Sad decline for Scottish breed


01 August 2023
The Cairn Terrier, which rose to fame as Dorothy’s dog, Toto, in the classic Hollywood film ‘The Wizard of Oz’, is facing an uncertain future following a 42 per cent drop in popularity.

According to new Kennel Club statistics, this historic British breed is at risk of disappearing, after numbers have halved over the past decade. Annual puppy registrations fell from 1,085 in 2013 to just 492 in 2022. In the 1930s, the Cairn Terrier became one of the country’s five most popular breeds, and then enjoyed a 658 per cent increase from 481 puppies born in 1940 to 3,645 in 1947, before peaking at over 4,000 in 1989.

However, this small Scottish breed, along with Airedale Terriers (down by 49 per cent), Irish Setters (down by 48 per cent), and Pointers (down by 42 per cent), has fallen out of favour, and if its current rate of decline continues, it will be put on the Kennel Club’s Vulnerable Native Breeds list. Bill Lambert, Kennel Club spokesperson, said: “The Cairn Terrier is an iconic breed, best known as Toto, but also as a firm family favourite, so these low numbers are very worrying.”

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