Do Cairn Terriers Need Haircuts

This was a useful quality for working terriers that may face unhappy quarry, but most Cairns today don’t need that shaggy look and are easiest to care for if kept groomed. Regular grooming helps prevent skin irritation and matting. Grooming can be by stripping or clipping.

Safely Removing Mats From a Cairn Terrier

Although with some other dog breeds you may remove mats by cutting them even with the body, you should not do this when grooming a Cairn Terrier. You can end up nicking the skin or making a bald spot on your dog. The best way to remove mats on a Cairn Terrier is to slide scissors carefully between the body of the dog and the mat. Make short snips up toward the main portion of the mat. This is slow work, but you should eventually be able to get the entire mat out without leaving a bare spot or cutting your dogs skin. Just be sure you always keep the points of the scissors away from the dog.

  • Purchase high-quality grooming tools.
  • Do not over-bathe a Cairn Terrier. Bathing your Cairn too often will remove the protective oils from their coat and soften its natural, coarse texture. One bath every 3 months is sufficient.
  • Begin regularly brushing your dog from the time they are a young puppy to accustom them to the grooming process.
  • Use a spray conditioner when necessary and lightly brush it in before grooming.
  • To define the back of the ears, strip the untamed hairs at the tip.
  • Trim the head with thinning scissors to leave an indentation between the eyes and a well-furnished round shape to the heads outline.
  • Strip your Cairn in brief sessions to avoid your dog becoming fearful of grooming.
  • If your Cairn has very messy hair or mats, you might be tempted to shave them. However, since they are a double-coated breed, professional groomers do not recommend shaving Cairn Terriers. Shaving can damage a Cairns fur and have long-term negative side effects for new hair growth. It can also lead to skin problems and issues with regulating body temperature. If you feel you need to shave your Cairn, consult with your veterinarian and a professional groomer before you proceed.

    Review pictures of properly groomed Cairn Terriers before you get started. This way, youll have an idea of how a groomed Cairn should look when youre finished.

    Grooming Schedule for a Cairn Terrier

    You can keep your dog in excellent shape by following a grooming schedule. This will ensure you handle mats and tangles while they are still small, and dont end up with an overwhelming amount of grooming to do all in one day. Cairns that are not regularly groomed can look quite different and almost like another breed of dog, as can be seen in this before and after video.

    Once a week you should check your dog thoroughly for skin irritations and other problems that may come up.

  • Clip your dogs nails to a short length. If you havent clipped them in a long time and they are very long, you should only clip the tips to avoid cutting the quick.
  • Spray coat conditioner all over your Cairns coat and brush it in. Using the pin brush, move against the grain of the hair and then brush the hair down in the direction of the grain. The hair of the head should be brushed forward.
  • Brush your dogs teeth at this time, as well.
  • It is important that you do a thorough grooming twice a month. When stripping a Cairn Terrier, there are areas you will want to concentrate on and others to avoid. Using a Cairn Terrier hand stripping diagram is important, especially if youre new to grooming the breed.

  • Use a stripping knife and your fingers to remove the long hairs from the coat and thin out the hair on the neck.
  • Strip off any extra hair around the feet, and use scissors to trim the hair between the foot pads and toes.
  • Trim the hair all the way around the foot.
  • Carefully trim the hair off the top of the ear and then trim any long hair to create a sharp outline.
  • With the help of an assistant, very carefully trim the hair around the anus, sheath of the penis or vulva. This is an important factor in keeping these areas clean and free of bacteria. These areas are very prone to matting, as well.
  • Trim the hair on the inner legs where they connect with the body. This area mats easily and is a sensitive zone to groom.
  • Spray your dog with coat conditioner and brush it out with the pin brush.
  • Clean the inside of the ears with the cleaner and cotton balls.
  • Once a month, take the double sided dental tool and scrape the tartar and plaque from your pets teeth. Dip the tool in alcohol to disinfect it as you are using it. Draining the anal glands is no fun, but it is an important part of keeping your dog healthy and comfortable. The anal sacs are on either side of the anus, and they become filled with a fluid that has a nasty odor. You may even see your dog drag himself along a carpet or the ground if his anal glands are bothering him.

  • In order to drain the glands, you will need to lift the tail with one hand.
  • Hold a paper towel over the anus and use your finger and thumb to squeeze in toward the anus.
  • This will release the fluid, sometimes with a bit of force, so be ready with the paper towel.
  • You may then want to wipe your dog down with a baby wipe to handle any bacteria or lingering smell.
  • If your dog is older or has had problems with impacted glands in the past, you may need to empty the glands more often.
  • Show dog competitors will strip their Cairns fur at least two to three times annually. Cairn terriers that are “every day pets” can be stripped or clipped. Many pet owners prefer clipping, as its much easier and less time consuming than stripping. Stripping for a show Cairn is also more intensive, takes longer, and uses more tools such as stripping knives and a lot of finger plucking. Competitors are looking to create the best example of the breed they can for the judges table. The average owner can do a much simpler stripping regularly.

    The look you are going for when grooming a Cairn Terrier is ‘scruffy.’ The best way to get the correct look is with handstripping. Clipper cutting a Cairn Terrier normally leaves the dog looking ‘too groomed’ and destroys texture of the coat. Handstripping is the correct grooming method for this breed. It maintains the color and texture of the coat. It’s been done for ages, way before the use of electric clippers!

    The Cairn Terrier is a great breed for a beginner to practice their handstripping skills. Out of the many breeds that are handstripped, the Cairn is one of the easier breeds to learn on. When the coat is ready to be pulled, it comes out easily. The pattern on a Cairn is simple: scruffy. There isn’t much of a pattern line to follow. However, you do have choices on what method and/or technique will work best for individual pets.


    Are cairn terriers hard to groom?

    Yes, Terriers need haircuts. Getting a haircut for your terrier isn’t solely about maintaining cleanliness or aesthetic appearance upkeep, there is a lot more to giving your pup a haircut that helps their physical health as well!

    Can you use clippers on a Cairn Terrier?

    Grooming a cairn terrier can be a challenge, due in part to the breed’s rugged coat and rough-and-tumble personality. Cairns are active and playful through their senior years, and they require proper grooming to ensure optimal health and a clean, lustrous coat.

    What happens when you shave a Cairn Terrier?

    Clipper cutting a Cairn Terrier normally leaves the dog looking ‘too groomed’ and destroys texture of the coat. Handstripping is the correct grooming method for this breed. It maintains the color and texture of the coat. It’s been done for ages, way before the use of electric clippers!