Cairns are sturdy and inherently healthy, but owners should not attempt to diagnose or treat a sick dog. Human medications can be harmful or fatal for dogs. Cairns are a healthy breed. But like all breeds there may be some health issues, like patellar luxation, eye and cardiac disease.
Some dogs may be faced with these health challenges in their lives, but the majority of Cairns are healthy dogs. Working with a responsible breeder, those wishing to own a Cairns can gain the education they need to know about specific health concerns within the breed. Good breeders utilize genetic testing of their breeding stock to reduce the likelihood of disease in their puppies.
Cairns are a natural at agility. Tracking and terrier trials are other possible worlds for you and your Cairn to explore. Cairns are very intelligent and curious. Be sure you train your puppy with firmness and consistency. Harsh punishment is not necessary. Be sure, though, that your Cairn knows that you are in charge. Like children, they will test your limits, but need discipline to turn out well. A good obedience training class is highly recommended. “Kindergarten puppy training” classes are especially valuable for the novice owner of the clever Cairn. Even if you don’t do formal obedience training, teach your puppy to walk on a leash. A Cairn’s natural instinct is to chase small animals and they often challenge larger dogs. A leash can save your Cairns life—they don’t look both ways before crossing the street. A Cairn should not be tied out in a yard, or allowed to run loose, for his own safety and to avoid bothering your neighbors. Your Cairn should wear a collar with an ID tag at all times in case he is ever lost. His tag is his ticket home—replace it if you move. Ask your veterinarian about microchipping as well.
Periodic hand-stripping to maintain the coat’s texture is recommended. Having a comb and soft slicker brush handy will help with the grooming tasks. Spending time grooming your Cairn will allow you to bond with you new puppy. Their nails should be trimmed regularly to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their small, prick ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.