The Cairn Terrier is a small dog, solid and well-muscled that sport a shaggy coat. This breed has a small broad head, defined stop and a powerful muzzle. Its jaws are strong with a regular scissor bite with upper teeth slightly overlapping the lower ones. It also boasts of a black and shiny nose that adds to the Cairn’s charm. Cairns have dark hazel eyes that are set wide apart, shaggy eyebrows, and small pointed ears. This dog breed's body is well-proportioned with a strong neck, well-boned shoulders, compact and well-sprung ribs, nice level back, and supple loins. Cairns have short tails that are well furnished and sit high on its body.
The Cairn Terrier sports a shaggy double coat that comes in shades of red, brindle, black, sand or grey. The double coat of the Cairn consists of a wiry topcoat and a soft and plush undercoat, giveing it the shaggy appearance. Its coat should be brushed once a week to remove loose dead hair. Bathing can be done once a few months or as needed. Cairns that are to be show dogs require some trimming using a stripping knife, which can be done twice or thrice a year.
Other than grooming the coat and keeping it clean and tidy, it is important to also do basic care on their ears, nails and teeth. Weekly tooth brushing is required to maintain oral health and avoid dental issues such as gum disease, tartar build-up or bad breath. For cleaning the ears, make sure only to use veterinarian-approved solution. If Cairns don't wear down its nails naturally, then make sure to trim them on a monthly basis.