Jump to content

Looking for information on active Cairn breeders on the East Coast


Recommended Posts

Hi all, I'm new to the forum.  We've been long-time golden retriever owners and had fabulous dogs from a wonderful breeder so life was good! 

Now our lifestyle has changed a bit and I have landed on Cairns as probably the best fit going forward.  Can anyone share some information on reputable breeders that I can contact?  We live in MA and I'd love to be able to visit the breeder, but we can, if necessary, travel afield for the right pup :)  I've looked into info on breeders that is readily available and don't see many in New England that appear to be active.  But these days with Covid I understand the game has changed, which makes it harder to figure out where to look and who is doing what.

All suggestions are much appreciated!

Thank you.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites


We can't discuss or recommend (for or against)  specific breeders, so the best we can do is offer search strategies. If someone *does* have a specific recommendation, they can send it to you by PM (private message) using the Message link on your profile.

You are right that things are complicated and more difficult than ever!  

In my view the best way overall to get a dog of any breed from a good breeder is to make yourself known as a good potential home, and earn some 'top of mind' for when puppies eventually become a reality. Often just expressing interest in learning about the breed, meeting breeders and dogs, attending events (remember when that was a thing? :( ) and so on is enough to get you on the radar when there *are* pups available. You will have more luck than someone who just sends a curt email asking if there are puppies on the shelf. And you will have the benefit of knowing a lot more about the person you're getting a dog from, their history with the breed, the type of dogs they tend to produce. You may simply bond with one breeder more than another and find yourself willing to wait to get a dog from them.  

Meantime, if you hustle over to the Eastern States Expo tomorrow (Dec 12, 2021) you might be able to catch the Cairn ring and meet exhibitors and some breeders from the area.  There appear to be 8 Cairns entered, showing in Ring 4 at 9:00 AM. (https://pdf.infodog.com/jps/310/jpg310.pdf). A small  entry, but a start. There will be another show Jan 08/09 at the Expo.  And so on with various shows throughout the year. You can search for shows on the AKC website: Events Search

I don't know about the shows in your area, but I was at a show in Washington state briefly yesterday to watch the Cairn ring and we were allowed to get in with proof of vaccination (or a recent negative test result) and a mask of course. We're not looking at the moment but it was great to see the Cairns. Of course there were some "ringside judging" favorites that we particularly liked and if we were looking we could have followed up their handler to learn about where the dog came from (literally and figuratively). 

Here's a Cutie at the Show

The national club has a list of members who ask to be listed as breeders: https://cairnterrier.org/index.php/Breeders/list-by-state — it is by no means comprehensive but patient (and sometimes persistent) communication can sometimes provide a thread that will lead indirectly to someone.

Many breeders get emailed requests that look like more like someone asking Target if they have a Nintendo Switch in stock or something. The answer is "No" if there's any answer at all. My suggestion is provide some information about your home environment and interest and perhaps express some flexibility as the age, gender, and timing. The goal being to stand out in a positive way and plant a seed so that when the breeder is considering placements for a future litter or even an older dog, your home is a good option. 

In all cases, whether by phone, email, or in person, my overall preference  is to work toward building relationships whenever possible. It's worth it when getting a dog, and it's invaluable over the life of the dog you eventually do get. 

  • Like 1

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



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you Bradl for a very sage post!  Good to know that peeps can't post recommendations directly as well.

I was connected in the Golden world, showed, etc. for years, raised 9 gorgeous boys and am about to be godmom to the 10th so I kind of have an idea of how that all works.  As a matter of fact, I met my long-time breeder at Ladies with the dog that became our foundation while I was showing one of my first dogs.  And the 10th "godson" is from a breeder that she mentored that I showed with before and reconnected with.   So I haven't had to start from scratch for awhile and the shows are a bit more difficult to interact at now:(   I have contacted the national club but haven't heard back, went through the AKC listings,  and gone through some of the more recent infodog catalogs from more recent New England shows too but it's a slog. 

