The Norfolk Terrier is a small, compact, and sturdy dog. He has a sweet and sometimes bewildered expression, and his small ears hand in folds to the side of his head. The coat of the Norfolk Terrier is straight and wiry, and the color can vary including grizzle, black and tan, red (various shades), or wheaten. These small dogs weigh in at around 11-15 pounds, and reach around 8-10 inches in height.
Norfolk Terrier Temperment
The Norfolk Terrier is an outgoing, energetic, and playful creature. These dogs are generally sociable and friendly, but can be very independent, headstrong, and possessive, which makes them best suited to those with some experience of dog ownership. Although small, the Norfolk Terrier has plenty of courage and personality. Training shouldn't prove too difficult, as these are intelligent dogs and are quick to learn. These little dogs love to dig, so prepare to be horrified if you have the perfect garden. They may also bark a lot, so if you are after total peace and quiet then this may not be the pet for you. The Norfolk Terrier is an inquisitive creature, and has plenty of energy. You will need to ensure that he gets plenty of exercise and play. This breed will adapt well to apartment living, but will need a safe and secured place to play and exercise, or daily walks.
Early socialization is important with the Norfolk Terrier to ensure that he does not become overly timid. A well socialized Norfolk Terrier gets along well with gentle children and those he has been brought up with. These dogs also get along okay with most other pets, although they can become jealous of them. He should not be trusted around rabbits and smaller animals. Some Norfolk Terriers will be friendly when it comes to strangers, but others may be more wary depending on the personality of the dog. The Norfolk Terrier's tendency to bark and raise an alarm makes him an effective watchdog. With the right training and early socialization the Norfolk Terrier makes a charming companion and a loving family pet.
The Norfolk Terrier required moderate grooming, and his coat should be brushed on a weekly basis. For hygiene reasons the hair around his bottom needs to be trimmed regularly. The coat can be clipped every few months, although for show dogs the dead coat will need to be stripped. When properly groomed this dog is a low shedder, and may therefore be well suited to those with allergies.
The Norfolk terrier, like its close relative the Norwich terrier, were bred for hunting rats and other vermin in farm areas and urban centers. They were developed in the Norfolk area of Great Britain in the early 1800's but were not official recognized by the Kennel Club until 1964 and by the American Kennel Club in 1979.
Originally there Norfolk and the Norwich were considered one breed, but in the early 1930's breeders began separating the two different breeds based on their physical differences. The Norfolk was used as a fox bolting dog, trained to go into the caves and dens where foxes would hide during a hunt to get them back out into the chase. The Norfolk Terriers with their lower tail and dropping ears were less popular than the pricked ear Norwich variety and almost became extinct.
The popularity of the Norfolk terrier is gradually increasing worldwide as these dogs become ideal for competitions and events requiring speed, agility and intelligence. They are avid hunters and chasers due to their history of being bred for these attributes, and these personality traits are still evident in the breed today.
It may be necessary to be prepared to work on housebreaking at some length with this type of breed, as they have a tendency to be somewhat independent in mind. One will need firm, consistent boundaries with a dependable routine in place. A training routine that is consistent and involves interaction with loads of praise is a perfect motivator. In the meanwhile, loving attention as they do, this terrier breed can have episodes of bossiness or jealousy but this is rarely a predominant characteristic. A Norfolk terrier is quite self confident and habitually does very well with other dogs, at times all too eager to have a companion in which to take on the world.
The Norfolk terrier does quite well walking with a lead and, for safety's sake, it is recommended that one keep this breed on a leash at all times unless enclosed in a fenced area. It is not uncommon for instinct to take over the minute a Norfolk terrier spies a squirrel or some other small prey and chase off after it with almost reckless abandon. Households where small pets such as gerbils, guinea pigs or even rabbits share their space with a Norfolk terrier need to be kept in cages at all times, preferably in separate rooms.
Since Norfolk terriers are very intelligent dogs, they will often learn bad habits quickly, just as they will learn positive habits. Consistent training and changing training routines frequently is critical with the breed to avoid boredom and non-compliance issues. As with all terriers, the breed does best with positive rewards and lots of praise for a job well done. Ignoring the dog for bad behavior, especially when the Norfolk is learning, is an excellent method for eliminating the bad behavior. Yelling at or punishing the terrier will not achieve the desired results, rather you will damage the bond that the dog has formed with you and can lead to more aggressive type behaviors and lack of response to commands.
This is largely a health and hardy breed, but there are a few health problems to look out for. This includes heart problems, hip problems, luxating patella, sensitivity to anesthetic, and collapsing trachea. A heart exam is recommended when selecting your Norfolk Terrier puppy.