Breed Standard


    - Splinterhill Jingle Bells by Eric Seegers-

This Breed Standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance of the Cairn Terrier.

General appearance

Agile, alert, of workmanlike, natural appearance. Standing well forward on forepaws. Strong quarters. Deep in rib, very free in movement. Weather-resistant coat.


Should impress as being active, game and hardy.


Fearless and gay disposition; assertive but not aggressive.

Head and Skull

Head small, but in proportion to body. Skull broad; a decided indentation between the eyes with a definite stop. Muzzle powerful, jaw strong but not long or heavy. Nose black. Head well furnished.


Wide apart, medium in size, dark hazel. Slightly sunk with shaggy eyebrows.


Small, pinted, well carried and erect, not too closely set nor heavily coated.


Large teeth. Jaws strong with perfect, regular and complete scissor bite, i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to the jaws.


Well set on, not short. 


Sloping shoulders, medium length of leg, good but not too heavy bone. Forelegs never out at elbow. Legs covered with harsh hair.


Back level, medium length. Well sprung deep ribs; strong supple loin.


Very strong muscular tighs. Good, but not exessive, bend of stifle. Hocks well let down enclininbg neither in nor out viewed from rear.


Forefeet larger than hind, may be slightly turned out. Pads thick and strong. Thin, narrow or spreading feet and long nails are objectionable.


Short, balanced, well furnished with hair but not feathery. Neither high or low set, carried gaily but not turned down towards back.


Very free-flowing stride. Forelegs reaching well forward. Hindlegs giving strong propulsion. Hocks neither too close nor too wide.


Very important. Weather-resistant. Must be double-coated, with profuse, harsh, but not coarse, outer coat; undercoat short, soft and close. Open coats abjectionable. Slight wave permissible.


Cream, wheaten, red, grey, or nearly black. Brindling in all these colours acceptable. Not solid black, or white, or black and tan. Dark points, such as ears and muzzle, very typical.


Approximately 28-31 cms (11-12 ins) at withers, but in propotion to weight - ideally 6-7,5 kgs (14-16 lbs)


Any departure from foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.


The Breed Standard was last updated March 1994