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Second Cairn


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In the past we've only had one Cairn at a time, but now we're considering a second one. Packy is 1 1/2 yrs. old and has never met another dog he didn't like. I've heard it's best to wait until they're at least 2 yrs. old and that's fine. What are the pros and cons of having two Cairns?

Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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I've been going through this whole exercise with my husband - weighing pros and cons - so here is what I came up with:


1. More fun for your current cairn

2. More fun for you

3. You will surely be on your toes all the time - if you want to be


1. If you have no fenced area, leashing two everytime you go out for a walk can be a challenge (and tiring)

2. You will go back to potty training just in case you are getting a puppy

3. Definitely more work for you - this is oftentimes underestimated

4. Some unexpected challenges - behavioral issues, for example

We opted not to do it until we have a fenced in area. Lately my business travels have increased so I can't help my husband walk the dog. A buddy for Alfie would be a wonderful thing but we just can't do it right now. If we do, it would be an older dog, most probably from Col. Potter's Cairn rescue.


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I have 3 and would get another in a heartbeat if hubby would let me so I may not be the best one to give advice :lol:

I think a major factor would be your work schedule, how much time are you away from home? Are you prepared to start the housetraining again? And grooming time? Vet costs? Preventative medical costs? Room for 2 crates? Are you prepared for what 2 Cairns can do when they get going full speed during major playtime? And weather conditions? I will have 12 muddy paws sitting at my back door on any given day from October thru May.

Enough of that....Can you picture the amusement you'll have watching 2 Cairns during major playtime? And when they cuddle together. They will have each other for the times when they're alone. There's a good chance Packy may help with the housetraining too.

I think you have to do some soul searching and realize that there will be days when you will be stressed to the max (example....one dog is vomiting and the other is trying to eat it. :sick: ) And the days when you look at them and can't believe how much love you feel.

Did I help you? :lol:

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Very good advice and observations above. I agree with it all. When the time is right, I personally think 2 is ideal. More work (and $) but ultimately worth it. My personal calculus for the amount of effort involved would probably go something like this:

1 = 1x

2 = 1.5x (more work, but probably not twice as much)

3 = 4x (way more work)

4 = 4x (hmm, sort of a break-even point)

5+ = :w00t:

Now the expense tracks more or less 1:1. Whatever savings you get in bulk food purchases or sharing hand-me-down toys is offset by training and vet care.

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Okay, this might help... We're both retired and home all day, so that helps the situation out tremendously. Housetraining Packy was a shock to the system at first -- it had been 16 yrs. since we had to train our first Cairn -- but we got used to it and just kept him confined to the kitchen at first. We were lucky though, Packy could make it through the night from the first day we brought him home. Thank you, wonderful breeders, who got him crate-trained early! :D Luckily for us, any costs associated with another dog isn't an issue.

We do travel several times a year and usually take the Packrat with us if it's a driving vacation. For any overseas trips, my folks watch the Granddog. Not sure what they would think about watching two...

I guess I'm just wondering if what I've heard is true, it's not any more work to have 2 dogs as it is to have just 1 dog, but it's definitely more work to have 3!

Jandy and my Cairns, Kirby & Phinney 
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It seems not too long ago, I was considering the pros & cons of adding another Cairn to our household as well.

In the end, we made the decision to add another Cairn to our family.

I will be forever thankful we made that decision.

To make a very sad & long story short, they have helped us heal our hearts & given us a fresh outlook on the future.

Their antics and affection for each other, and us, knows no boundries.

They are just a joy to behold and I cannot imagine life without the two of them.

Initially, the extra work of having the two seemed a little overwhelming at times.

Obedience training was time consuming but well worth the effort.

It seemed like we were always outside doing the potty thing. repeating the mantra Go Potty, go potty!

If one wanted outside, you can be sure the other one needed to go out as well.

With two or more, the team approach seems to work well.

For safety sake, there were as many baby gates, outlet covers and small items placed out of reach as when my children were toddlers!

Certainly, the initial costs for the vet, obedience school, crates, etc. were high.

The first time, and only, we left them for a short vacation, their accomodations cost more than ours did! (Of couse, they had the doggie condo with cable TV "turn down service"and one-one playtime)

You are very fortunate to have family around that is willing to help you out when you travel.

I believe the pros of sharing your home with two Cairns far outweigh the cons.

Whatever extra work & costs are expended are returned to you tenfold.

Best of luck with your decision.


