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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Breeds > Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terrier

Origin: Great Britain

AKC Group: Terrier

Height: 9 - 10 inches (Male)

Weight: 11 - 12 pounds (Male)

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Originally bred as barnyard ratter, Norfolk Terriers love to chase, dig, and bark. These assertive little dogs make loving companions. They're very sociable and need lots of attention.

Norfolk Terrirs are part of the Terrier group. In general, terriers have a very distinctive personality that's unlike any other breed.

They're feisty and energetic. Originally bred to hunt and kill vermin, terriers love the chase - don't let your terrier off its leash unless it's in an enclosed area.

Terriers make excellent pets. These tough little canines have an attitude, however, so they usually adapt better to quiet households. Most terriers are usually jealous and snippy around other pets, especially dogs.

While some terriers are good with children, most will snap if provoked. If you want your terrier to be friendly with strangers, you need to accustom it to people at an early age. Terriers are also barkers and diggers.

In terms of health, terriers are very hardy dogs with few health problems. Most live a long time, usually around 15 years. Terriers need to be brushed twice a week and professionally groomed about every three months. While pet terriers are usually clipped, show dogs are stripped, which means the dead hairs are plucked out one by one so the coat color doesn't fade.

Great Britain
Male height: 
9 - 10 inches
Male weight: 
11 - 12 pounds
Short and harsh. Tail is docked; ears hang down.
Usually reddish or wheaten with black-tipped hairs. More rare is black and tan. Eyes are dark; nose is black.

The Border Terrier, Cairn Terrier, and possibly unnamed Red Terriers from Ireland all contributed to the makeup of the Norfolk Terrier. The Norfolk is closely associated with the Norwich Terrier - at one time they were interchangeable, both considered a typical farm dog and hunting terrier. They are both from the same part of east - central England, East Anglia, just north of London. (The town of Norwich is in the county of Norfolk.) One of the prominent breeders after World War I was named Frank "Roughrider" Jones, who bred Glen of Imaal Terriers, a dark red, brindle Cairn-type dog, and a terrier named "Ninety" to "Rags," a terrier from the Norfolk region. The harsh-coated red progeny of these dogs formed the foundation for the Norfolk and Norwich Terriers. Until 1979, the breed was allowed to be shown in the United States with either a prick ear or a forward-folding drop ear. At that time, the American Kennel Club (AKC) followed the example of the Kennel Club (KC) of England and called the prick-eared variety the Norwich Terrier and the drop-eared variety the Norfolk Terrier.

Because Norfolks were bred to hunt in packs, they are typically more sociable and agreeable than others in the Terrier Group. Still, though, they are feisty and full of themselves, as all terriers should be. The smallest of the terriers, the Norfolk is a great traveling companion - easy to transport and hardy enough for all kinds of getaways. He is attached to his owner, which may lead to jealousy with other pets. Socialization from puppyhood and not pampering this outdoorsy dog will help him get along with everyone he meets while knowing that you will always be there for him. He is a sociable fellow, so this should be easy and fun.
At home: 
The Norfolk Terrier is versatile and can get along in any living situation, provided he gets enough time and attention. He will want to accompany you around the house or wherever you go and will not like to be left alone. A fenced-in yard will allow him to play safely, as he will give chase to small animals. He likes the outdoors and is an all-weather dog. The Norfolk likes to bark and dig, as is his nature.
The feisty and fun-loving Norfolk does best with several outings a day to keep him exercised and socialized. He's short but sturdy, and he can go for hours before tiring. He loves to play, too, and games of fetch are a favorite.
The Norfolk is a good eater who should be fed a high-quality food twice a day. Be careful not to overfeed or succumb to his imploring eyes when it's your turn to eat. Norfolks are persistent, and a begging habit is hard to break. Don't feed him junk, and don't let your little terrier get fat.
Although he can be stubborn and distracted at times, the Norfolk will aim to please you. Encouraging him with motivational training and working in short sessions so that he doesn't get bored are the best ways to achieve results. Smart and athletic, once the Norfolk determines that complying with your requests is fun and rewarding, he'll be happy to show off for you. Housetraining can be difficult, so don't take successes for granted.
Norfolks like to play with children, but due to their size and feisty nature, they do best in homes with older children who understand how to properly handle them. They get along well with other dogs but should be supervised around small pets.
The average life span of the Norfolk Terrier is 12 to 15 years. Breed health concerns may include mitral valve disease (MVD).
Fun fact: 

Early specimens of Norfolk Terriers imported into the United States were often called "Jones Terriers" after Roughrider Jones, the man who helped develop the breed.

Grooming blurb: 
The Norfolk sports a thick, weather-resistant coat that needs almost daily brushing and combing to keep it maintained and looking its best. A professional groomer can advise on when, if or how frequently you may want to clip him.
Copyright by T.F.H. Publications, Inc. This document has been published with the intent to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter within. While every reasonable precaution has been taken in preparation of this document, the author and publisher expressly disclaim responsibility for any errors, omissions, or adverse effects arising from the use or application of the information contained herein. The techniques and suggestions are used at the reader's discretion.