Other People's Cairns, Page 3

Milo and Madi
A photo of your little bundle of joy can go here, which also provides a link
to your own personal tale of woe, I mean joyful learning experience.

#1  is from Harriet -  Dexter: Behind the Mask.

Dexter Hi,

I just read your story. Sounds like I have my work cut out for me!  I have a 9 week old cairn terrier named Dexter.  It maybe a little early for him to know his name but he never looks at me when I call. 

I've had him for just a week but he totally ignores me.  He makes me laugh because we are a lot a like except for I'm the boss which makes me worse. 

After one week I have already learned to put the lead on when I take him out of the crate.
Comment:  Nice composition ~ the very picture of innocence.

The best of luck to you Harriet and I suspect somewhere in your subconscious,  something was trying to warn you when you decided to name the pup 'Dexter'.  

Somewhere around the second year I suspect  will see an email from you titled, "Dexter, Year Two - Behind the Mask of Sanity."  

We all wish you the best when the gloves come off.  ~ Dan

Coat Color Follow up

A Little Red

Here we have Dexter showing just a hit of red.

A True Redhead!

And here we have Dexter at I would guess is 6-8 months old.  It will be fascinating to see what Dexter the adult looks like.

January, 2011 - Harriet was kind enough to send along some adult Dexter Photos:



Boy this is a familiar photo.  Not a favorite ball with Rufus though.  He likes the smaller, ping pong sized balls.  The poodle however loved this ball and it only took him about 4 days to completely disassemble it.....

A Letter from Mike - Fred and Barney (not the Celluloid ones).

Found your website while checking for life expectancy of cairns.  My partner and I are one our second pair,  the first two lived to about 16.  The current 2 are 14.
One (Barney) is reasonably healthy, but the other (Fred) has diabetes, ocular melanosis (now completely blind), and cushings disease.  Your stories of Rufus reminded me of a couple from Fred's past.
Once he was boarded at a vet's over the memorial day weekend.  Due to overcrowding Fred was placed in a make shift crate made of chicken wire.  When the staff came in on Monday,  Fred was out of the crate and the 6 guinea pigs that a staff member was hoping to rid herself of thru adoption, were dead.  No blood or mutilation,  the vet suspected that Fred just shook them until they stopped moving and then moved on to the next one.
After that we were asked to leave a dog park after a large dog came into the park.  As it walked by a picnic table Fred went flying off the ground up onto the table and off onto the back of the larger dog.
They have both been lots of fun, great personalities, but we're coming to grips with the idea that these two won't be with us much longer.  Would we have them again?  If we decide to have dogs, probably the only breed we would own. Maybe we'll take a break this time.  That's what we said 14 years ago after the 2nd dog died, and 8 weeks later we had 2 more.
Of our first two,  we had a story similar to Rufus and the deck chair.  Mr. Chips like to hide under the recliner.  Thinking he had escaped the yard we went thru the neighborhood looking for him.  Arriving back home and frustrated I plopped down into the recliner,  opened it up and out popped Mr. Chips from underneath.  Would he come when called?  Whine or make a sound? 
NO,  he wasn't ready to come out yet.  He was also stranded on the dining room table when I came home from work one night.  He managed to get up on the table,  lick all the breakfast dishes clean, but then couldn't figure out a way to get down.
Take care,  hope you're enjoying your pets.  Your stories of Rufus made us laugh and nod in agreement remembering some of our dog's same traits.

Comment:  I must have had a senior moment.  I knew Fred and Barney sounded familiar but couldn't quite place it....

Boy, that's a lot of years of Cairn ownership under your belts.  I hope Fred hangs in there as long as he can.  
It's a tough time going through that stage of life.


#2  is from Jill -  And just when I thought the Grand Experiment was Over....

Hello Dan,
My name is Jill  from Pennsburg, PA.  My husband and I came across your site via Wikipedia a few months ago and loved it! 

Maggie Pup Maggie Adult

We brought our first (yes, first) Cairn, Maggie, home in January 2008. 


She is such a well behaved dog (really!) that we decided to bring home her little "sister" Pepper a week ago (13 Feb 2010). 

Our girls are 2.5 years and 6 months old and no, we're not insane :).  I'm sending along pictures of Maggie as a pup and as an adult (our Siamese is in the background), as well as a puppy picture of Pepper.  Once she gets a little older, I'll send along another pic, for comparison.

Keep up the great work w/ the site and have a great day!


Maggie at the Park

Maggie's Debut  U-Tube Video

Comment:  Well Jill, I thought my Grand Experiment was over.  I thought I had finally found the finite number of Cairn owners who would actually admit they owned a Cairn and furthermore, exhibit the  bravery to write about it.  

