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Cairns and Westies


Duncan's Mom
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Cairns and Westies For those of you that have experience with both cairns and westies, which do you think would do better with children? I have heard different opinions. Also, what are the differences in their temperments? Thanks!

Edited by Duncan's Mom
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We previously owned two westies, and I found them to be no different than Cooper our cairn, other than the fact that they were females and he isn't. The reason we went with a cairn this time around was because both of our westies had a rare disease called small white dog shaking syndrome. It is not a contagious disease and our dogs were not related in any way, but it was tragic that they both had it. The disease attacks their immune system and there is no known cure. Both had to be euthanized before they were six years old. It not only affects westies, but any white or light colored dog, regardless of their size.

Good luck w/your choice!

pat.

Children don't care how much you know...they want to know how much you care.
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Billy Bob is six months old and a cross between a Westie and Cairn. I've heard some people say that a Westie is just a white Cairn, but I hope I am not insulting Cairn or Westie owners out there. He is a brindle with a black face and only a few white hairs mingled into his jowls. hey are not even noticible unless you are the one brushing him. He loves children and will even watch them on tv. His next favorite is dogs, and then people. He is the sweetest dog I've ever had, even more than collies. A wonderful temperment. At what age did your Westies acquire this syndrome, Bubba? Is this something I should be concerned with since BB is part Westie? He is incredibly rugged and healthy. 10" tall, 17" long, and 18 lbs of muscle. He has big ears. Is that from the Westie? Are Westies larger than Cairns?

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This is a quote from a funny but informative section called "The Other Side of Toto," on the Cairn Terrier Club rescue webpage http://www.cairnrescue.com/general/index.htm

"[Cairns are] good with GOOD, WELL-BEHAVED CHILDREN WHO HAVE GOOD, RESPONSIBLE PARENTS. And if they haven't had a bad experience previously with ill-behaved kids. Otherwise, it's a recipe for disaster."

I think the same is true of Westies. My Westie Henry was an owner return at one year old. According to the paperwork the rescue folks got from the pound, he had snapped at the kids and the dad. I don't think those folks knew how to handle/train/treat terriers.

Bottom line: Cairns and Westies to me (I have both) are a lot alike. They are wonderful dogs but they are not docile and predictable. I just think you need to exercise care if you are introducing them into a house with small children.

pam

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I've had both a cairn and a westie. I really think they are quite similar, and both fit within the personality range mentioned by folks on cairn talk. My westie was a female and very much a beta-female (thanks to a big cat who made sure she knew who was boss always!), EXCEPT when it came to small children and larger dogs. She tended to growl and nip when kids tried to play with her - especially when her hair or tail was pulled. Same goes for larger dogs - she was very aggresive towards any big dog who came by her. My cairn is a young alpha male and and is VERY tolerant of children. He is especially tolerant to having his hair pulled, etc, which I think is in part due to the fact that he is stripped rather than clippered and used to me yanking on his hair. IMO the breeds are very similar. I do wonder if the traits I saw in my two were due to gender or just individual personalities, however. BTW, westies are typically slightly larger, averaging in the low twenties, but you can certainly get a westie and a cairn side by side and have a larger cairn because their size ranges cross over one another.

I think both are wonderful little dogs with lots of smarts and personality. I got a cairn this time around because of health concerns. My westie had terrible skin and food sensitivities and I had read that at least the skin issue was much more common in westies in part due to too much inbreeding for ideal coloration, etc. I'd take another of either in a heartbeat!

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I had a Westie in the past and now have two Cairns - I can't say that they are really all that different as far as terriers go - they're both very similiar. My Westie was bigger than both my Cairns - and my Westie had a tremendous amount of allergies in comparison to my Cairns. I think both would be great with kids - but like with any dog/puppy they require a lot of work and energy. And both Westies and Cairns have "selective listening" so even when they know better they're independent thinkers I guess you'd say.... HA!

Hollie Edelbrock & Brystal Sonoma
Chris, Stacy and Little Noah
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I have my three Cairns, and have added a Westie to the group. He's only 4 mths old, but is much like my Cairns were, very smart, stubborn, energetic, feisty and an all around typical terrier. I must say, the Westie pup seems a bit more mischievous than any of the Cairns were. Like the Cairns, he adores digging and loves the outdoors, so keeping him clean will be a challenge being he's white. Westies are know to have skin allergies and some have tear stains. My dh was especially interested in this breed being he's into hollistic food & medicine. So far, no tear stains or signs of allergies! Westies are usually a little larger than Cairns, but there are some breeders w/ smaller lines. My little guy will only be around 10-12 lbs, slightly smaller than my smallest Cairn. Obedience training is the same as the Cairns, being firm, patient, and consistent. Both breeds are definitely for the type of person who enjoys the challenges of training a smart pup! :lol:

:oops: Edited because I didn't answer your question about children. Alot of breeders recommend children being at least 6 yrs old because both breeds are energetic and can scratch or bite a small child unintentionally while playing. IMO, this is true in most breeds and children need to be supervised w/ any puppy. My dd has been raised w/ dogs since birth. When she was a toddler, I use to hold a stuffed animal for her to practice petting and telling her to "be nice", and then I would have her pet one of our dogs. She's almost 11 now and has experienced many pups in our house w/o any incidents. Watching her run and play w/ the Cairns is priceless! I know the Westie can't wait to be big enough to run w/ her and them too.

