Norfolk Terrier – Everything You Need To Know

Norfolk Terrier Basic Information

  • Name: Norfolk Terrier
  • Size: Small
  • Height: Males: 9 to 10 inches & Females: 8 to 10 inches
  • Weight: Males: 11 to 12 pounds & Females: 9 to 11 pounds
  • Coat: Double layered
  • Hypoallergenic: Yes
  • Lifespan: 12 to 15 years
  • Color: Hay, Wheaten, Red, Fawn, Black, Grizzle
  • Energy: High
  • Origin: England
  • Activities: Guarding, Watch Dog, Travel Companion
  • Barking Level: Medium
  • Shedding Level: Low
  • Litter Size: 2 to 5 puppies
  • Group: Terrier Group
  • Other Names: Cantab Terrier, Trumpington Terrier, Jones Terrier
  • Breed’s Original Pastime: Hunting, Farm Dog

Norfolk Terrier History

Norfolk Terrier was developed in England by Frank “Roughrider” Jones during the early 20th Century.  He was an English dog breeder and horseman and developed small red terriers for hunting. Norfolk Terrier is thought to have been developed from the Border Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terriers and Cairn Terriers.

The two breeds developed were Norwich Terrier and Norfolk Terrier. They were first developed at a small town of Norwich called East Anglia, in Norfolk, situated to the North of London. The ears of Norfolk Terrier will be dropping down and that of Norwich Terrier will stand erect. They are named after the town they have been developed and there is no difference between the two breeds except for their names.

Earlier, the Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier were considered to be the same breeds. Later they were differentiated by their ears and accepted as two distinct breeds. In 1977, Canadian Kennel Club recognized these two breeds. American Kennel Club accepted them in 1979.

Norfolk Terrier became popular among the students of Cambridge for rat hunting during the early 19th Century. Until then, the dogs were primarily red, but several breeders refined the breed. Frank Jones played an important role in the further development and exportation of the breed as Jones Terrier to America in the year 1904. He is also responsible for the breed’s name to be recognized as Norwich Terrier. 

For several years, both Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier were bred together. This interbreeding stopped after World War II in 1964 when England accepted and deemed them as two distinct breeds. 

Norfolk Terrier Breed Overview

The Norfolk Terrier was first developed in England and primarily used for hunting. They are more social and outgoing than any other terriers. Norfolk Terriers are fearless, confident and hardworking dogs. They are developed to live in packs so they can socialize very easily. 

Norfolk Terriers love their families and can sometimes be jealous. They are always alert and attentive, so they will be better suited to be watchdogs and guard dogs. They are highly adaptable and can adjust to any living environment. They have energy and hunting instincts. It is advised not to let a Norfolk Terrier roam around without a leash.

The breed has the same characteristics as that of the Norwich Terrier. Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier were initially considered as same breeds with a difference in the shape of their ear. Now they are recognized as two different breeds.

Norfolk Terrier Pros and Cons

HypoallergenicTendency to dig
Exceptional Guard DogCan be stubborn at times 
LoyalNot suitable for homes with small pets

Norfolk Terrier Highlights

  • Norfolk Terriers are difficult to housetrain, and crate training is suggested to make the process easy.
  • Norfolk Terriers are highly energetic and built for action.
  • Because of their prey drive, Norfolk Terriers should not be allowed off-leash in public.
  • The back yards should have deep fencing and be checked regularly as Norfolk Terriers tend to dig a lot. 
  • Norfolk Puppy is not readily available. Once you decide to get a puppy, wait patiently as it may even take a year to get a puppy.

Norfolk Terrier Personality

The Norfolk Terrier is a highly energetic and alert dog. Though they are small, they can work hard and hunt efficiently. An average male Norfolk Terrier will stand as tall as 9 to 10 inches and weighs around 11 to 12 pounds. The females are comparatively smaller in size with 8 to 10 inches in height and they weigh 9 to 11 pounds. They have a double coat and can adapt to any weather. They are extremely loyal to their owners and love their families. They are an excellent suit for hunting, guarding and work as guard dogs.

