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Looking Around With Lee – A Discussion About Cairn Terriers

Click here to read the complete article
198 – September, 2017

The next breed we tackle in my ongoing series of interviews with breed experts is the Cairn Terrier. Anyone who has interacted with a Cairn Terrier knows they are wonderful companions with fun-loving personalities. Cairns are tenacious and trainable. These traits have made them contenders in the toughest terrier groups. I reached out to longtime breeders of Cairn Terriers to discuss the breed and get their perspective about changes they have seen over the past half-century.

I asked them the following questions:
1. Do you think we have changed the make & shape of the Cairn Terrier?
2. What do you see in the breed today, that you did not see forty years ago?
3. What did you see in the breed forty years ago that you do not see today?

COMMENTS FROM LYDIA COLEMAN HUTCHINSON

1: Do you think we have changed the make & shape of the Cairn Terrier?

There certainly have been some changes, of course. (I doubt there is a breed that has not experienced changes over 40 years.) With Cairns regarding “make and shape”, the necessary rectangular balance is, for the most part, being retained. But what has changed is the length of legs (considerably taller nowadays) and, consequently, the overall length of body.

2. What do you see in the breed today, that you did not see forty years ago?

40 years ago Cairns, as well as most other breeds, were shown in a much more “natural” state. Many of the dogs were very rough and somewhat untidy in their presentation, reflecting their work- manlike character. (In some incidences in this day and age the dogs are being shown too neat and tidy, lacking proper length and density of coat.) Also, back then the showmanship was often less polished with dogs not trained to the high standards of showmanship that we see now. Structurally, as a general rule, I think today’s Cairns are better movers that those from years ago.

3. What did you see in the breed forty years ago that you do not see today?

Given my responses above, I will mention that many Cairns of yore looked like “little haystacks” (Annie Clark’s description). It was often hard to discern their outline, make and shape. Due to lack of grooming, many looked to be very low on leg, but upon examination actually were nicely balanced. Most had very pleasing heads and expressions, a hallmark of the breed. I do think mouths and bites in general are better today than they were 40 years ago.

ABOUT LYDIA COLEMAN HUTCHINSON

Lydia has lived with Cairns her entire life as her parents got their first Cairn two months before she was born. When she was nearly 10 her parents (now deceased) started showing a home-bred male, and with Lydia in partnership the WOLFPIT CAIRNS have gone on to great success and have greatly contributed to the breed’s gene pool, 267 Champions later (and still moving forward), the kennel has housed numerous Top Producers and Top Winners.

Lydia has been an AKC judge for 53 years, an officer and board member of the Cairn Terrier Club of America, and a founder of the Potomac Cairn Club and of the Dog Judges group in Northern California. She has presented numerous seminars on Cairns and other terriers, as well as on Poodles which she bred in her teen years, and is dedicated to educating fellow judges, breeders, and novices. She also is passionate about health in Cairns and is co-chair of the Foundation of CTCA which is dedicated to safe-guarding the health of her favorite breed.

Click here to read the complete article
198 – September, 2017

Short URL: http://caninechronicle.com/?p=131833

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