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Cairn Terrier
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The history of the Cairn Terrier is enhanced by the fact that the modern Cairn is an attempt to preserve in typical form the old-time working terrier of the Isle of Skye.

From Martin's History of the Dog in 1845, Captain McDonald's description and measurements of the ideal Cairn in 1876, from Ross's Cairn Terrier, Darley Matheson's Terriers, and from many other writers, it is plain that these were working terriers, with courage for the bolting of otter, foxes, and other vermin from among rocks, cliffs, and ledges on the wild shores of their misty isle.

Scotland's terriers had been grouped together as Scotch Terriers until 1873, when they were separated into two classifications-Dandie Dinmont Terriers and Skye Terriers. The breeds we now know as the Scottish Terrier, the West Highland White Terrier, and the Cairn Terrier, were included in classes for Skye Terriers.The Scottish, West Highland, and Cairn had developed from the same stock, originating in the islands and highlands of western Scotland. The three often were found in the same litter, distinguished only by color. A club for Hard-Haired Scotch Terriers embracing the three was formed in 1881, and a standard was approved in 1882. White markings were considered a fault, though an all-white dog was valued.

Toward the end of the 19th century, fanciers of the Scottish Terrier type (who were in the majority) began to breed along separate lines. The Kennel Club was petitioned by a group known as The White Scottish Terrier Club for separate classes for whites in 1899. The request originally had been denied, but at Cruffs in 1907 separate classes were available for white terriers.The stud books were opened to West Highland White Terriers as a separate breed, with the first registrations listed as 1908.

In 1909, the show at Inverness offered classes for Short-Haired Skyes. At a meeting of the Skye Terrier Club, fanciers protested the use of the name. The confusion over the classification of these "Short-Haired Skyes" was once again apparent when they were entered in classes for Skye Terriers at Crufts in 1910, even though classes for Short-Haired Skyes were provided. The judge refused to judge these dogs as entered and marked her book "wrong class." A change of name to the "Cairn Terrier of Skye" was suggested for the Short-Haired Skye. (Cairns were piles of stones which served as landmarks or memorials. Common throughout much of Scotland, cairns were frequent hiding places for small mammals. Farmers used small terriers to bolt the animals from their rocky lairs.) The shortened name, Cairn Terrier, was agreed upon and in 1912 the breed was permitted to compete for chal-lenge certificates.

The Cairn Terrier standard in England permitted white as a color until 1923. The interbreeding of Cairns and West Highland White Terriers had occurred in both England and the United States. However, the AKC (who had given the breed official recognition in 1913) in 1917 barred any Cairn from registration if it was a product of "such a mixed breeding practice."

The modern Cairn should have the hardiness to meet the performance of his old-time prototype. Utility should be the aim of the fancier, since the expressed object of the Cairn Terrier clubs is to preserve the breed in its best old-working type.

The height of the Cairn, which differs from that of other terriers, is important in giving the breed the distinctive conformation that has been called "Cairishness." He is not so low to ground, in proportion to his size, as the Sealyham and the Scottish Terrier. There is one, and only one, correct size for the Cairn Terrier-14 pounds for dogs, 13 pounds for bitches, and the dogs should be in proper proportion to those weights.

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