An Introduction to the Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed!

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terrier dog from norfolk England strutting on the roadThe Norfolk Terrier is a tiny pup with plenty of spunk.  These terriers are personality plus; Norfolks put their whole heart in everything they do. Like most terriers, they love to get into mischief but make great family pets.

Norfolks have the energy to play with children and get along well with other dogs, cats, and larger pets.  If you’re looking for a tiny dog with the personality of a big dog, the Norfolk terrier is for you.

Norfolks are great for families or for those who live in apartments and need a small dog that can easily travel.

A Brief History 

Norfolk Terriers are vermin hunters and fox catchers. These working terriers originated in Norfolk, England, and were used to keep the rat population down and hunt foxes in packs.

In the early 20th century, Norfolk Terriers and Norwich Terriers were the same dog breed, according to the English Kennel Club. The Norfolk had ears that flopped down while the Norwich had prick ears that stood up.

n 1979, the American Kennel Club recognized the individual breeds separately. Both breeds originated in the Norfolk region of England and may have been influenced by the Cairn Terrier, Irish Terriers, Glen of Imaal Terrier, Border Collies in the East Anglia area.

Norfolk Terrier vs Norwich Terrier: What’s the Difference?

The Norfolk and Norwich Terriers are easily mistaken as the same breed. The biggest difference is their ears. The Norfolk has drop ears, while the Norwich’s ears stick up. Both breeds are the same size and have very similar personalities.

The Appearance of These Fun Firecracker Dogs! 

The Norfolk Terrier is a small dog, with short legs and a wiry double coat. Their ears famously drop down and they have distinct eyebrows.

The Norfolk coat is weather resistant, made for the cold, rainy and snowy seasons in England. Norfolks are tiny and are forever puppies. They do not need a lot of grooming and have a natural puppy face that doesn’t go away.

Norfolks are notoriously cute and easy to travel with, making them a favorite for those who travel frequently.

They are sturdy dogs that are muscular and gain weight easily. They have short legs and if they do not get enough exercise or eat too much, they can get chunky, which can be very hard on their limbs. Norfolks need to be taken on lots of walks and be able to run often to make sure they stay in shape.

Average Size and Weight! 

The Norfolk Terrier dog is one of the smallest working terrier breeds. They are only 9 or 10 inches tall as adults, females tend to be a little smaller than males. Norfolks should weigh 11 or 12 pounds and be in fit shape.

norfolk terrier puppies excited face

Coat and Colors!

The Norfolk Terrier double coat is wiry to the touch but has a soft undercoat that keeps the dogs warm and dry. The hair is hard and straight. Norfolk’s hair is about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long and lies close to the body.

The AKC breed standards recognize shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle colored coats with dark points allowed, but not white marks.

Norfolk Terriers are hypoallergenic dogs and have relatively low-maintenance coats. Twice a year, their coats need to be stripped to get rid of their seasonal coats. Stripping can be done by hand, gently pulling out the hair, using a special coat stripping brush, or professional groomer.

Temperament and Personality of These Little Doggos! 

Norfolk pups are known for being high-spirited with lots of self-confidence. They are happy, fearless, and lovable doggies that are a great addition to a family. They’re easy to travel with and make great companion animals.

Norfolks have strong vermin-chasing instinct and may go after small furry creatures and lizards, and enjoy exploring new areas, looking for something to chase. They are a typical terrier, stubborn and full of fire, but are lots of fun and are always ready to go.

You can test your Norfolks natural instincts with the Earthdog Trials, contact your local Norfolk Terrier Club to find a trial in your area.

Norfolks are pack-loving dogs, as they were used to hunt larger animals like foxes in large packs. Today that pack-instinct is still very much alive, which can lead to separation anxiety issues. Norfolks do not like to be left alone and prefer having another dog to play with.

These dogs are typically very good with children when socialized from an early age. They are very smart, which makes them easy to housetrain and enjoy other forms of training

. Obedience training can be a struggle, as they are terriers through and through, leaning on the stubborn and headstrong side. They can be “yappy”, which makes them great watchdogs. They are less barky when given enough exercise and toys to entertain them.

What is Their Lifespan?

The average lifespan for this breed is 12 to 15 years.  Norfolks can live long and happy lives with the proper exercise, nutrition, and care.

norfolk terrier breeds small dog playing in water

4 Potential Health Issues for This Terrier Breed!

Norfolk Terriers are healthy small dogs, but there are potential health issues they may be at risk for, as with any breed. Those that are fed a nutritious diet and are from a responsible breeder will have fewer health issues.

Some health conditions are hereditary and can be avoided with responsible breeding practices and regular vet checkups to catch signs early on.

1. Hip Dysplasia this is a hereditary disease that causes the hip joints to form incorrectly and leads to arthritis. It can be managed if diagnosed early on.

2. Luxating Patella a common condition in small dogs, where the kneecap is loose and can “pop” in and out.

3. Dystrophin-Deficient Muscular Dystrophy– a developmental problem in Norfolk Terrier puppies that causes the epaxial muscles to be asymmetrical.

4. Mitral Valve Disease – a heart condition that begins as a murmur but when left untreated can lead to heart failure and heart disease.

Norfolk Terrier Puppies for Sale! 

You can find Norfolk Terrier puppies for sale by contacting the American Kennel Club or your local Norfolk Terrier Club.

If you like the breed but are having trouble finding a puppy in your area, try looking for Norwich Terrier puppies. The breeds are very similar in both temperament and appearance; the biggest difference is the ears.

Be Sure to Find a Reputable Breeder!

It’s important to find a reputable breeder that practices safe and responsible dog breeding. There are many “pet store” and puppy mill breeders that have inhumane practices and treatment of their animals.

Responsible breeders do not overbreed their dogs and make sure they have a clean bill of health before getting their new homes.

Adopt, Don’t Shop! Ask an Animal Shelter About Norfolk Terrier Rescues! 

There are many Norfolk Terriers, puppies, adults, and seniors looking for there forever homes.

Rescue dogs often make the best dogs! You can find purebred Norfolks, Norwiches, or fun mixes at local shelters or through your rescue group.

Common Questions on Norfolk Terriers

Is the breed hypoallergenic?

Are Norfolk Terriers and Norwich Terriers the same breed?

Are Norfolks a toy or working dog breed?

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