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Getting a second Cairn advice (Female 10 years)


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Hello All,

Since I was a child, we always had a Cairn in our lives. But, we always had one at a time. Around Christmastime, I got to thinking it would be nice to bring a second Cairn into our household. Our 10 year old female has not shown signs of being an old lady yet, and could probably still get along well with a puppy- and even enjoy the experience. She had a liter of pups before I got her, and tends to show maternal instinct towards her toys, even after she was spayed. She does not exhibit any alpha traits. I have had an alpha in the past and this girl is much calmer, and very independent.

At first, I assumed I would bring in another female. Spoke with multiple breeders and they said ok and put me on their waitlists... but, then a vet tech told me that I shouldn’t be getting another female due to competition that can form, and that a young female may even try and “take out” the older one. That the worst dog fights she had seen in the office came from two females.

I never want to put my female at risk. And certainly would get a male if it would keep her safer. But, no breeders pointed this out to me so I wonder if it is a concern in the Cairn breed.



Edited by Kelly1
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  • Kelly1 changed the title to Getting a second Cairn advice (Female 10 years)

We have for most part had two dogs at the same time with 5 to 10 years of age separating them. When  we introduced a new pup it was always of the opposite sex as per advise from vets and breeders.  As long as the older dog is in good health it does seem to spark up their interest in life having a youngster around. Having said that our Scottie did bite Sam our Cairn a few times when he was a pup. Mind you it was probably deserved as a youngster can drive an older dog a bit batty. Jealousy can occur and I would suggest equal attention to both as puppies always get a lot of it leaving the older dogs nose out of joint.

Sam and Rosie( Scottie) the first day they met as per photo. It wasn’t love at first site as Rosie was a little to aggressive towards Sam, however in time as he became less obnoxious ( Rosie’s opinion) things did settle down. I think two dogs is a wonderful idea as it really does lessen  any anxiety of being left alone in the house plus zoomies x two is so much fun for all!🐾🐾🌪🌪


Edited by Sam I Am
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Until one has loved an animal, a part of  one's soul remains unawakened.  - Anatole France

Adventures with Sam &Rosie


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Welcome Kelly1!  I think this might be one of those "two things can be true at the same time" situations.

I know lots of people with two females and they get along fine together for their entire lives.

I also know — from personal experience and from the experiences of friends — that two bitches can indeed sometimes form and nurse a life-threatening grudge. My sense is that it is possible, but rare. For some reason, neutered male Cairns that fight *usually* (all generalizations are false :P ) do so with more sound and fury than actual damage.  

One breeder said that when she has two bitches who don't get along she takes them hunting together frequently. Dogs will often set aside their differences to engage in something more fun than fighting with each other. However that sort of approach is not practical for many!  Vendetta-obsessed Cairns can be managed in households with judicious (and stone-consistent) use of baby gates, doors, air-locks, etc.,  but it's not for everybody and it does sometimes end up with rehoming one of the dogs for the safety of both. 

But back to the "two things true" idea. To me, like cat chasing (some do, some don't) it's one of those "it's not a problem, unless and until it's a problem" deals. If you are working with a good breeder they will take a dog back for life if things go south for some reason. Do give the girls some time — a few months at least —to work things out at first though. 

Given the opportunity I personally generally attempt to tilt the odds in favor of harmony by recommending one of each (males are often extremely sweet vs the slightly more independent nature of many girls — again to be careful with generalizations!). We have lived for years with mostly females just fine but we have also had to rehome a bitch to prevent two from killing each other. We currently have no girls but two of the sweetest males a person could hope for (and even they squabble from time to time). 

So in summary, anything can work, and anything can fall apart. In the end it depends on the specific dogs in question. 

Sorry to be of no help whatsoever!

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CAIRNTALK: Questions? Need help? → Support Forum Please do not use PMs for tech support
CRCTC: Columbia River Cairn Terrier Club 



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