Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier

Though he’s the smallest of the working terriers, the Norwich Terrier lacks nothing in drive. His personality—cheerful and impish—is enough to win the heart of anyone who crosses his path. Rugged, energetic Norwich are thrilled to join you on any adventure—and they’re perfectly able to keep up. Though similar in appearance and temperament, the Norwich is not to be confused with the Norfolk Terrier. At first glance, the two can be most easily distinguished by ear carriage—Norwich have pointed witches’ hat ears, and Norfolk show off folded button ears. And Norwich Terriers are said to be the friendlier and more eager to please of the two.


Other Names

The Norwich Terrier may be referred to simply as a 'Norwich.'

Physical Description

Coat

Norwich Terriers have a wiry, textured topcoat and a soft undercoat. The coat may be red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle. Though no dog breed poses zero threat of causing a reaction in allergic individuals, because the Norwich Terrier’s coat is low-shedding, it is considered hypoallergenic.


Height

Average Height: 9-10 inches


Weight

Average Weight: 11-12 pounds

Breed Standard & History

The Norwich Terrier should be no taller than 10 inches at the withers, with good bone and substance. The dog should be proportionate and in fit working condition. The expression is slightly foxy, and small, wide-set eyes offer a keen expression. Erect ears with pointed tips are set apart atop the head. The Norwich has a strong jaw, black nose and lip pigment. A short, compact body, powerful legs, and muscular hindquarters each suggest the breed’s capacity as a rugged worker. The wiry coat should be straight and close-lying and kept in a natural state. Red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle are allowed. The Norwich terrier possesses a fearless, loyal temperament. – AKC Breed Standards


The Norwich Terrier was bred in Britain as a sturdy ratting dog and foxhunter. The breed most likely resulted from a mix of Irish Terriers and other terrier-types. They were used to bolt fox, catch rats, and rid farmyards of vermin—but were also plucky little canines who enjoyed the companionship of people. Cambridge University students were fond of the breed and many owned a Norwich, then called Cantab Terriers. The Norwich and Norfolk Terrier had once been considered the same breed. They were classified by ear type alone—Norwich had prick ears and Norfolk had drop or button ears. Due to some dispute over whether the Norwich was ever only a single breed or was two different breeds under the same umbrella, the UK Kennel Club officially split the breed by ear type by in the 1960s.


The Norwich Terrier was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1979.


AKC Breed Category

Terrier Group

Personality

General Temperament

The plucky little Norwich Terrier is the smallest of the working terrier types, but his personality could fill a room. Though small, the lively little Norwich doesn’t let that stop him. They’re surprisingly rugged and energetic. Boredom can give way to some undesirable behaviors, so keeping the Norwich Terrier entertained and well-exercised is key. They’re smart and assertive, with an independent streak.


Family Life

Are Norwich Terriers Good with Kids? Norwich Terriers tend to get along well with children, but they may not tolerate tugging or poking. They aren’t likely to be aggressive, but supervision is always necessary with any dog and child. Though they are sturdy, they should not be handled in a rough manner as they are small and may be injured—or may bite.


Are Norwich Terriers Good with Other Pets? Norwich Terriers tend to do well with other dogs and can often live with cats. Small animals and rodents aren’t a good match for the Norwich due to its high prey drive and history as a ratting dog.


Protective

Alert Norwich Terriers will likely bark to warn you of a stranger approaching the home. Their loyalty is easily swayed, however, when they realize they’re likely to earn affection from the newcomer. They are usually friendly with strangers but may be reserved until they are sure there is no threat.


Energy Levels

Because the Norwich is a terrier, there's always plenty of energy to burn. An active lifestyle is ideal for the spunky, high-energy Norwich Terrier.


Specific Concerns

  • Typical terrier behaviors—barking, digging, stubbornness
  • Can be destructive without enough exercise or attention
  • Can be difficult to housetrain, which is common in small dogs
  • High prey drive, likely to chase
  • High level of energy

Requirements

Indoor

With enough activity, the Norwich Terrier makes a cheerful indoor companion. They’re happy to follow their people from room to room. Norwich Terriers are known for their tendency to watch television intently, and they’ll likely be happy catching up on the latest episode of your favorite show on your lap in the evenings. They are suitable for an apartment if they get enough exercise outdoors, but discouraging barking from puppyhood may benefit your relationship with neighbors.


Outdoor

Though the Norwich Terrier has a weather-resistant coat, they are not made to live outdoors full time. Further, they have a high prey drive and can't resist a squirrel in their sights. Time spent outside should be supervised, and either on leash or in a fenced area to prevent wandering. They love to run and climb, and are often thrilled at the chance to go adventuring.


Exercise

Two walks of at least 15 minutes each, and plenty of time to run and play otherwise, will help burn enough energy and keep the Norwich Terrier well-behaved and in good health.


Endurance

Norwich Terriers, like all terriers, have plenty of endurance when it comes to outdoor romps and playtime. They were bred to have the stamina to hunt rats and other animals, so they can keep pace during many activities.


Activity distance rating

  • Running Miles: Norwich Terriers in good health may be able to run between three and five miles, if well conditioned.
  • Hiking Miles: An adult Norwich Terrier may be able to hike five to eight miles. Due to their high prey drive, leashes are recommended.


Food

The general recommendation for how much high-quality dry dog food to feed an average weight Norwich Terrier is ½ to 1 cup per day, split between two meals.


While food guarding behaviors are not more prominent in the Norwich Terrier than in other breeds, children should never be allowed to touch or remove food while any dog is eating.


Alone Time

Norwich Terriers are companionable little dogs who love spending time with people, but they may be able to stay home alone for four to eight hours per day if given enough exercise and attention otherwise. A crate can help prevent destructive behaviors, but a bored Norwich may resort to barking, which a crate cannot prevent.

Health and Grooming

Life Expectancy

10-14 years


Grooming

Norwich Terriers have wiry, weather-resistant coats that shed minimally. Weekly brushing and occasional stripping of the coat are necessary. Dogs not bound for the conformation ring may be trimmed, but cutting the hair rather than hand stripping it will change its texture. Baths are necessary only occasionally and should not be given too often, to prevent damage to the skin or weather-resistant coat.


Trimming nails regularly will help prevent painful splitting, cracking, or a broken nail. Terriers may be sensitive about having their paws touched, so get your Norwich used to it early.


Common Health Issues

The Norwich Terrier may be prone to breed-specific health concerns, including:


  • Hip dysplasia
  • Patellar luxation
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Eye concerns
  • Tracheal collapse
  • Obesity
  • Liver shunt
  • Birthing problems/cesarean section

You can minimize serious health concerns in a Norwich Terrier by purchasing him from a reputable breeder who engages in responsible breeding practices, and through screening for common diseases and conditions.

Trainability

Basics

Norwich Terriers are one of the more eager-to-please terriers of the bunch. They’re smart and learn quickly, but may have a stubborn streak. Giving plenty of praise and treats is the best training tactic for this breed. Housetraining may take longer, as with most small dogs, but consistency and crate training can make the process easier.


Advanced Training

Agility, advanced tricks, rally, and obedience training give a Norwich the mental stimulation he needs to be well behaved. As a working breed, the Norwich Terrier thrives with a job to do. Whether competing or just for fun, Norwich Terriers who participate in these activities will get the physical and mental stimulation they need to be happy and healthy.


Sporting Dog Training

Though they are not a common choice as a sporting dog, the Norwich Terrier benefits from Earthdog training, which can help put its ratting instincts to use in a fun environment.

Breed FAQ

Here are a few commonly asked questions about Norwich Terriers.

Explore Other Breeds

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.