Maureen and I (Coert) both grew up with dogs. And because of that we wanted a dog of our own ever since we left our parental home. We always said we were only going to have dogs if we have a house with a garden. After our student years we moved into an upstairs house, and after that into the house we live in now. It's not a big house but it has a reasonable sized garden.
Now it was time for us to figure out what kind of dog to choose. I grew up with Irish Setters, and Maureen with a Dalmatian, a German Shepherd, and a Great Dane. These are all large dogs, and we never thought of having a small dog because small dogs to us were 'toy dogs'.
We ploughed through several books looking at pictures, and reading characteristics of different (large) breeds but most of them need a lot of care (fur), space in the house, exercise, and food. We started looking at smaller breeds. Maltese, Fox Terrier, Spaniels,........ and the Cairn.
We both immediately were charmed by the picture: a small but though looking dog. We decided to find out more about this breed. After reading the characteristics of the Cairn (in different books) we contacted the Dutch Cairn Terrier Club for additional information. Our preconceived opinions about small dogs turned out to be wrong!
Compact in size, BIG in heart and character.
We called the Dutch Cairn Terrier Club if there were any registered breeders with puppies. We got an address of a breeder, and made an appointment for a visit. We learned a lot more about the breed, and the puppies looked adorable (but hey, don't they all).
We went home to have some time to think/talk things over, and decided that a Cairn Terrier was the right kind of dog for us. After a while we contacted the breeder to look at the puppies, and to see if there was a nice male for us. And yes, there was. The puppy was still to young to leave his mother, so we went home knowing that within a few weeks a puppy would come into our lives.
On the way back, and for the next few days we spent our time thinking about a name. The breeders kennel name is Feel Free, and the dogs name should come after this. We call him Dusty.
Dusty is everything we could only hope he would be; healthy, playful, funny, he loves kids (and adults), a good listener (for a terrier anyway), likes to ride in the car, loves to run along with the bike, and so on.
After about three years we decided to have another Cairn, a bitch. Again we called the Dutch Cairn Terrier Club for addresses of breeders with puppies, and Maureen, who goes to dog shows with Dusty, had met a few breeders on these shows. So after a little while we got an address of a breeder nearby. She was very helpful in choosing a bitch (we wanted the bitch for dog shows, but with a male dog in the house also a good bitch for breeding).
Choosing her name was a bit more difficult because her full name was going to be 'name' Peggy van Eskadale. We thought the name should have a nice rhythm to it, although you only use the full name on paper. We chose Busy Miss Lizzy, and call her Lizzy. Like with Dusty, again we are very lucky, housebroken in three days, sweet, loving, playful, and sometimes a real bitch.
Dusty en Lizzy are both very sweet dogs. They both love, and ask for, a lot of attention. Several times a day they (especially Dusty) come to me with one of their toys, and want to play. Their favorite toys are a tennisball-sized rubberball and a rubber newspaper (which makes noise when they bite it). Dusty manages to take both in his mouth at the same time.
He then just sits/stands there looking at me and waggles his tail. Sometimes he only comes with the ball and throws it at me. Then when I throw the ball, he first goes to get his newspaper, Lizzy gets the ball and brings it to me. When I throw the ball again, they both go after it. (Dusty still with the newspaper in his mouth).
Sometimes Dusty gets it first, sometimes Lizzy does. Good thing for us is that they understand the word "genoeg" (=enough). When I want to stop playing, I throw the ball, and when one of them comes back with it I say the magic word, and he or she drops the ball.They look at me with that questionmark in their eyes: Really?, and then they go and chew a bone of lie down and sleep. Unless they think they haven't had enough yet. Then they challenge each other, and start running around.
If they don't play, chew or sleep, they love lie on my lap (Lizzy) or against me (Dusty) and then I pet them.
Dusty and Lizzy in the woods (part 1)
This is a story about 5 dogs actually. Our two dogs, the two dogs of our friends and a dog of an acquaintance. They are all female accept Dusty. It is possible for them to walk free in the woods. As we walked along we met several people with and without dogs. Because most of the dogs aren't on a leash, they play very nice with each other. Sometimes some people don't let their dogs run around free, then you can get trouble with this dog on the leash. This is because the dog on the leash is "handicapped". He can't go anywhere.So on a Sunday-afternoon we walked into the woods with 5 dogs. They al get along very good. One of the dogs (Quincy, a mix out of a Labrador and a Husky) goes immediately into the river and my little Lizzy follows without looking. This was also the start of going every where where Quincy is. Lizzy is a small dog and when she runs she has to put more energy in the distance then Quincy, and if she can't keep up with her then she makes a very strange noise (a very high barking/caughing sound).
The benefit of the noise is that I always knows where she is. The other dogs are playing around and have not that many attention for Quincy as Lizzy has. Sometimes we meet other dogs. Then the hole crowd plays with the new dog. Because there is only one male in the group (Dusty), he must let the other dog(s) know that these are his girls!
Then he behaves like a real terrier. Thinks he's got the size of a Great Dane. Sometimes I call Dusty back, he listens, and the girls are playing. So when we finally go home, the dogs are very exhausted and we are to. In the evening we have nothing on our dogs. They sleep for several hours.
The Chasing Game
In our backyard we have a small pond, and when the dogs are in the garden they run around it, Dusty chasing Lizzy, Lizzy chasing Dusty. When Dusty finds something else to do like chewing on a bone, playing with a ball or digging holes (he is a Cairn...), Lizzy starts to challenge Dusty.
She lies flat on the grass, turning her ears back and forth making all kinds of noises to get Dusty's attention. Most of the time Dusty falls for this then the chase is on (again). Sometimes, however, Dusty is really busy doing whatever he is doing.
Lizzy then gets into her starting position, runs towards Dusty, stops just in front of him, turns around and runs away. After two or three times Dusty gets up to chase her. On the rare occasion that he doesn't get up, Lizzy jumps over or sometimes even on him.