The Cairmal is a crossbreed resulting from the pairing of a Cairn Terrier and a Maltese. With their striking appearance, endearing personality, and dash of playfulness, the Cairmal has swiftly gained popularity among dog enthusiasts, families, and individuals alike. A Cairmal’s compact size and sturdy build further enhance its appeal, making it an ideal companion for those seeking a lap-sized dog with a dash of robust energy. This designer crossbreed boasts a combination of two distinct yet complementary parent breeds, creating a mix that embodies the best of both worlds. In this guide, we look into the history, temperament, appearance, care, and more of the charming Cairmal. Whether you’re a seasoned dog enthusiast or a newcomer to the world of canine companions, the Cairmal is a breed that weaves intelligence and affection into a truly exceptional pet.
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs


The Cairmal’s history is a modern tale of intentionally pairing these two breeds to create a doggy that embodies the best of both worlds. Breeders sought to combine the Cairn Terrier’s spirited nature and the Maltese’s affectionate demeanor to produce a dog that is not only charming but also hypoallergenic—an important consideration for many prospective owners.

Cairn Terrier

Their compact size, agility, and determination made Cairns perfect for navigating challenging terrain.

The Cairn Terrier, originating from Scotland, has a rich history dating back centuries. Originally bred to work in the rugged Scottish Highlands, particularly in the Cairns region, these terriers were valued for their prowess in hunting and eradicating vermin like rats and foxes. Over time, they transitioned from being working dogs to beloved animals, with their spirited nature and intelligence endearing them to families around the world.


Due to its small size and calm nature, the Maltese is suitable for little spaces or city living.

The Maltese, on the other hand, boasts an ancient lineage tracing back thousands of years. Named after the island of Malta, where they were popular among royalty and nobility, the Maltese have a history steeped in luxury and elegance. Bred as lapdogs, they were adored for their beautiful long, white coats, endearing personalities, and unwavering loyalty. Maltese were often depicted in art and literature, and even documented in historical texts, solidifying their status as cherished animals throughout history. For hundreds of years, the Maltese were nicknamed “The Comforter” to signify the reverence people had for their soothing presence.

Cairmal History

The union of the tenacious Cairn Terrier and the elegant Maltese results in a harmonious blend.

The blending of these parent breeds was aimed at creating a dog that would fit well into various family and living environments, catering to individuals seeking a hound that possesses both energy and charm. The result is the Cairmal, a unique crossbreed that showcases a fusion of traits from its Cairn Terrier and Maltese lineage. The Cairmal may lack a detailed historical narrative compared to purebred breeds with centuries of lineage, but their creation reflects the changing preferences and lifestyles of modern canine fans. The breed’s popularity is a testament to the ongoing evolution of the canine-human bond and our continued desire for furry friends that enrich our lives through affection and a touch of playfulness. Their creation is part of the broader designer dog trend that gained traction in recent decades. The goal was to achieve a breed that not only exhibits charm but also possesses a hypoallergenic coat and friendly disposition.


The Cairmal’s appearance marries features from both breeds, resulting in a delightful combination.

Cairmals boast a temperament that reflects the unique blend of its parent breeds’ characteristics.
  • Friendly and Affectionate: Known for its friendly and affectionate nature. They tend to form strong bonds with their humans and are often quite loyal to their loved ones. This disposition makes them excellent lap dogs and loving companions, always eager to offer cuddles.
  • Playful and Energetic: With a dash of Cairn Terrier spirit, they can display a playful and energetic side. They enjoy engaging in interactive games, typically making them well-suited for households with active lifestyles. Their lively nature can add a touch of excitement to the household, keeping everyone entertained.
  • Intelligent and Curious: Both parent breeds are known for their brightness, and this trait carries into the Cairmal’s temperament. They tend to be curious and quick learners, which can work in their favor during training sessions. Mental stimulation, such as puzzle toys or training exercises, keeps their minds engaged and helps prevent boredom-related behaviors.
  • Gentle and Patient: The Maltese influence their temperament often contributes to a gentle and patient demeanor. This can make them well-suited for households with most children or other pets. They usually have a calm presence, especially when provided with proper socialization from a young age.
  • Alert and Protective: Their Terrier lineage can manifest in an alert and protective nature. They have a tendency to be aware of their surroundings and might alert their owners to potential intruders or unfamiliar sounds. This trait, combined with their small size, can make them effective little watchdogs.
  • Adaptable and Social: These dogs tend to be adaptable to various living conditions, including apartments and houses. They often enjoy the company of other pets and are generally well-received by other dogs. Proper socialization during puppyhood plays a crucial role in fostering good behavior and positive interactions.