That would be 17 people or so and curiously enough, that sounds about right.

Thanks for the coat color photos.  I get numerous emails about coats and this helps.

I have never seen a coat as dark as Pepper's as a pup.  Please do send along an update as this will be most interesting.

Oh, and thanks for the geographic location of the dogs.  It would be nice if others stated the approximate locals they live in because I get other emails wondering just that so they can narrow it down when they find a picture of a Cairn that particularly impresses them.

I guess this also answers the many Cairn / Cat questions as well.   I would be interested in learning how who was introduced to who, how that all worked out and any pointers you might have for the many with the same question.

Thanks for the photos and taking the time to write.


#3  is from Paul -  'Oh Look Honey!  A Free Cairn Terrier!'


Found your website after researching the little buzz saw with teeth my wife found on the buy & sell site here at work.

Cooper, 2009

Here is a picture of Cooper one morning before I went to work.

A quick history of Cooper:

After my wife's beloved Sheltie died, she was not eager to replace her.  We already had a younger Sheltie and three cats, and she determined (logically) that we had enough critters in the house.

After a while, she'd start looking at the classifieds and mentioning Sheltie puppies for sale here and there, but no action was taken.

One day, she messaged me (we both work at the same company) saying she found a Cairn Terrier on the "buy and sell" site for free.  The picture was of a cute little hairball replete with bangs and long hair.  I was hoping for a Sheltie, but since she seemed very excited about the little guy (and I was blissfully unaware of your site), I was all for checking him out.

We took my youngest stepdaughter and Dusty (our surviving Sheltie) to meet the owners and the dog.  He was a ball of energy; loved everyone in sight (although Dusty was a little terrified; however, she is shy by nature).  We decided on the spot to adopt him; we told no one else of our doing so.

When we brought him home, we just let him in the back door and he made himself at home.  It seemed like he found himself in 7th heaven; he adopted all of Dusty's toys and discovered the joys of chasing/terrorizing cats (all but our middle cat; he stood his ground and Cooper quickly lost interest).

Cooper 2009

Here is one of Cooper and Dusty (talk about Lady & The Tramp...why do the good girls always fall for the bad boys?)

He is absolutely a wonderful addition to our family, although had I read up on the breed I doubt I'd have been so enthusiastic about bringing him home.  He does love to chew things (my headphones have had three foam inserts devoured), and really loves playing with the MagLite (he'll chase that beam for hours).  My father in law put it best; he states that Cooper is "full of P & V" (and I have to admit he's right).

I suspect your Rufus and Cooper are cut from the same cloth, although Cooper hasn't tried to escape out under the fence or totally dug up the back yard.  He loves the snow, loves to play in the sprinkler, and has done quite a bit to heal the loss of Shelby (our older Sheltie) and bring Dusty out of her shell.

Love your site, and thanks for being a sanity check for those of us fortunate enough to have a Terrier Rex in our lives.


Comment:  Paul, you're a braver man than me in taking on a  Cairn Terrier with the word 'Free' attached to the ad.  One thing about Cairns, they generally get along  well with other dogs in the house, especially when they are the guest at the outset.  

Our dog never was much of a chewer but  he did an still does like his balls.  Sometimes if you experiment a  bit with different toys, you can cut down on the disappearing foam inserts and shredded adapter cords.

Thanks for  taking the time to write and the nice photos.


#4  is from Barb -  Even Professional Dog Trainers can get Sucked in.......


Barb, Dezi and Oliver

I am so delighted to read your blog ... and here are some stories and photos.
Some of the characters in the photos are of my clients' dogs. 

I am a professional dog trainer.


The well mannered, polite  Sheltie is from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, and the contact with MN Sheltie Rescue gave my name and number to a new adoptee..."Reddy" is the name of the Sheltie in photo... very fun and easy to train (Compared to a terrier.) 

She and I are now very good friends.


Lexi is the ball-obsessed blond Cairn, with a tennis ball in front of her.  Lexi belongs to a family in Duluth, MN.. they love her and she makes a few appearances on their family blog.  Lexi was purchased by a family in Lake Minnetonka area.  They had one of those underground wire fence gizmos... Lexi wore the electric shock collar to keep her in the yard.. but a rabbit is too much to resist. 

After several escaped dog dramas, with the children bawling about their dog, the family discussed it, and gave her back to the breeder.  The breeder promptly handed over the dog to me, and said, "Here.  Train her and re-home her." 

And I did.  Lexi is wonderful!


Puppy in photo is my puppy "Dezi".  born Jan 11, 2008. she has your described "Gold Plated poops".

