Dorothy’s faithful companion Toto had his share of notable moments in the film adaptation of ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Toto was played by a female brindle Cairn Terrier whose real name was Terry. She was paid a $125 salary each week, which was far more than many of the human actors. The Cairn Terrier was a memorable character in the 1939 classic, the picture of loyalty and courage. The Wicked Witch of the West threatened not only Dorothy, but her “little dog, too!” And it was Toto who was responsible for showing us the true face of the Wizard, arguably the only one with the intelligence to recognize the truth of what lay behind the curtain. Toto was so popular that Terry’s owner officially changed her name to Toto after finishing the film.
Referred to as a “big dog trapped in a small dog’s body” Cairn Terriers are adventurous, intelligent, strong, loyal, and tough. It is one of the oldest terrier breeds, originating in the Scottish Highlands and recognized as one of Scotland’s earliest working dogs. It is used for hunting and burrowing prey among the cairns (man-made piles of rocks). They are protective of their families, and will defend their territory with courage and devotion, but they are also people-oriented and are friendly with everyone they meet ~ unless that person is a nasty old witch, apparently.