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Norfolk Terrier

Quick facts

Norfolk Terrier AKC Group: Terrier
Height: 9 - 10 inches
Weight: 10 - 12 pounds
Colors: red, wheaten, tan, black and tan, and grizzle with or without dark points and occasionally with white markings
AKC recognized in: 1979

Bred distinctly from the Norwich Terrier genetically described as prick-eared, the Norfolk Terrier is the drop-eared variety. The Norfolk Terrier was believed to have been a cross-breed of the local Irish terriers with the small red Gypsy terriers of Norfolk county inside the city of Norwich. The final breed is the Norfolk Terrier which is the smallest among the terrier breeds.

This dog breed had other names. First it was called the Cantab Terrier after Cambridge University students in England kept them in their rooms and became fashionable. Later, it was called the Trumpington Terrier because it is the name of the street where the development of the breed began. Before WWI, it was called a Jones Terrier after an Irish horse rider named Frank Jones who sold many of this breed to the USA.

In 1932 the Norwich Terrier got recognition in the English Kennel Club and in 1964 the Norfolk Terrier was officially registered as an independent variety and breed. The AKC recognized the independent breed in 1979.

Even as the smallest of the terriers, the Norfolk Terrier is a working dog. It is a loud barker and digs a lot as it is its natural instinct to hunt for vermin. Although it is a friendly dog and can live well with other animals and other dogs, it cannot be trusted to be alone with pet hamsters, guinea pigs, or pet rodents. With its instinct to run after something that makes it curious to hunt, children will find it enjoyable to play with the Norfolk Terrier by tossing balls, sticks, toys, and bones.


Norfolk Terrier Summary
Affection four paws
Cold Tolerance four paws
Ease of Training five paws
Energy level four paws
Exercise Requirements four paws
Friendliness : Children four paws
Friendliness: Other Animals four paws
Friendliness: Other Pets four paws
Grooming Requirements one paw
Heat Tolerance four paws
Playfulness four paws
Protection Ability one paw
Watchdog Ability three paws

This dog breed is somewhat difficult to housebreak as it has a tendency to develop Small Dog Syndrome or one that thinks that is it can get what it wants as its owner is not as strong-minded as it is. This syndrome can also result to other disorders like jealousy, separation anxiety, and guarding behavior. But, when this dog has been trained properly, it is affectionate and active. It is not known to be quarrelsome or easily agitated. It loves people and can live with cats, except small animals that it might mistake to be an undesired rodent.

These dogs are working dogs that take turns in hunting for prey. They are sociable, too, if they are not working. As long as it does not get bored, it would not indulge in digging for no apparent reason. It is not normal for the Norfolk Terrier to show fear, like having its tail between its legs, or for being shy. Instead, it is always alert, confident and she moves courageously like she can defend herself against an opponent.

Norfolk Terriers can be excessive barkers, especially if bored. "Quiet" should be one of the first commands she needs to become proficient in.

When walking your Norfolk, always use a leash to curtail her natural tendency to become distracted and follow squirrels, rabbits and other interesting animals. Teach her the "come" command, just in case she slips out of that leash.


The average lifespan of the Norfolk Terrier is 12 to 15 years.

While the Norfolk Terrier is generally a healthy dog, it is susceptable to certain health problems. These problems include:

  • Hip Dysplasia - Where the thigh bone does not fit snugly into the hip joint. This can lead to severe lameness or arthritis. A dog diagnosed with hip dysplasia should never be bred, as this is an inherited condition.
  • Patellar Luxation - Sometimes called a trick knee, this condition causes the kneecap to pop out of place. This can be caused by obesity, but is typically a congenital defect that can be inherited.


It is easy to care for a Norfolk Terrier, given her small size and nearly maintenance free double coat. This dog is great if you live in an apartment, but keep her occupied, because they can tend to be barkers if bored.

A 20 to 30 minute play session or vigorous walk is sufficient for her exercise needs, preferably divided into two sessions a day.

A weekly brushing is all it takes to keep shedding under control and to prevent matting. Trimming her hair is not typically done, with stripping the recommended method for thinning and shortening her coat.

Visitor Comments

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