Cairns are piles of rocks. Ok, there's more to it than that, but you'll have to look up cairn yourself. In Scotland, those piles of rocks were home to lots of little furry things that vexed farmers. Cairn Terriers are perfectly suited for such conditions: they are nimble, with strong feet just right for scrambling around on rocky terrain. They can dig like crazy, and once they decide to eat something they will move mountains to catch it. When they do catch it, they have surprisingly powerful jaws that make short work of dispatching vermin.
They have a longish stiff outer coat that sheds dirt and helps protect them from bad weather, rough terrain, and rough opponents, and a dense soft inner coat that keeps them warm and dry.
To the right is Finnegan, showing everyone he's King of the Snowpile. Finnegan has his own page here. Finn was the first terrier in the tribe, and he taught us lots of lessons.
This is Bonnet, our ten year old Cairn Terrier. She was named after the fiery Scotch Bonnet pepper, one of the hottest, and all who know her know why. Bonnet has the quick intelligence typical of the Cairn, as you can see here. Bonnet loves to travel; she thinks she's Queen of the Dog Shows even though she's never been in the ring herself. In fact, this picture was taken while Nicky was being groomed just before going into the ring.
First registered in 1913, Cairn Terriers had a few thousand AKC registrations in 2009. This ranks the Cairn 56th out of the 164 AKC-recognized breeds and varieties. By comparison, the most-registered breed had over 100,000 registrations.