The Cairn is one of the native Scottish Breeds and from the 17th century had been used in the Western Highlands and the Isle of Skye to keep down vermin which were a threat to game. They often worked in small packs and they take their name from the Cairn – small outcrop of stones, common in the highland moors.
Several of the Scottish Terrier breeds: the Cairn (first exhibited as a short haired Skye Terrier) the Skye itself, the Scottish Terrier and the West Highland White share common ancestry.
The Cairn is remarkably unchanged in appearance throughout the centuries, lighter in build than the other terrier breeds from Scotland but a game, rugged and harsh coated sporting terrier.
Should impress as being active, game and hardy.
Agile, alert, of workmanlike, natural appearance. Standing well forward on forepaws. Strong quarters. Deep in rib, very free in movement. Weather-resistant coat.
Fearless and gay disposition, assertive but not aggressive.
Head & Skull:
Head small, but in proportion to body. Skull broad, a decided indentation between the eyes with a definite stop. Muzzle powerful, jaw strong but not long or heavy. Nose black. Head well furnished.
Wide apart, medium in size, dark hazel. Slightly sunk with shaggy eyebrows.
Small, pointed, well carried and erect, not too closely set nor heavily coated.
Large teeth. Jaw strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to jaws.
Well set on, not short.
Sloping shoulders, medium length of leg, good but not too heavy bone. Forelegs never out at elbow. Legs covered with harsh hair.
Back level, medium in length. Well sprung deep ribs, strong supple loin.
Very strong muscular thighs. Good, but not excessive, bend of stifle. Hocks well let down, inclining neither in nor out when viewed from the rear.
Forefeet, larger than hind, may be slightly turned out. Pads thick and strong. Thin, narrow or spreading feet and long nails objectionable.
Short, balanced, well furnished with hair but not feathery. Neither high nor low set, carried gaily but not turned down towards back.
Very free-flowing stride. Forelegs reaching well forward. Hind legs giving strong propulsion. Hocks neither too close nor too wide.
Very important. Weather-resistant. Must be double-coated with profuse, harsh, but not coarse, outer coat, undercoat short, soft and close. Open coats objectionable. Slight wave permissible.
Cream, wheaten, red, grey or nearly black. Brindling in all these colours acceptable. Not solid black or white, or black and tan. Dark points such as ears and muzzle, very typical.
Weight & Size:
Approximately 28 cm to 31 cm (11 to 12 inches) at withers, but in proportion to weight - ideally 6 to 7 kgs. (14-16 lbs).
Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness of the fault should be in exact proportion to its degree.
Note: Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
Breed Standard as passed by The Executive Committee of The Kennel Club at its meeting on November 30th, 1982.