Since I am an obedience training junkie, I thought, "How hard is it to bridge the gap and conquer the whole Conformation (a.k.a. Froo-froo pageant) thing?"

Trust me, it is very very difficult.    After getting Dezi in March of 2008, and entering countless dog show, we only have 1 point.  We need 15 points to get 'Champion' in front of her name.  I need to write a blog describing my undercover experience.  
We will never make it to Westminster.  That is a fantasy.

Dezi is now 2 yrs old.  I love obedience training and she does too.  She quickly earned her Rally Novice title (easy and fun).  this summer we will compete and finish her Rally Advanced, Rally Excellent and then on to the more difficult obedience called "Novice" and she will earn a C.D.   The rally is the AKC sport, where you walk your dog around orange cones with signs on them telling you what to do.. very easy, and anyone can do it.

We began Agility Training.... I found the best dog instructor in the country and she is hiding in North East Ohio. 
We will not enter any AKC Agility dog shows until Linda says we are ready.

She can train any dog but it is the humans that have to listen. 

If a human is willing to shut up, and toss their Ego into the trash bin upon entering the building... anything is possible.  Truly.

I am surprised at how smooth the training has been going.  the tough part will be the big test, and enter  AKC Obedience Trials.


My first Cairn Terrier is Oliver, Twist of Fate.

Oliver is a good boy, but came from "mystery breeding"  (a.k.a. puppy mill variety).  This was before I was enlightened. 
Now I have extremely good contacts in the Cairn Terrier underworld.  hee hee.

Oliver has 'issues.'  He is skittish.  Oliver was 5 months old when I got him and he has never, ever been abused but is so darn skittish, people think he was rescued from a horrible situation.  Nope.  Oliver was born Dec 1999. 

Oliver was taken to obedience school, where he did remarkably well.  Oliver earned the AKC Obedience title C.D. - Companion Dog, in 2002.  During his training, somehow we began the grass roots  movement of "Cairn Addicts Anonymous" group.  I became the Doggie Rehab for all Cairn Terriers in Northern Minnesota and that is how I helped to populate homes with this adorable ball of fur we all love.

During my flights between Mpls and Cleveland, I would leave Oliver with either my parents or a good friend, John.

My friend John also owns a Cairn Terrier (Brinkley) .. and its all my fault.

My parents own a Cairn Terrier (Ruby Red Slippers) and that too, is all my fault.

Story Time

Olivers Wild Chase - April 15, 2007

One time, Oliver was staying with John and his dog Brinkley.  John was careless about exiting his fenced in backyard.
Oliver and Brinkley ran out, John raised his voice.... Brinkley flattened himself on the ground and froze. 

Oliver Freaked Out and Ran

3 hours.

 Oliver ran across Arrowhead Road (VERY  busy street) and John heard the sickening noise of tires screeching to a halt (imagine a dog dodging cars, and drives locking up their brakes).  It is a miracle no injuries or fender benders resulted.

Oliver kept running.. to the Howard Gnesen road.. and a gas station, then across THAT busy intersection over to the UMD campus, then off to the nearby Nursing Home.

John called out the troops.  he called his current girlfriend and her kids, and his EX-Girlfriend (who also has a Cairn), and he called my parents, and then John waved $20 dollar bills at all the kids in the neighborhood on bikes to... GET THAT DOG!

(John later had a very heated discussion with current girlfriend, questioning why he was in contact with Ex-Girlfriend... after that discussion, 'current girlfriend' also became an EX girlfriend, but that is another story!!   Haa Haa Haa!!) 

But thats okay, cuz she owns a wimpy Yorkie... which is not a real terrier to us Cairn Addicts)

Oliver ran loose for 3 hours, nearly causing fatal heart attacks to all who love him.

It was the next door neighbor waving a cookie that got him.  Oliver kept returning to John's house, but would bolt again.  The nice neighbor lady held out a cookie,,, Oliver is a sucker for food... no surprise there, huh?

End of the wild chase, John and my parents went out to dinner, while Johns two ex-girlfriends drove off into the sunset.

I should put that story on a blog... along with the warnings of Taking your Cairn off leash. Never.

I absolutely LOVE your warning to future Cairn owners, to walk your new puppy on leash around the neighborhood and introduce yourself, and the pup. in case of any future escapes.


Take Care~


Cairn Addict.

Comment:  Wow...... Barb has passed on a lot of useful information regarding training, food and nutrition, breeders and some other items.  It's going to take a bit to put it into a context I can use.

Belly Band

The only thing I have reservations about are the wienie bands but if you don't, simply Google it.
Very nice looking Cairn on the right side of the web page.  I'm kind of a sucker for the dark Cairns with the reddish tones....

