That of an active, game, hardy, small working terrier of the short-legged class; very free in its movements, strongly but not heavily built, standing well forward on its forelegs, deep in the ribs, well coupled with strong hindquarters and presenting a well-proportioned build with a medium length of back, having a hard, weather-resisting coat; head shorter and wider than any other terrier and well furnished with hair giving a general foxy expression.
Size, Proportion, Substance
The Cairn Terrier is a spirited, hardy, restless little busybody - a big dog in a small dog's body. Alert, loyal, merry, lovable and mischievous. They are somewhat independent, but friendly. Females tend to be more independent than males and some breeders feel that males are more affectionate. They are very curious, fearless and bold. They are easily trained and like to do tricks. Naturally patient with children and very playful. Cairns adapt well to their new homes. They are sensitive, and need firm, but not harsh, training and discipline. Without attention and training, the Cairn can become destructive and/or bark excessively. Cairns like to dig searching for vermin, so it is not wise to leave them unsupervised in a landscaped yard! This breed can be a chaser and should not be left off its lead in an unsecured area. Never leave a Cairn tied out, as he may fight larger dogs to protect his turf, sometimes with tragic consequences.
Skull - Broad in proportion to length with a decided stop and well furnished with hair on the top of the head, which may be somewhat softer than the body coat. Muzzle - Strong but not too long or heavy. Teeth - Large, mouth neither overshot nor undershot. Nose - Black. Eyes - Set wide apart, rather sunken, with shaggy eyebrows, medium in size, hazel or dark hazel in color, depending on body color, with a keen terrier expression. Ears - Small, pointed, well carried erectly, set wide apart on the side of the head. Free from long hairs.
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