Friendliness Overview:

Affection Level                           High
Kid-FriendlyMedium to High
Strangers-FriendlyMedium to High 

Adaptability Overview:

Good for New Pet OwnersHigh
Good for Apartment LivingMedium to High
Sensitivity LevelMedium to High
Tolerates being aloneMedium
Cold ToleranceMedium to High
Heat ToleranceMedium to High

Trainability Overview:

Easy to TrainHigh
IntelligenceMedium to High
Prey DriveLow
Tendency to Chew, Nip & Play-biteLow to Medium
Tendency to Bark or HowlMedium 
Wanderlust AbilityMedium to High
Attention/Social NeedsMedium to High

Norfolk Terrier Physical Features

Norfolk Terriers have small, oval-shaped, widely set apart eyes. Their eyes are dark and have black rims around it. Their sparkling eyes give the dogs an alert, intelligent appearance.  The ears of the Norfolk Terriers are V-shaped and drop till the outer corner of their eyes. The dropped velvety ears are the distinctive feature of Norfolk Terrier. The ears are set wide apart and bent at the skull level and fall closer to the dog’s cheeks. The end of the ears is round and smooth. The skull is broad and round-shaped. The muzzle is strong and smaller than the length between the occiput and the well-defined stop. They have a strong jaw and the lips are held tight. Their teeth are large and have a scissor bite.

The neck of the Norfolk Terrier is strong and reaches smoothly into the shoulders. The length of the neck is medium and suits the dog’s size.

Norfolk Terrier has a well-leveled topline complementing their size. Their shoulders laid back properly. 

The chest is wide and deep, adding to their compact appearance. Norfolk Terriers have well-sprung ribs. Their loins are strong.

Norfolk Terriers are short-legged, but they are strong. The legs are straight to adapt to the dog’s digging tendency. Elbows reach close to the sprung ribs. They have firm pasterns. Their feet are round and thickly padded. The nails in their feet are strong and black.

Hindquarters are strong with muscularly built thighs. They have wide and powerful thighs. The hind knee (Stifle) is well placed with a turn. When viewed from the back, the hocks should appear straight. Feet in hindquarters are similar to the forequarter feet. They are strong, round-shaped with thick pads and black nails.

The tail is docked in Norfolk Terrier. However, the tail has to be docked to a certain level to maintain a balanced body structure. The tail must be straight and level with the topline. 

The coat of Norfolk Terrier is double layered, which helps the dog sustain any weather. The top layer acts as a protective shield over the undercoat. Shaping of the coat will be disqualified in the shows. The texture of the coat varies in different parts of the body. The texture of the top layer is wiry, thick and straight. The length ranges from 1.5 to 2 inches. 

Near the ears and head, the texture of the coat is smooth. The length is also short. However, the eyebrows and whiskers are longer and do not have a smooth texture. In the neck and shoulders, the hair is long. There will be a formation of a rug under the ears and throat area. The coat will be rough on the legs.

Norfolk Terriers come in various shades of red, fawn, wheaten, black and grizzle. Patches and spots of black can be accepted. White color fur is undesirable in Norfolk Terriers. 

The movement of the legs should be forward from the shoulders when seen from the front. The stifle (knee cap) and hock have to be flexed from the hip when seen from the side. The back legs should be on the same track following the front legs. During any movement, the topline must be leveled. 

Norfolk Terrier Temperament

Norfolk Terriers are bred for hunting and bolting foxes. They still retain their hunting instincts. This justifies their inborn tendency to dig. They are highly alert and attentive dogs. Norfolk Terriers will make a perfect watch dog and guarding dog. They are good with children and other dogs. 

The dog must be kept busy with games and dogs as they quickly get bored. Norfolk Terriers also have a stubborn character. So, it is recommended to train and socialize them as early as possible. They can develop small dog syndrome and will start to lead humans if not appropriately trained.

