Showsight Presents The Cairn Terrier


Let’s Talk Breed Education!


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.




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.)




A big thank you to esteemed Terrier Judge, Mrs. Peggy Beisel-McIwaine for this very special win!

Owned by: Nicola Higgins bred by: nicola higgins & Carol Onstad

Proudly Presented By: Klayton harris



Bred and Owned by: Nicola Higgins & Carol Onstad Proudly Presented By: Klayton harris & nicola higgins

a big Thank to you Esteemed Judges: Mrs. Karen Wilson Mrs. Louise Hooper Mr. Clint Livingston Mr. edd e. bivin



Owned by: Nicola Higgins bred by: nicola higgins & Carol Onstad

Proudly Presented By: nicola higgins



As of Stats 09-30-21

As of Stats 09-30-21

bred and Owned by: Nicola Higgins & Carol Onstad Proudly Presented By:


© HAN 2021




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.


THE CAIRN TERRIER A synopsis of the Illustrated Guide to the Cairn Terrier


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.


The Cairn Terrier: A synopsis...


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: index.php/Publications. (Illustrations by Darle Heck)




1. Where do you live? 2. What do you do “outside” of dogs?

Project, that helps women escape the sex-trade. And we have gone on medical mission trips once a year to Haiti for the past eight years until this past year when the political chaos there prevented us from going. But, we have a new activity: we’ve taken up ballroom danc- ing. Something to keep us moving. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? Toto is the most recognized Cairn Terrier in the United States, but not so much worldwide. We do refer to “Toto” when describing our breed to those who ask about our dogs. However, when I’ve traveled to parts of Europe where the Cairn is very popular (Scandinavian countries in particular), they usually do not recognize the name “Toto”. Because of the love so many in the United States have for Toto and what great things her fame in movies has done for this breed, many expect to have a Toto-in- appearance kind-of Cairn. Many forget that the Cairn is a breed that originated in Scotland as a working terrier to scurry out the vermin from manmade piles of rocks or “cairns”. It is a working breed that works well in packs. What’s worth noting is that Cairns in the Scandinavian countries live this way. They run in packs, many times off-lead (which we do not recommend doing here). They often times run in packs of four or more, multiple males and multiple bitches, all working together because of their exceptional temperaments. These Scandinavian Cairns are known for having profuse coats due to their colder climates. The breeders in these countries gen- erally outcross more. Their coefficient of inbreeding percentages are fairly low in comparison. Their Cairns are generally thought to be larger than the USA Cairn as they follow the country of origin standard/ UK standard. (The USA is the only country in the world that doesn’t follow the country of origin standard for the Cairn). Because they are larger Cairns, they generally have beautiful larger teeth which is important to the function of the Cairn. Regarding Cairn popularity in this country—my focus is on quality and not quantity, so I would have to say—let’s keep the demand at a comfortable level and within a controlled environ- ment. I strongly feel that the public and the breed is best served when a Cairn comes from a breeder who is most obligated/required to breed with concern for the highest quality, temperament and health; e.g. a breeder who is a member of the Cairn Terrier Club of America. It seems that when a breed receives too much attention, they become bred for the money by hobby breeders and “designer dog” breeders. Those of us who devote ourselves to preserving the highest quality Cairns are adamant about who should be breeding and who should not be breeding. As I mentioned earlier, the Cairn is a very popular breed in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and in the Netherlands, at least this is where I have visited or from where I have imported Cairns. In my estimation the breeders there have done an excellent job on the whole of producing highly consistent, high-quality Cairns. This is certainly in terms of conformation and coat quality, but more than that, for me, I’ve seen it in temperament and overall athleticism. We have seen, over the past 20 years or so, an improvement in the quality of Cairns in the United States partly because of the influence of these exceptional, imported Cairns. Not only is the temperament exceptional, but their overall athleticism, or as we refer to in our standard: “moves freely and easily,” is so notable that one can get chill-bumps watching them move. Even on the CTCA

