Breed Profile: Norfolk Terrier

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The Norfolk Terrier was once considered the same breed as the Norwich Terrier. The breed originally had two ear styles: prick and drop. In the middle of the 20th century, England separated the two, dubbing the drop-ear type the Norfolk Terrier. The US followed suit just over a decade later and the two breeds remain separate to this day. Though the two breeds are very much alike, there are slight differences in the breed standard beyond ear type.

However, the breeds obviously share the same history.

The Norfolk and Norwich Terriers' ancestors can be traced back to England in the late 1800s, where sportsmen developed small ratting terriers. It is believed that several terrier breeds contributed to its development, resulting in a dog called the Trumpington Terrier. One by the name of "Rags" arrived in Norwich, England around the turn of the century. This dog was bred with other terrier-type dogs over several generations, eventually developing into today's Norfolk and Norwich Terriers.

Back when it was still known as the Norwich Terrier, the breed first arrived in the US in 1914 and became recognized by the AKC in 1936. In 1964, the English Kennel Club made the Norfolk Terrier a separate breed; the American Kennel Club did the same in 1979.


Weight: 11-12 pounds
Height: 9-10 inches at the shoulder


Varying shades of red, wheaten, black and tan or grizzle

Health Issues:

Responsible breeders strive to maintain the highest breed standards as established by kennel clubs like the AKC.

Dogs bred by these standards are less likely to inherit health conditions. However, some hereditary health problems can occur in the breed. The following are some conditions to be aware of:

About the Breed:

The Norfolk Terrier is a sturdy and small dog with short legs, dropped ears and a wiry coat. This is one of the smaller terriers, but the breed is brave, bold and strong. Though known for its strong prey drive and high energy level, the Norfolk also has an affectionate and loyal disposition.

The Norfolk Terrier has a hard, straight, wiry top coat that is weather-resistant and a downy undercoat. The breed requires routine basic grooming. Weekly brushing is essential, but hair cuts are neither necessary nor recommended. In general, the Norfolk sheds at a moderate rate, but routine brushing will reduce shedding. Shedding tends to increase twice a year, as the breed loses its seasonal undercoat. The best way to manage this is by stripping, either by hand or with a stripping tool.

The Norfolk Terrier is an intelligent and alert dog with plenty of energy. This intelligence can make way for somewhat headstrong behavior, but overall the breed is eager to please and responsive to diligent training. Bottom line, the Norfolk Terrier requires a solid foundation of proper, thorough and consistent obedience training.

Because of its high energy level, the Norfolk Terrier should get plenty of regular exercise, preferably at least two walks a day. Establish a daily routine, such as running or brisk walking. Or, consider enrolling this dog in agility or similar activities. Like many terriers, this breed has an instinctive tendency towards digging, but plenty of exercise can help prevent these behaviors. Also note that the strong prey drive of the Norfolk can easily lead the dog astray. Be sure your Norfolk is kept on leash or supervised in a securely fenced-in yard whenever outdoors.

The Norfolk tends to get along well with other household pets his size and larger. However, smaller pets like hamsters and gerbils may be considered prey to this breed and should never be allowed withing reach of the dog. The Norfolk Terrier gets along especially well with children and can therefore be a wonderful family pet if properly trained and socialized. Overall, the Norfolk can make a wonderful pet for all kinds of households. As with any breed, if you think the Norfolk Terrier is right for you, be sure to do plenty of research before obtaining one. Talk to other Norfolk Terrier owners, reputable Norfolk Terrier breeders and Norfolk Terrier rescue groups to learn more.

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