Cairn Terrier Club of Northern California 


Rescue Road
"the little blog about CTCNC Rescue"


Read   Issues and Answers

We get Cairn Terriers from a variety of places and a variety of reasons.  We do not place Cairn mixes.  We work to place purebred rescues. Rescue dogs typically come from owner surrenders or from shelters.  Owner surrenders can happen because the owner is incompatible with the Cairn Terrier attitude, can't give the Cairn Terrier the attention it deserves, the family moves, there is a death, divorce, illness, or a wide range of other personal problems.  Rescues might end up in shelters for all of the same reasons, plus some dogs are abandoned or lost and end up in a shelter.

The Rescue typically comes into a Foster Home, where the dog is evaluated, given veterinary care, given a little training, and a lot of love.  All of this is to get a Rescue dog ready for a nurturing, permanent home that will provide the love and care it needs and deserves.

A few dogs are not suitable for adoption, these are biters, too ill, or aggressive.  Some dogs are only adopted into specific situations, such as, the only dog, or no children, or no other pets.  The evaluation at the Foster Home helps make these decisions.

If the dog does not come in with a current record of veterinary care, plus records to document it, the dog will be given necessary veterinary care.  All Rescues will be spayed or neutered before be released for adoption. The new adopting family will be given all health information.  While there is no way to guarantee the continuing health of any Rescue, we will take back the dog if the adoption does not work out, for any reason, including health.

There are not usually a large number of Rescues available at any time.  Cairns have small litters, 1 - 3 is not unusual.  Shelters usually have a waiting list for small dogs, so they may place them before we hear about them. The standard says these guys weigh 13-16 pounds but many Rescues come in around 20 pounds.

Rescues come in a wide range of ages, however there are very few puppies that reach Rescue.  Typically they are in the 4 - 10 year old range. Many older dogs come in when the owner has died.  These little guys live to 15-16 years old, so older is a relative term, they are fairly active even when "older".  Since older dogs might be more sedate, they may be a better fit for an adopter looking for a couch companion.

Cairn Terriers come in many colors, from blonde to red to black and mixes of all three, and still many change color in their life time, so there is no guarantee about color.  Any one looking at Rescue for "Toto" is probably looking in the wrong place.

Attitude: Cairn terriers are active dogs, independent dogs, typical terriers.  The best way to understand a terrier attitude, imagine this:  You are in your back yard, your dog is some distance away.  You call it, your favorite Golden Retriever will come to you feet and look up and ask "What can I do next, Master?"  If it is your favorite Cairn Terrier, it will stop, look at you, in the distance, and say, "OK, I see you, what do you want? Why?"

Rescue will ask if there is a fenced yard because these guys are so independent, and prey driven.  If there is no fenced yard, Cairns must be exercised on a leash. Cairns are bred to hunt vermin and will take any opportunity to protect you from them, real or imagined.  An invisible fence will not work on these guys.  They will run through the "pain" to get what they want but they won't run through the "pain" to come back home.

Grooming questions can be answered by the Foster Home volunteer.  Rescues may or may not be housebroken, in some cases, they spent time in crates which made it a non issue, in some cases, they have spent a lot of time outside where it was not an issue, in other cases, they spent most of their time inside, and they will be fully trained.  Where there are other dogs in a house, a spate of marking may ensue when the Rescue is first placed.   It is best that the new home assume the dog is not housebroken to set the pattern and expectations at the beginning.

Cairns may bark, they are good watch dogs but not guard dogs.  They will protect you from evil birds or airplanes but they will lick an intruder to death.  They will dig, they think it is part of their job.  They tend to like children but their small size may invite more attention than they desire, so there are some concerns about placing a dog with a family which has a very young child.

While Rescues don't show up with AKC registration papers, they can be registered with the AKC, by filing out the ILP Form or a PAL form from AKC.  With an ILP number or Purebred Alternative Listing PAL,  your new friend can compete in  Earthdog, Obedience, and Agility. (Earthdog is a field exercise that tests the skill these guys are breed to have.  Obedience is not one of their inbred skills. Agility ranks just below Obedience in their preferred skills list, both of these are a challenge.)

While we do make every effort to properly evaluate a dog in Rescue, they come with their own baggage and we may not figure out what it is. People, who drop off dogs at a shelter or surrender them to Rescue, may not be completely honest about the reason.  The Foster Home will make every effort to properly evaluate the dog and will clearly state any concerns with the adopting family.

Adoption Process:

We ask that people inquiring about Rescue fill out a questionnaire.  It has no correct answers but it helps us in our effort to get the right dog with the right adopter.  There is no preference list or waiting list that guarantees we will contact you with a potential Rescue.  After reviewing the answers and comparing notes about the Rescue dog, an effort will be made to match the right dog with the right home. While your information will be kept for some time, it is worthwhile to contact us if a period of time has passed without hearing from Rescue.

Owner to Owner Transfer: In a few cases, we do not have available Foster Homes for dogs that are looking for placement, or the current owner wants to be part of the process.  In that event, we may facilitate the two parties getting in touch.  When this happens, Rescue does not know anything about the history of the dog or its temperament.  Rescue's involvement ends with referring you to the shelter or owner.

A volunteer may contact your veterinarian and your landlord, if you rent, and ask for references. If there is a home inspection, it is more or less a safety check to make sure that your home is Cairn-ready.

Yes, you will be asked for a donation. The donation amount for an individual Rescue will depend on the age and the necessary veterinary care (including neutering). Typically, you should expect to donate more for a younger Rescue, since the actual cost for the older ones is offset by asking for a slightly higher donation for those under 4 years.

Typical donations are $150 - $200 for a Rescue

For Northern California, go to  

Rescue Contacts

If CTCNC has any dogs in Rescue, you can  see them at  AVAILABLE


California -  CONTACTS

In Northern California, Oregon and Washington

Terry & Sue Broderick
Pleasanton, CA 94588
(925) 846-9337

Northern California Rescue Application on line at
CTCNC Adoption

In Southern California, for Nevada and Arizona

Mrs. Karen Smith
Fallbrook, CA
(760) 728-7133
(760) 728-4741 fax


Southern California Rescue Application on line at
SCCTC Adoption


The national breed club maintains a list of other rescue contacts. at

CTCNC does occasionally list Cairns on PetFinder.

 Cairn Rescue League
based in New Hampshire, does rescue work nationally with regional representatives.
They do occasionally work with cairn mixes

If you find it necessary to surrender a Cairn terrier to Rescue , please click SURRENDER FORM and download it.

Please be aware that we only deal with purebred Cairns.  Along with the form, please bring medical history and any information that might be useful to an adopter.

NOTE: If we are taking care of your problem or your bad decision, a donation to Rescue would be appropriate.

Go here to look at some CTCNC Success StoriesRescue Tails

Look at the dogs placed last year by going to:
2008 Rescue Gallery

for new adopters.  Here is some information and a list of  suggested reading.

Training Resources
in the SF East Bay

Vists the small blog about CTCNC Rescue
Rescue Road