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Bushland Terrier (Cairn Terrier & Scottish Terrier Mix): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

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By Nicole Cosgrove

Bushland Terrier dog breed

Height: 9-11 inches
Weight: 13-22 pounds
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Colors: Black, cream, grey, red, wheaten, brindle
Suitable for: Active families or individuals, homes with an attached yard or large property, families with older children
Temperament: Confident, independent, clever, bold, cheerful, alert, spirited, dignified

Do you love terriers and their scrappy fearlessness, can-do attitude, and easy charisma? Then check out this hybrid breed of two of the oldest terrier breeds in the world: the Bushland Terrier.

These pups have the spirit and energy of a puppy but the regal bearing of a tiny monarch. Character and cuteness all in one small package! Here is a closer look at the history of the Bushland Terrier, and by extension, its two parent breeds: the Cairn Terrier and Scottish Terrier.

One of the oldest of all the terrier breeds, Cairn Terriers evolved from the indigenous working dogs of the Scottish Highlands. The first man credited with breeding Cairn Terriers on the Isle of Sky is Captain Martin MacLeod. These dogs were originally used to hunt rabbits and foxes and were valued for their determination and stamina. Today, Cairn Terriers are more commonly kept as companions, but some are still used to control vermin in the countryside.

Scottish Terriers are descended from an ancient breed that may go as far back as ancient Rome. However, the first documentation of these dogs is in 1436 in the book the History of Scotland. Historically, these dogs have been used as hunters, game flushers, and to dig prey from their burrows. They were also favorite companions of French and English royals, and today, they are most popularly kept as pets instead of hunters.
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Bushland Terrier Puppies


Before you go and get beguiled by a big pair of puppy dog eyes, consider if you have enough time and energy to dedicate to our pup. Bushland Terriers are alert and energetic dogs that will need enough exercise and mental stimulation to be entertained and avoid boredom.

A new puppy is a big commitment and will bring all kinds of unexpected and wonderful changes to your life. Though you won’t be able to prepare for every bump in the road, we hope this article will help you better assess whether you’re ready to be the proud parent of a Bushland Terrier. These pups also have a stubborn and independent side, so make sure you socialize them from a young age and have regular training sessions with your dog.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Bushland Terrier

1. Scottish Terriers Are Beloved Pets of US Presidents

Besides the German Shepherd Dog, Scottish Terriers are the only other breed to have been chosen by three different US presidents.

The Roosevelt family was the first presidential family to become infatuated with the breed: Eleanor had one named Meggie, and FDR’s was named Fala (his full title was Murray the Outlaw of Falahill). President Roosevelt loved his pup so much that Fala got a statue next to FDR’s memorial in DC.

Dwight Eisenhower was also a Scottish Terrier fan. His three Scotties were named Telek, Caacie, and Skunkie. And most recently, George W. Bush kept Barney and Miss Beazley at the White House with him.

2. Cairn Terriers Are Literally Built to Dig

Not only are these assertive little dogs legendary in their single-minded pursuit of prey, but their bodies are built better than most for the job!

Cairn Terriers have more padding and larger front paws than their back ones. These buff front legs give them an advantage when digging up a rodent’s burrow. It also means you should kiss your perfectly manicured garden goodbye!

3. Bushland Terriers Appreciate Their Alone Time

Though upbeat and social little chaps, Bushland Terriers also need their own space. They love having plenty of outdoor space to inspect and explore, and can often be found patrolling their property.

Bushland Terriers are small enough to fit cozily in an apartment but will truly flourish if given free access to a country property or a fenced-in yard.

Parent Breeds of Bushland Terrier
Image Credit: (L) Marina Plevako, Shutterstock | (R) Sandy Gomezcoello, Shutterstock

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Temperament & Intelligence of the Bushland Terrier 🧠

These are some small dogs that definitely don’t think of themselves that way. Bushland Terriers are bold, charming, and have a quiet dignity to their bearing. With their family, Bushland Terriers are cheerful, charming, and playful. They are reserved but friendly with strangers and are rarely shy or nervous.

Bushland Terriers are adept hunters and have a natural drive to remove pests and vermin from your home and property. These terrier instincts make Bushlands great farm and countryside companions. It also means that they don’t do well cooped up for long hours. Boredom can mean yapping and destruction, so be prepared to give a Bushland Terrier plenty of space and stimulation.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

If socialized, Bushland Terriers can be wonderful family dogs. They get along especially well with active, older children and love exploring with their pals.

