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Cairn + Jack Russell = ?


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My roommate and I live in a 2BR apt. in the suburbs. She owns a 1.5 yr old female Jack Russell terrier. I'm thinking about getting a Cairn but wonder if a Cairn plus a JR would be a little too much activity in the apt.

Also, could someone reccomend a specific book title about Cairns and caring for them? I'm trying to determine if a Cairn is well-suited to my lifestyle, but all the on-line quizzes haven't been helpful b/c they are too general.

As people experience with Cairns, do you think a Cairn would be happy w/ an owner who:

is away 9hrs a day M-F? (Although the Cairn would be w/ the JR)

likes to read?

likes walks?

likes going to the puppy park?

admires the terrier temperment (my family kindly calls it "spunky")

grew up w/ Yorkies/retrievers?

wants a "rough" dog, not a true lap (ie, "yip yip") dog?

Also, I understand about the digging tendency; is it demonstrated indoors as well as out? Should I expect torn-up carpeting?

Thank you.

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I don't know about any books for you to read, but I'm sure others will chime in on some good ones.

9 hours is a really long time for a dog to be in a crate. Is there anyway someone could let him/her out during the day for potty breaks??

I like to read too...just be prepared to have a puppy in your lap at the same time!

Cairns love to walk!!

A puppy park? Are you kidding? That would be called a dream vacation for a Cairn! They LOVE playing with other dogs!

Knows a terrier? I think you are set in this department!

My two Cairns like to play rough, but they also love to sit in my lap too.

Is there anyway you could bring another dog in your apartment to see how the JR interacts with other dogs? I think this might give you an idea of how he/she would handle having another dog share their home with them.

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I am not a true expert, but I would think you will need extra time and lots of patience in the beginning to do basic training -- housetraining (or paper training) for pee/poo, obedience like sit, come, no, etc. . Time invested in this will mean a lot in trying to get the two dogs to get along plus you won't come home to a dirty apartment if the dog is housetrained. Our next door neighbors did not have the time for this but wanted a dog. They invested in a dog trainer that kept the dog until it was trained in all the basic things, then took the dog home. So my answer is yes, they may get along, except that you might not find it easy to leave the new cairn for 9 hours right away. Hope this helps!

I had to edit to answer the other questions:

likes to read? - he has the JRT to play with

likes walks? - absolutely

likes going to the puppy park? - the cairn will go nuts meeting other dogs

admires the terrier temperment (my family kindly calls it "spunky") - cairns are spunky, too

grew up w/ Yorkies/retrievers? - you might get a culture shock, but it's fun

wants a "rough" dog, not a true lap (ie, "yip yip") dog? - it depends but in general cairns are high energy dogs


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It just so happens that my middle son is home from college and brought his 7 month old Jack Russell, Ralphie... To say that he is a bundle of energy is the understatement of the year! He is a very sweet dog though and loves to play with Gracie. I worry that he will be too rough with her (although she can pretty much hold her own in the "roughhousing" department) so when they "rip" around the house we keep a very close eye on them. (Overprotective puppy parent maybe...) We asked our vet about this and she didn't seem a bit concerned that Ralphie would be too rough but we're not leaving them alone till Grace is bigger.(She is 4 months now and tiny for her age, I think.) Anyway, it is quite an active household this summer to say the least. :)

I personally feel that a Cairn would be a good pet for you if you use the time that you have free to exercise/play with her or him and a puppy park sounds great. A Cairn will steal your heart away and give you so much love and laughter.


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I have to chime in on your "likes to read?" question.... My 3-year-old Cairn Liddy sits in someone's lap almost always so I have learned the fine art of balancing a book on a Cairn rump :lol:

I think 9 hours is a long time for a pup to go without a pee break, but if you're going to be using a pee pad or you can get home to let your pup outside, I think that it would be ok.

Also, I like the idea of having two dogs for company's sake (although I only have one dog), but I also think it'd be a good idea to bring another dog for a visit to see how the Jack Russell does with other dogs.

Good luck and I (totally unbiasedly ;) ) think you should get a Cairn!

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Guest Guest

My roommate and I have taken her JR to the puppy park many times. She is not fond of dogs a lot bigger than herself (such as the many labs that tear around); at first she was inexplicably submissive (Morgan, aree you SURE you're a Jack Russell????) but now will stand up for herslef and tell bigger dogs "go away." She is great with dogs nearer her size.

I know 9hrs is a long time; this is my main concern. I commute to work, so it is imporssible for me to come home on lunch break to let hypothetical-Cairn out to do his/her business. But if my roomie comes home to let her JR out, she'd let the hypo-Cairn out as well.

