Cairn Terrier Dog Colors: A Complete List of All 15 Recognized Coat Colors

One of the interesting dog breeds is the Cairn Terrier due to its bubbly, tenacious, aggressive, and intelligent personality. This “cutie dog” was bred in the Isle of Skye in Scotland not as a “huggable pet” but as a working dog that helps the farmers eliminate vermin from their properties.

The name “Cairn” was associated with the dog’s hunting quarry between Cairn and the Scottish Highlands. Due to the toughness of the job, it was named “Cairn,” for the word means a stack of stones.

This breed also shared a Hollywood spotlight when it starred as “Toto” in “Wizard of the Oz.” This shaggy, small, and alert dog, with its head, ears, and tail up, has been hailed by the British breed club as the “best little pal” in the world.

This is most likely for the dog’s friendliness, hyperactivity, and gameness that can be a par with your little kiddos’ level of hyperactive mood.

The most amazing about this dog is its weather-resistant and beautiful hues of coat colors. Its coat colors may either be solid or brindle, but it does not have a bicolored, spotted or patchy coat. The coat coloring may entirely be different among the different types of terriers breed.

There are three breeds of Terriers: the Scotch Terriers, Dandie Dinmont, and the Skye Terriers. It is in the Skye Terrier of which the Cairn Terrier was previously part. 


Based on the American Kennel Club, there are 15 recognized coat colors for Cairn Terrier which are black, brindle, cream, grey, grey brindle, red, red brindle, silver, wheaten, cream brindle, black brindle, red wheaten, silver brindle, wheaten brindle, and the silver wheaten.

Complete Guide of the 15 Cairn Terrier Coat Colors

As early as 1913, this breed was already being recognized by American Kennel Club and provided a complete list for the recognized coat colors of Cairn Terrier and with its corresponding registration code;

1. The black Coat Color

It is a solid color and is considered a standard coat color with a registration code of 7. Among the coat coloring, the color black is being associated with the aggressive temperament of the dog. However, it should not be the primary basis of the Cairn Tessier personality, for its coat coloring is temporary.  


2. Brindle Coat Color

Another standard color for the Cairn Terrier is the brindle coat color with a registration code of 57. When referring to “brindle,” it is referred to as the pattern in the coat described as tiger-striped, and usually, a dog with a brindle coat carries a recessive gene. 

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The brindle coat color is the alternating stripes of eumelanin and Phaeomelanin, for instance, yellow and black, cream and grey, red and black. The fusion of black with brown, gold, and tan creates the “tiger-stripe” pattern.

3. Cream Coat Color

White may not be an acceptable coat color for this breed, but the cream color is considered a standard color with a registration code of 76.

4. Grey Coat Color 

It has a registration code of 100 and is also categorized as standard coat color. Coat coloring may have varied types and hues ranging from darker to lighter hues, but these different colors came from the same pigment: the eumelanin (black) and the Phaeomelanin the red hues. These two pigments are producing different hues and shades of coat coloring. 

Once the genes modify the eumelanin, it will produce another shade of color like blue or grey color. The genes act to dilute the pigments that prevent the full development of eumelanin. 


5. Grey Brindle Coat Color

You will surely love this coat color of grey brindle labeled as a standard color and has a registration code of 107. The genetic site of the D (dilute) locus may be responsible for the diluted pigmentation in the coat coloring that may lighten black to grayish coloration. 

Based on scientific studies, it has been shown that a mutation in the gene melanophilin (MLPH) triggers dilution. Wherein there are the dominant full color and the recessive dilute. The light pigmentation of black to grey is the result of two recessives dilutes. 

6. Red Coat Color

The striking red coat color of Cairn Terrier is one of the standard coat colors recognized by the AKC with the registration code of 140. The striking red color may have been the result of Phaeomelanin. It is considered a second pigment that creates coat coloring in dogs. 

7. Red Brindle Coat Color

It is being registered in AKC with the code of 148 and being accepted as a standard coat color for this breed. It is a pattern of the intermingling of different color hues in some parts of the body with the base color of red, brown, or black.


8. Silver Coat Color

The hues may range from bluish to grayish color and are accepted as a standard color with a registration code of 176.

9. Wheaten Coat Color

The registration code of this coat color is 224 and is categorized as a standard color. The word wheaten referring to the “wheat,” and basically, the color may look similar to the wheat that has pale yellow or fawn and bears a resemblance to ripe wheat. Looking deeply into it, you can see that it is banded with light and dark shades range from gold to red.

Imagine a wheat field with varied colors, so the wheaten color changes as the dog’s age get older. It may have a lighter color, like a flaxen color bears similarity with the blonde color. The dog coat may be a reddish tone that bears similarity with mahogany on the extreme color spectrum.