3. One movie catapulted this wonderful breed into the record books; he’s recognized worldwide (although he might just be called “Toto” by passersby). In popularity, Cairns are currently ranked #69 out of 192 AKC-recognized breeds. Do you hope this will change or are you comfortable with his placement? 4. Few of these dogs really “work” anymore. Although he’s a tre- mendously hard-working dog with great power and stamina, he’s highly valued as a companion. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? 5. Any Terrier requires a special household to be a perfect fit. What about the breed makes him an ideal companion? Drawbacks? 6. Are there any misconceptions about the breed you’ d like to dispel? 7. What special challenges do Cairn Terrier breeders face in our current economic and social climate? 8. At what age do you start to see definite signs of show-worthi- ness (or lack thereof)? 9. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? 10. What’s the best way to attract newcomers to your breed and to the sport? 11. What is your ultimate goal for the breed? 12. What is your favorite dog show memory? 13. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. CATHY BURLESON

I was born in Memphis, Ten- nessee in February, 1959. I have a BS in Nutrition/Dietetics from Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas. I’ve been married for 38 years to David Burleson, M.D. Urologist I have three children: Catie Newell, New York City; Jeni Pre- sley, Arlington, Texas; and Will Burleson, Phoenix, Arizona and three Grandchildren: Liam Presley, Francis and Esther Newell.

I got my first Cairn in 1965 from the Melita Kennel. I hold Memberships with: 1) Cairn Terrier Club of America: served as Corresponding Secretary for four years; Co-Chaired the 100-Year Celebration of the Cairn Terrier in America, 2017. 2) Foundation of the CTCA: served as Trustee for two years; 3) Jackson Tennessee Dog Fanciers Association: served as Presi- dent and Vice President (currently). My husband and I live in Jackson, Tennessee, as our primary residence, and we have a home in Nashville, Tennessee where we spend a fair amount of time. Dogs included. Outside of dogs, my husband, David, and I enjoy traveling to see our grandchildren in New York and Texas. I also stay busy assisting my aging parents here at home in Jackson, volunteering in church activities particularly working with a non-profit, Scarlet Rope


Cairn Terrier Q& A

to a show and see how they stack up. Do they have instant show attitude or are they too timid? Is the judge impressed or interested in this puppy at all? To you who judge: whether you plan to award a puppy or not, we need to get some semblance of a reaction to our youngsters. We pay attention to your level of interest. And finally, I like to take them to at least one of the parent club’s regional specialties. Get the reaction from fellow breeders. It usually defuses any “kennel blindness” that might exist. I try not to ask my fellow breeders what they think, because they tend to just be nice and say only nice things. I will just let the puppy be seen, handled, walked outside with the adults, and watch the reaction of fellow breeders. Sometimes they only have to ask, “Who is this puppy out of?” and I know they have seen something they like. I then take all of the above into consideration against a backdrop of how can I use this Cairn in future breeding plans? The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? For the Cairn Terrier, SIZE is NOT a fault. Look in the standard. There are nine fault statements and SIZE is NOT one of them. Be sure you have the new Illustrated Guide to the Cairn Terrier put out by the Cairn Terrier Club of America to explain the breed standard. From a breeder’s standpoint: size can be changed in one genera- tion. Bad fronts can not. Bad rears can not. Do not be so focused on size that you miss the essence of the whole Cairn and its move- ment—good movement reflects proper structure. Focus more on proportions and balance. The proper outline of the Cairn is what we seek, and that outline needs to move effortlessly. Also, please consider that the standard says “general foxy expres- sion”. Not “teddy bear” expression. What does that mean to have a foxy expression? It’s one of those things your eye just identifies. You know it when you see it. You can sense a strong alertness and intentionality. It’s like having target practice with the eyes, focusing on the vermin. Teddy Bears are just cute, plush toys that you want to cuddle, which should not be in the description of the Cairn. Somebody said to me one time that the head is the most impor- tant thing about the Cairn. It reminded me of the quote of one of the early, very successful breeders of Cairns in England, Wal- ter Bradshaw of Redletter Kennel. Mrs. Drummond of Blencathra Kennel said to him, “Without the real Cairn head you do not have a true Cairn.” Of which Mr. Bradshaw replied: “Aye, but the Cairn doesn’t walk on its head.” Good movement versus pretty heads. It’s still being argued today. Disclaimer: These are my thoughts and observations, a breeder who is more interested in the whole Cairn Terrier, the one that can win on a world stage because of its high-quality and friendly ame- nability that everyone wants. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? We all say—do more to attract juniors. Get kids involved. Yes, Yes! If you have influence in your local all-breed club, ask that they invite students from nearby schools to come work for service hours at your dog show. Then, let the exhibitors know that there are young people (clear it with the young people and their parents if present) who will help hold dogs for them or even go back in the ring for them if needed. Put a lead in a young person’s hand and they will be back next year. But, on a personal note, I sometimes feel it is an overwhelming prospect so I remind myself of one simple thing. Remember what it was like to be new, and speak positively about the sport to those around us, in and out of the sport. Be a positive influencer. Because not only are we not getting new and young people come in, but we are losing a lot of experienced older folks. When there is someone new, be supportive and encouraging. The golden rule: treat others as you would like to be treated.