Norfolk Terriers are one among the extremely loyal dog breeds. They move around confidently and have a mind of their own. Because of their hunting instinct, they will chase and leap on small prey. Norfolk Terriers should always be held on leash in public places and during walks. Though they might be triggered at the sight of possible prey, they are never aggressive. They are lovable and adore their family. If you are a person who travels a lot, Norfolk Terriers are the best travel companion dogs you can get.

The Norfolk is small-sized with low care requirements. They are confident, independent thinkers, and stubborn at times, which can be a problem during training sessions.  Regular, consistent training using positive reinforcement will ensure their proper behavior.

Teaching them the ‘come’ command is essential for safety when they are off the leash.  As Norfolk Terriers can bark excessively when they are bored, ‘quiet’ command should also be a part of their training.

Norfolk Terrier Exercise Needs

As Norfolk Terriers are dogs of high energy, they need long durations of exercise and training sessions every day. It is better to walk them for half an hour and train them twice a day. They must be kept mentally and physically stimulated to avoid picking up any undesired qualities.

While walking a Norfolk Terrier, never let the dog lead the walks. Let the dog know you are the leader, leading the dog. If Norfolk Terriers get bored, they will pick up some undesired behaviors like barking and excessive digging. Include fun games like fetching to prevent the dog from getting bored.

The dog should not be off the lead outdoors. Be cautious of their time outdoors as they tend to leap and chase. If left out without a leash, the area must be properly fenced. Norfolk Terriers like to dig, so the fencing must also be deep. Train and Socialize Norfolk Terriers from puppyhood. You can also opt for puppy training classes.

Consistent and patient training is necessary for Norfolk Terriers’ proper behavior. Train them to obey and follow your commands. Avoid any physical force to correct them while training. They can get easily agitated or anxious so, use positive reinforcement while training.

Exercise Needs Overview:

Energy Level                                Medium to High
Exercise Needs                           Medium to High
Playfulness                                  High
IntensityMedium to High

Norfolk Terrier Grooming

Norfolk Terriers are double coated and they need minimal grooming. Norfolk Terriers are classified under hypoallergenic dog breeds. They don’t shed much still their coat must be brushed once every day. Hand plucking their coat will remove extra hair and let new hair grow. You can do it yourself or get help from professional groomers. Bath them only when necessary. Trim the nails and clean their ears regularly. Brush their teeth using toothpaste made for dogs.

Grooming Overview:

Amount of Shedding                  Low
Tendency to drool & snoreLow
Easy to GroomMedium to High

Norfolk Terrier Health

Norfolk Terrier is a healthy breed, but they are also prone to diseases. These health problems can be identified and treated. Regular health checkups are recommended to identify any health issue at an early stage. 

Health Overview:

Basic HealthHigh
Weight Gain PossibilitiesHigh

Following are the few health problems that can affect the otherwise healthy Norfolk Terrier.