Size & Appearance

Cairmals typically fall into the small dog category with their compact and endearing stature.

On average, they stand between 9 to 12 inches in height at the shoulder, showcasing their diminutive yet dynamic presence. Despite their small size, Cairmals exhibit a sturdy build that showcases their inherent agility and active nature. Their bodies are well-suited for exploration and play, reflecting their ancestral roles as both hunters and domestic animals. The weight of any animal can vary based on factors such as genetics, age, diet, exercise, and overall health. They are considered small to medium-sized dogs, and their weight typically falls within a certain range. On average, adult Cairmals usually weigh between 10 to 15 pounds. However, some Cairmals might fall slightly outside of this range, and a healthy weight can vary depending on factors such as muscle mass and bone structure. Don’t forget that every dog is unique, and their weight can vary. Consulting with your veterinarian is the best way to determine what weight range is appropriate for your specific pet, considering their individual characteristics and needs. Their well-proportioned bodies exhibit traits that encompass the elegance of the Maltese and the sturdy agility of the Cairn Terrier. One of the most captivating features of the Cairmal is its coat, which can vary based on the individual dog’s genetics. The coat can reflect either the Maltese’s luxurious, silky tresses or the Cairn Terrier’s weather-resistant double coat, which is wiry to the touch. Color possibilities span a spectrum, including shades of white, cream, tan, and black, often creating an appealing fusion of hues.

Living Conditions

Cairmals adapt well to a variety of living conditions, making them versatile and charming pups for various households. These pups are well-suited for apartment living due to their small size and adaptable nature. Their compact stature allows them to comfortably navigate confined spaces, and they are generally content with indoor activities. Regular walks and playtime within the apartment can help fulfill their exercise needs, making them a great choice for urban dwellers. They also thrive in house settings with yards, providing them with opportunities for exploration and play. Their energy levels can be met with outdoor romps, and having a yard allows them to enjoy fresh air and sensory stimulation. This crossbreed thrives on companionship and enjoys being around their human family members. They make excellent indoor pets, relishing quality time spent with their owners. Whether curled up on the couch or joining you for a leisurely walk, Cairmals treasure the time they spend bonding with their loved ones.

Training & Exercise

Mixed breeds can inherit health issues from their parent breeds. While not all will experience these issues, it’s important to be aware of potential health concerns in order to provide the best care for your furry friend. Here are some common health issues that Cairmals might be prone to:

Health Issues

As with all mixed breeds, the Cairmal can inherit a combination of health traits from both parent breeds.

Dental Issues

Small breeds are prone to dental issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. Regular dental care, including brushing their teeth and providing dental treats, can help prevent these problems.

Respiratory Problems

Cairmals can have brachycephalic traits inherited from the Maltese side, leading to respiratory problems. This might cause breathing difficulties, especially in hot weather or during physical activity. It’s crucial to provide a cool and well-ventilated environment and avoid strenuous exercise in extreme temperatures.

Eye Conditions

They might inherit eye issues like cataracts or progressive retinal atrophy (PRA). Cataracts can lead to cloudiness in the lens, potentially affecting vision. PRA is a degenerative disease that leads to blindness. Regular eye check-ups can help detect and manage these issues.

Luxating Patellas

Luxating patella is a common issue in small dogs, including Cairmals. It involves the kneecap slipping out of place, causing lameness and discomfort. Regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive jumping can help prevent this condition.


This condition affects the thyroid gland, leading to weight gain, lethargy, and skin problems. Regular vet check-ups can help diagnose and manage hypothyroidism.

Heart Conditions

Mitral valve disease and heart murmurs are concerns in smaller breeds. Regular veterinary check-ups can help monitor heart health and detect issues early.


Both parent breeds can pass down a predisposition to allergies. These might manifest as skin irritations, itching, and ear infections. Identifying and avoiding allergens, along with proper grooming, can help manage allergies.


Cairmals’ small size makes them prone to weight gain. Obesity can lead to various health problems, including joint issues and diabetes. A balanced diet and regular exercise are essential to prevent obesity.