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It seems that we are in similiar situations. Crunch is 10 months old and we marvel all the time at how much he has changed our loves. We are looking for another one at this time. Last week I emailed several breeders who have websites and asked questions. I was very interested in the opinions of the breeders. One question I asked is if they recommended a male or female companion to our neutered male. Anyway, we have decided to make the jump. We are just looking for the right addition. -Brinda

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I got another when the first was 1.5. The second was 1 when I got him. I would never change anything. The only problem I have is the the vet costs, otherwise for sure I would even get another. They each have there own way of loving you, and they are best friends with each other.

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I won't be much help being I have three Cairns. I can't add much to all of the good advice you have already recieved here. I can only say that I haven't for one minute, regretted having my Cairns. I pretty much have them all on the same schedule. There is that old saying, "two's company, three's a crowd" that I find to be true at times. Sometimes my oldest wishes to be queen of the house and have our full attention. Also, my youngest really prefers being w/ me alot. I love the enjoyment I get from these adorable lively cuties. My only con would be is when one barks, they all usually bark.

I recently sold an African Grey parrot I had intended to breed but never did. The breeder emailed me this morning and said, "You didn't sell me a bird! You sold me a yapping terrier w/ feathers!" She apparently heard a small dog barking on her front porch and went take a look, only to see it was the bird. :lol: Luckily she thought it was funny.

<img src=&quot;http://img.photobucket.com/albums/1003/maiwag/terriersiggy.jpg" border="0" class="linked-sig-image" />

Beth, mom to Ninja (5), Hannah (7), Abbey (7 1/2), Kiara (10)

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let me add my two cents. We only ever intended to own one cairn and he was such a handful that my hair stood on ends at times! Then we (in essence) rescued/bought our second cairn who was unnuetered and one year old. I was so worried. Abe was so used to being the center of attention, blah blah...anyway. Scruf was not treated well in his previous home and was so happy to have a brother and a family that loved him.....well it has been great. I won't deny that the first few months took some adjusting for us all. But it all worked its way out and the dogs are great companions! To be honest, Scruf gave Abe the energy outlet he needed and they are easier to deal with then when it was just Abe! And little Scruf was just very docile and submissive to Abe, so I am sure that was a blessing in iteself. short story long, I am glad we bougtht the dog that the family decided they didn't want anymore.

PS~we have a fenced area for them to run in so I can't help with that issue.


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abe's dad, your story could be a carbon copy of how I ended up with two. (this is off the subject), but do you think that second one is so docile and submissive because of the mistreatment, or is that their personality. It took mine a long time to "trust" but he was affectionate from day one, just to have a sister and a family who loved him. It took us a few months too, but it all worked out.

And I as you, sometimes felt like my hair was standing on end. We made it and we are happy. :)

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We have two and we love it! They are great playmates and keep each other company. We have two females and they have never had a fight, although they know their place in this house. Scout gets (or so she thinks!) to sleep close to our bodies (in our bed)and Finch has to sleep by our feet.....and Finch is ALWAYS the keeper of the frisbee....lol!

Ditto on the dogs taking up most of the room on the bed. We brought their large bed up to our bedroom and now they are starting to sleep either there, or they find another bed to sleep on. Dogs are great...but it's MY bed!

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Off Topic Again

suedelu29 From what you are describing our pets could be twins . Scruffy ,The pup we rescued, has always been very loving and at first he was a little on the scary side wheat I mean by that is he would be reluctant to join in with us playing with Abe, He likes to play rowdy. Scruffy has come around nicely over the past few months though. He will run and romp with us through the house and yard and is truly a blessing to our home the 2 are great together. If I had it to do over I would not change anything.


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We too are a family of two! Grilly is 4 and Madison is 9 months

today! I love, love, love having two Cairns. The fun is more than

doubled. We don't have a fenced yard :cry: so the potty training,

walking is still being worked on. The schedule is the issue for me, but

luckily I am home with the munchkins. The only con (and it really isn't)

I can think of is to be careful with expectations. Although I really think

Grilly loves having a sister....I wouldn't call them best friends. He does

love his sister, but he does love his time alone. A puppy doesn't quite get

this concept, at 9 months she is starting to get the picture. Also, don't expect

a carbon copy cairn! Grilly and Madison are VERY different!!!! That being said

I would not discourage anyone from getting a second cairn if the situation

is appropriate, and it sounds like yours is! Have fun and let us know

what you decide.

Ellie, Grilly and Madison

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