Mixed Breed Icon
  • Activity Level: moderate
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  • Shedding Level: moderate
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  • Grooming Level: low
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  • Trainability: moderate
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  • Good for Novice Owners: moderate
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  • Adaptability: high
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  • Kid/Pet Friendly: often
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  • Prey Drive: high
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  • Watchdog: very alert
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  • Average Size: Small
  • Average Lifespan: 12-15 years

Cairn Terrier Mix Dog Breed Information





Owner Experience


Activity Level


Life Span

A Cairn Terrier Mix is a cross between a Cairn Terrier and another dog breed. Because a mixed-breed dog can take on any combination of traits from one or both parent breeds, it’s important to talk to the breeder about the other parent breed.

Cairn Terriers are brave little dogs with big personalities that love their families and make great companions. As long as the other parent breed has similar traits, you should be able to expect something similar in a Cairn Terrier Mix.

Cairn Terriers are often described as a “big dog in a small dog’s body” because of their big personalities, cheerful disposition, and playful antics. They love their families and bond closely with them. They also get along great with children and also tend to do well with other pets despite their high prey drive.

As long as the other parent breed doesn’t throw any curveballs into the mix regarding temperament, you can expect a similar temperament from a Cairn Terrier Mix. You can also meet the mother dog to see what her temperament is like. But, it’s important to remember that once you get a puppy home, it’s up to you to continue training and socializing them into a well-rounded dog.

Cairn Terriers are highly adaptable dogs that do well in apartments as well as larger homes. They have a double coat that keeps them warm in cooler temperatures. As with any dog breed, they are sensitive to heat.

Due to their high prey drive, they should only be let off-leash in securely fenced areas. If the other parent breed doesn’t introduce traits that would affect adaptability, you can expect a Cairn Terrier Mix to also be a highly adaptable dog.

Are mixed-breed dogs healthier than their purebred counterparts? Sometimes, but it’s not a guarantee. A mix can inherit the potential health conditions common to one, both, or neither of their parent parents.

From the Cairn Terrier side, potential health conditions to be aware of include luxating patella, hypothyroidism, and Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy (GCL), which is also called Krabbe’s Disease. There is a screening test available for GCL, so don’t be afraid to ask about it. Also, as a small dog breed, they are more prone to developing gum disease.

Because reputable breeders screen their stock to avoid passing issues on to puppies, you should be asking about the health and genetic history of both parent breeds. You can also ask to see relevant health test results or clearances.

Although Cairn Terriers are highly intelligent dogs that are eager to please, they also have an independent streak and are known to try and push boundaries. This can be difficult for first-time dog owners to handle alone, so puppy training classes are recommended.

The other parent breed could introduce traits that make a Cairn Terrier Mix more or less difficult to train. It’s important to ask the breeder about them so you know what potential range to expect. Puppy training classes can be a good idea regardless because they often offer a lot of opportunities to socialize a puppy.

A mixed-breed dog can inherit a coat that is similar to one parent breed or one that is a true combination of both. Should a Cairn Terrier Mix inherit a Cairn Terrier coat, they will not shed much, but will still need weekly brushing to help prevent tangles, mats, and skin problems. Bathing is on an occasional, as-needed basis.

Regardless of their coat type, you will also need to care for your Cairn Terrier Mix’s nails, ears, and teeth. Cutting your dog’s nails monthly, or more often if they grow quickly, keeps them from growing too long and causing issues. Weekly checks and carefully cleaning your dog’s ears as needed can help prevent ear infections.

Gum disease is one of the most common health issues in dogs because many owners overlook dental care. Because their small size makes a Cairn Terrier Mix more prone to dental disease, practicing good dental care for dogs is essential. Using an enzyme toothpaste or brushing your dog’s teeth every day is ideal.

Cairn Terriers tend to have a moderate activity level, so daily walks and some playtime or other activity are usually enough for them. If the other parent breed has a similar activity level, then you can expect a Cairn Terrier Mix to also have a moderate activity level. If the other parent breed has a lower or higher energy level, then you will need to be prepared for whatever that potential range could be.

A fully-grown Cairn Terrier stands 9-13 inches tall and weighs 13-18 pounds. The other parent breed in the cross can affect this in a Cairn Terrier Mix, so you do want to ask the breeder about them. Although it’s not a guarantee, you can also meet the mother dog to get an idea of what size to expect in a Cairn Terrier Mix.

Cairn Terriers generally live 12-15 years. Although the other parent breed could affect this slightly, you can likely expect a similar life span in a Cairn Terrier Mix.