website, the dog photographed on the page that contains our “Breed Standard” is a moving Scandinavian Cairn. So, I feel that when all of the Cairns in the USA are the best the world has to offer, I will push to popularize the breed because the public will demand them. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? Well, besides being on high alert to let you know of any wandering vermin that passes the window or door to your home, they will dig up moles, catch errant birds, wrestle snakes and about any other critter that ventures into your yard. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Cairns are very engaging, tough as nails and entertaining as family pets. They love to play, and they see it as part of their job to chase a ten- nis ball or play keep away with the toys, and for these reasons they make great playmates for the whole family. I even have Cairns that will climb tall bushes to retrieve a tennis ball. The “Best Pal in the Whole World” as they are affectionately known. At the same time, they can be a bit destructive to toys, posses- sions, etc and it can be aggravating when they play keep away and then won’t give the toy back. Or they are outside and won’t come in if there is something of more interest to them out there. Don’t ever think they aren’t smart, though. They know exactly what they want and they are hard-headed about it, at times. Having said that, Cairns are very trainable, and they want to be involved in activities with you. More and more Cairns are excelling in performance events such as agility, earthdog, scent work, trick dog, and obedience. Yes, obedience. They are definitely trainable. You just have to be diligent to train and to be involved with your Cairn because, they will think ahead of you if allowed, and will try to get away with something. Smart, is an understatement. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? I recently read an online post that said the Cairn is listed among the 11 breeds most considered “not affectionate”. I couldn’t dis- agree more. Again, this goes back to temperament. My Cairns are extremely affectionate. Especially the boys. Well, I had one female Cairn that would lick you clean, but most of the time, the boys want to hibernate with you. Just want to sit by you and chill. The girls excitedly greet you and want all of your attention for maybe 30 seconds, and then they are off to find a job. And everyone knows the Cairn is friendly to new people. My goodness, I believe my crew would go home with just about anyone who would take them. Rehoming is a breeze for adult Cairns. They love anyone and everyone. At least that is my experience of having Cairns with good temperaments. What special challenges do Cairn Terrier breeders face in our current economic and social climate? I see people involved in the sport of dog showing, who do some degree of breeding, start “clock- ing out” if they aren’t winning in the ring. Winning in the ring involves so many factors of which having the better-quality-of-dog may not be one of them. So, what I conclude is that the reputable breeders—the ones that health-test according to the breed’s parent club recommendations, who breed quality for show—must keep in mind: It is imperative for the future of the breed to continue breed- ing. We not only are the ones charged to improve the breed, but to preserve it, no matter the challenges. Ask yourself, if we don’t do it, years from now, what will be left of our breed? To borrow a say- ing, “If it were easy, anyone could do it.” Show breeders (who are members of the breeds’ parent clubs) are the best to do it. And if not us, then who? At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I believe you are asking how I know if one of my puppies is show- worthy. Well, it isn’t a magic age. It is a combination of three things. First, I wait until they have a fair degree of maturity on them. That might be six months or it may be a year. Secondly, I take them out


