Do Cairn Terriers have health problems? July 2, 2018 16:48 7 Comments

On the whole this is a hardy breed, with no health or welfare issues due to confirmation (body shape and physical characteristics), and a low hereditary rate of passing on disease.  This was a breed raised to hunt vermin in all weathers over rough ground, they bred them tough.

However, there are of course some issues to be aware of.  I asked one of the UK’s top breeders and Cairn experts to give me a top three of problems she has encountered over the years.  Number three, heart murmurs.  Number two, liver shunt.  This is when a blood vessel bypasses the liver, which would normally bring blood from other vital organs for filtering.  When the liver can’t do its job, increased levels of toxins, waste, sugar and bacteria pose a major threat to health.  Top of the list are issues with the eye, including cataracts, ocular melanosis and progressive retinal atrophy.

A straw poll conducted with our lovely Facebook family of Cairn lovers has added skin allergies and cancer to the list.

Over twenty-five years of Cairn ownership, cancer was the culprit in two of the dogs, one had a heart issue, none of them had any eye problems, and one, once had an itchy skin reaction to fleabites. We did have some dental issues where cleaning and extracting were required, but as my dear mother says, “old age doesn’t come alone.” I add this personal experience to reassure you that your new Cairn will not, by a long chalk suffer with all of these things, they have just been observed over many years and many dogs and are a useful guide to keep in the back of your mind.

I would say that vet visits over those twenty five years have actually included many more accidents than illnesses, this tenacious little dog will jump off the back of the sofa, leap out of the boot of the car and think he can fly with no hesitation.  We have the paperwork for two ruptured ligaments to prove it.  There was also one bee sting and the shameful time I sat on a paw and snapped a little claw off.  I was devastated!

There are no guarantees with health, but on the scale of things, the Cairn is in general a healthy breed.

Why not take a look at our fabulous Cairn Terrier ironwork while you are here?

We hope this answers your question Do Cairn Terriers have health problems?