Terriers 101: A Guide to the Terrier Breeds

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terrier breeds, terrier puppy chewingThere’s nothing quite like Terrier pups. With their distinct features, unique personality and impressive history, this breed will keep you on your toes. Expect never to have a dull moment in your life with Terrier breeds by your side!

What’s in a Name? Defining Terrier Breeds!

The name “Terrier” is a Latin word for ‘terra’, meaning ‘earth’. The Terrier Group was bred to hunt and kill vermin, badgers, moles, and foxes. This feisty breed would dig underground dens, burrow, then bark incessantly until the creatures they were hunting emerged.

The name can be misleading in this age of classifying breeds and grouping them. Most breeds with “Terrier” in their name belong to this group, but there are quite a few exceptions. A Miniature Schnauzer, for example, belongs to this group, whereas the American Kennel Club (AKC) has added the Yorkshire Terrier to the Toy Group, and the Boston Terrier to the Non-Sporting Group. It can all be rather confusing!

They Come in All Shapes and Sizes!

When you hear “Terrier”, it’s easy to jump to an image of a Norfolk or a Jack Russell, which are relatively small sized dogs. But let’s not forget that the group includes bigger breeds such as the Staffies and Airedales.

Average Weight and Size of Small Terrier Breeds

Small breeds generally weigh less than 22 pounds and are shorter than 16 inches.

Average Weight and Size of Medium Terrier Breeds

Medium breeds typically to weigh between 25-50 pounds are 18-25 inches in height.

Average Weight and Size of Large Terrier Breeds

Large breed pups weigh between 35-65 pounds and can be as tall as 30-32 inches!

types of terriers, tan bull terrier running

The Coats and Colors of These Doggos!

So many breeds, so many coats and colors! Many Terrier breeds have short and smooth coats (such as the Jack Russell), and others, such as the Schnauzer, have a longer coat. What sets some Terrier breeds apart, however, is that infamous wire-haired coat.

The Wirehaired Terrier is Hard to Miss!

Wiry outer coats with dense, soft undercoats are common among this group. Often referred to as the “broken coat”, Wirehaired Terriers are quite easy to groom and require minimal brushing.

Pulling the fur from the undercoat – also known as “hand-stripping” – will help keep this breed from looking shaggy. The Border-, Welsh -, Norfolk-, and Norwich Terriers all have wirehaired coats.

-Some pups in this group have a long, soft, and shiny coat. The soft-coated Wheaton, for example, has a distinct coat that features a single coat of wavy wheat-colored hair – as opposed to the double-coat of most Terrier breeds.

On the other end of the spectrum, Staffies, as well as the Foxies sport short coats. These maintenance-free coats are the easiest of the Group – requiring minimal care apart from regular baths and occasional brushing.

These Dogs Have Character!

These dogs are firecrackers. Doggy dynamite! Many of them go from zero to a hundred with very little room for “chill” in between!

wire haired terrier fox terrier mix having a nap

Temperament and Personality!

These doggos are famous – or infamous – for their sassy personalities and spirited natures. They are known to pick fights with dogs three times their size – they are fearless.

Thanks to their origin, this dog breed can become territorial of things they consider “theirs” – whether that is their favorite toy, the yard, or food. This translates to strangers, too. They are known for their barking at anyone or anything they come across – especially when it comes to ‘their’ home.

Furthermore, since this group was bred to chase, they make an ideal single-pet. They treat cats or other small pets as prey and will chase them nonstop. But, if raised from a young age with another fur companion, they will get along just fine.

Children can be an issue for these breeds since they are not very patient and prefer the spotlight shines only on them. They generally don’t give the ‘sharing is caring’ sentiment much thought!

Training these breeds can be difficult. They are stubborn and have a mind of their own. To train these dogs, you will always need to keep it fun and exciting. Make sure to keep training sessions short and full of rewards and praise.

These dogs have a lot of energy and require daily exercise. They bored easily and can become destructive without daily exercise. Exercise keeps both their body and mind active and helps prevent obesity – a common trait in smaller breeds.

Despite their oddities, these dogs make exceptional companions. They are loyal, fun-loving, and silly – often ‘performing’ for their owners for attention.

american staffordshire bull terrier dogs playing

Types of Terriers! Here is a List of the Most Common Breeds of This Group:

Terrier Mix Puppies are Bound to Result in Bundles of Fun!

Yes, owning a purebred dog has its advantages. You know what you’re in for and what to expect in terms of looks and temperament. But there is a lot to be said for the benefits of adding some TerrOr genes so the mix!

Poodle Terrier Mix

The appearance and size are relative to which Terrier the Poodle is mixed with, but since the Poodle is the second most intelligent pup, expect a fearless, smart, and active dog!

Some common Poodle-Terrier mixes are Australian-Poodle (Terri-Poo), Boston-Poodle (Bossi-Poo), Wheaten-Poodle (Whoodle), Toy Fox-Poodle (Foodle), and Jack Russell-Poodle (Jack-A-Poo).

Boglen Terrier

A Boglen is a mix between a Boston Terrier and Beagle. They have muscular yet small bodies along with square-shaped heads and floppy ears.

Boglen’s are known to be smart and active with a kind disposition towards their humans. They are confident, loyal, and like to be active. Boglen’s are also known for their affection for children as well as friendliness towards other family pets.

Schnauzer Terrier Mix

The Schnauzer-Terrier mix is often attentive and energetic. Terriers mixed with a Giant Schnauzer are calmer than their smaller counterparts. Those mixed with a Standard Schnauzer are smart and lively, while Miniature Schnauzer-Terrier mixes are playful and perky.

Some common breeds mixed with Schnauzer’s are Cairn Terriers (Carnauzer), Airedale’s (Schnairedale), and the Kerry Blue Terrier.

Chihuahua Terrier Mix

A common mixed breed, the Chihuahua-Terrier mixes are mostly bred as companion animals. A popular mix is the Ratchi: A Chihuahua – Rat Terrier mix.

Ratchis are short-haired and small with bat-like ears and an alert face. They tend to form a close bond with their human but are wary of strangers.

yorkshire terrier puppies playing in the grass

Terrier Puppies for Sale!

Are you ready to bring a Terrier home and turn the energy levels up a couple of notches? Here are a few things to consider when looking for a puppy:

How Much do These Bundles of Energy Cost?

The cost of a puppy depends on the specific breed, the breeder, and location. Expect to spend around $1,000 or more for a purebred puppy. This doesn’t include any additional costs such as food, toys, treats, and vet bills.

Not Looking for a Terrier Puppy?

With thousands of adult dogs in dire need of homes, why not consider adopting an adult or senior?

Your Local Animal Shelter Can Answer All Terrier Rescue Questions!

Contact a few of your local animal shelters to see if they have any Terrier or Terrier mixes available for adoption. The shelter will have adoption counselors that can answer questions you have about the dog you are interested in adopting.

Do keep in mind, though, that animal shelters will not always have the complete history of the dog – especially if they were strays. But, the shelter and veterinary staff are aware of the physical and personality traits of different breeds, so they will be able to provide general information about the dog you are interested in adopting!

Whether you’re looking to add a purebred doggo or mixed breed to your home, be ready for endless fun, entertainment and most of all, a whole lot of love.

Common Questions

Do they only come in one size?

Are they easy to train?

Do they require a lot of grooming?

Do I have to buy a one from a breeder?

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