Supervision is recommended for small kids and Bushland Terriers, however, as Bushland Terriers do not suffer tomfoolery and rude handling gladly. They can be provoked into snapping and growling if threatened.

To ameliorate this terrier trait, we recommend socializing your dogs and children early with each other as early as possible. Fostering healthy mutual respect will greatly reduce the likelihood of accidental tugs and scuffles.

Does This Breed Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

The self-possessed Bushland Terrier is naturally friendly with other dogs. However, socialization from a young age is recommended to curtail any jealousy or aggression. A true terrier, the Bushland does not handle being pushed around by other animals.

Their high prey drive makes them inappropriate pets for a family with many small animals. You can socialize your Bushland Terrier and cat easily enough, but rabbits or guinea pigs are out of the question.

Bushland Terrier
The Bushland Terrier can suffer from certain allergies. Image Credit By: bushlandterrier, instagram

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Things to Know When Owning a Bushland Terrier

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

A well-balanced diet that is rich in lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole fruits and veggies does well by the stout Bushland Terrier.

Fish and fowl will give them energy and support muscle growth without adding extra pounds to their small frame. And a small amount of quality grains, veggies, and fruit will supplement them with all the essential vitamins and minerals.

Dog food brands like Blue Buffalo and CORE are committed to using high-quality ingredients and a scientifically balanced canine nutrition. Chat with your vet about appropriate brands, treats, and to make sure your portion sizes are correct for your Bushland Terrier’s weight.

Exercise 🐕

Bushland Terriers are inquisitive and busy fellows, but also quite docile when their work is done. These pups have moderate exercise needs, and two or three short walks per day should suffice.

Due in large part to their terrier heritage, Bushlands love to dig. You’ll never find a happier Bushland Terrier than one that has the run of a fenced-in yard and plenty of room for them to root around in the dirt! If you have delicate plants, consider protecting them with chicken wire.

They will also benefit from plenty of playtime with their owner and family. Bushland Terriers are bright and sociable little Scotsmen that enjoy games and toys, as well as mentally stimulating activities like puzzles and hide-and-seek.

Training 🦮

Like so many terrier breeds, Bushland Terriers are a challenging mix of stubborn and incredibly bright. They need firm guidance, and are always asking, “But what’s in it for me?” Bushlands do not make training easy on first-time dog owners.

Reward-based training works particularly well for these pups. Handlers should be ready to exercise patience and keep up a regular training schedule until these clever dogs learn the benefits of complying with your wishes.

Poor behaviors that you may want to watch out for include digging, excessive barking, destructiveness, and cat chasing. But with early, consistent training and plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep them from growing bored, you shouldn’t have any issues with these cheerful little guys.

bushland terrier dog
Image Credit: Georgiagirl, Shutterstock

Grooming ✂️

Bushland Terriers have a thick, double coat that insulates them on the chilly Scottish moors and keeps water from seeping down to the skin.

And for all the benefits it confers, their dense coat can be troublesome to keep tangle-free and neat-looking. Multiple times a week you should use a metal comb or stiff brush to remove debris, prevent knots and mats, and gently detangle their generous hair.

You can also clip your Bushland Terrier’s coat to keep it shorter and less messy. During summer you will likely want to thin out their coat too so that they can get some extra breathing room.

Health and Conditions ❤️

As a hybrid breed, there are few statistics on which diseases the Bushland Terrier is prone to. Many hybrids have a reduced chance of inheritable diseases.

But because the two parent breeds, in this case, are so closely related, they often carry similar genetic traits, and that means similar propensity for medical conditions.

Here’s a look at all of the health issues you should keep an eye on and maybe chat with your vet about:

Minor Conditions
  • Luxating patellas
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Eye problems
Serious Conditions
  • Von Willebrand’s disease
  • Craniomandibular osteopathy
  • Mitral valve disease
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Male vs. Female

The female Bushland Terrier is an alert but reserved dog.

The male Bushland Terrier is often a bit more in-your-business as well as taller and sturdier than his sister. He is also more likely to develop wanderlust and behavior like mounting and territory marking as he grows to sexual maturity.

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Final Thoughts

So, is the Bushland Terrier the pup for you?

People who live in apartments, don’t have easy access to the outdoors or are inexperienced with terrier types may want to look at other breeds. But active folks who are willing to provide structure and stimulation for a clever, self-reliant little dog may have found your match in the upbeat Bushland Terrier!

See Also:

Featured Image Credit: F. Gutierrez Sanjuan, Shutterstock

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