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Wizard the Cairn Terrier



Meet "Emerald City's Grand Wizard". Wizard is a CKC registered cairn terrier. He joined our family in February 2001. This little guy may be little, but he thinks he is just as big as the rest of us.

Cairn terriers originated in the Scottish Highlands. These little dogs had the reputation for courage and determination. Bred solely for their ability to do the job required of them rather than physical appearance or type, Scotland's native earth dogs played a key role in the lives of the men who worked them. Along the country's northwestern shores--a desolate region known for its long coastline edged with rocky cliffs--wildlife found refuge within the crevices of enormous boulders. It was also a custom among early inhabitants to assemble piles of stones, or cairns, for use as grave markers, property boundaries, and landmarks. These distinctive sentinels, inert to the casual observer, teemed with secret life as a variety of small mammals nestled into their hiding places.

Hunters who lived in isolated areas that bordered the Atlantic Ocean used their small shaggy-haired terriers to rout otters and baggers-valued for their skins--from their shelter in cliffs and cairns. Landowners who raised sheep for the profitable wool trade, headquartered at Inverness, also utilized the dogs to drive out foxes that often killed their lambs. In addition, many outlying districts employed itinerant todhunters, or brocaires, who used packs of terriers to rid the countryside of vermin.

Working closely with their masters, and occasionally a hound or two that tracked by scent, these valiant canines followed their quarry into passages so small and twisting that no man could enter. Neither could the stones be moved; the smallest weighted two or three tons. Alone but unafraid, the terrier penetrated the dark corridors in search of its prey. The dog's responsibility was not the kill the animal--or even to engage it in battle--but to flush it from its lair so it could be snared or shot by the keeper. Few terriers retreated without their prizes and many a "game little bit of dogflesh" carried the scars of its efforts.

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page updated 2/1/2013