Cairn Terrier Grooming – Keeping Your Cairn Terrier Clean

Picture taken from

Picture taken from

Hello and welcome!

This is Sharda with another Cairn Terrier newsletter.

Today, we will be talking about some tips and tricks in Cairn Terrier grooming!


Even though this breed has a shorter coat, it is still important to keep them well groomed to avoid matting and knots.

The Cairn Terrier coat is double, that means there is a rougher outer coat for water repelling over a softer inner coat for warmth.

The breed does not shed like most double coated dogs, and a good weekly grooming routine will keep your Cairn Terrier looking wonderful and your house as hair free as possible.


The first step in keeping your Cairn Terrier dog looking tiptop is to groom or brush regularly. Their coat is prone to matting, so keeping a routine for brushing will help minimize the problem.

  • Start by gently pushing the outer coat up and to the back, then brush small sections of the undercoat down and towards the belly.
  • Always brush in the direction of hair growth to prevent damaging the hair or hurting your dog.
  • If your Cairn Terrier dog has been trimmed or stripped this process is much easier, but it is still very manageable for one person provided the dog is willing to stand still for the grooming.
  • Use a soft washcloth dampened with warm water to gently remove any debris from the eyes or the ears.
  • Never brush the face, rather use a wide toothed comb if necessary and always be extremely careful around the face area.


Cairn Terriers are prone to matting both in the outer and inner coats.

  • The best time to remove mats is when they are first noticed as they will quickly increase in size and can become painful for the Cairn Terrier dog.
  • Use a blunt ended pair of trimming scissors and use small clips to remove the mat as far away from the skin as possible.
  • Avoid cutting towards the skin to avoid hurting the dog by accidentally nicking or cutting the skin.
  • It is always a good idea to have more than one person when removing mats; one can hold the dog and the other person can concentrate on the actual clipping.
  • If the mat has become very large and it will cause a noticeable mark in the dog’s coat you may wish to consider taking the dog to a professional groomer to trim the coat as well as remove the mats.
  • Detangling products for dogs may be helpful but regular brushing is really the key.

Always remove mats before bathing the Cairn Terrier, as washing will only make any existing mats worse.


Cairn Terriers can be dry bathed every month but should only be wet bathed when necessary. The natural oils on the terrier’s coat will help repel water and debris and will keep the coat looking much healthier than it would be if wet bathing occurred more often.

Dry bathing is simply combing or brushing a commercially prepared dry bath powder through the coat. This can help remove dirt as well as keep the coat looking shiny.

A coat conditioner can be applied in a misting bottle and can also be used to detangle mats and knots.


Stripping is the method of removing long or dead hair from the Cairn Terrier’s coat. It involves simply removing the hair with the use of a rubber fingertip or stripping knife.

A stripping stone is a piece of lava that catches the dog’s longer hairs and pulls out the old or dead hairs easily and painlessly.

Cairn Terriers quickly become use to stripping, and it does not hurt the dogs as you are only removing the long and dead hairs, not the sensitive hair follicles of the undercoat.

Stripping your Cairn Terrier does require some practice, and most grooming classes will include practice sessions on stripping your dog.

If you are planning on showing your Cairn Terrier, you should consider a professional groomer until you become confident with the procedure.


Include a tooth brushing and nail check every time you groom your Cairn Terrier.

Teeth are easily brushed with a slip on finger sleeve and some doggy toothpaste. Avoid using human products as dogs don’t like the smell or taste and will soon learn to fight the process.

Cairn Terriers adjust well to grooming times and learn to enjoy the process. It should always be fun and be followed by either a game or a treat, or possibly even both.

By rewarding the dog after grooming it becomes a positive event.

I hope that you learned a lot from today’s Cairn Terrier newsletter.

All the best and take care

Sharda Baker