We travel a lot and do not like to leave our doggies even with a sitter, which is one of the major reasons we are switching gears to a small but mighty breed :)  We are at a house in France atm, so can't get to Eastern States tomorrow lol.  We are highly responsible, loving, and experienced dog slaves and can provide references (except our breeder has passed away :(((((  We would like to get a boy pup sometime in the next year, won't show formally (but will show him off :)) , health and temperament of the lines is paramount.  We are an older couple (+ kids/gkids) with a fenced and mostly hardscapped yard (fewer digging opportunities) and lots of opportunities for outdoor fun.  Also have an RV we go off in for adventures.  If anyone would like to send a pm with leads it would be much appreciated!


  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, I probably wouldn't ditch France for such a small entry either :P  Here are some specialty shows scheduled next year that will have good representation from the region.

APRIL 2022
Potomac Cairn Terrier Club, Timonium, MD
Maryland State Fairgrounds
Specialty Date: April 22, 2022
Baltimore Kennel Club All-Breed Shows April 23-24

JUNE 2022
Housatonic Cairn Terrier Club, Norwalk, CT
Specialty Date: June 11, 2022
Supported Entry: June 12, 2022
FastCAT: June 10-12

CTCA National Specialty, Macgunie PA
Date: October 9, 2022

  • Like 1

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



Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, bradl said:

In all cases, whether by phone, email, or in person, my overall preference  is to work toward building relationships whenever possible. It's worth it when getting a dog, and it's invaluable over the life of the dog you eventually do get. 

I agree. That was key for me when looking for a cairn pup. I looked and looked for months and months. Shows are scarce in the remote area where I live so I looked on line too. Very tiring as PA is a State with many puppy farmers but eventually I found a likely breeder only a few hours from where I lived. We emailed and talked and asked each other detailed questions. Eventually I visited to meet her and her four bouncy boy pups. I met their mom and dad and dad's old grandma aged 15.  It was a wonderful experience. 

 The breeder used to show but got tired of the show scene. She bred a few litters for her delight and sold pups only to people she knew or got to know. She had bred some pups of show quality she said but she wasn't tempted to show again. She was so knowledgeable and kept such detailed records. We became friends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Specialty in CT in June is wonderful!  Tons of great Cairns in a lovely setting.  Old fashioned show, a must do, especially if you are on the east coast.  You see many top Cairns and I enjoy picking out the “ one” I would take home.  Networking and talking terrier all day is great event.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I researched breeders in my area, but they were scarce to find. I did find a breeder, but because of her age, has stopped breeding. We talked often and she made some contacts for me and I was put in touch with a breeder (who also shows) about 5 hours away from me. They planned two litters, and unfortunately many of the puppies passed away. The breeder was so nice, and we had been in contact for a long time. She knew someone that had two males puppies and said that I could have one.....sooooo...long story short, we now have little Atticus!

Breeders know other breeders and they are a tight knit group. Lynne encouraged me to keep contacting the breeder to let them know how much I wanted the puppy, why I wanted this breed, how I took care of dogs in the past....any info I could give them. I felt like I was bugging them, but Lynne said this is what you need to do, so you don't appear to be someone calling a Target store looking for an item! :) She also gave me the advice of going to shows, but because of Covid, they were not happening at the time.

The original breeder, who lives in town (Lynne) has become a good friend and has helped me through this whole process. She is now helping me learn how to strip Atticus!

It took me almost a year to finally bring little Atticus home, and he was worth the wait!

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

5 minutes ago, bradl said:

Not closely, but we've met a few times. I had the privilege of serving on the national club board (early 2000s) with Lynne. Much respect. 

It sure is a small world, isn't it?? Yes, she is a wonderful person and went above and beyond to help me get Atticus. She has a friend that was ready to give up her grooming table, so Lynne picked it up for me when they met for lunch. The first puppy (which had health problems and is still with the breeder) is related to her little girl, who is about 3 years old. In fact, Atticus's breeder got some of her dogs from Deb and Randy!

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.

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.


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



  • 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.