Cairn Terrier Q& A

Cathy Burleson continued

What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? If the occasional field mouse gets into our house, the dogs are good at letting us know! Unfortunately for the dogs, the mouse usually goes into our pantry behind a closed door so the dogs don’t get a chance to “dispatch” it. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Most Cairns are very smart so they keep you on your toes. It is important that the owner be the dominant one in the relationship; otherwise the dog will take great advantage of its owner. In general they are energetic and playful without being “hyper” but are not the best breed for someone who wants a “couch potato”. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dis- pel? Some people assume that because they are terriers that means they bark a lot. Actually, Cairns in general are not noisy dogs. They bark when they see squirrels in the trees, etc., but they usually settle down quickly. What special challenges do Cairn Terrier breeders face in our current economic and social climate? There always seems to be a strong market for carefully bred Cairn puppies which is a blessing. We have any number of folks who got their first dog from us return to get another one. Economically, rising veterinary costs are a challenge, especially with the expense of health testing for genetic diseases. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? Unlike breeders who think they can tell show potential from the beginning of a puppy’s life, I prefer to wait until roughly ten to twelve weeks of age to do my evaluations. Movement is key and that is difficult to determine before ten weeks or so. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Cairns should be moderate in a rectangular package. They should not be stylized like many of the terrier breeds are and should have a somewhat “scruffy” appearance. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Invite prospective buyers to attend dog shows with you and let them see how much fun it can be for them and their dog. My ultimate goal for the breed? I hope the efforts of The Foun- dation of the CTCA to fund research into several of the hereditary diseases that affect our breed will give us the DNA markers needed to help eradicate the diseases. In general Cairns are a healthy breed, and we want them to stay that way. My favorite dog show memory? Over the 70 years I have been involved in dog shows I have dozens and dozens of positive memo- ries. That makes it very difficult to choose only one. As an exhibitor, two that stand out are winning the national specialty with my par- ents’ great dog Ch Cairnwoods Quince when he was nearly 13 years old, the oldest dog of any breed at that time to do so. The other was winning my first Best in Show after 43 years as an exhibitor with a descendant of Quince, Ch. Caledonian Berry of Wolfpit, another great dog that also won BIS the next day. It was special that my husband and our daughter were there to see the wins! As a judge of Cairns, having the honor of doing our national specialty four times is unforgettable. In addition, judging the 100th anniversary show of The Cairn Terrier Club (the original club) in Scotland—the only American to do so—is forever lodged in my memory. I’d also like to share: Cairns are happy, outgoing dogs that are relatively low-maintanence. Keeping them properly groomed can be accomplished by regular brushing and combing; if this is done at last once a week, their shedding is minimal. Show grooming of course requires a bit more work, but to get what I describe as “achieved naturalness” for the show ring it is far less time-consum- ing than that of many other terriers.

My ultimate goal for the breed? Simple: To improve the Cairn in consistency of conformation so that he/she can compete in any show ring any where in the world, and to give the pet owner such a wonderful experience with their Cairn that they become the better ambassador of the breed than I could ever be. My favorite dog show memory? First was winning an Award of Merit at the CTCA Nationals at Montgomery County in 2005 with my very first home-bred Cairn, Stonehaven’s Iron Will, under breeder-judge Mildred Bryant. It set me on a trajectory of breeding quality that I have tried to uphold since that time. This past fall at the CTCA’s 2019 Nationals at Montgom- ery County my home-bred Cairn, Stonehavens Ashton Martin of Bodock won Best Opposite Sex to Best of Breed under famed breeder-judge, Elisabeth Theodorsson. I feel I have remained faithful to the breed during these years, striving for excellence in what I am doing as evidenced by these two significant wins. Something I’d also like to share about the breed? Then there’s the discussion on style of Cairn. As with humans Cairns have dif- ferent body types or what we call styles. Some can be lean and agile while others can be stocky or “typey”. Both styles can fall within the standard for the Cairn as long as there is balance. You just don’t want to have a Cairn that is too leggy (the former style) or a Cairn that is too short of leg (the later style). I’ve been taught that the length of the front leg should equal the length of the chest (from the side view). Balance and proportion are so important. LYDIA COLEMAN HUTCHINSON Lydia Coleman Hutchinson