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10. Cream Brindle Coat Color

This may not be a solid color of cream, for it is brindle still is being recognized as a standard color with a registration code of 255. The cream coat in the dogs with e/e MC1R genotype may result from the autosomal recessive inheritance.  

11. Black Brindle Coat Color

Black is a beautiful coat cover for this breed, and it is further enhancing for it is brindle coat color and classified as a standard color and registered under the code of 279. K (dominant black) gene locus is the dominant gene that controls the black brindle or fawn pigmentation.

12. Red Wheaten Coat Color

This coat color is not being classified as a standard color of Cairn Terrier, and it has a registration code of 156. It may be in the extreme color spectrum of the wheaten coat color, which may be a rich red hue that may resemble the mahogany shade.


13. Silver Brindle Coat Color

Cairn Terrier’s silver brindle coat color is not among the standard coat color and is registered under 303. The silver brindle is being caused by the G locus, which is the greying genes. As the dog ages, the black coat turns grey with the brindle, the black stripes, d with the light cream base. 

The appearance of the lighter color is due to the pale base that makes the black stripes appeared lighter.  

14. Wheaten Brindle Coat Color

Another coat color that was not part of the standard color for Cairn Terrier is the wheaten brindle coat color and has been registered in AKC with the code 304. 

15. Silver Wheaten Coat Color

It has a registration code of 305 and is classified as non-standard coat color. The hues may be pale to dark grey that may be a fusion of different colors that will create a Sandy pepper or a silver-fawn shade. 


Genetics in the dog coat colorations

May it be a human or a dog, the physical attributes are greatly influenced and shaped by genes. Genes are the determining factor as to the coat coloration and the physical appearance of our fur buddy.

The genes have control over the production of pigments such as Phaeomelanin and eumelanin. The dominance of either eumelanin or Phaeomelanin is entirely dependent upon the dog’s genes. However, the price tags of this breed do not become entirely dependent on the hues of its coat.

The toughness of this dog may be seen through its weather-resistant coat that can bear the hostile condition of the weather. It has a double coat which is a water-resistant coat. The outer coat is shaggy and wiry, and the undercoat is soft.

Interestingly the Cairn Terrier is a type of breed with different coat colors, which may range from red, black, grey, brindle, and with accentuated dark points in the areas of ears and muzzle.

As a pet owner, you will be delighted to see the changes in the coat coloring as your fur baby ages. Picking a pup of Cairn Terrier based on its coat coloring may not be a good idea, for the color will wane and changes.

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What is the Rarest Color of Cairn Terrier Dog?

Everything is not constant in this breed of dog, and there will be no color that can be categorized as the rarest color among the fifteen color hues of the coat of Cairn Tessier.

Every hue of the coat of this fur buddy will surely bring excitement to the pet owner, for you do not know which is the next color shade of your pet the moment it changes its coat coloring.

What is the Best Color of Cairn Terrier Dog?


The concept of what is “best” for this breed is purely subjective, for each pet owner has a different perception of the best color.

If you opt to have Cairn Tessier as your fur buddy, it is better not to invest your affection based on its coat coloring for the simple reason that it will just change over time.

What is the Original Color of Cairn Terrier Dog?

The Cairn Terrier, which was previously grouped with the Skye Terriers in the 1900s, bears the same soft undercoat and some coat coloring that may be categorized as its original color is the same as the coat coloring of Skye Terrier, which ranges from black to platinum. There are also coat coloring of fawn or cream-colored.


The breed that had been glamorized for it has been starred in one of the Hollywood films “The Wizard of the Oz” has humble beginnings of being a breed to be the “barbarian” of the field. It has a tough role in helping farmers of the Scottish Highlands.

Previously, it was not recognized as a separate breed. It was being grouped with “Skye Terrier” but eventually gained recognition in 1912 when the United Kingdom recognized it.


Though it has a small body, it is sturdy and strong. True to its being hunter of the wild, it is feisty, especially to small animals, and can be considered a high level of intelligence. 

If you love partying, surely this pet dog has the energy to keep up with you. It has a hyperactive level that loves to play games. This pet dog is often being described as a loyal pet, smart, courageous, and independent. 

It was fondly referred to as the “short-haired Skye Terrier” and “highland terrier.” This toughie may be a “softie” inside, for it can easily get hurt when being punished and scolded.

It is better to adopt a positive mode of training. Being a smart dog can learn various tricks and even command and may do best to what it was bred, which is to chase small animals.

Though it may have been the “barbarian” of the field, this little dog is surely a family dog that loves to stay inside the house and play with the family members. The coat coloring does a wondrous and exciting experience as it changes when the dog ages, but surely the pet owner will enjoy each change of the shade color.

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