What To Do To Groom A Cairn Terrier

Cairn Terriers have many of the same characteristics as the Scottish Terriers whom I wrote about in my previous post. They hail from the Scottish Highlands. They were bred in order to hunt down foxes and other small, furred prey in the countryside of Scotland. Cairn Terriers are small and short-legged dogs that sport a harsh, wiry coating that is shaggy in places. If you are a dog owner looking to groom a Cairn Terrier, but aren’t sure how to do so, here is how you can do that.

The Process To Groom A Cairn Terrier

1. Brush Your Cairn Terrier

(Photo courtesy of Ronald Muller-Hagen via Wikimedia)

Cairn Terriers don’t shed hair in the manner that cause the hair to fall off of their coatings, but they can still have dead hair throughout their coatings.

So, you will need to brush out the dead hair so that you can make way for your Cairn Terrier to grow new hair in the spots where the dead hair were. Another thing that needs to be brushed out is the mats.

That is because mats can pull at your Cairn Terrier’s skin which can be painful for the dog. So, it is better to be proactive by brushing your Cairn Terrier’s coating in order to rid it of mats.

Your Cairn Terrier has a double coating including the harsh and wiry top coat and the soft and dense undercoat. So, you will want a brush that is effective at removing the mats and dead hair from both layers of your Cairn Terrier’s double coating without scratching his/her skin.

With that in mind, I recommend that you get the Hertzko Self-Cleaning Slicker Brush as it also comes with a self-cleaning feature that will allow you to clean out the mats and dead hair from the brush with just a button press.

Once you have the brush, proceed to brush your Cairn Terrier’s coating in the direction of hair growth. You will want to brush your Cairn Terrier at least once per week.

2. Brush Your Cairn Terrier’s Teeth

All dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly in order to prevent tartar from growing on their teeth and Cairn Terriers are no exception. So, you will want to make sure that you are doing that with your Cairn Terrier in order to keep his/her teeth in good shape.

You will want to use the Virbac toothpaste as that is the one that veterinarians often recommend for use with brushing a dog’s teeth. You can brush your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush.

3. Bathe Your Cairn Terrier

You only want to be bathing your Cairn Terrier when it is necessary to do so because bathing him/her too much can cause his/her skin to dry out. In the event that your Cairn Terrier needs to be bathed, here is how you can do that.

But, first, you will want to make sure that you are using the right shampoo for your Cairn Terrier. You will want one that is designed for a wiry coating like the one that your Cairn Terrier has.

You also want a shampoo that will keep your Cairn Terrier’s skin moisturized during the bath. With these two things in mind, I recommend that you get the Isle of Dogs Coature No. 33 Dog Shampoo as that is one of the best shampoo that I can find for a wiry-coated dog like the Cairn Terrier.

With the shampoo in hand, go ahead and fill your bathtub with a few inches of warm water and use a cup to pour water on your Cairn Terrier. Once your Cairn Terrier is all wet, go ahead and apply the shampoo.

Make sure that you are applying the shampoo thoroughly so that it reaches both layers of your Cairn Terrier’s coating. Also, be sure to avoid getting any shampoo into your Cairn Terrier’s eyes as so not to irritate them.

Now, proceed to rinse your Cairn Terrier. You may want to run your hands through your Cairn Terrier’s coating just to double check to make sure there aren’t any leftover shampoo in there.

With the bathing over, go ahead and use a bathing towel to dry your Cairn Terrier. Once your Cairn Terrier is dry, go ahead and re-brush his/her coating.

4. Clean Your Cairn Terrier’s Ears

(Photo courtesy of Bitjungle via Wikimedia)

You will want to be checking on your Cairn Terrier’s ears because wax can build up inside of them which can cause ear infection. So, if you notice that your Cairn Terrier’s ears look dirty, that means that it is time for you to clean them.

You will want to be using the Virbac ear cleaner as veterinarians often recommend it for cleaning a dog’s ears. You can put the ear cleaner on cotton balls and then use them to clean out your dog’s ears.

5. Clip Your Cairn Terrier’s Nails

As is the case with your Cairn Terrier’s ears, you will want to be keeping an eye on his/her nails because you don’t want them to be growing too long because that can result in pain for your dog’s paws which can result in discomfort while walking.

So, if you notice that your Cairn Terrier’s nails look long or if you hear the clicking sound while the dog is walking, this is the time for you to clip his/her nails short.

You can use a nail clipper like Millers Forge Dog Nail Clip to clip your Cairn Terrier’s nails. Be careful that you don’t cut the quick part of your dog’s nails as it can easily bleed.

Concluding How To Groom A Cairn Terrier

So, if you are looking to groom a Cairn Terrier, this is the process that you can follow in order to do so. If you are wondering if you should trim your Cairn Terrier’s hair, that isn’t something I would recommend that you do with your dog.

That is because trimming your Cairn Terrier’s hair can easily damage his/her harsh, wiry coating. Trimming a Cairn Terrier’s coating also tend to result in it lightening in color over time.

So, you will want to avoid trimming your Cairn Terrier’s coating. If you are good about brushing your Cairn Terrier’s coating, you will be able to remove dead hair without damaging the coat and allow new hair to grow in their place.

Also, if you aren’t sure if your Cairn Terrier will cooperate while you are grooming him/her, this post will help you with that. So, I encourage you to give it a read.

What are your thoughts? Have you had any experience with grooming a Cairn Terrier? Feel free to leave a comment down below.

4 thoughts on “What To Do To Groom A Cairn Terrier”

  1. Cairn terriers are considered intelligent, loyal family pets that adapt to most environments. but may sometimes try to test their owner’s limits, so obedience training is necessary. Although they learn quickly, the Cairn may always have the instinct to dig and chase small animals, so new owners should be prepared for these behaviors. Regular brushing and exercise are also necessary to keep the breed fit and happy.

    • Thank you for taking some time to share some background information about Cairn Terriers right here, I appreciate that. As for training a Cairn Terrier, I have plenty of articles right here on this website on how to train a dog, including a Cairn Terrier. You can more easily find training articles by clicking on Dog Training from the menu up above.

  2. I have never heard of this type of breed before. Well, you learn something new everyday. I plan on getting a dog in the near future and this looks like a perfect place to start. Where can I get a cairn terrier? I will be sure to follow this procedure as soon as I get a dog 

    • Yes, for sure. It is my goal to use my research to try and help people out through each of the posts that I have published right here on this website, regardless of whether they are already dog owners or are considering buying a new dog.

      So, I hope that you have found this post on grooming a Cairn Terrier to be helpful for you. As for where you can find a Cairn Terrier to buy as a pet dog, here is an excellent resource where you can adopt a Cairn Terrier which is hundreds of dollars cheaper than buying one directly from a breeder. I hope that helps.


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