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Cairland Terrier (Cairn Terrier & Westie Mix): Pictures, Info, Care & More

Written by: Codee Chessher

Last Updated on May 19, 2024 by Dogster Team

Parent breeds of the Cairland Terrier - Featured Image

Cairland Terrier (Cairn Terrier & Westie Mix): Pictures, Info, Care & More

There are countless dog breeds out there to choose from, and many small Terriers look alike. The Cairland Terrier can inherit a large palette of colors and personality traits, but they make ideal companions for nearly any home. They’re small, affectionate, playful, and just so darn cute. To learn more about this scrappy and furry little dog, read down below for all the details you need to know as well as how to take care of them.

Breed Overview


9–11 inches


1–-20 pounds


13–15 years


White, fawn, brindle, sable, black, cream, red, tan, grey

Suitable for:

Families with or without children, singles, seniors, people seeking a compact but lively dog


Bright, spirited, loving, energetic, social, scrappy

The Cairland Terrier is a mix of the Cairn Terrier and the West Highland White Terrier, AKA the Westie. Both breeds were once considered separate, but for about a hundred years, the bloodlines have been carefully separated. Today, crossbreeding them into the Cairland Terrier can give you an idea of what the 19th-century Skye Terrier was like.

For example, Westies are all white, but Cairns come in a lot of different colors, so their Cairland puppies can have any mix of gorgeous coat colors. Westies and Cairns are very similar dogs in personality in that they’re incredibly spunky and loving, but Westies are typically more social compared to the aloof Cairn.

Cairland Terrier Characteristics

Cairland Terrier Characteristics

High-energy dogs will need a lot of mental and physical stimulation to stay happy and healthy, while low-energy dogs require minimal physical activity. It’s important when choosing a dog to make sure their energy levels match your lifestyle or vice versa.
Easy-to-train dogs are more skilled at learning prompts and actions quickly with minimal training. Dogs that are harder to train will require a bit more patience and practice.
Some breeds, due to their size or their breeds potential genetic health issues, have shorter lifespans than others. Proper exercise, nutrition, and hygiene also play an important role in the lifespan of your pet.
Some dog breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, and some more than others. This doesn’t mean that every dog will have these issues, but they have an increased risk, so it’s important to understand and prepare for any additional needs they may require.
Some dog breeds are more social than others, both towards humans and other dogs. More social dogs have a tendency to run up to strangers for pets and scratches, while less social dogs shy away and are more cautious, even potentially aggressive. No matter the breed, it’s important to socialize your dog and expose them to lots of different situations.

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Cairland Terrier Breed Puppies

As a crossbreed, the Cairland Terrier is difficult to find at a young age except from accidental litters. Breeders don’t deal with mixes, so we recommend checking out Facebook, Craigslist, or local networking communities of pet parents. Honestly, you’ll have to simply be lucky enough to find a litter of Cairland Terriers. Otherwise, you could opt to look further away from home to increase your chances of finding puppies. Because they’re not particularly sought-after, they shouldn’t break the bank.

Parent breeds of the Cairland Terrier
Image By: Left – EiZivile, Shutterstock | Right – Dora Zett, Shutterstock

Temperament & Intelligence of the Cairland Terrier 🧠

As with all dogs, they have a range of personalities, although there are some common traits within every breed. Let’s check out the temperament of the Cairland Terrier below.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 👪

Absolutely. Cairland Terriers are a perfect fun-sized furry companion for any household, and they love children. Cairlands are not only social but sensitive, and their terrier heritage gives them an endless love for running—invest in a good leash! Cairlands also have a reputation for barking a lot, so you’ll have to look into bark training to nip it in the bud before it becomes a bad habit.

We’d suggest a secure yard to help your Cairland get out their energy, but a few vigorous walks each day can do the same job, so they make good pets for apartment dwellers too. Small dogs mean there will be small accidents, and smaller dogs have less fur to shed all over your carpets and furniture too.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽 

The Cairland Terrier doesn’t get along with most other dogs but can learn to coexist peacefully with lots of early socialization. They do not, however, make good roommates for cats or other small pets because of their very strong prey drive. They’ll incessantly bother cats and could even harm small prey pets like rabbits or guinea pigs, so it’s a risk best not taken.

