What Breed of Dog Is Toto?

by Elizabeth Muirhead
    Cairn terriers are small dogs with big personalities.

    Cairn terriers are small dogs with big personalities.

    Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

    Toto, the furry canine who outwitted flying monkeys in “The Wizard of Oz,” was a Cairn terrier; specifically, he was played by a female Cairn named Terry. Cairn terriers, popularized by the movie, are considered smart, active small dogs.

    Cairn terriers originate from Scotland, where they were bred to hunt vermin. They were named for the rocky dens their prey lived in: cairns. They share lineage with Scottish and West Highland terriers, with the American Kennel Club remarking that all three could be found in the same litter as the breeds were developing. To meet breed standards, Cairns are required to be proportionate and strong, in keeping with their origins. They also have weather-resistant coats made of a coarse outer coat and soft undercoat. Their sizes are also standard: males should be 14 pounds, and females should be 13 pounds. Cairn terriers, like Toto, are considered full-sized dogs in little dog packages.

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    About the Author

    Elizabeth Muirhead is a practicing veterinarian with an undergraduate degree in biological sciences. She has real-world experience with the husbandry, grooming, training and feeding a variety of household pets.

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