went to her first dog show with her parents when she was nine and has never looked back! From the start she was an integral partner with her parents, and they established WOLFPIT CAIRN TERRIERS in 1949. After the death of her par- ents, Lydia has “stayed the course”, finishing thus far 284 Champions. More importantly, Wolfpit blood- lines have positively affected the breed in our country, as well as sev-

eral other countries. Education is very important to Lydia and she has given dozens of presentations in at least ten countries, not to mention the many current breeders who have turned to her for guidance and advice. She has been an AKC judge since 1964. We live on 13 acres in a 200-year-old German federal style brick farm house in Middletown, Maryland. Our home is located in the countryside one hour north of Washington, DC. I am active in our church and sing in the choir. I also like to garden and swim in our pool and the ocean, when possible. In years past we did a lot of “antiquing”, but we don’t have room for any more antique furniture in our house! My husband and I love to travel to interesting places. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? When I first became involved as a child, Cairns ranked in the 40s according to AKC, so the breed’s ranking has dropped. The current placement is all right but I hope it doesn’t go much lower as Cairns are such a wonderful breed. At this time it seems to be quite difficult for people to find enough well-bred Cairns available for purchase.


Cairn Terrier Q& A


The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Be kind to spectators at dog shows and events, participate in meet the breeds, be inclusive and welcoming. My ultimate goal for the breed? For it not to be left in the hands of puppy mills. To do that, we need to actively encourage new com- ers in the breed. My favorite dog show memory? A fantastic summer Montana circuit where several breeders entered without coordinating. We had five point majors every day, and lots of socializing. Wins come and go, the camaraderie is what should be about. They are a great little dog with a big dog resiliency and heart. They can be a super later in life breed for people when their big dogs are just too much and they want to stay active in purebred dogs and dog sports. MARLY LUCIER Marly Lucier obtained her first

Kari has been actively show- ing dogs for over 40 years, show- ing her first dog at age three. She apprenticed under Denis Springer and Brenda Combs. Her mentors in Cairns are the esteemed breeders from Burnaby, British Columbia, Glenn Sergius and Frank Mesich of McCairn. She has been show- ing and/or breeding Cairns for over 25 years under the Harmony prefix. She has won the CTCA National and multiple CTCA Rov-

ing Nationals and piloted several dogs into the top 5. She is happily married to her husband, Jack for 22 years and has an incredible son, Ryan who is in his first year of college studying chemistry. I live in Centennial, Colorado and I am a Practice Transfor- mation Manager for TMF Health Quality Institute leading a team to help primary care practices improve health outcomes and patient experience. Other hobbies include hiking, reading and paddle boarding. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I would like to see more young people become involved in the AKC dog events and responsible breed- ing. Our membership is aging and a consequence of that is that we have fewer breeders that have the best interest of the Cairn Terrier at heart. What qualities in the field also come in handy around the house? We have a lot of Cairns active in various performance and companion events. More than many realize. Their willingness to please (with creative training) makes them great house dogs. They are pleased to have a job to do, and love also just to hang with their people. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Cairns are a small but hardy breed. They are very resilient and shed very little. As in most breeds, in some cases you need to be aware of same sex dogs running together. Are there any misconceptions about the breedI’d like to dispel? I have heard from too many people that they are turned away as a home for a puppy from a breeder because they have kids. Cairns can be fantastic with kids, and with proper vetting and education we should be looking for homes with kids. I hear from so many people involved in Cairns and AKC events that they fell in love with the breed as a child and developed their passion for the breed through having a Cairn as a family member when they were kids. What special challenges do Cairn Terrier breeders face in our current economic and social climate? Overall, we are doing well, with the exception of fewer litters being bred by responsible breed- ers due to the aging of our population. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I was taught by my mentor in Terriers, Denis Springer, to evaluate puppies at six weeks and then stop looking until they turn a year or so. I have found this to be a good strategy. The most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? Cairns are supposed to be run in a pack, sparring is helpful to show the natural attributes of the dog when handled properly, it is never used to determine aggression and should not be rewarded. Outline/proportion: tailset should never be carried forward toward the head. It should be at its highest at 12 O’clock. One to two o’clock are equally acceptable.

show Cairn in 1992 and has bred and shown Cairns since then under the Maverston prefix. She has com- pleted over 20 championships from the Bred By Exhibitor class and has won honors at Westminster and at National Specialties. She has also trained and titled Cairns in Obedi- ence, Rally, and Agility, and enjoys the challenge of becoming a team with her Cairns. I live in Carlisle, Massachusetts.