The lifespan of a Cairmal (Cairn Terrier Maltese Mix) can vary based on factors such as genetics, overall health, diet, exercise, and the quality of care provided. On average, they have a life expectancy of around 12 to 15 years, which is in line with the general lifespan of small to medium-sized dog breeds. Genetic factors inherited from their parent breeds can play a significant role in determining their lifespan. Responsible breeding practices that aim to reduce the risk of hereditary health issues can positively impact their longevity. Regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, preventive care, and prompt treatment of any health concerns can contribute to longevity. By providing your dog with a loving home, proper care, and attention to their health and well-being, you can help them enjoy a longer, happier, and healthier life by your side. Annual visits to the veterinarian and proactive health management can go a long way in ensuring they live to their fullest potential.


Providing a balanced and appropriate diet is a cornerstone of your Cairmal’s overall health. A well-nourished pooch is more likely to lead a vibrant and active life, so investing time in selecting the right food and feeding regimen is an essential aspect of responsible pet ownership. Their diet should be balanced, appropriate for their size, age, and activity level, and contribute to their overall vitality. Opt for a high-quality commercial food that is specifically formulated for small breeds or toy breeds. These foods are designed to meet the nutritional needs of dogs with smaller body sizes and higher metabolism rates. Small breeds can be prone to weight gain, so it’s important to control portion sizes. Follow the feeding guidelines on the food packaging and adjust as needed based on your dog’s weight and activity level. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your Cairmal’s specific needs. They can provide recommendations based on your dog’s age, health condition, and dietary restrictions.


The grooming needs of Cairmals vary depending on the type of coat they inherit from their parent breeds.

Grooming is an essential aspect of caring for your Cairmal, ensuring their coat and overall well-being are maintained. Their silky coats might require more attention during wet weather to prevent matting. Those with wiry coats might collect debris, so regular brushing can help remove foreign particles. For those with a silky coat, regular brushing helps prevent tangles and matting. Brushing two to three times a week keeps their coat smooth and free of knots. Dogs with wiry coats may require less frequent brushing as their texture is less prone to tangling. If yours inherits the Cairn Terrier’s wiry coat, occasional hand-stripping might be necessary to remove dead hairs and promote healthy growth. Regular professional grooming can help maintain the coat’s texture and appearance. If their coat is more Maltese-like, occasional trims can prevent their hair from becoming too long and prone to tangling. Bathing frequency can depend on a dog’s lifestyle and coat type. Generally, a bath every 4 to 6 weeks is suitable unless they get particularly dirty or smelly. Using a gentle shampoo helps maintain their coat’s natural oils and prevents skin irritation. Cairmals’ eyes should be monitored for tear staining, especially in those with white coats. Regular cleaning with a damp cloth can help prevent staining. Their ears should be checked weekly for cleanliness and signs of infection. Brushing their teeth several times a week supports their dental health.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

It’s important to source a reputable breeder who prioritizes the health and well-being of their loved ones. Cairmal puppy costs can vary between $500-1,000 based on factors such as lineage, location, and breeder reputation.

Rescues & Shelters

There are several avenues to find crossbreeds in need of loving homes, including Cairmals.

If you’re considering adding a Cairmal to your life and are interested in adopting, exploring rescue organizations and shelters can be a rewarding path. Cairmal-specific rescues are rare, so consider finding breed-specific rescue organizations for Cairn Terriers and Maltese to help you find a combo of the two breeds in need of homes. These organizations might occasionally have mixed breeds: The availability of Cairmals in rescues might vary. Keep an open mind and explore different rescue avenues that will hopefully lead you to a wonderful match. Remember that regardless of breed, each dog has a unique personality and potential to become a cherished member of your family.

As Family Pets

Cairmals are a testament to the unique qualities that crossbreeds bring to the world of canines.

Their ability to find contentment in indoor activities while also enjoying outdoor adventures usually makes them an excellent choice for individuals and families seeking a flexible and affectionate canine companion.

Final Thoughts

The Cairmal’s temperament is a delightful fusion of the Cairn Terrier’s lively spirit and the Maltese’s gentle nature. Their friendly demeanor, combined with their intelligence and adaptability, typically makes them a fantastic choice for those seeking a furry friend that can provide affection, entertainment, and companionship. Whether enjoying playtime or snuggling on the couch, this lovable lapdog is sure to leave an indelible mark on the hearts of those fortunate enough to share their lives with this charming canine.
The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety or care advice. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, insurance expert, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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