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip Dysplasia is common in small dogs. It is a painful condition where the hip joints are not properly fixated with the rear leg bones. While some dogs show symptoms, most dogs won’t have visible symptoms. This condition if worsens, will be life threatening. Though Hip Dysplasia is mostly hereditary, factors such as injuries, excessive weight gain, wrong exercises can cause hip dysplasia. There are some treatments to hip dysplasia ranging from medication to replacement of the hip. Avoiding the breeding of Norfolk Terrier with hip dysplasia parentage can prevent this disease. Proper care and regular checkups can help prevent hip dysplasia.
  • Patellar Luxation: Patellar Luxation is the slipping of the knee cap from its position in the legs. Symptoms are that while running or walking, the dog might feel uncomfortable and kick its leg to set the knee cap back on its position. Mild symptoms and patellar luxation on one leg can be easily treated with medication. Complex conditions might require surgery.
  • Sensitivity to vaccination: Norfolk Terriers can have sensitive reactions to vaccinations. There are some symptoms like swelling of the dog’s face, tiredness, pain and discomfort. This requires immediate medical attention as it can be life threatening. Keep track of your dog’s behavior after every vaccination and seek medical help immediately if you find any abnormalities. 
  • Portosystemic liver shunt: Portosystemic liver shunt is a condition when the liver does not get blood supply to purify it. As the name suggests, blood flow to the liver will be shunted. This condition can be cured through surgery.
  • Mitral valve disease: Mitral valve disease is a heart condition predominantly seen in Norfolk Terriers. This requires medical attention as it can be life threatening. Testing Norfolk Terriers before breeding can prevent this condition from being passed on to the next generation. Avoid breeding dogs with Mitral Valve Disease to eradicate this condition completely.
  • Dental Disease: It affects 80% of pets by the age of two. It causes tartar build-up on the teeth, infection of the gums and roots, and in extreme cases, loss of teeth and damage to the kidneys.
  • Infections: The Norfolk Terriers are prone to certain bacterial and viral infections such as rabies, parvo, and distemper. The viral infection can be prevented by giving a vaccination based on the dog’s age.
  • Parasites: The Norfolk Terriers can be infested with worms, bugs, fleas, and ticks that can get into their systems through unclean water, contaminated soil, or bitten by an infected mosquito. It can also be transmitted to you and your family. Symptoms include discomfort, pain, and even death.
  • Obesity: It is a significant health condition in Norfolk Terriers. Excess weight can cause joint problems, back pain, digestive disorders, and heart disease. The best way to prevent this lifestyle disease is a healthy diet and regular exercise.
  • Spay or Neuter: In spay, the ovaries or uterus in females is removed, and in the neuter, the testicles of the male dogs are removed. It is done to eliminate the possibility of pregnancy or fathering unwanted puppies and also decreases the likelihood of certain types of cancer.

National Breed Club Recommended Health Tests for Norfolk Terrier:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam

Norfolk Terrier Diet & Nutrition

Two healthy meals per day are advisable for a happy and healthy Norfolk Terrier. When overfed, a Norfolk Terrier can gain more weight leading to obesity in them. Compensate the quantity of food with the quantity of treats as Norfolk Terriers are prone to obesity. Regularly check your dog’s weight and make changes to the diet. Make sure of the water availability at all times.

Feed your dog quality food with sufficient nutrition to keep their energy level constant. Make changes to the diet as the puppy grows into an adult. Planning diets based on their height, weight and nutrition needs will keep the dog healthy. You can also feed them homemade food. Consulting a veterinarian on planning diets for your Norfolk Terrier is recommended.

Norfolk Terrier Living Condition

Norfolk Terrier’s coat let them adapt to any weather conditions. They love to run around but can also do well in small apartment living. As long as they are not bored, they can live anywhere. It is better to avoid bringing Norfolk Terriers to households with small pets like birds, hamsters, etc.,

Did You Know?

  • Norfolk Terriers have even temperament with sporting and hunting instincts.
  • In America, separate classes for Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier were introduced in 1962.
  • Norfolk Terrier was bred to chase away fox from their burrows in the ground. 
  • The breed standards are similar for Norfolk Terriers and Norwich Terriers.

Norfolk Terrier Club Recognition

  • ACA = American Canine Association Inc.
  • ACR = American Canine Registry
  • AKC = American Kennel Club
  • ANKC = Australian National Kennel Club
  • APRI = American Pet Registry, Inc.
  • CET = Club Español de Terriers (Spanish Terrier Club)
  • CKC = Canadian Kennel Club
  • CKC = Continental Kennel Club
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • FCI = Fédération Cynologique Internationale
  • KCGB = Kennel Club of Great Britain
  • NAPR = North American Purebred Registry, Inc.
  • NKC = National Kennel Club
  • NZKC = New Zealand Kennel Club
  • UKC = United Kennel Club

Adding a Norfolk Terrier to Your Family

Norfolk Terrier Rescue Groups: There are countless Norfolk Terrier in need of adoption and/or nursing, and there are several breed-specific rescue associations across the country that are listed below:

  1. Norfolk Terrier Rescue Centre
  2. Norfolk Terrier Rescue Club

These groups can provide proper guidance with respect to adoption, and if you aren’t sure which breed is right for you, foster care to test if the breed is a good fit for your home.

To Buy a Norfolk Terrier Now: Buy a Norfolk Terrier Pup Online

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