Hepper is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

Cairn Terrier Jack Russell Mix (JaCairn): Info, Pictures, Characteristics & Facts

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

cairn russell

Height: 9–15 inches
Weight: 14–18 pounds
Lifespan: 12–15 years
Colors: White, grey, brown, multicolored, white and red, tan and white, black and tan
Suitable for: Semi-active families, individuals looking for a companion, singles, apartment living
Temperament: Loyal, bold, fearless, brave, affectionate, vocal, feisty, playful

Few hybrids truly stand out more than JaCairns, an exciting and lively mix between the Jack Russell Terrier and the Cairn Terrier. Bold and brave just like their Terrier parents, JaCairns are rugged dogs that enjoy the outdoors. Don’t let their small size fool you—these dogs have huge personalities and aren’t afraid to show them off.

Feistiness aside, JaCairns are affectionate and loving once they’ve been exercised properly. Let’s take a closer look at this terrier mix to see what it takes to own one.

Divider 1JaCairn Puppies


JaCairn puppies are not purebred puppies, so they’re not as expensive. However, their status as a designer dog breed will cause the price to be higher, especially in more popular locations.

Adopting a JaCairn is another option but finding this exact mix in a shelter or rescue will be difficult. Cairn Terriers alone are an uncommon breed, so any Cairn-mix will be rare.

3 Little-Known Facts About the JaCairn

1. JaCairns are first-generation hybrids.

While some designer dog breeds have “established” generations, JaCairns are usually first-generation hybrids. This means that most JaCairns come from a purebred Jack Russell Terrier and a purebred Cairn Terrier, making them first-generation crosses.

2. JaCairns have wiry, textured coats.

Most hybrids vary wildly with coat types, but most JaCairns inherit the double coat of the Cairn Terrier. Cairn Terriers have wiry topcoats and fluffy undercoats, often described as shaggy and ragged. Thankfully, their coats are low-maintenance and aren’t a challenge to care for.

3. JaCairns are highly intelligent.

JaCairns are highly intelligent dogs that come from two working breeds, so they’re trainable and motivated dogs. This means they can excel in many areas, especially in obedience and agility competitions.

The parent breeds of JaCairn
The parent breeds of JaCairn: Left – Jack Russell Terrier (Annabel_P, Pixabay) | Right – Cairn Terrier (doanme, Pixabay)

Divider 4

Temperament & Intelligence of the JaCairn 🧠

JaCairns haven’t been around for very long, so it can be difficult to know what kind of temperaments they might have. While we don’t have a long history of JaCairns, the next step is to see what kind of temperaments Jack Russells and Cairn Terriers have. Let’s take a look at both of these working breeds to help narrow down the temperament range of JaCairns.

Jack Russell Terriers are active and bold dogs that were bred to hunt vermin, so their energy levels are much higher than the average small breed. Known for their feisty personalities, Jack Russells can be quite a challenge for the average dog owner. These little dogs love spending time outdoors and need to burn off their energy daily, or else they’ll take their boredom out on anything within reach. As long as their needs are met, Jack Russell Terriers are fiercely loyal to the point that it can turn into overprotectiveness if they’re not socialized well.

Cairn Terriers are rugged Terriers that were bred to hunt prey between the cairns of the Scottish Highlands, so they’re just as determined and bold as other terriers. They’re tough and courageous dogs that need plenty of exercise if they’re companion dogs since they weren’t bred to be gentle, calm lapdogs. Like most terriers, Cairns are prone to excessive barking, especially if any animals or strangers are on the property. With that being said, Cairn Terriers are quite cuddly once they’ve had their exercise for the day.

Although not all JaCairns will be alike, it’s safe to say that most of them will be highly energetic, athletic dogs that will need more exercise than the average small dog. Since both parent breeds are so similar, JaCairns will have that classic spunk that most Terriers proudly possess. However, it’s important to remember that each puppy will have its own temperament and personality, regardless of breed or bloodline.

Are These Dogs Good for Families? 🏡

Yes, JaCairns are good for active families. Though they may be small, JaCairns are sturdy and tough breeds and can handle somewhat rough play. Some JaCairns will not tolerate teasing and overly aggressive play, so they might not be the best fit for families with extremely rambunctious children. Otherwise, JaCairns will bond quickly with their family.

Does This Breed Get Along with Other Pets? 🐶 😽

Yes and no. JaCairns can get along with other dogs as long as they’ve been properly socialized with other dogs. The issue is bringing in any new dogs after your JaCairn, which can trigger territorial tendencies. Bigger dogs might set them off more, so it will depend on how your JaCairn reacts. For houses with small animals and cats, we do not recommend this breed.

JaCairns come from two breeds that were created solely for hunting small animals, so it may be too tempting for them.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a JaCairn:

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

JaCairns need a small-dog diet rich in protein and nutrients to support their bodies, especially with their high energy levels. They’re also prone to poor dental hygiene, which can become a painful and expensive problem in the future. We recommend a diet of wet canned food with at least 20% crude protein mixed with dry dog kibble to help reduce plaque buildup.

Since small dogs are prone to obesity as well, it’s crucial to consult your veterinarian for portion sizing.

Exercise 🐕

Exercising your JaCairn is not only important, but it can also be a total game-changer in temperament and obedience. A few brisk, fast-paced walks a day plus a couple of hours of off-leash roaming in a fenced-in area is a good starting point, but it may not be enough for this energetic breed. However, to prevent boredom and excessive barking, exercising your JaCairn daily is essential.

Since JaCairns come from two athletic, tough breeds, consider starting up a canine sport like agility. Agility is a great way to exercise your eager JaCairn, while also creating a strong bond between dog and handler. Contact your local dog training facility to see if agility is the right fit for you and your JaCairn.

Training 🦮

Training your JaCairn will take a lot of time, patience, and persistence. These dogs sense any kind of weakness and will become stubborn quickly, so it’s important to avoid fighting fire with fire through harsh training methods. Training methods should be positive reinforcement methods with food-based rewards since your JaCairn will shut down to rough handling.

Since these dogs can be difficult for first-time dog owners, we recommend hiring a professional dog trainer to guide you.

Grooming ✂️

Grooming your JaCairn will depend on the coat type, but most Jacairns end up with a similar double-coat to the Cairn Terrier. Hand-stripping the coat once in a while may be needed, as well as weekly brushing to prevent matting. Bathe your JaCairn only when absolutely necessary since Cairn Terriers are extremely prone to dry skin. In addition to coat care, you’ll have to trim your JaCairns nails on an as-needed basis. Also, consider a tooth-brushing routine to help prevent dental decay.

Health and Conditions ❤️

Unfortunately, JaCairns are a newer mix and there is little to no information on their health and wellness. However, we can look at the most common health conditions of the parent dogs to get a better idea. It’s important to prepare for your JaCairn’s future since some conditions can be extremely expensive to treat. Here are the most common health conditions of the Cairn Terrier and the Jack Russell Terrier:

Most Common Health Conditions of the Cairn Terrier
  • Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease (LCPD)
  • Portosystemic shunts
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Obesity
  • Dry Skin
  • Hip Dysplasia
Most Common Health Conditions of the Jack Russell Terrier
  • Legg-Perthes disease
  • Cataracts
  • Patellar Luxation
  • Ataxia
  • Elbow Luxation
  • Digestive issues
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Deafness

Divider 3Final Thoughts on JaCairns

JaCairns are a rough-n-tough designer dog breed that is ready to take on any challenge they’re given. These small, energetic dogs need specific needs and exercise that can make them a great choice for more active, outdoorsy individuals or families. The Jack Russell Cairn Terrier mix can excel in many areas with training and sports in the right environment, so it’s crucial that they’re given plenty of time and attention to stay content.

With that being said, JaCairns will repay their families with unyielding loyalty. If you’re looking for a small, but highly active, hybrid, the JaCairn will exceed your expectations.

Related Reads:

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Related Articles

Further Reading

Vet Articles

Latest Vet Answers

The latest veterinarians' answers to questions from our database