Terriers are a breed that comes in many different variations. One of those terrier breeds is the Cairn Terrier!
This miniature breed is a lapdog that thrives on attention (we have that in common). While I have always been a fan of bigger dogs myself, these little fluff balls might just change my mind.
Hi dog moms and dads! My name is Bri, and my dog Bruce is a mix between an American Bulldog and a Pitbull. Bruce is a big baby who demands attention.
If he is in the same room as you, he is either on your lap or is trying to convince you to pet him with his puppy eyes. I give into him every time, so he gets lots of pets.
However, his breed is notorious for shedding, so these pet sessions typically involve me cleaning up a ton of pet hair.
As a partial terrier breed, Bruce is a somewhat… well extremely distant cousin of the Cairn Terrier. However, Cairn Terriers do not shed quite like Bruce does.
That being said, I thought other dog fans might be interested in learning more about Cairn Terriers, so I put together a quick guide to their shedding habits!
This guide will cover a little history about the breed, what their coats are like, their shedding traits as well as how to manage their shedding.
We will also cover some health considerations to keep in mind with this breed.
First up; where did Cairn Terriers come from?
History of the Cairn Terrier
The Cairn Terrier is rumored to have been around since the 1600s, but were often thought to be the same as Scotch terriers so there was not much information about them to go off of.
However, over the years people started to recognize the difference between the breeds.
They actually get their name from the work they were bred for. The word “cairn” is actually the name for a mound of stones that were used to mark graves or as boundaries in Scotland.
Cairn Terriers were used to dig into these cairns and rid them of rodents and critters!
They also made great pack hunters for foxes, otters and other similar animals.
The 20th century brought the full distinction between Cairn Terriers and other similar terrier breeds, and were officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1913.
Fun fact; Toto in the famous classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” was a Cairn Terrier named Terry!
What is a Cairn Terrier’s Coat Like?
Cairn Terriers have relatively easy to care for coats. However, they do need some minor maintenance to keep them looking dapper.
Cairn Terriers have medium to long fur that is thick and wiry. They come in neutral color schemes like brown, black, gray and sometimes a mix of the three.
They do not require frequent bathing, but one every now and then is good for helping them look their best. Their coats are weather resistant to help them stay dry and comfortable while they work outdoors.
Do Cairn Terriers Shed? How Much?
The American Kennel Club ranks dogs in three categories when it comes to how often they shed: infrequent, occasional and frequent.
Cairn Terriers fall between infrequent and occasional but shed more during the shedding seasons. We’ll will clarify what that means in the next section.
That being said, Cairn Terriers do shed consistently, but not often. Unlike Bruce, you probably will not see handfuls of fur coming out of them when you pet them!
Let’s get into more detail about when they shed the most.
When do Cairn Terriers Shed the Most?
Like I said before, these dogs are pretty consistent shedders. However, there are a few factors that can make a dog shed more than normal which are completely normal!
Some of the bigger factors include:
Time of year
This is the most influential one that I will talk about. There are two times in a year when dogs shed the most, which are known as the shedding seasons.
Shedding season happens during the transition from summer to winter and again from winter to summer. During these times, dogs shed their current coats to make more room for the incoming one.
This process allows them to regulate their temperature throughout the year, keeping them healthy and comfortable.
During these times, it is especially important to make sure your Cairn Terrier is being brushed regularly.
Their incoming coat will grow in quickly, and that new fur could become trapped and matted if their loose, dead fur is not brushed out thoroughly.
This also helps distribute their natural oils evenly which helps keep it from building up and causing skin irritation.
Stage of life
This is an important thing to keep in mind even though it might not seem like it! As adults, dogs shed pretty consistently.
However, before they reach their adult stage and are still in the puppy stage of life, they have a much softer coat called their puppy coat.
Once they mature, they will shed that puppy coat while their adult one grows in.
During this time, you will most likely see an increase in shedding. This is also a good time to increase how much you brush your Cairn Terrier!
The next stage of life would be when they reach their senior age. Older dogs tend to shed more as they get older.
This makes me sad to think about so we are going to move on before I get too emotional!
Diet and exercise
Diet and exercise are crucial in a dog’s health, which includes their healthy shedding amounts! When it comes to diet, the right nutrition supports the healthy growth of fur as well as healthy skin.
You will not get one without the other! Poor nutrition can result in excess shedding because their fur can become brittle.
Exercise goes hand in hand with this. If a dog is over or even under weight, their fur can show for it.
Health starts from the inside out, so make sure your Cairn Terrier gets the right amount of both nutrients and exercise!