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Things to Know When Owning a Cairland Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Like all dogs, Cairland Terriers need a high-quality kibble with at least 20% protein as well as a balance of carbs, fruits/veggies, vitamins, and other essential nutrients. As smaller dogs, they don’t eat very much either—just a cup of kibble twice a day will satisfy an adult Cairland. Growing puppies until 12 months or so need to eat a bit more but split between three feedings per day to not overwhelm their delicate digestive systems.

Exercise 🐕

As mentioned earlier, Cairlands are active and social, so expect lots of walks. Ideally, you have a secure yard for them to explore and play, but getting familiar with nearby parks and trails could help tucker them out just as well. Plenty of mental stimulation is important to prevent them from becoming destructive, as bored Cairlands have been known to dig holes and chew up shoes when not tired out. Puzzle toys to engage their minds help in this regard, and obedience training games early can help supplement toys.

Training 🎾

Obedience and bark training are essential for Cairlands because they love to run off to investigate new things or chase squirrels, and they’re yappy little pups by nature. Curb that early by ignoring nuisance barking and rewarding them for being calm and introduce obedience training and socialization early too. While small, they could develop a nasty leash-tugging habit on walks if you neglect this part.

Socialization with animals, people, and places can help reduce anxiety and fear responses in your Cairland, not to mention help cut down on problem barking. While exact techniques vary, the key to both training and socialization is positive reinforcement. Reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior.

Grooming ✂️

Cairlands can inherit one of two coat types from their Westie or Cairn parents: the wiry, dense Cairn coat or the wilder, softer Westie coat. Either way, they’re fairly low-shedding dogs that don’t need much in the way of grooming. A weekly session with a de-shedding comb should help remove dead hair and restore shine by redistributing oils through the fur.

Dental grooming is very important for Cairlands because both their parent breeds have a tendency to develop dental disease. Regularly brushing your dog’s teeth and consulting your vet at your annual checkups can help keep their teeth in the best possible shape and fend off dangerous dental conditions in the long run.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Minor Conditions
  • Joint conditions: Both the Cairland Terrier’s parents are prone to developing painful arthritic conditions like hip and elbow dysplasia, luxating patella, and other joint problems.
  • Skin problems: Dry, flaky skin or seborrhea is very common in Westies, but both Westies and Cairns may suffer from skin allergies.
Serious Conditions
  • Eye problems: Cairns and Westies are both susceptible to developing glaucoma and other eye conditions that can cause blindness.
  • Dental disease: Westies especially are vulnerable to ‘Westie Jaw, but Cairns and Westies alike are more likely to suffer from dental disease than other breeds.

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Male vs Female

Like most dogs, female Cairlands tend to be a little smaller than males at just 11–13 pounds, while males can grow from 13–17 pounds. As far as personality, there appears to be a plethora of conflicting anecdotal info reporting that either males or females are more loving, cuddly pets.

It’s safer to just assume that every dog has their own unique character and temperament regardless of gender and make your judgment on a case-by-case basis within a litter. You might also look at a puppy’s parents, who a puppy is most likely to resemble in appearance and personality.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Cairland Terrier

1. Toto Was a Female Cairn Terrier

Yes, that Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Toto was actually a female Cairn named Terry, who starred in numerous Hollywood films until her death in 1945. Looking at Cairns and their Cairland offspring today, it’s easy to see why so many have been so enchanted by the breed’s photogenic charm in the legendary film.

2. Westies Are Always White

It’s even in their name: the West Highland White Terrier. When crossed with the Cairn, Westies produce a wide range of possible coat colors in Cairland litters. Even within the same litter, you can see any mix of white, black, fawn, brindle, sable, and more colors depending on the parents’ colorings.

3. Westies and Cairns Were Once Considered the Same Breed

Both Westies and Cairn Terriers hail from Scotland, where they were bred to sniff out and track small game in the highlands and on the Isle of Skye. For a time, the two were even bred together and considered one breed: the Skye Terrier. Genetically, today’s Westies and Cairns are cousins of a sort, so Cairlands are the perfect mix of both appearance and character alike.

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Final Thoughts

Cairland Terriers are a pint-sized bundle of terrier energy that can take after their more aloof Cairn parent or the bubbly Westie parent in personality, and they come in a lot of different colors. While they may not get along with cats or small pets, Cairlands are a great choice for any family with a yard or apartment dwellers who can keep them well-exercised.

Featured Image Credit: Left – doanme, Pixabay | Right – rebeccaashworth, Shutterstock

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