Email from Becky -  'I'm on a Highway to.......'
I have had mine for three weeks now. I watched your video about the blankey or ball and  noted a laptop with CORDS sitting on the floor beside the chair. I believe I may need to become Amish or else I will need to have an electrician in to move all my outlets up high so I can actually use cords.

In the meantime, darkness does not slow Maggie Mae the Devil Dog down at all. I have considered changing her name to Thor, short for Thorazine, because she needs some.

Excuse me, I need to go see what the dog is into.......

I got her to hopefully rid my yard of snakes, just little striped garden snakes, nothing dangerous. So far she has killed an ant and a leaf.

Excuse me again, it just got quiet in my house....

Well, I am not sure I will survive this. She is six months old and will outlive me. It is not like I am not used to challenging pets because I have five rescued parrots, most of which are larger than Maggie and two big cats that hate her.

She continues to love the cats unconditionally, no matter how abusive they are to her.

I think her IQ doesn't come close to 37.

Excuse me again, must go see what the ruckus is.....DAMN THING.

I get irritated and toss her out the back door.

I watch her run like crazy but unfortunately, she always comes back.

Wanna Trade????????? I am too old for this.

Opps, just heard a crash...


Comment:  How  about that!  I agree with everything you said. The only thing I can offer is some Sympathy Music   ....

#5  is from Jennifer -  Litter Box Trained Cairns?.......

I found your website and read at the bottom you want pup versus adult photo.  I don’t know how long ago this was but here are mine.

Baxter Young Baxter 3 Years
Young Baxter 3 years old - 2010


This is my youngest. He's only a year but still has a brindle color. Baxter lost his within 6 months. Charlie is hard to hold still so his hair cuts don't happen as often.

Charlie is such a beautiful color and I got lucky he hasn’t faded yet.  Baxter became an angel dog after about a year and a half.  Charlie is insane and probably will take a lot longer.  He only listens when he wants to but I have successfully taught both of them to use a litter box especially made for dogs.  It is the best thing ever!! 

Comment:  Litter box trained  cairns?  Now that's an interesting concept. Quite the coat color change on Baxter.  Thanks for the photos.  I would have pegged Baxter at 13 years instead of  3 years.  Must be the sweater!

#6  is from Diane -  Riley got Rescued!

Hello and thanks for the great site. It's the only one I have seen that is informative and very humorous.


I have a terrier named Riley and he is a Cairn with big ears. At the vet they said he looks for like a Yorkie but the temperament is all Cairn or terrier. I love him very much and he is super adorable. He is exactly as terriers are and it works for me.

Riley was a pound puppy and everyone wanted him but I went to the pound everyday to get him and after 3 weeks of waiting I got him home.

Boy was I happy! He was five when I got him and he is 10 now. He hates getting his picture taken so here is the best I have. YAY !! I love my Cairn!!!

Thanks again for the great site.

Comment:  I'm glad you like the site and that Riley got rescued.   Our first terrier was a pound pup too  -  a poodle-cairn(?) cross by the name of Sparky.  The rest is history.  Ask Riley if a  side profile shot  might be possible one day.....

#7  is from Tracee -  The Brown Fox?

Dan, oh Dan … if only I’d read this web site prior to bringing home the newest member of our family …  That being said, I wouldn’t change a thing.


Fiona Fynnagn Fanniefart Puppy Dog Beebe the Fifth just turned 8 months old (the equivalent of terrible twos?) and is a riot.  I must say I am amazed that you could even get your Rufus on a lead –much less worry about ever letting a Cairn off of a lead.  But I can totally related to the ball obsession.

Fynnie does not know a stranger – except of course for Mom and Dad.  Her best buddy is a 7 year old chocolate lab whose infinite patience is tried every time they have a play date.  As for caterwauling, well … as I played the video of Rufus and your Catahoula Leopard hounds, Fynnie was up on her hind legs staring at my computer screen, screaming for all she is worth, “New friends? New friends? Let me play! Where are they?  Here’s my ball.  I won’t share, but … it’s here, let’s play.  Do you have a ball?”

Funny thing is … as brave as she is and such protector of hearth and home, if you bring anything new into the house, or new leaf blows into the yard, you will definitely hear about it until you move it.  Nothing new is allows on Fynnie’s watch.

Thanks so much for the insight and the giggles.  Hopefully I’ll be able to handle the challenges of Cairn-dom with as much grace as you and your wife.


Comment:  That is a most interesting coat color.  I have a few photos of a brown fox somewhere and at first glance Fynnie looked like a brown fox growing in her winter coat.  She ought to look quite striking as she matures.  I'd like to see  photo of her as an adult .

Best of Luck!

