Jump to content

How Cairns Express Themselves


Floweramon
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hello.  I'm sorry if this is the wrong forum, but it seemed like the closest to find what I wanted to ask.  I am writing a story that contains a character who is an anthropomorphic cairn terrier.  For those that don't know, anthropomorphic means human-like and in this case means an animal character that has some human characteristics, which can range from just talking to standing upright and acting just like a human depending on the type of story.

 

My character is of the upright-and-acting-human variety, but I wanted to give her quirks and expressions that were still dog-like.  In my research I noticed that, for instance, the cairn terrier's ears are naturally pointed and thus don't move the way droopy-eared or cropped-eared dogs do, but lots of sourced still referred to their ears as "expressive."  So I was wondering, in what ways are they expressive?  How do they look when happy, sad, scared, confused, ect. that make them unique from other dogs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

this sounds like an interesting project. an anthropomorphic cairn could be a redundacy --i think people bond so strongly with cairns because the dogs are already more human than some humans are. it is very hard to describe cairn facial and ear expressions. of course the best thing would be to get to know some cairns, but fortunately the youtube is rich with cairn videos. see especially those of our own idaho cairns, whose dogs bonnie and sammi are in some of the funniest and most expressive videos you can see. 

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Prior to Angus I've had dogs with flop ears or partly down.Angus's ears seem more expressive I think. He can turn them every which way like a horse for listening. He can have them pricked up,alert, laying horizontal, wondering, down apprehensive, or pulled right back, fear, aggression.

Since he is a cairn he does not hesitate to express himself this way, or vocally or with his whole body. 

He "talks" a lot like most cairns, with the usual barks and growls but with all sorts of other sounds that it is hard to describe.

He's often on the move and his body position communicates a good bit about how he's feeling. He stands on two feet when necessary to survey a wider area.

Hope you can meet and get to know a live cairn. Next best is videos as pk suggests.

Edited by Hillscreek
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The ears are in very frequently in motion. Some ways that the Cairn's prick ears are expressive include the way they rotate and swivel — sometimes independently — like little radar towers when they are listening carefully.  

 

Normally set on top of the head, the base of the ears can appear to pull downward to the side when they are feeling less sure of themselves (a rare condition for most of them). Sometimes pull closer together on top of the head which I think of as a sort of :w00t: expression.  When these positions are the genetically "at rest" positions of the ears they are a deviation from the standard, but when normally set ears move around to those other positions they are indeed expressive.  The following illustration is taken from the Canadian club's clarification:

 

post-3-0-16137900-1427121206_thumb.png

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

CAIRNTALK: Vote! |  Questions? Need help? → Support Forum Please do not use PMs for tech support
CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club | 🗓️ 2023 Cairn Calendar

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For instance...Gus's ears get pasted back to his head when he is excited to greet someone.

And don't forget the head cocking - one of the Cairn's most endearing habits.

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Head cocking, ears alert when watching TV (especially Animal Planet), snorts, snuffs, rolling around and snuffing for joy, rolling on back when being submissive, barking at TV when spotting: bears, dogs, cows, horses, cats, bolting out back door to get those pesky squirrels and sounding the Cairn screech the whole time, gentle with senior citizens, loves kids, trying so HARD not to jump on people, trying to please when not jumping on people - wiggling, ears back, looking with sad, begging eyes to please, please, please pet me!!!  A true joy to be around - always on "patrol"!

  • Like 2

Pepper's Mom

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How interesting!  Agree with the above suggestions that you get to know a living, breathing Cairn.  Idaho's videos are a good start though. 

 

The ears are a big part of Cairn expressiveness but the eyes and head tilt are what *really* get the point across.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

When Jock thought that he had to save me and the rest of the herd, from his perspective that danger was imminent , his ears would be straight forward, practically vibrating, a piercing rigid stare, followed by his 19 pound body rock solid, tails right up in the air. If the threat proved to be ok and of no consequence perhaps a dog buddy or an upright he knew, the ears would relax back to each side of his head as noted by Brads pics, his stance and body would lose all its tension, tail relaxed and at half mast.I swear cairns have smiling down to a fine art when the world is behaving like it is supposed to.

