Norwich Terriers are considered a rare breed—there are only a few hundred Norwich Terriers registered with the AKC each year. The low number of registries isn’t a reflection of the dog as a companion—Norwich Terriers are lovable and generally easygoing. Norwich litters tend to be small, with only one or two puppies in each. Another consideration is the potential for complications during birth, which may require a cesarean section—which can be costly. A responsible breeder will breed each dog only once per year, with a cycle in between litters. Each female should produce no more than four litters in total before retiring from breeding. Because of these factors, Norwich Terriers are an expensive—and difficult-to-find—breed.
Beware of breeders who claim they have a rare type of Norwich Terrier—non-standard coloring or other features do not make a dog worth more. Breeders who do not strive to produce dogs within the standard are considered irresponsible by the AKC and breed clubs—the standard is in place to ensure the stability of the breed as a whole. Though dogs are rarely a perfect example of the standard, the goal is to get as close as possible with every litter. The breed standard helps prevent health problems and undesirable genes from passing to future generations.
Many breeds of dog change color as they age, and Norwich Terriers are no exception. Black and tan Norwich are born mostly black with tan points. The color changes gradually, creating a large black saddle across the back. It is rare that the black saddle remains into adulthood, it usually disappears and black and tan puppies end up with a red grizzle coloring—but their undercoat will always display black and tan coloring.
Red Norwich puppies are born with black hairs scattered throughout the fur. After a few weeks, the black hairs may shed to produce a red Norwich. If the black hairs do not shed, they're considered grizzle.
Some puppies are born with a pink nose and paw pads—these are called 'pinkies.' The nose and paw pads turn black after a few weeks. They usually display a lighter red color as they age, and are often registered as red wheaten. In order to produce a pinkie, both parents must carry the pinkie gene—but they do not need to be pinkie themselves in order to carry the gene.