PCTC Rescue

The Potomac Cairn Terrier Club is a breed club that aims to be of service to members, fanciers, humane societies, and the general public, so far as Cairn Terriers are concerned. The PCTC Rescue Committee fosters, rehabilitates, and places Cairn terriers who are in need of new homes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Are Cairn Terriers good with kids?

Are Cairn terriers good with kids? If you research this on the web, you will generally get the impression that they are good with children. Those of us in Rescue would like to clarify. In reality, the short answer to this question is: it depends. It depends on various factors which include: 1) the age/disposition/history of the dog, 2) the age of the child(ren), 3) the parenting philosophy, and 4) who you ask.

In general, Cairns seem to have a natural affinity for children. Although they are tough little dogs, they should not be expected to tolerate ear tugging, tail pulling, or other such handling. Intervention is needed if play becomes too rough, and puppies especially need time away to rest undisturbed once in a while.

If you ask a reputable Cairn breeder who has also raised children, he/she may say that Cairns are great with kids. To raise Cairns, one really needs to have an assertive personality since Cairns can be a bit stubborn. Most likely, those same breeders don't put up with any nonsense from their kids as well. Watch a couple of episodes of Supernanny and you'll see that not all parents have the same philosophy for raising their children.

Cairns, as well as the other terriers from Scotland, were bred to be independent thinkers. This means that if their master is not supervising them, they believe they can make their own decisions. A Cairn left to his/her own devices could make a decision about child care that you wish he/she hadn't. Parents who can't say "no" or who leave their Cairn and young child(ren) together unattended are asking for trouble, no matter how easygoing their Cairn seems to be. Rescue has rehomed countless Cairns who have growled or snapped at a toddler. Blame always goes to the dog, when training, supervision, and/or separation could have avoided the situation.

That being said, PCTC Rescue does not adopt to families with children aged 7 years and younger. This has more to do with not knowing the history of the dogs in our program. Even if a dog comes to us from the owner and the owner has had the dog all its life, we cannot know everything that the dog has experienced, and we don't always get the absolute truth from the owner.

So are Cairn terriers good with kids? Well, it depends...