New Zealand
Guide to Buying a Cairn Terrier Puppy

This website created and maintained by Kelbryn Dezign. © 2012

Why do you want a Cairn Terrier?
Have you previously had a Cairn Terrier?  Then we can understand why you would want another.
If you haven't, are you ready to commit 12 to 15 years to your Cairn; time, energy and expense?
A typical Cairn temperament is outgoing, alert, active, and very people-oriented; they love being part of the family. They are also easily bored and won't enjoy being to confined the back yard with little human contact. They need to be involved with your family whether cuddling up on the couch or playimng with the children in the backyard.

Who should you buy from?

If you have had a Cairn previously that lived a good long, mostly healthy life, that you loved to bits, searching for a new puppy is a 'no brainer' - you go back to your breeder and asked to be put on the waiting list for a new puppy. 
If the breeder is not expecting another litter for some time and you just can't wait that long, or has maybe even stopped breeding, then they should be able to recommend another breeder.
Who you really want to find is the hobby breeder/exhibitor.  The hobby breeder/exhibitor is breeding for himself and will have put a lot of planning, time and money into breeding the best quality, healthiest puppies he possibly can, but needs to find great homes for the 'extra' puppies that arrive in a litter.  He often can't let you know which puppies might be available until they are around 8 weeks old when he has, hopefully, determined future show/breeding potential.  If he has orders for 'show puppies' selection of these will take precedence over the puppies destined for pet homes too. This does not mean your 'pet' puppy will be any less healthy, or reared any differently from the 'show prospects' but he may not be as perfectly constructed in some minor way.

Where do you find a breeder?
OK, so you are still resolved to add a Cairn to your family!  We can understand that!! But..., you don't have any friends with a really nice Cairn who could refer you to the breeder of their dog.
Try and find out if there are any dog shows being held in your area soon.  Go to the show; find the 'Cairn people'.
If it is close to the time the Cairns are to compete in the ring, wait until they have finished showing before you introduce yourself and ask to meet their dogs.
If they don't want you patting their dogs, you don't want a puppy from them!!
Watch the dogs in the ring and decide which ones you like best (which don't need to be the dogs the judge selects for his winners).
Check out the
Breeders' Directory in this website.  It is, however, nowhere near a complete list of breeders.**
Visit the
NZ Kennel Club website ( ), check out their Dogs & Puppies link > Puppy Inquiries.  From there, select Cairn Terrier from the drop down list. Litters notified recently will be listed there.
Or phone the NZ Kennel Club 0900 KENNEL to ask about current litters (there will be a charge for this service).
Contact your closest Terrier Club.  Details on the
Links page
Dogzonline ( ).  There may be some Litter Notices under the Puppies For Sale link.
Occasionally, a reputable breeder will have a puppy or two not spoken for and need to advertise on Trade Me.
Be aware, many of the adverts for Cairn puppies on Trade Me will be for unregisterable puppies from non-NZKC members.
Please ensure you only buy from a NZKC member who has a
Code of Ethics to abide by.

** Please note, under no circumstances does the website owner or its publisher endorse any one breeder listed here over any other, nor guarantee the quality or health of the dogs which may be purchased from these breeders.

Pet Shop Puppies
DO NOT buy a puppy from a pet shop.  He may look very cute at the time but is, almost inevitably, sold without any identification or information as to the breeder or pedigree and there is no way to know about the genetic health or temperament behind this puppy. Buy from a breeder who is happy for you to visit his home and meet the dam and siblings of the puppy you hope to get (not necessarily the sire who may be owned elsewhere); a breeder who has put a lot of time, thought and money into producing a healthy litter and who likes to know exactly where his precious babies are going.

Have you done your homework?
Especially if you have never had a dog before, there are many books available on dog care and training which will help you. Buy or borrow from the library and read up before you get your puppy.
There are several good books on the Cairn Terrier listed on the
Site Map page.
Your breeder, when you have found 'the one' should be happy for you to contact them frequently with any questions or concerns re your puppy (after you get him home).

Health Guarantee
Fortunately, the Cairn Terrier is generally healthy and live long lives.  However, no responsible breeder (of any breed) can guarantee a long life!!
Puppy should have been started on a program of vaccinations and worming.
He should have been thoroughly checked by a veterinarian before leaving home (usually at time of vaccination) and he should have been tested clear of a Portosystemic Shunt.  (Read more on the Cairn
Health Page)
Does your breeder provide a written guarantee?
Will the breeder take the puppy back and give you a refund if the puppy is unhealthy? Your puppy may be guaranteed healthy for 1- 2 weeks after he leaves the breeder's home but there may also be a requirement for you, the buyer, to have him checked by your veterinarian within 24 hours of you taking him home to confirm his healthy status.
Will the breeder take back the dog or help you find a home for him if something unforeseen happens in six months, a year, or five years?

Re-Home or Rescue
Have you considered getting an older dog?
Sometimes breeders offer their older dogs to 'forever' homes where they might get more individual attention than is possible with the breeder if they have several dogs.  These dogs may be young adults who aren't going to make the grade as a show dog for some cosmetic reason or who have retired from breeding.
Occasionally a Cairn may need to be 'rescued'; perhaps due to its family moving, divorce or bereavement.
Cairns adapt remarkably well to new homes as adults - they love people!! 

Spaying or Neutering.
If you are buying your Cairn puppy solely as a companion, responsible breeders will recommend you have him/her neutered when he reaches an appropriate age.  Indeed, many breeders may require neutering in the Sales Contract.
There is little to recommend keeping a companion/pet entire (the official term for an animal not neutered).
'Reasons to Spay or Neuter'

Sales Contract
To my knowledge, these are still relatively rare in New Zealand, but you are entitled to ask for one if it is not offered.  It should clearly state: the purchase price, the puppy's birth date, the NZKC numbers and names of the sire and dam, the puppy's registration number if available
*, name, address, and phone number of the breeder plus any other conditions of the sale. You should also receive a copy of the puppy's pedigree, usually 3 or 4 generations.  Most of these details may be included in the Information Pack supplied by the breeder.

(* The breeder might not apply for puppy's registration until the puppy leaves home, which will enable the transfer of ownership to be processed in the same transaction. If the breeder is not using a litter theme for names of the puppies, you may even be able to have some input into your puppy's formal name.)
Puppy Buying Guide by Anne Lacey   (Kelbryn)