The Cairn Terrier was originally used as a ratting dog, hunting throughout farmlands in the areas around the Isle of Skye in Scotland in the 1500′s. There are many terrier breeds that came out of this area, but the modern Cairn Terrier is considered to be the closest in appearance and personality to the actual ancestors of these terrier breeds. The Cairn Terrier received its name though its ability to push itself through the rocks that formed the cairns or stone fences after rodents and vermin that were problematic in the area. They were experts at driving the larger rodents or animals such as otters and badgers out of the cairns as well as hunting and killing the smaller animals. Although independent and prized for its ability to hunt, the Cairn Terrier was also valued as a watchdog and companion. They also love playing with a variety of toys, including kong dog toys.
The breed became increasingly popular through the 1900′s as more people in large cities looked for active and energetic smaller dogs for city living conditions. The Cairn Terrier today is primarily used as a companion dog although they are also used in earthdog trials, in obedience and agility competitions as well as for watchdogs.
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