Fynnagn - Part of an Old Poem:

One day on the section of avenue Finnigin,
On the road the superintendent was Flannigan,
A rail give way on a bit of a curve
And some cars went off as they made the swerve.
"There was nobody hurt said Finnigin,
"And reports must be made to Flannigan,"
And he winked at Mike Corrigan,
As married a Finnigin.

#8 is from Lori -  2 girls?   You are much braver than me and just about everyone else.......

I  decided on the Cairns because I read about the breed and thought it was good for our family. We used to have big dogs that shed everywhere and I swore I would never again get a dog that shed so bad.

I loved everything about the Cairn and just happened to find a breeder who had 3 girls and one boy. I wanted a girl because I always had boy dogs and they love to pee on everything. It drove me nuts! Well my 15 yr old daughter didn't want to share the puppy with me, (spoiled brat!) so I decided on two puppies.


I picked the chunky one, her name is Addie (everyone calls her fatty Addie).


Tithe smaller one I picked for my daughter. Her dogs name is Gir, after the cartoon Invader Zim. The name fits her because she makes a little 'gir' noise when you move her when she is tired and sleeping.

No one ever told me not to get 2 girls, let alone sisters. They ended up going through a rough stage, that I think was worse on me.

I had them spayed at 6 months and right after they were healed they began fighting -  as in drawing blood fighting.

I was sure I would have to give one up because everyone I spoke to wanted to charge me $2000 dollars to help fix the problem. I couldn't afford that! My sister was talking to me about this and a friend of hers from church overheard and said her son trains dogs.

I called him, he came to my house and observed them told me what to do and almost 2 months later they are loving sisters again. I went through a routine everyday for 2 months and was so amazed it worked! (did i mention he charged nothing?)

I loved your story about your dog in the snow. I can't wait to take my girls to the snow. I took them to a dog park one day and it had a small plastic pool for the dogs. My puppies loved it! I bought one for our house and they have used it a lot!

My puppies are so different, Gir is more gentle, and when she is in trouble she gives you such a sad face it makes you feel guilty, and when she is around other dogs she lies on her back and is very submissive to them. Addie is tougher, and seems to have allot more energy on walks then Gir. I think Addie should be a sleigh dog, because when we go for walks she digs her back legs in and tries to go fast. I love this breed!!!!

Comment:  Boy you are one brave lady.  My wife says having twin boys  (the human ones)  was tough enough.   The concept of twin girls (the Cairn variety) ....... the mere idea would cause way too many prematurely gray hairs  and the consumption of way too much cheap red wine. at this stage in life.

#9 is from Helen -  Another Rufus? ...... You've got to be kidding.

Hi there,

I have just found your wonderful web-site about Rufus your Cairn Terrier.  

Everything you say is true, and definitely for me us as our Cairn Terrier is called Rufus too !

We’ve had a lot of dogs before, mainly Beardie Collies and a Jack Russell. However nothing prepared me for Rufus ….. We got him from the Cairn Terrier Rescue as his previous owner is sadly terminally ill.

He was just under a year old when we got him and he hadn’t been walked for 6 months !! It has taken him nearly a year to stop bouncing off the walls ….. (we have had him a year at the end of this month ..)


He is just VERY strong willed …. stubborn as you say … impossible to train …. selective deafness ….barks at everything and everyone. He isn’t “naughty”, just stubborn .. won’t move off the chair if you ask, repeatedly barks at the bin (or trash as you say ..) men despite them coming every week to empty the bins each week is one big surprise to him !!

Rufus really hates the windscreen wiper of the car and has burst out of 3 dog crates so far to get at them. I hate driving in the rain !!!! So now, I have a crate for him that they use for animals going on aeroplanes so he can’t break out now !!!

The only person who has any real control over him is my 74 year old Mum … he doesn’t put a paw wrong in front of her .. he loves her to pieces and she him.

Actually we love him dearly …. He’s just Rufus !!!

Kind regards


Comment:  Yes, that says it all.....He's  Just Rufus!  The really dark muzzle and ear tips make a striking combination.  Impossible to train?
Been there, done that but I will say  we have sort of turned a corner since the discovery of  liver-flavored treats.  They have helped accomplish what no other treat has done before.  If our Rufus knows you have them,  his hearing magically improves on an order of something like 200%!  

Best of luck on your journey and it's nice to hear from the other side of the pond!


#10 is from Jessica - The world needs a few more people like you.

I came across your website looking for teeth pictures because... & here goes the story.

We had a Siberian Husky. She was my husband's wedding anniversary present. She was most adorable dog that I had ever seen - black and white with blue eyes, and would play in the field with our horses. She loved our new baby horse which is just a few months old.

