10-20 lbs
United States
Cairn Terrier

The Cairnese is a hybrid mix of two small sized breeds, the Cairn Terrier, and the Havanese.  The Havanese is a rare breed developed in Cuba before the Cuban Revolution in 1959.  The Cairn Terrier is an earth dog, and vermin hunter and the Havanese is a companion dog or the Bichon family.  Both parents are intelligent; a trait passed down to the Cairnese.  The Cairnese is an affectionate family companion with a cheerful disposition, and the Cairnese reflects a lot of the Havanese parent in its countenance.

purpose Purpose
history Date of Origin
ancestry Ancestry
Cairn Terrier, Havanese

Cairnese Health

Average Size
Male Cairnese size stats
Height: 8-13 inches Weight: 10-20 lbs
Female Cairnese size stats
Height: 8-13 inches Weight: 10-20 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma
Occasional Tests
  • Eye
  • Hip
  • Knee
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Cairnese Breed History

The Cairnese is a hybrid mix of the Cairn Terrier and the Havanese.  The hybrid is a new dog and does not have a history outside of its parent breeds, but hybrid breeders suggest the two parents have been purposefully crossbred since the 1990s.  Currently, there is little information on the mix and owners should review the histories and character traits of the parent breeds to better understand the possible dispositions and traits of the Cairnese. The Cairn is an old and ancient breed of Scotch Terriers that was only developed a separate breed in the 19th century and distinguished from its other Scotch Terrier brothers by coat color.  The ancestor of the Cairn Terrier, the Scotch Terrier, was first described in 55 BC by the Romans who identified the small dogs as agile hunters that went to the ground after their quarry.  The Romans named these dogs Terrarii, which is Latin for workers of the earth.  Over several centuries, the Terrier group lived and thrived as earth dogs in Scotland and England, making their way to France and parts of Germany as well.  By the 1900s, the Cairn Terrier was firmly established as a wire-haired small Terrier of the Skye group in various colors, accepting white, which was designated for its cousin breed, the West Highland Terrier.  The Cairn is often confused for the Scottish Terrier, but the Scottie has a more diverse genetic makeup, having a large gene pool history whereas the Cairn Terrier was limited the Isle of Skye.  The Cairn acquired its name from the stone monuments of the same name the little Terrier was known to hunt. The Havanese is a rare breed developed in Cuba.  Bichon-type dogs were brought to the Cuban Isles by Spanish settlers in the 15th Century and developed for hundreds of years, isolated on Cuba.  By the mid-1900s the breed was popular among Cuban aristocrats and caught the attention of Europeans who imported the breed.  The Cuban Revolution threatened to bring this breed to extinction, and all modern-day Havanese dogs living outside of Cuba can be traced to only 11 distinct dogs.  The American Kennel Club officially recognized the Havanese in 1996.

Cairnese Breed Appearance

The Cairnese is a small-sized hybrid between the Cairn Terrier and the Havanese.  Your Cairnese will stand between 8 and 13 inches and weight between 10 and 20 pounds.  The Cairnese has small but sturdy legs and small triangle-shaped ears that flop over.  The Cairnese eyes are slightly larger than the Cairn Terrier and are dark in color with a happy expression and bushy eyebrows that add to the happy expression.  The muzzle of a Cairnese is medium in length, and the black nose is round.  The tail on a Cairnese is full, like the Havanese but short, like the Cairn Terrier. 

Cairnese Breed Maintenance

The Cairnese is not a hypoallergenic dog and sheds low to moderately, depending on the parent breed it more closely resembles.  The Havanese is not a heavy shedder, whereas the Cairn Terrier is.  The medium to long hair on the Cairnese requires daily brushing to prevent tangles and mats.  Regular ear cleaning with a veterinarian approved solution will help to avoid ear infections in your Cairnese and brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week to prevent dental disease and keep his mouth clean.  The Cairnese does not drool much at all and keeping his coat and teeth clean with help with any “doggy” odor that might arise; though this hybrid is not known to smell. Cairneses can resemble either the Cairn Terrier or the Havanese and have medium to high energy with moderate intensity needs.  This mix requires daily exercise of moderate intensity.  They are smart dogs, but the Cairn Terrier parent added elements of independence and stubbornness, which makes the Cairnese a little harder to train if he resembles the Cairn Terrier. 

Cairnese Temperament

The Cairnese is a companion dog with high energy.  This hybrid is affection toward its family including children and is a moderately sensitive dog that does not tolerate being left alone for long.  When it comes to strangers, the Cairnese is friendly and welcoming and loves the companionship of other dogs and pets. The energy levels on the Havanese parent are lower than the Cairn Terrier.  However, daily exercise is required and is just as essential for stimulating the Cairnese’s mind.  The Cairnese has moderate intensity exercise needs.  Though the Cairn Terrier can be a stubborn breed, the Havanese parent evens out the independence and makes this mix easier to train.

Cairnese Activity Requirements

The Cairnese has a lot of energy and needs daily exercise.  However, the Havanese parent breed is a more laid-back breed and may mellow the Cairn Terrier parent genes in your Cairnese.  If the Cairnese gets enough daily exercise, this hybrid is well-suited for apartment life, and much of its exercise needs can be met within the home.  This hybrid does not need large spaces to run around, but a small back yard is ideal. The Cairn Terrier is known to dig and root around; so proper exercise and mental stimulation is a must to prevent destructive behaviors in your Cairnese.  Daily playtime and exercise also strengthens your bond and keeps the Cairnese's mind properly stimulated.  The Cairnese is a versatile dog capable of living in any climate tolerably well.

Cairnese Owner Experiences

Book me a walkiee?
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd