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Shairn-Inu (Shiba Inu & Cairn Terrier Mix): Dog Breed Info, Pictures, Traits

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Shairn Terrier Shiba Inu Cairn Terrier mix puppy

Height: 11 – 15 inches
Weight: 15 – 20 pounds
Lifespan: 13 – 16 years
Colors: Red, brown, brindle, cream, gray, and black
Suitable for: Single-pet households, apartment living, families with kids
Temperament: Loyal and affectionate, can be possessive and stubborn, enjoys spending time with their family, can be wary of strangers

The sweet and charismatic Shairn Inu is waiting to meet you! These adorable pups are a cross between the Japanese Shiba Inu and the Scottish Cairn Terrier. The Shairn Inu is a loving and loyal little pup who wants nothing more than to spend time hanging out with their owner. Equally happy in an apartment or a farm, this adaptable breed might just charm you with their affectionate yet sassy personalities!

While there’s no doubt that this is a seriously cute and clever breed, they’re not the perfect pup for everyone. While they’re super-intelligent, they can also be stubborn, which makes them better suited to experienced dog owners. They can also be possessive and wary of both strangers and other dogs.

As a new addition to the designer dog scene, you might not know that much about this breed. But we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Shairn Inu, so you can work out if they might just be the perfect pup for you.
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Shairn Inu Puppies


We need to warn you that Shairn Inu puppies are seriously cute. Yes, we know all puppies are adorable, but these little guys are off the scale. If you happen to visit a breeder to check out a few pups before you’re 100% certain that this is the breed for you, it could be incredibly difficult to avoid coming home without a puppy.

But be warned: These dogs need a certain type of home in which they can flourish. If you’re not an experienced dog owner or are hoping to leave this little pup at home all day while you’re at work, this might not be the breed for you.

Making sure that you can meet the specific needs of a particular breed is a great first step as a responsible pet parent. It’s so worth taking the time to work out if you can provide what a Shairn Inu needs. If you can, they will pay you back a thousand-fold.

3 Little-Known Facts About the Shairn Inu

1. This hybrid hasn’t been around that long.

The Shairn Inu is a fairly recent addition to the hybrid breeds that have become so popular lately. There’s not that much information out there about exactly when the first puppies were bred. As a newer breed, the Shairn Inu is only recognized by two breed registries, the International Designer Canine Registry and the Designer Breed Registry. We expect the rest of the registries that accept designer breeds will soon follow, though!

2. You never know quite what you’re going to get.

As with any hybrid or designer breed, it’s more difficult to predict the appearance and temperament of the puppies compared to a purebred breed. That’s especially true for the Shairn Inu because as a new breed, we don’t have established history that we can use to predict their character.

Generally, where hybrids are concerned, there’s a much higher likelihood of the puppies inheriting a characteristic that both parents share. So, given that both Cairn Terriers and Shiba Inus are stubborn yet affectionate and clever, it’s probable that your Shairn Inu pup will share those traits.

What’s harder to predict is your pup’s appearance, as they could end up with a wiry coat or a thick coat. The only way to be sure you’ll love your pup no matter what is to be sure that you like both parent breeds equally. That way, you’ll never be disappointed.

3. Both Cairn Terriers and Shiba Inu are hunting breeds.

The Shiba Inu is an ancient breed that has been around since 300 B.C. Originally bred to hunt large game in the snowy slopes of Japan’s mountain ranges, this breed is independent and bold.

The Cairn Terrier was first bred in the 1600s and was bred to hunt rats, foxes, and other farm pests. These courageous and tough little dogs are named for the “cairns” of stones that are used to mark specific points in rural Scotland.

A Cairn Terrier also starred as Toto in the 1939 film, “The Wizard of Oz,” proving that these little dogs are nothing if not adaptable!

Parent Breeds of the Shairn Inu
Image Credit: (L) Marina Plevako, Shutterstock | (R) Jumpstory

Temperament & Intelligence of the Shairn Inu 🧠

The Shairn Inu is a loyal and affectionate breed who loves nothing more than hanging out with their owners. They do also come with their fair share of challenges!

These pups can be vocal, so plenty of training is required if you don’t want to annoy the neighbors. They can also be possessive of their homes and owners, which is something you’ll need to work on to make sure this is a positive trait rather than one that you can’t control.

The Shairn Inu is a smart breed, so they’ll have no trouble quickly learning complex commands if they want to! While they’re intelligent, they also have a stubborn Terrier streak, which means they can quickly switch off if a training session doesn’t keep them interested.

Providing plenty of training opportunities combined with regular exercise will help keep your Shairn Inu challenged both mentally and physically. A tired and happy Shairn Inu will be more than happy to snuggle up for a nap for the rest of the day. A bored and restless pup will find ways to make no end of trouble for their owner! Barking at the door, digging up the backyard, or chewing a chair leg will be how they make their fun instead.

Are Shairn Inus Good for Families? 🏡

Shairn Inu dogs have the potential to make great family pets, but they’ll fulfill that role best if they live in a family of experienced dog owners. Their small size means they’re a good choice for apartments, and as long as they get plenty of exercise, they can adapt easily to living in a smaller home.

Once they’ve had a walk and training, they’re usually happy to chill out at home alone for a few hours, but they may not cope with regularly being left alone during the day while everyone is at work.

They get along great with children and will happily spend time playing with them in the backyard — just make sure that dog and child haven’t conspired to start digging up your lawn! Shairn Inu can tend to be possessive, so you’ll need to train them from a young age to accept visitors into your home.

Do Shairn Inus Get Along With Other Pets? 🐶 😽

A Shairn Inu can get along well with other pets, as long as they’re introduced as young as possible. Training a Shairn Inu puppy to accept life in a multi-pet household will be easier than trying to transition an older dog into accepting pets into their home, as Shairn Inu can be possessive.

Shairn Inu can learn to live with other dogs, but their possessive tendencies can cause issues if your other dog also wants to be the one who gets to sit closest to you. If you’re planning on keeping them with a laidback dog who isn’t interested in playing that game, then they’re more likely to accept this.

They also have a relatively high prey drive, so care needs to be taken when introducing them to small pets like rodents. Equally, a cat that turns tail and runs is likely to be viewed as an object to chase. They can learn to co-exist with a confident cat who’s more likely to stand their ground and boop a dog on the nose than run away.

If you plan to keep your Shairn Inu in a multi-pet household, then speaking to your trainer about the best ways to integrate all your pets successfully is a good idea.

Divider 4Things to Know When Owning a Shairn Inu

Choosing to bring a Shairn Inu puppy into your family is a decision that will impact your lives for years to come. Dogs can bring us untold amounts of joy, but being a pet parent also requires time, money, and plenty of dedication.

Before you make your final decision, here are a few more things to bear in mind about the sweet Shairn Inu.

Food & Diet Requirements 🦴

Shairn Inus are a small breed, so it’s best to select a high-quality dog food designed to specifically meet the nutritional needs of smaller dogs. As active pups, look for a blend that contains a high percentage of protein to help build lean and healthy muscle.

Start with puppy food, as pups require different percentages of nutrients compared to adult dogs. Your veterinarian can let you know when your puppy is fully mature and you can then transition them onto an adult dog food.

It’s up to you if you prefer to feed 100% kibble, a combination of wet food and kibble, just wet food, or raw! Your pup will also let you know their preferences! Shairn Inu can sometimes be picky, so it may take time to find the best brand and type of food to suit your puppy.

As with any other small breed, these little pups can pile on the pounds if they’re eating too much and not getting enough exercise. Be sure to keep an eye on your pup’s weight to avoid placing too much stress on their joints. It’s best to feed your pup two or three times a day, rather than let them free feed from kibble left in a bowl.

If you use treats during your training sessions, remember to account for these when calculating your puppy’s daily ration.

Exercise 🐕

The Shairn Inu needs a moderate amount of exercise, so you should expect to spend an hour a day taking them for walks. This can be split into smaller walks if you prefer. Having a secure backyard is also a good idea, so you can carry out training sessions, have playtime, or simply let your pup have a snooze in the sun.

One exercise, a Shairn Inu will be laidback between walks, so they can be a good choice for apartment living or small homes with limited outdoor space. It’s best to keep your Shairn Inu pup on a leash at all times when they’re not in a secure area. Their Shiba Inu parents are well-known for having a total lack of recall once they decide to run! So, it’s best not to risk allowing your Shairn Inu pup off-leash, as it’s highly likely they will have inherited this trait.

Training 🦮

Shairn Inus are generally eager to please, and their intelligence means they pick up new commands with ease. That doesn’t mean they’re easy to train, though! Thanks to their Terrier blood, they can be a little stubborn at times. They’re not the best choice for first-time or inexperienced owners, as their independent, sassy, and possessive temperament can mean they’re more of a challenge to train than other breeds.

Shairn Inus love to dig, so you’ll either need to train your pup not to dig up your backyard or resign yourself to having holes all over your lawn.

Good socialization from a young age is vital, and puppy training classes are a great way to achieve this while also refining your training methods to suit this breed. The Shairn Inu can be possessive and vocal, so making sure they get used to being around plenty of other dogs, as well as strangers, will help your dog grow up to be sociable and well behaved when visitors come calling!

Grooming ✂️

The amount of grooming that a Shairn Inu will need ultimately depends on the type of coat that they end up inheriting. Some pups will inherit the thick and heavy shedding coat of their Shiba Inu parent, in which case, they will need a great deal of grooming to keep stray hairs under control. While technically these dogs shed their coat twice a year, in reality, you’re going to be cleaning up large amounts of hair most of the time! Daily brushing sessions are necessary, and you might also decide to send your pup to the groomer occasionally to help get the shedding under control.

Of course, your pup might inherit the wiry-textured coat of their Cairn Terrier parent. In this case, a weekly brush is all they’ll need, as well as the occasional hand-stripping to remove shedding hair.

The other option is that your Shairn Inu ends up with a coat somewhere in the middle! Be prepared for daily grooming sessions, and if your pup’s coat ends up shedding less, then you can drop these down to biweekly or weekly.

Shairn Inus can have sensitive skin, so be careful not to over-bathe them. Always use a hypoallergenic shampoo designed specifically for dogs with sensitive skin, and make sure it’s completely rinsed from their coat.

Health and Conditions ❤️

As a hybrid breed, the Shairn Inu is a healthy breed and less likely to suffer from the conditions that can affect its parent breeds, the Cairn Terrier and Shiba Inu. As a recently developed breed, there isn’t much information about the incidence of health conditions, but there are a few to be aware of. including:

Minor Conditions
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Elbow dysplasia
  • Atopic dermatitis
Serious Conditions
  • Cataracts
  • Portosystemic shunt
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Glaucoma
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Male vs. Female

Perhaps you now feel sure that the Shairn Inu is the perfect breed for you, and you just need to decide whether you’d choose a male or female pup.

At this point, it’s important to remember that all puppies are individuals and will develop personality traits that don’t necessarily depend on their sex. So, the best thing to do is to wait until you meet a litter of pups, rather than forming a fixed idea about whether you’d choose a male or female.

You might be imagining choosing an outgoing little boy pup, only to visit a litter and find all the females are the ones who come running, while the boys hide in their bed! If you’re worried about managing the hormonal behavior of a female when you’ve only ever had male dogs or vice versa, then bear in mind that spaying and neutering are recommended and will eliminate any hormonal behaviors.
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Final Thoughts: Shairn Inu

The Shairn Inu isn’t a well-known hybrid breed; in fact, this might be the first time that you’ve even heard of them. Don’t let that put you off, though, as this charismatic and affectionate pup can make the perfect companion for the right family. If you’re looking for a medium-active dog breed, with plenty of personality, then this might be the perfect match.

You will need to spend plenty of time working on their training, and due to their slightly stubborn nature, they generally suit experienced dog owners rather than novices. These pups can be possessive and vocal, as well as have a high prey drive.

If you’re looking for a small breed with plenty of high spirits, intelligence, and loyalty, they’re a wonderful choice. And you’ll never need to call them because they’ll always be right by your side!

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Featured Image Credit: eClick, Shutterstock

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