Skin conditions and pests
Bruce struggles from some pretty severe seasonal allergies. Spring time seems to be when it is at its worst.
During this time, his skin gets red and irritated and he scratches and itches constantly, as well as licking his paws and anywhere else he can reach.
This causes his fur to come out more than when he normally sheds.
Allergies are common for dogs and many suffer the same symptoms that Bruce does! However, allergies are usually pretty manageable but some more severe skin conditions might not be as simple.
Pests like mites, fleas and ticks can cause skin conditions that have a severe impact on a dog’s skin and coat health.
Mites that cause Mange which can cause pretty nasty hair loss and scabbing.
These pests can make your dog really uncomfortable but can also carry diseases that might cause more problems down the road.
It is extremely important to check your dog for these conditions to keep them protected from them!
Ways to Combat Cairn Terrier Shedding
I would never tell someone that reducing how much your dog sheds is okay. Shedding is natural and important to a dog’s health.
However, that does not mean there is nothing you can do to manage how much your dog sheds!
When it comes to Cairn Terriers, grooming is the most important step you can take to help you maintain their shedding.
Even though they are not frequent shedders, you will still see their fur coming out on your furniture, clothes and throughout your home.
By brushing them at least once a week you can help to control where that loose fur ends up.
This will not decrease how much they shed, but simply allows you to brush it off and throw it away instead of having to clean it up from your home’s floors and furniture.
Bruce loves being brushed because he thinks he’s just getting pets, so it’s a win-win in my house!
I mentioned bathing earlier too but just to reiterate; Cairn Terriers really do not need a bath very often. However, this is a helpful step in the grooming process.
A good bath can help loosen up dead fur. Once the Cairn Terrier has completely dried, you can then brush out any excess fur that came loose during their bath!
Make sure they are completely dry before you brush them out though. Wet hair is harder to brush and dead hair sticks together, so you might miss some of the fur.
Plus, wet hair tends to be pulled more which can be painful for your pup!
Tools and Equipment to Help Maintain Cairn Terrier Shedding?
You do not need many tools to help you control any dog’s shedding, but especially not a Cairn Terrier.
Their fur is a good length that is easy to brush, but you want to make sure you have the right brush for the dog.
Their fur can become matted, so you want a soft, long-bristled brush that can reach all the way through their fur.
I really do not have one favorite for this style of brush because there are many that are great options, but the most recent one I have used was the Hertzko Soft Pet Brush.
It has long, flexible bristles that have rubber tips on the end to keep from scratching your dog too hard. The long bristles are perfect for combing through a Cairn Terrier’s long fur!
When it comes to getting a haircut, I would stick to trusting a professional groomer. Unless you really know what you are doing, it can be dangerous to trim your dog’s fur yourself!
Back to the tools – the next one you should have in your arsenal is a good lint roller.
I know the first thing that comes to mind is the sticky paper rolls that you have to use 10 of to get all the fur off of one pant leg.
While they work, I am not s huge fan of these. I try to be conscious of the environment whenever I can, and traditional lint rollers produce a lot of waste.
This is why I prefer the Magik Brush by Evercare. This is a double-sided lint-trapping brush that works on EVERYTHING. I use it in my car, on my clothes, on my furniture; everything!
Plus, the brush is reusable, so you just clean it off when you are done. No more refills, and no more waste!
Health Considerations in Cairn Terrier Shedding
We already talked about allergies and some skin conditions that can cause shedding. However, those are pretty minor and commonly treatable.
There are health concerns that can result in excess shedding that are a bit more serious.
Internal issues like cancer can show symptoms like excess shedding and hair loss, so it is extremely important to note when your dog shows signs of it.
Are Cairn Terriers Considered Hypoallergenic?
Technically, Cairn Terriers do not trigger allergies in people as much as some other breeds might. However, they still shed, which keeps them from qualifying as hypoallergenic.
That being said, no dog is really ever fully hypoallergenic! All dogs shed some fur or hair, but especially pet dander. This is actually something that triggers allergies more than anything else.
Final Thoughts: Do Cairn Terriers Shed
Cairn Terriers are too stinking cute to let something as insignificant as shedding get in your way. They are extremely easy to manage and require little to no maintenance.
If brushing a dog once a week is too much for you to handle, you might not be cut out to own a dog at all to be completely blunt.
For those of you who already own a dog, you probably would agree with that statement!
Cairn Terriers have extremely sweet and smart personalities. So go get one! Hopefully this is helpful for you. Happy Pup Parenting!