODY, WEIGHT AND CONDITION Although the Cairn should have deep ribs well-covered with flesh, its body should not feel like that of a Scot- tie or Westie. The Cairn has a lithe- ness, flexibility and scopiness about it and should be well-muscled without being heavy or thick. Most Cairns are “good do-ers” and can tend towards
being overweight, which takes away from their workmanlike quality. A lean (not thin) dog is preferred to an overweight one. TYPICAL LEGS, FEET AND MOVEMENT Bone is of medium density and cor- responds to the overall size of the dog. Strong feet with thick pads and strong pasterns are essential, given this is definitely a digging breed! Coordinated movement with balanced
This puppy’s head shows great promise for the future. The proportions are correct, it appears to have a good stop, and the expression is “varminty”.
A female version of a wonderful head. Even with her dark brindle coat her piercing expression can be seen. Grooming of this head is preferred to that of the male’s head.
282 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J UNE 2017
Important, Distinctive Details Judges Should Look For and Reward in CAIRN TERRIERS By Lydia Coleman Hutchinson
Moderation C airns are a breed without exaggerations. Th e word “medium” is stressed, appearing four times in the Standard. Th is is not an elegant, stylized or fl ashy breed. We are currently seeing a trend towards dogs with “gira ff e necks” and “German Shepherd rears”—a look totally wrong for a Cairn. Th ese faults are usually seen on oversized dogs. Remember that Cairns, Scotties and Westies should all be approximately the same height. Rectangular Body Shape Balance and proportion are very impor- tant. Th e total body length should be approximately ⅓ longer than the height at the withers. Even though Cairns are in the short-legged class of Terriers, their legs should not be so short as to prevent them from being able to hunt e ff ectively in rough terrain. Again, remember the words “medium” and “moderate.” Unique Head and Expression Although the classic Cairn head can be compared to that of the Westie, it has a look and feel all its own. Broad and slight- ly rounded in skull, well- fi lled in muzzle with comparatively large teeth and a deep stop combine to give it a characteristic “Cairn-ness.” Ideal proportion in length is 4 (muzzle) to 5 (skull). An impish expres- sion from medium-sized, dark brown, oval eyes is what is desired. And if that typical expression is accompanied by a winsome tilt of the head when alert, you’ve got it all! Proper Presentation Cairns are to be shown as naturally as possible. Th ey should stand on their own
This puppy’s head shows great promise for the future. The proportions are correct, it appears to have a good stop, and the expression is “varminty”.
without being stacked or propped up. Th ey should move freely on a loose or “give-and- take” lead. When interacting with other dogs, they should own the ground on which they stand, without being overly aggressive. If they do become aggressive, they should respond to a quick correc- tion with the lead. It is important that judges allow Cairns to interact with other dogs to see them standing on their toes as described in the Standard. Correct Grooming Again, this is an honest, natural breed and should have a slightly scru ff y appear- ance. Th ey should not look sculpted with every hair perfectly in place. Th e use of arti fi cial products is discouraged and should be penalized when judging this breed. Head furnishings should look a bit A lovely, typey headstudy of a mature male Cairn. Note the keen expression and proper placement and size of his eyes. He also exhibits a correct equilateral triangle from the tips of his properly-set ears, through the center of his eyes on to his well-placed nose. He also has dark points on his ears and muzzle. His head is somewhat “overgroomed” but that does not take away from the overall excellence of this head. It is important when evaluating heads to check for breadth of skull, depth of stop, and strength and fill of muzzle.
A female version of a wonderful head. Even with her dark brindle coat her piercing expression can be seen. Grooming of this head is preferred to that of the male’s head.
rough with no teasing or chrysanthemum styling. A double weather-resistant, harsh coat is essential. Th e body coat should be approximately 2" long and should blend into the furnishings with no obvious line or de fi nition. An improper trend in grooming is to show dogs in coat that is
212 • S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , A UGUST 2014
“CAIRNS ARE gENERAlly ouTgoINg ANd hAppy To mEET EvERyoNE.”
much too short, especially on the topline. All else being close to equal, dogs groomed in this fashion should be penalized. Proper Tail and Tail Carriage Unlike the tails of several of the other Terriers of the short-legged class, correct tail carriage for the Cairn varies from ver- tical to somewhat o ff -vertical, i.e. 1:00 to 2:00 on a clock face. Th e latter carriage is actually preferred by many breeders in the UK. It is important that the tail itself be straight and strong. Th e length is generally on a line with the top of the skull. Proportion and Outline: A good example of a balanced male with a pleasing outline and proper proportions. Front and rear angulation is balanced with good pro sternum in front and “shelf” behind. Excellent tail set and carriage (although the tail carried somewhat toward one o’clock is also correct and preferred by some breeders).
Movement: This bitch is seen moving freely and easily on a loose lead. Her proper angulation front and rear allows her to move with equal reach and drive. Note that her head is not excessively elevated, allowing for freedom of motion. She also maintains a level topline on the move.
takes away from their workmanlike qual- ity. A lean (not thin) dog is preferred to an overweight one.
in inexperienced youngsters. Th is breed should not stand like wooden soldiers in the ring but should be ever alert! BIO Lydia Coleman Hutchinson has lived with Cairn Terriers her entire life and has been actively breeding and showing them for over 60 years. Her parents’ and her WOLFPIT KENNEL has produced numerous top winners and many top pro- ducers. Champions owned and or bred by WOLFPIT currently total 235, and WOLFPIT bloodlines appear in the pedi- grees of dozens of other Cairn breeders. In addition to having actively bred Cairns for longer than anyone else in the US, Lydia is also the senior judge of the breed, having been approved as an AKC judge in 1964. Having judged large entries of Cairns in numerous foreign countries (including at the Centenerary shows of the Cairn Terrier Club in Scotland in 2010), she is quite aware of the current state of the breed worldwide.
Typical Legs, Feet and Movement
Bone is of medium density and corre- sponds to the overall size of the dog. Strong feet with thick pads and strong pasterns are essential, given this is de fi nitely a digging breed! Coordinated movement with bal- anced reach and drive is important. Lack of good muscle tone or poor angulation can lead to ine ffi cient, short-strided movement. Th is fault is one of the current “drags of the breed.” Another fault that is being seen more frequently is dogs that are “tall on the hock” (lacking short hock-to-heel length), which prevents proper rear propulsion. Tempermant Cairns are generally outgoing and hap- py to meet everyone. Understanding judg- es do not penalize dogs that do not stand still during table examination, especially
Correct Body, Weight and Condition
Although the Cairn should have deep ribs well-covered with fl esh, its body should not feel like that of a Scottie or Westie. Th e Cairn has a litheness, fl ex- ibility and scopiness about it and should be well-muscled without being heavy or thick. Most Cairns are “good do-ers” and can tend towards being overweight, which
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