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I Got a Cairn Terrier

Izabella's Mom

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Hello. My name is Barbara and I just got a Cairn.

I am pretty knowledgeable about dogs but I've never had a terrier and I am so enthralled with this little creature.

I wanted a small, smart dog. I wanted a scruffy one on which the dirt didn't show so much and I could pick up and wash her feet every time she came in from outside. I wanted a dog my 9 year old son could enjoy.

Please. I want to know everything about her breed. What is with this stripping of the hair? When do I start doing that? Do I want to do that? I definately don't want to shave her but I want her to be healthy so I need to find what other people do.

She is 4 months old and she had a questionable beginning at best yet her attitude seems to be "FINALLY! I can start living my life!" rather than "thank you, thank you."

She is quite the investigator and problem solver. Geez, I'm sure this dog never seen a tree before, no less one that was laying down, and she figured out how to get over it. She backed up to get a running start to use momentum to get over it! I was hysterical and amazed. She actually looked around the tree first to see if she might go around it then decided to jump.

So here I am. I looked at all your pictures of your dogs and they are adorable. I wonder what Isabella is going to look like. Perhaps you can tell me. She weighs about 6 1/2 pounds.




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Barbara, congratulations on your new Cairn pup, and welcome! Cairns are quite remarkable little dogs, very intelligent (as you've already discovered), affectionate, excitable, hyper, lovable....I could go on and on. But I'm sure you'll enjoy her tremendously.

Stripping is something that you will probably find necessary as she gets older; right now she still has her puppy coat, but it will get longer and tend to mat if you don't strip it. You do that by gently removing old hair as it gets long. The old, dead coat will come out pretty easily. Or you can buy a comb designed for double-coated terriers (I got mine at Petco), but if you want to show her, hand stripping is a must according the Cairn Terrier grooming guide you can order from the Cairn Terrier Club (CTCA). I would recommend getting this guide; I did, and I'm glad, because it will tell you a lot about keeping her looking good. You can shave her short, but then she won't look like a Cairn so much as a rat!:P

Expect that she will get quite shaggy as she gets a little older. Don't worry about stripping her coat yet; as I said, she still has her puppy coat, but by the end of summer she may need it done. You can find professional groomers to do it, but I imagine it's quite expensive, since it's very time-consuming. Fortunately, it needs to be done only a couple of times a year!

You might also want to consider obedience training for her and you. Cairns can be hard to manage (they bark a LOT), so it may be helpful to the both of you.

Once again, welcome!


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Congratulations on adding a Cairn to your home Barbara and welcome to the forum.

Cairns are absolutely wonderful dogs as I am sure you have heard from others here who have them. They are intelligent and fiesty. They require training or they will train you!

Hand stripping is removing dead hair from the folicles in order for new hair to come in. I strip my dogs as I belive it is better for their skin and I like the way it looks better than clippering. It really is not difficult to do once you learn the basics and there is a lot of info all over to help you learn how to do it. There are a lot of techniques as well.

Reasons to hand strip:

~ Stripping keeps live healthy hair coming in

~ Maintains the proper coat texture

~ Requires little equipment and less expense if you do it your self.

~helps with skin condition

Why I don't clip my Cairns

~ can lead to skin problems in Cairns

~ ruins coat texture and pigment (clippered hair comes in softer and usually lighter colored)

~ it is a lot more expensive to have a groomer shave your dog than to hand strip her.

It is also important to know that Cairn terriers as well as all breeds of terriers that they are not always super tolerant of common child behaviors and many of them are not great with kids, however being raised with children is excellent for promoting a healthy relationship between your kids and your dogs. This is a two way street, obviously the dog will need to be taught that nipping is not appropriate at all and the kids have to learn to respect the dog's space as well as learn to be gentle with them. I have kids as well, ages 5 and 7 and they have been raised around all kinds of terriers because we do rescue for terrier breeds so they have learned how to have a healthy relationship with them and of course all the dogs have to learn that my kids are not chew toys. I like my kids to be active in the day to day doggie activities such as feeding them and walking with them (supervised only) and learning how to give them commands so they are placed in a higher place dominance wise with the dogs then they would be if they were not involved. Supervising interaction between kids and dogs (especially terriers) is essential since things can go awry fast if kids are not experienced with how to handle and play with a dog like a Cairn.

It sound like you are really enjoying your new puppy I hope you will share more pictures of her with us! :party:

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Welcome Barbara and Isabella. What a beautiful little girl you have, and how lucky she is to have found you. Cairns need to know who is in charge(not them or there are problems).They are incredibly adaptive, intelligent, agile, lovable and fun to watch. It will be a joy to watch your girl grow up on this website. We adopted Molly when she was 4 and she has adjusted well. We discovered she was very dominant, but with clicker training she is turning into a wonderful little girl.

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Welcome to Cairn Talk and the wonderful world of Cairn Terriers! Isabella is beautiful!

I grew up with Cairns and we had 8 kids in our family.....needless to say.....we, and our Cairns, grew up well together!

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Welcome to Cairn Talk.

You can probably begin to pull those wispy black hairs now. Indeed, if you have any coat that looks like the picture below, it's ready to come out.


If you look closely at the picture (or your pup's coat) when you see a hair that has color along some of its length and at the tip - but is colorless or dead-looking at the root - it's dead coat and ready to come out. Every long hair in the picture is ready to come out, and indeed pulled easily. Just take a few at a time :w00t:

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