Most of my activities are dog related. Besides showing and breeding my Cairns I train them in obedience and agility. One of my Cairns is a Therapy Dog and we do the Read To A Dog program togeth- er. I also judge Cairns. In my free time I love to travel and visit my grandkids. Do I hope the breed’s popularity will change or am I comfort- able with the placement? I’m totally happy with his current place- ment. There are many delightful breeds and each has its own special audience. What about the breed makes them an ideal companion? Cairns are friendly and playful. They love to be with people and have a spe- cial affinity for children. They adapt easily to living in condos and apartments. But because they are small in stature, people may for- get that they have fairly high energy requirements. Without proper exercise they may become bored, bark excessively and chew things that they shouldn’t. Are there any misconceptions about the breed I’d like to dispel? There’s a perception that Cairns are unintelligent and difficult to train that is completely false. They are extremely intuitive and love to learn new things. However they are sensitive and respond best to positive reinforcement. Once they form a bond with a human they really want to please. What special challenges do Cairn Terrier breeders face in our current economic and social climate? Time is a huge issue for every- one nowadays so finding the time to care for multiple dogs is not easy. Space is also an issue. Dogs need an area to explore and play that won’t bother their neighbors. At what age do I start to see definite signs of show-worthiness? I can often see signs as early as eight weeks but rarely make a final decision until a pup is nine months old. What is the most important thing about the breed for a new judge to keep in mind? It’s key to keep the breed standard top of mind and not be influenced by present trends that may not conform to the standard. While size may vary within reason, the height to


Cairn Terrier Q& A

length proportion should remain relatively constant at a ratio of 1 to 1.5. These proportions allow a Cairn to perform its original func- tion and should be conserved. Also remember to look for an alert, mischievous expression and a happy tail carriage! The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Promoting performance activities is a wonderful way to create inter- est in the sport. People can do agility, obedience, rally, scent work and many other pursuits that Cairns can excel at. My ultimate goal for the breed? My goal and hope for the breed is that we can preserve this amazing little dog in its current form. My favorite dog show memory? Winning the breed twice at Westminster is probably my favorite. But the little things—a hand shake from a well-known handler after you’ve won breed at a specialty or a compliment on your dog’s appearance—can mean so much. LYNNE NABORS I have lived in the city of St.