Edited by toomanypaws

<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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Cairns in my expereince tend to be a bit milder on average (terrier mild that is). Westies tend to be a bit tighter wound on average but to me the differences aren't so drastic to make me want one or the other based on temperment. I would say they are about equal in their tollerance of kids (most terriers aren't the greatest choice if you have small kids) However my kids have been raised with all kinds of terriers around here and they understand the rules~ You bug you get bit that simple. The main reason I have Cairns over Westies is that Westies tend to have a much higher incidence of genetic health issues, skin problems, allergies.........things like that. If I was (and I probably will eventually)get another Westie I would only go to a very reputable breeder that offers a health guarantee.

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If I was (and I probably will eventually)get another Westie I would only go to a very reputable breeder that offers a health guarantee.

We did get ours from a breeder here who had at the time a top champion. When I called to tell her about the small white dog shaking syndrome, she got very nasty with me and refused to speak to me further. It was at that point that I contacted the AKC and reported her since that can be genetic and she refused to do anything about. Needless to say, she was not a happy camper.

pat.

Children don't care how much you know...they want to know how much you care.
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Hi all - thank you for your replies. I am not planning on getting another dog anytime soon but wanted the info for future reference. 6 dogs, a cat, a beta fish, a toddler, and a teenager are enough for me right now. I got Duncan when he was a year old and Aidan (toddler) was three. Now, I would like to say that Aidan is a model child - always well behave and kind toward animals. That is just not the case. He is a wild child and is all over Duncan. :twisted: For some strange reason, Duncan seems to eat it up and really loves Aidan. :innocent: I think that we are extremely fortunate that he has such a great temperment. I don't think all cairns would be so good with Aidan. I do supervise closely but sometimes things get by me.

A lady I met had bred both cairns and westies and she preferred the cairn's temperment. My husband's cousin has a westie with three boys and they all do well - no issues. :)

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I'm not sure how true this is, but I read a Cairn Terrier book when Jack was a puppy, and I was still learning about the breed, that said Cairns and Westies were the same breed at one time. According to this book, Westies and Cairns were the same breed back in Scotland years and years and years ago. The legend has it that people would kill the white ones because they were believed to have health problems and also have "evil spirits". Eventually, people started to figure out that these poor puppies might not be so bad, so they would rescue the white pups and save them from being killed. They then started to breed the white ones and they eventually became West Highland Terriers.

Apparently, they have almost the same DNA as a Cairn, according to that book. The Westie has become slightly bigger than the Cairn over the years just due to evolution. I think the skin and health problems of a Westie come from over-breeding, but that is just my opinion.

As far as kids go, I think it's all how you raise the dog and how your teach the kids to treat the dog. I think it helps to get a puppy with small children so they can "grow up together" and the dog isn't already set in his ways or had been mistreated by kids in the past.

I think you can't go wrong with either breed, but I am partial to the Cairn. ;)

Good luck with the addition to your family in the future!

Jack's Mom
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Great post, GirlieJr! :thumbsup: Having a dog is all about how you raise him/her and how you teach your kids to treat the dog. I grew up w/ dogs and was taught at an early age how to treat them. Growing up, I always prefered large dogs, being that was what my family had. It's funny how many "Lassie" shows I watched and loved, yet the anticipation everyear of seeing The Wizard of Oz and smiling everytime I saw Toto, made me want to have my own little Cairn someday. I thought Labs were pretty much "the dog" for years, and will probably always own one. I waited too long to finally add a Cairn into my life, and both my dh and I agreed that if one is to ever own a small dog, a Cairn it is. Yes, Cairns and Westies do share the same ancestory and are very much alike. I do find it very interesting reading the history of both breeds and of how closely related they are. I'm partial to Cairns and do prefer the darker colors. Now, this little white dog has entered our life, I'm seeing just how much his personality is just like the Cairns.

Edited by toomanypaws

<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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I have one of each. Both are wonderful with children. Many times when we take them to the local dog park there are small children and both Mickey and Duffy love the children. I have found that the personalities of Cairns and Westies, at least in my household are virtually identical with one exception; Mickey the Westie seeks out our company, while Duffy the Cairn is more independent and seeks our attention when he wants it. They are both loving and sweet dogs and I am glad that I chose to have one of each breed!

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I have a Cairn and a Scottie, rather than a Westie, and I have found my Cairn to be much more tolerant of small children than my Scottie. Now that may be because my Cairn was raised around a small child, while my Scottie wasn't, but Ellie is no only tolerant of small children; she absolutely adores them.

Laurie

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