I also have a half husky, half lab mix that is the calmest lover of them all. 

A few nights ago Krystal (husky) got into it with a huge momma coon and needless to say did not make it out alive. I was extremely broken up. 

My husband was headed home at 7am from his night shift. He called me about the truck needing gas and not being able to find his debt card and that he was just gonna come home and screw it.  

Milo & Madi

I went outside to check the truck as he drove up. He walked towards me with both arms full of who knew what. At first I thought it was our two cats.

Instead he had these two little brindle boys in his arms. 

My husband was in love with themn at first sight, in part because he himself is an identical twin so them being look-a-like males made it even more hilarious. 

Within minutes names were suggested:  Chip/Dale (his mom was going to name him and his brother that); Batman/Robin (was not gonna fly with me), and on and on it went until finally two names that didn't seem to fit together, went together extremely well. 

We live in the county and people constantly are dropping off and abandoning their pets. 

Well, needless to say like so many I found your site about 48 hours too late.  

They have already been tagged and sweatered because it is closing in on winter and they shiver when outside when attempting to try and use the bathroom.  They are truly Cairn Terriers, but I know they haven't been around long enough yet to cause problems. 

They seem to be between 12-16 weeks and are about 6.5 lbs each. 

Milo (my husband's), which the puppy already acts like,  eats every bit of food insight and steals toys from his brother. He is super curious and so active he is a blur. 

Madi (mine, and short for Maddox) is laid back, non assertive and overall just wants to lie in my lap and sleep. 

Needless to say my older dog Dakota has been the best momma I could want for them.  She allows their curious kisses, endless jumping, and their being constantly underfoot with only a few low rumbles.  When she has had enough she hides on the recliner because Madi can not jump very well and there is limited room for nothing else but her big 90lb butt. 

So far no barking and few corrections on that side of it, but frequent nibbling which is being dealt with and responded to when necessary.

They love the cats but the cats don't love them. Orion, a stray cat we found just sits and low grumbles them while they peek a boo around our stove at him.

The horses just know its another dog that I am carting around and could care less. 

I am waiting because I am sure it is to come, the barking.  God help me with two of them.  Hehehe. 

My husband who originally wasn't a cat guy, became one. He also along with his friends, soon became a small dog guy. 

They really were two of the best blessing we could have received at this particular point in our lives.  It has been a hilarious 48 hours.

My husband now he has these two little dogs on leashes, sitting on his lap in the truck, tucked in-between him and the console, it goes on but the look on his face said it all the morning he found them.  There was no question they were staying with us forever. 

They will soon be receiving a new sister due to the factor that there is no way my husband or I can simply live without a Husky.

Whats one more crazy pup in our lives since it clearly seems there will never be a calm period any time soon in which to get her.
I will be sending pictures soon of the little buggers that stole my husbands heart in a matter of seconds.  My husband Karl still swears that I planted the puppies on him, but the truth be known I was convinced it was him. 

And truth be known what woman would be able to keep her lips sealed with a surprise like that sitting on her driveway patio. 


first pic of of Milo(Karls) left, Madi (mine) on the right there are few things to tell them apart but now they have colored colars.  Second photo is of my big dog Dakota (husky/lab) and Madi, Milo is just out of shot sleeping by her butt.  Madi thought she made a great pillow and soon after climbed over her and between her front too paws were she proceeded to stare at my husband and I with a look of "really, seriously you lost one and then you brought TWO home geez really" little does she now whats in store for Christmas. :)
Jessica~North East Missouri

Comment:  Hats off to you in taking in two bundles of joy.   But..........I really could use some better photos.  These things are almost microscopic.  You need to do your boys  justice!

#11 is from Gary and Roberta - A new Monster in the house

Good afternoon!

I have owned 2 West Highland White Terriers, and am now on my second Cairn, who is 4.5 months old, with another cairn pup coming home with us at the end of April. This being my second time raising a Cairn, I laughed hysterically upon discovering your web site one day 10 weeks or so ago when doing a search on "biting" as many of the things I read were reminders of my own experiences. My last Cairn was 13 weeks old when I brought him home, this little guy was 8 weeks old and I ran into some issues that I had not with my other cairn.


I was a little unprepared for some of the behavior of the younger pup, but we got through it!  My little guy's name is "Monster", thusly named based on my experiences with my LAST Cairn terrier, who sadly died young at the age of 10 last April after multiple surgeries to attempt to fix a torn ACL which simply would not heal. His name was Toto (yes, I realize it was not original, but my wife is obsessed with the movie - we eventually referred to him when talking to other people as our furry little monster).

