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Cairn Terrier


Narrator: Of course you know this dog, everyone does.

Tyson Kilmer: It's the dog from Wizard of Oz

Narrator: That's right. It's the Toto dog.

Andrea Arden: Cairn Terriers are definitely the type of dog that when you walk in the door, they're going to be bouncing all over the place and be very excited that you’re there.

Tyson Kilmer: Really, really funny dog, loads of personality

Narrator: Stars like David Hasselhoff, Bill Murray, even Lisa Melanie have all had this all about me dog.

Joey Villani: They’re not going to let you ignore them; they're going to make sure you know that they are there.

Andrea Arden: I think I've never really met a Cairn Terrier that’s lacking in self-confidence.

Narrator: Courageous, tenacious and intelligent, it's the stuff big dog bruisers are made of and Cairn Terrier too.

Tyson Kilmer: I find this dog to have the intelligence and the energy of most of the terriers without the bratty rough demeanor.

Andrea Arden: When you take them for a walk they could care less if you are at the other end of the leash because they are so focused on finding anything they can to get into trouble with

Narrator: Believe it or not some folks might think of these dogs as being a little rat like. Well guess what, they'd be right. They were bred to hunt rodents. The Cairn terrier is the smallest of the Scottish terriers which originated over two hundred years ago on the Isle of Skye.

Joey Villani: Cairns are rock piles that usually you'll see around the sea bed, they would go into these towns and flush out any type of rodents and whatnot and that's how they got the name Cairn terrier

Narrator: And it's the inquisitive little gutsy behavior that owners eat up. But aside from just being cute, the Cairn’s ragamuffin like scruffy coat has an important function.

Andrea Arden: They have a very, very coarse coat

Narrator: And this fur coat if maintained correctly is waterproof and weather resistant and these dogs can be found in a variety of colors except white.

Joey Villani: A white Cairn terrier is now a West Highland white terrier.

Narrator: Also interesting are the dogs’ big feet. They’re large with thick paws and strong nails. And the front paws are bigger than the back paws giving these little hounds the advantage when it comes to digging.

Xavier Santiago: They love to hunt, they love to sniff and they love to dig. So if you have a backyard with dirt or flower plants say goodbye to them.

Narrator: Another footnote Cairn Terriers are left pawed if they could only throw a baseball. But its small alert upright and pointed ears set high and wide on top of the head that tell you your Cairn is intently listening to your every word.

Joey Villani: You know how Toto took control and they followed him around to find Dorathy, I think Cairn Terriers are like that.

Narrator: Say hello to Loki and Nigel who just happen to be very special Cairn Terriers why?

Bill: You know I think they're ready to go to work.

Narrator: They’re training to be stars in one of the most beloved theatrical dog roles; Toto in The Wizard of Oz. And the wizard behind the curtain who’s doing that training is Bill Berloni, a legend on Broadway.

Bill: When Toto comes out on stage he gets the biggest reaction of the show every night.

Narrator: Berloni’s dogs star in lots of Broadway tour shows. He has Sandy's in Annie, Toto's in The Wizard of Oz, Chihuahuas and Bulldogs playing in Legally Blonde and a Boston Terrier who recently PIRA wedded with the New York City Ballet.

Bill: This is the reason he got the role in The New York City Ballet. High come here high

 

Narrator: Out of all the drama dogs Bill has, he says Cairn Terriers have the most star quality.

Bill: If I find a dog and I can get them into the groove of the show they will do it over and over and over and over again which is part of what they're breeding was about.

Narrator: And while Bill is Broadway's only go to trainer with the magic touch to do this, training dogs was not what he set out to do.

Bill: There are things we think we want to do and there are things that we're meant to do.

Narrator: He wanted to take balance instead of his dogs but the part he got was to find and train a dog for a play about a little girl named orphan Annie. So Bill headed to the local shelter

Bill: The dog that I saw was actually scheduled to be put to sleep the next day so I went back to the shelter the next morning waited until it opened and I adopted this dog.

Narrator: And before he really knew what he'd fallen into Sandy [unclear 04:22] and Bill Berloni were both famous Broadway stars in the smash hit Annie.

Bill: If I have two signature dogs that I'm known for, it's mixed breed terriers like this who play Sandy and Karen terriers who play Toto.

Narrator: And it's here on the Berloni farm in Connecticut that Bill, his wife Dorothy and daughter Jenna and that Vet tech Laurie train all the dogs to be drama queens.

Bill: The dogs who live with me love going on the road. They live in a hotel room, they get to sleep on hotel beds, they have a company of actors and their own private dressing room that's like doggie heaven to them.

Narrator: Amazingly all these stars were not specially bred for this work. Right from the beginning Bill has stayed true to molding strays from shelters into stars on the stage.

Bill: I think it's a good payback to some of these dogs who have not been treated well by humans to have a good life.

Narrator: And Bill has developed a secret for getting Cairn Terriers to follow the yellow brick road.

Bill: I saw that Nigel really had that special quality that makes a star dog. While they may be a little more challenging to train, once they get it, they're unflappable.

Narrator: When we come back find out Bill’s secret for controlling his dogs on stage in front of a full house.

Playing Toto on stage isn't really what Cairn Terriers were bred to do. However Bill Berloni is Broadway's only stage trainer who can get his dogs to play Toto perfectly every night. His secrets, he teaches hand signals that to us mean one thing but to the dog means something else.

Bill: One of the hand signals that we use in the show is a stay command. We’ve created a hand signal where we pet their eyes and that’s the hand signal that means stay. The audience thinks that the actress is petting the dog but she’s actually commanding it.

Narrator: Presently snickers and Princess are taking the bows on the road as Toto. But Nigel and Loki are anxiously awaiting their big break to jump in and steal the show.

Bill: I've probably trained four hundred dogs over my thirty years and each one of them has died in my arms and as I tell people it never gets any easier you know and the longer I have them, the harder it is and so to say goodbye to Ashley when the time comes you know it's going to be you know that's a third of my adult life that she’s been with me so it's going to be hard to say goodbye.

Narrator: So when the curtains close and the dogs need to retire, no worries these star struck rescue [unclear 06:47] come back home to Bill and his family where they live happily ever after.

Bill: I love you too

Narrator: This little dog can pretty much live anywhere as long as the area is securely fenced in.

They would make a good city dog but you'd want to keep on a leash; they like to roam.

Narrator: it's a healthy breed that usually has a long life just like Bill's dog Ashley with an average life of fifteen years and caring for your Cairn is important so grooming should be done properly but if you like the traditional scraggly look, owners should have the Cairn Terrier hand striped twice a year.

Xavier Santiago: You pull out the dead hair, is not a painful process

Narrator: The Cairn Terriers is trainable the perfect example is Bill’s Toto but remember Cairns are stubborn so it can take some time and creativity. This is a great dog who loves to play and needs a family that's active and affectionate so in general this dog can live in most household environments. It's a pretty healthy little dog, it should be hand stripped twice a year, training should begin at an early age and this dog is good with kids and loves attention

Andrea Arden: They are a little dogs with a very spunky sort of sparkle in her eye.