Perhaps you’ve seen stacks of rocks by the side of a road – a small stone placed atop a bigger one which is on top of an even bigger stone. The word for these stacks is “cairn,” and while cairns can be formed naturally, very often they’re assembled by people to serve as road markers or a memorial. The rocks are particular favorites places for mice, rats and other similar critters in which to “hole up,” and Cairn Terriers were developed flush them out.
So superb were these little dogs as as ratters and hunting small game that in the 17 century, King James VI of Scotland, (later to become King James I of England), sent six of these terriers to the King of France. As the story goes, the dogs were so highly valued that they made the voyage traveling on separate ships. In the event of a shipwreck, not all of the Terriers would not be lost.
Image: Cairn Terrier by Aileen Robertson Mackinnon circa 1920s
The painting was sold through Hampshere Gallery which has a marvelous collection of equinne and canine jewelry and art for sale dating from 1800 to 1940. http://www.hamsheregallery.co.uk/index.php