This time, we chose a name that I think fits MUCH better!! LOL. It pays tribute to my dear Toto, while fitting his behavior and personality to a "T". I thank you for posting a web site so full of information as you have, much of what you had on your site helped me get through the first 4 weeks! I have recommended your site to some friends who are getting their FIRST cairn soon and they are both amused and a little scared! HAHA. I told them not to worry though, the pay off is worth the frustration. I LOVE this breed.

Enclosed are a few pictures of my Monster from the last few weeks. As we speak he is whining at me to pay attention to him. Why is it that despite my knowing not to pay attention to him when he does this so as not to reinforce the behavior, he still continues to do it? Simple answer - he is a Cairn!
Gary & Roberta Mighton

Comment:  Your backyard looks suspiciously like our backyard - this wouldn't happen to be another Northern Nevada cairn, would it?
Monster looks like he is going to grow into a handsome little guy,  especially with those black tips - even the feet.

What works well for the whining or other  less than desirable behaviors is the fine art of distraction, like a ball for instance.

Nope, scratch that......what am I thinking............

Another useful command is 'Kennel'
, meaning go somewhere else and stay.  With minimal training, even Cairn Terriers understand it .

We also have a standard poodle, aka ADD Dog and he can get rather overbearing.  When that happens, I point to the mat near the front door and say 'Go Park Yourself',  and he trots over to the door and parks himself.  It's quite funny and is a very useful command.  

Good Luck with your Monster!


#12 is from Jamie - a Swiss Le Diable Noir!

Hi Dan,

I am sorry to say, I discovered your website about three hours too late.

I can safely say, we did everything one can do wrong.

Coco in the Park

We bought a puppy at a pet store in Paris. We now know that this is:

1) idiotic
2) expensive
3) encouraging the potential mistreatment of dogs through puppy mills.

Anyone out there, DON’T DO IT.

Among other things, you end up with a dog who has no concept of frustration, since they aren’t with their mothers long enough to be taught the word ‘no’.

Add this to the Cairn’s already extensive ignorance on the subject, and you can imagine what we ended up with. We soon discovered that this is only the beginning of a whole range of words she didn’t know: “Come here”, “ Don’t chew that”, “Please don’t attack the neighbour’s dog”, “ Shut up” and my favourite “Stop sucking up to strangers” are all phrases that apparently she had no concept of or interest in learning.

But back to the story. We were actually looking at the beautiful cocker spaniel when this little bundle of black fur kept on jumping in front trying to attract our attention.

The shop owner was keen to show us both dogs, and when he heard our situation (we live in a good sized flat in Geneva, but close to lots of parks and plenty of chance for walks and exercise) he was very keen to encourage the black bundle (apparently a “Cairn” terrier, whatever the hell that is) as a more suitable “apartment” dog. As we held this minute little thing in my hand she climbed onto my shoulder and started gently chewing on the collar of my shirt. I was lost, and needless to say, we paid our deposit, and went back to the hotel happy in our purchase, having arranged to pick her up the next day for the trip back home.

So what the hell is a Cairn terrier. A brief google search, and we discover your website.


Alarm bells were beginning to go off, and I suddenly began to understand the shop owners apparent enthusiasm not only to make the sale, but the sale of that particular dog. I was also beginning to wonder if the chewing was maybe a harbinger of things to come. (With hindsight, and having had to replace most of my girlfriend’s shoe collection, I probably should have heeded the signs).

Oh dear.

Oh well, she was wonderfully cute, very calm and quiet, maybe we had the exception.

Yes. Maybe.

The next day probably gave us a few hints... After three hours of carefully trying to get this darn dog to pee, nothing. So we get on the train home. First stop, we get off. Still nothing. Next stop, we get off, still nothing.  Well only one more stop and then we would be home. Back on the train, literally thirty seconds after pulling out of the station, and the dog pees all over the table in front of me, carefully missing the absorbent pee mat we had purchased specially for this eventuality, looking exceptionally pleased with herself. A red faced few minutes clearing up and trying desperately hard to sink into our seats with shame followed.

However she was so cute that any walk was inevitably delayed and accompanied by hordes of admirers, much to her evident pleasure and our pride. Suddenly we knew every one of our neighbours in a mile radius, where before we would probably have struggled to recognise half the people living in the same block of flats as us.

The first month, Coco never barked. Not once. We were surprised, but pleased. Maybe, miracle of miracles, we had found the one cairn in the world which doesn’t bark incessantly. Then one day, we heard the tinniest little woof. It was so sweet we both smiled, especially as Coco had such a look of shock and surprise on her face. This was a new game...

We weren’t smiling a week later when she hadn't stopped barking. We were crying a month later when she still hadn't stopped.