have a mind of their own and will make a conscious decision to obey or not, depending on the circumstances. Although some traits are common, every dog is an individual, and blanket statements about the breed are unwise. But, after more than 50 years in the breed, I can confidently say they’re generally unlikely (at best) to be com- pletely trustworthy off leash, and I caution against ever letting them loose if there is traffic within a mile or so. A sudden appearance of a rabbit or squirrel and all bets are off. It’s just not worth the risk. I am torn about the rising price of purebred dogs in general. I recognize that veterinary bills are also rising, and that the prices paid for stud fees have gone up steadily, and thus raising puppies is an expensive hobby. There is really no way to “make money” in dogs, and I don’t believe most breeders are attempting to do that. But, puppy prices are such now that many families of modest means can no longer afford a pure-bred puppy, especially those homes where one of the parents stays home to look after children…and that is the home we would like to have a puppy in, where the puppy will not be left in a crate all day. Breeders seem to feel that they must charge the same as other breeders in their area, regardless of the situation. I would like to see more breeders be creative in find- ing ways to make that puppy affordable for people who would make wonderful homes. I used “co-ownerships” which I would explain meant that I would sign off on the puppy in the future, thus saving the buyer’s pride in some cases. One lovely older couple were set to take a nice male pup, but when he suddenly lost his job, a chunk of money for a puppy became unwise. So the puppy went home as planned and as soon as he got a job, the money was paid. Many such ideas are possible, but my goal was to put the puppy in the best home. I think there’s a way around the sticking point of the “price”, in most cases. I watched my puppies from birth, looking for quality, but sel- dom made a decision before about eight weeks. The indefinable “it” quality usually manifests itself at about five to six weeks, if not before. Without that special something, a puppy can be typey and sound but still not be a success in the ring. With “it” a small fault in conformation is likely to be overlooked, but its importance in the breeding program has to be taken into consideration regardless. If a new judge is coming from a Terrier background, it’s impor- tant for him to understand this is not a “stylized” Terrier. Every- thing about the Cairn is moderate, including the grooming. It is critical for a new judge not to be carried away by a dog which has been groomed meticulously, with a tweezer, without a hair out of place, when there is a sound, typey Cairn in a more correct “slight- ly scruffy” presentation. The other thing I think some judges get wrong is the proportions…a Cairn is not square, but many Terriers are. It’s critical to the breed’s function to have the correct length of back for their leg length. The best way to attract newcomers to my breed and to the sport? Wow! Wish I knew the answer to that one! I think it’s getting even harder to attract people to breeding and showing these days. In over 50 years of trying to mentor and encourage newcomers, I can’t say I have ever brought anyone into the breed long term. For a while, maybe they would show, or more often let me show, their puppy, and then, after the “new” wore off, or the championship was gained, their family life took precedence. I think the fancy is in trouble, big time. With everyone getting older, even the new people are often retirement age or close to it, and while their enthusiasm is great, their time in the breed is not going to be long. Look around at all the “seniors” in the ring…it’s alarming. The AKC is taking some action, instituting the Owner Handled competition, and informa- tive help at dog shows. I think in Cairns, at least, we are friendly and hospitable to newcomers. Regional Clubs are important, but they are not numerous in our breed. I live 600 miles from the

Louis, in the Lafayette Square His- toric District, for 42 years, after a life of frequent moves when my husband was a pilot for the US Coast Guard. I am a widow and retired now, and enjoy my neigh- borhood very much. I volunteer for neighborhood events and that helps keep me busy. I love walk- ing in the neighborhood and know all the local dogs by name. I read a lot, too, as I always have. Most of

all, I love being the companion of a delightful 16-month-old Cairn Terrier puppy who came into my life courtesy of a great breeding couple when I lost my last two Cairns just five months apart. Nine months without a Cairn was too long! When I first became involved with Cairn Terriers, in 1963, and became aware of their registration standings, they were somewhere in the low 30s. Now, at 69th, I am a little concerned that the trend seems ever downward. I worried in the “low 30s”, too, that they would become too popular if that upward trend continued, which it did not. I would like to see the breed stabilize at a comfortable point, perhaps the 50th percentile, or better. So many “fad” breeds have come and gone, but the Cairn is well suited for so many fami- lies, and their popularity should reflect that. Many of the Cairn’s “working ethics” enhance their value as a companion. Their sheer stamina is great for standing up to the demands of children—they almost never get tired of playing, whether it’s chasing a ball or playing hide and seek. The Cairn has a forgiving nature and a tough, sturdy little body that shrugs off knocks and bumps. Their keen intelligence stands them in good stead with adults, as well…they are never boring. The independence so important to doing the job for which they were bred is an asset for owners who do not want a “clingy” dog. On the other hand, that persistent prey drive can be a little frustrating when they have a pos- sum treed in the back yard at midnight, and don’t want to give it up, especially when they are screaming their frustration! One of the most important things when selecting a home for a Cairn puppy is education about the nature of the breed. A prospec- tive owner needs to know that if he is looking for a dog that will cling to his heels, will want to cuddle in his lap, and will obey his every command…he is not looking for a Cairn Terrier! Like most of the Terrier breeds, the Cairn is independent and will only “cuddle” when he’s in the mood, which in most cases is rarely when the own- er is. Some are more obedient than others, but almost all of them


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