I just don't want to bring a dog into a lifestyle/home routine that would make him/her unhappy.

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Guest Darcy's Mom

May I add my 2 cents worth? As a proud mom of a cairn and a J/R-Scottie mix I can honestly say the two girls get along great. Darcy (Cairn) is the dominant female and occasionally will put Molly (J/R) in her place. Molly is just the happiest dog I have ever seen. Always "smiling" and wanting to play, although Darcy and Molly play great together. Molly tends to respect Darcy as the alpha dog in that she will not eat until after Darcy eats her dinner, just lays quietly by Darcy while she is eating and then darts over to her (Molly's) food bowl when Darcy walks away from hers. It's the weirdest thing. Molly stands a good 2-3 inches taller than Darcy and weighs 23 lbs. compared to Darcy's 12lbs. She tends to get so excited sometimes that she just runs over Darcy in her excitement when I or my husband come home from work. Poor Darcy doesn't react at all to this, just waits her turn for our attnetion. Sometimes I think Darcy just tolerates Molly- because Molly is such a jubilant dog and like I said is soooo happy all the time. Darcy, on the other hand, wants her quiet time every once in a while but Molly has a hard time understanding that and trys to get Darcy to play, play, play.

Molly is the one that thinks she is a lap dog. Wants to be "right there" if I do happen to steal a few minutes of quite time. She is really a joy as is Darcy and I would not hesitate to put a Cairn and a J/R together as friends forever.

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My only concern would be the amount of time you would be away each day. I am assuming that this would just be week days and you would be able to devote a good deal of time to the dog on the weekends. Housebreaking the new puppy would also be another consideration as this is something that really needs full time attention. Have you considered a Cairn rescue? You may want to explore that avenue before making a decision. Good luck and let us know how everything turns out.


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Like the others my only concern would be the length of time away. I really wouldn't leave a puppy for that length of time but an adult might be okay. Cairns are very people oriented though and do like to be around their people. We have some doggie day cares in town or pet people who will come into your home a couple of times a day for a modest fee.

My boys get along great with jack russells but the energy level certainly is high. I don't think adding a cairn would necessarily make it wose because the jack russell is probably already pretty active.

Good Luck whatever you decide.

Barb, Ghillie, and Smokey

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Christine Carter


Patricia Lehman


Erliss McCormack


Robert Jamieson

I, Toto: The Autobiography of the Dog Who Was Toto

Willard Carroll


Bryan Cummins

Tried to send you the link to Dogwise.com but it didn't take...guess I'm more of a copy/paste girl.

I am going to echo everyone elses comment about the 9 hour time span. I feel guilty when I get home from work late and my crew were in their crates for 3 hours! I suppose some mellow, laidback Cairns (isn't that a contradictory statement :lol: ) might not mind it but it's still such a long time especially for a pup.

I know nothing about the Jack Russel breed other than they are cute. If you are really serious about getting a Cairn and have done your homework on the breed, you could always look into a large ex-pen for the times when you're not home. They can be set up as little playgrounds/crates and this way the puppy would not be so confined for a long time. I would not however leave the Jack Russell and the Cairn alone together until the pup is older and about the same size. Play can get rough and accidents can happen...you'd definately want to be there as a referee.

Digging? Mine dig on the couch, blankets but never on the carpets. Outside in the garden, chipmunk holes....all that can be redirected. Cairns are smart and can be trained but you have to be consistant with it...give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

They are the best breed though as you can probably see if you surf through this forum. We love our Cairns...sorry so long. ;)

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Guest Guest

kayharly--thanks for the book suggestions. MikeC, I have been seriously considering a Cairn rescue. I'm familiar w/ Col. Potter Cairn Rescue (BTW, does anyone know if this is a M*A*S*H* reference???) and the Ptomoc Cairn club is near to where I live (C'ville, VA), and they coordinate rescues.

I really think that the only way I would get a puppy is if my work would allow me to bring her/him in w/ me. Slim chance, but worth asking.

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Hard to say whether this would work without opportunity to get out and do lots of walking and running (on-lead or fenced off of course). But just to be safe, if you're considering a Cairn puppy, opt for a male instead of a female. The potential for same-sex aggression-- and it is way worse in the girls than the boys, again making the word "bitch" as accurate as ever.

Two girls could get along, but it is more of a crap shoot. They have been known to hold lifelong grudges-- and again, if you live in cramped quarters, it would only be exacerbated.

Rescue is tricky. Has to be the kind of rescue dog that "plays well with others." Also rescue can be very careful about placing a dog where there may not be a fenced yard.


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