When you think of The Wizard of Oz, what comes to mind? Is it the red shoes? Maybe the Tin Man or the Lion? How about Dorothy’s beloved Cairn Terrier, Toto?
While the original Wizard of Oz movie helped to give the Cairn Terrier a boost in popularity, it seems that this once popular breed of dog is now facing potential extinction. And it’s not the only breed in danger.
According to the Kennel Club of the UK, Dorothy’s beloved dog is just one of a few different breeds that have seen dramatic drops in numbers over the last few years (other breeds include the Sussex Spaniel, Otterhound, and Scottish Deerhound, to name a few). According to their records, it seems as if the Cairn Terrier peaked in popularity in 1989, when the Kennel Club said that there was a recorded 4000 puppies born that were pure-bred and registered. Since then, however, those numbers have steadily (and in some cases rapidly) declined.
The Wizard of Oz’s iconic Cairn Terrier is facing extinction
In their report about Dorothy’s beloved dog the Kennel Club explained,
"Annual puppy births from the dog registration body shows a significant fall in numbers – in the first quarter of 2023 the breed has seen a 42 per cent decrease in popularity compared to the same period in 2022. The small Scottish breed is already facing an uncertain future, with their numbers having more than halved in the last decade, dropping from 1,085 annual puppies born in 2013 to 492 in 2022."
Obviously these numbers are just based on registered dog births and based on the fact that this is a UK-based organization, we don’t really know if this takes into account Cairn Terriers born in the States. However, the simple fact that only 492 Cairn Terrier puppies were registered in 2022 with the Kennel Club of the UK is shocking.
If you grew up loving the original Wizard of Oz movie, then Toto might just be one of the most iconic film dogs for you. And to think of this breed facing extinction is truly sad.
We can only hope that something is done to give this breed a boost in popularity, just like other notable breeds have seen in recent years (the Pembroke Welsh Corgi saw its own surge in popularity thanks to appearing on the series The Crown.) Much like the Cairn Terrier saw a popularity boost after their appearance in The Wizard of Oz, perhaps they can once again be thrust into the spotlight with the help of another movie or TV series moment.