  • Like 2

Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

Adventures with Sam &Rosie

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Let's not forget the tail. I can have a whole conversation with Zekey, with him answering just by wagging his tail. I can tell how Gavin is feeling -- if he's under the weather, his tail will be down for the whole day. When he's feeling better, his tail starts to rise, usually ending a little higher than his back. And when he's excited, it's straight up, with quick little jerks back and forth. 

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cairns are the most like a human than any dog I have ever been around. Kelly is so expressive in so many ways.

If I scold her she looks like a wilted flower, meaning everything on her body droops. Her fur just hangs low, her head and tail lowers, her eyes even seem to droop.

Her ears are very expressive they seem to turn on her head like a satellite looking for a signal.

Her eyes I can not describe, amazing is the best I can do. She will wink, raise one eyebrow. 

They are very vocal, talking yes they talk, using a series of grunts, dragged out growls, She sometimes sounds like the cowardly lion from The Wizard of Oz. We can't forget the cairn scratch of death.

Kelly also lays her ears back when we come home or someone comes to visit.

They act like a cat at times. They stand like a big animal, I call it the intimidation stance.

 

You definitely need to watch Idaho's videos on youtube cehsr8 is how you'll find him.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

These are amazing dogs, Floweramom, but please don't be tempted to lump them in with all terriers.  I was somewhat offended by Phillip Pullman's His Dark Matter Trilogy where terriers were the daemons for the servant classes.  Loki exhibited so many familiar traits when I first got him that I would swear he became human when my back was turned. Cairns can be clever, smart, manipulative, exasperating, adorable, infinitely lovable and faithful in equal parts or unequal, depending on their mood.

 

The head tilt is something that comes across so loud and clear, regardless of what you are doing this dog is paying attention.  There are numerous stories on this forum of dogs that are escape artists (climb over or go under fences) and magicians (found a way onto a kitchen counter to raid the treat jar without being caught).  There is never a bad time for play.

 

These are working dogs.  They are bred to go after vermin.  Modern vermin include, but are not limited to, rats, cats, birds, raccoons, kids on skateboards, white panel vans, pick-up trucks, joggers, and riding mowers.

 

Loki is my first dog.  What I was not expecting was getting a small dog that could take over so much of my life.  I don't have a lap anymore, I have a place for Loki to sit.  I feel guilty going to work because of the dog that watches me walk out the door and is so, so happy to see me when I return.  This is a dog that woke me up at 3am to remind me that we had chicken for dinner a few hours earlier and that, right there, was the cutting board I used to carve the bird and share some scraps with him, and that maybe there were still some scraps left that I forgot to give him...and I forgave him for it.

 

Best of luck with your story.

  • Like 5

Who rescued whom?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And then there is the "sneeze". The "sneeze" occurs at the end of all high speed activity. It is like a release of unused adrenaline. It is like saying, "Oh yeah baby", "So there", "Booya".

 

See example here:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ynset-O9fOA

 

As a side note, I miss seeing idaho around here.

 

  • Like 6

Sassy Jan 22, 2005

 

AM. CH. THARRBARR LITE MY FIRE ZOMERHOF

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful to hear from you again Idaho. I have been thinking about you and Idaho2 this month having been through a similar experience years ago. No getting over it but there comes learning to live with it in some kind of peace.

Love hearing your take on cairns. Such fun for me as my Angus grew up.

Hope you will keep in touch and continue to teach and amuse us. 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice to see you posting again Idaho, I have learned so much about Cairns from your posts and hope you will continue to be around now and then going forward.  I am truly sorry for your loss and the terrible year you've had.  I too suffered a loss back in January which I will never get over but I'm learning to deal with it on my own terms.  Life will sometimes through us a curve out of left field that we truly are not prepared for and the devastation can be agonizing.  

 

As for Cairns and their expressions, I must say that my 2 year old girl Maisie has so many different expressions that I've lost count.  I am still learning about them and every single day I discover something new that makes my girl so much more endearing to me.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register after. Your post will display after you confirm registration. If you already have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

CairnTalk.net

  • A meeting place and
    online scrapbook for
    Cairn Terrier fanciers.

ctn-no-text-200.png

Disclaimers

  • All posts are the opinion and
    responsibility of the poster.
  • Post content © the author.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Site Guidelines | We put cookies on your device to help this website work better for you. You can adjust your cookie settings; otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.