We found dog trainers in the area, and prayed that maybe, just maybe, they could help us.

We ended up relegated in the corner for the first 6 months of classes (I think an attestation of our desperation rather than our perseverance) , behind a fence, covered in towels so that she couldn’t even see the rest of the class. Thank heavens for the patience and knowledge of our trainers, who changed her diet (she now is on raw food... ), more exercise, introduced us to clicker training, and exposed us to information such as the book When Pigs Fly and Karon Pryor’s training resources. At four years old, we now have a dog far from obedient, often difficult, in turns utterly adorable and totally frustrating, but at least and last we have reached a working (and loving) relationship where neither is hell bent on murdering the other.

She has received a plethora of nicknames from others, from the Tasmanian Devil, la Diable Noir, to Little Cutie and sweetiekins (the mind boggles) depending on her mood. She has the breed infatuation with balls, toys, anything squeaky, squirrels, hedgehogs (!), plastic bags, wind, snow, digging enormous holes to Australia or your more basic strip mine, chasing sticks, chewing sticks, stealing sticks from other dogs while they aren't looking, carrying sticks the size of a small tree trunk back to their owner in the hope that you will be able to throw them, you get my drift. She has started agility training, and loves it, though I will admit I will NEVER take her to a show: the very thought of her in a room with hundreds of other dogs and people is enough to bring me out in hives.


Various tussles still go on: she will insist on walking in the shelter during rain, leaving the unfortunate soul blessed with taking her out to deal with the elements; she sleeps so closely clamped to my side that during the night she tends to slowly push me closer and closer to the edge of the bed until I am hanging on for dear life (yes I know, I have only myself to blame for letting her on the bed, but I am a sucker); if one isn't careful she will jump onto any spare dining room chairs and hope that someone will serve her a plate (she isn't above carefully manipulating someone into abandoning their chair and then seizing the recently vacated spot with an entirely innocent “who me?” look on her face). We accept these as part of the perils of living with a Cairn, especially one who is more than a little spoiled!

She also has a slightly embarrassing tendency to nudge strangers’ legs while on walks to make sure they notice her and appreciate how pretty she is. Actual pats and tummy rubs, while not compulsory, are appreciated, or at least for five seconds until something else of interest comes along. But we still love her in spite of the loyalty and attention span of a flea...

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

In fact to such an extent that, like a few others on the site, we are now considering repeating our mistake and getting a little brother for Coco. We’ll keep you posted on how that goes... But nobody’s predicting a change in results!

I hope Rufus is behaving himself! Within expected limits for a Cairn at any rate...

All the best,


P.S. On the doggy IQ question, I read an interesting point stressing the difference in dogs who have a strong ability to learn behaviours (classic examples are sheep dogs), and dogs who have strong abilities to solve problems (such as terriers). Independent dogs are often exceptionally hard to train specific ‘learned’ behaviours, but have excellent problem solving skills (such as working out how to get the other dog to abandon their toys on a wild goose chase, or get out of concreted, dug in fences worthy of Alcatraz).  I would, hesitantly, suggest that given Cairns undoubted ability to organise their lives exactly as they want it, rather than how we want it, suggests an almost suspiciously high intelligence, while they have also worked out that there is nothing to be gained by actually revealing that I.Q.! Down that road only hard work lies, rather than the fun and frolics of manipulating lesser mortals such as humans, other dogs, cats, rodents, etc. etc...

Comment:  Well written, Jamie and it is evident that if writing is not your avocation,  it could very well be a profitable sideline.

However, that has to be one of the worst photos that have ever accompanied a cairn email.  Something subliminal going on here?

I would have to agree with you that the Cairn's problem solving skills are strong, believe it or not.  

It is amazing how often cairn purchases are the result of impulse buying....

8 Weeks

but then again........maybe not.

Thanks for taking the time to write.  That was a treat.


A Follow Up:

Hi Dan,

Sorry, girlfriend is the guardian of the photos, so I just took a quick one from the webcam, and it clearly wasn’t the best :) Please find attached suitably cute and pretty photos which give no sign of how much of a devil she can be...

Coco is now a proud resident of Geneva, Switzerland, and splits her time between the ski slopes and swimming in the lake every chance she can get. She’s pretty happy whether she surfs or skis, though it can be a little problematical when she sees the swans and decides that she can take them on, no problem! (same applies to errant snow boarders...)

I guess we’ll just hang on in there and keep the wine cellar stocked up...

All the best,


Pup vs Adult Coat Colors:

A number of people have asked if I have pics of coat colors as a pup  and then coat colors as an adult. 

I don't have many.

If you have a couple pics to spare of pup and then adult coat colors, I'd like to start showing the comparisons.