This small, happy-go-lucky terrier loves everyone.
- Dog Breed Group
- Up to 10 inches tall at the shoulder
- Up to 12 pounds
- Life Span
- 10 to 14 years
Adaptabilitybased on 6 ratings
Trainabilitybased on 6 ratings
Health & Groomingbased on 6 ratings
All-around friendlinessbased on 4 ratings
Exercise needsbased on 4 ratings
See All Characteristic Ratings
The Norwich Terrier originated as a ratter on farms but moved up in the world to bolt foxes from their dens during hunts. Today he's an amusing companion who serves double duty by keeping your home and yard free of rats and other vermin.
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The Norwich Terrier is one of the smallest of all the terriers, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in personality and drive. This active terrier is a wonderful companion for an active individual or family. His name gives you a clue to his appearance and helps you tell him apart from his sibling, the Norfolk Terrier: remember that the Norwich has prick ears that stand up like a witch's hat.
The Norwich Terrier was once used for hunting both vermin and foxes, and today he can still be seen hunting in a variety of places. Norwich Terriers are a working breed and are happiest when they have a job to do such as attending obedience class and practicing at home or participating in various dog sports. The Norwich successfully competes in obedience and agility trials, rally, and earthdog trials.
You can see the drive of the Norwich Terrier in his day-to-day life: chasing squirrels and other rodents, bolting out doors and gates if unrestrained, and digging and barking for entertainment. These terrier habits can make him unsuited for the person or family who can't ensure these behaviors don't become a nuisance. On the plus side, he's loyal and alert, qualities that make him an excellent watchdog.
Norwich Terriers are courageous, but they should never be aggressive. The breed is known for its loving and well-balanced nature and thrives on the companionship of the humans it loves.
If you can cope with his high prey drive and tendencies to bark and dig, the Norwich Terrier is a wonderful companion and friend who may surprise you with his versatility and athleticism.
- Norwich Terriers have a high prey drive and should never be trusted off leash when they're not in a fenced area.
- Norwich Terriers require at least two long walks per day to keep them fit and to help them expel excess energy. They make excellent walking companions.
- Norwich Terriers must have a fenced yard because they will chase any animal they deem as "prey." Underground electronic fencing is not adequate for Norwich Terriers because they tend to ignore the shock.
- Norwich Terriers can be difficult to housetrain and although they're eager to please, training can be difficult when not properly motivated. Be patient, stick to a regular schedule, reward them with praise and treats when they potty outdoors, and crate them when you can't supervise them indoors.
- Norwich Terriers can coexist with other dogs and cats, but the breed will generally classify any rabbits, gerbils, or other small rodents as prey. They are not a good match for homes where small pets are allowed to roam free.
- Barking is often an indicator that your Norwich Terrier sees something suspicious, is bored, or hasn't had his exercise needs met. The breed is not known for being overly yappy but there are exceptions to every rule and every Norwich Terrier will bark if the above occurs.
- Norwich Terriers can live in apartments if they're given plenty of exercise (of course this can be said of most dogs).
- The Norwich Terrier, like many terriers, enjoys digging. Bear in mind it's easier to train a dog to dig in a specific area then it is to break him of his digging habit.
- The Norwich is a rare and therefore expensive breed.
- To get a healthy dog, never buy a puppy from an irresponsible breeder, puppy mill, or pet store. Look for a reputable breeder who tests her breeding dogs to make sure they're free of genetic diseases that they might pass onto the puppies, and that they have sound temperaments.
The Norwich Terrier is one of the younger breeds in existence today and shares his history with the Norfolk Terrier. In fact, the Norfolk Terrier was considered the drop-ear variety of the Norwich Terrier until 1964 when the British Kennel Club separated the prick ear and the drop ear into two different breeds.
Before that time, however, the Norwich Terrier was a breed that rarely had a standard--a written description of the breed--that puppies were bred to. The breed originated in England, and several breeds may have contributed to its development, including the Irish Terrier.
Between 1899 and 1902, a brindle-colored mixed-breed female was bred to a "Cantab Terrier." The resulting puppies were called Trumpington terriers, and one of them, "Rags," became the founding sire of the Norwich Terrier breed, being bred with various Trumpington terriers and Glen of Imaal terriers. For a time, they were known as Jones terriers, after Frank Jones, who was instrumental in developing them.
The Norwich Terrier moved with Frank Jones to the United States and found use as not only a hunter of vermin but also as a terrier who could work alongside Foxhounds. The Norwich Terrier was used to flush foxes Foxhounds couldn't get to because they'd gone into their dens.
It didn't take long for the Norwich Terrier to become known in the United States and many were imported into the US and used by American hunters for foxhunting.
In 1979, the AKC followed the lead already set by England's Kennel Club in 1964 and split the varieties into two different breeds: the drop-eared dog became the Norfolk Terrier and the prick-eared dog remained the Norwich Terrier.
Standing 10 inches high at the shoulders and weighing roughly 12 pounds for both males and females, the Norwich Terrier is one of the smallest of the terrier breeds. He should look stocky but not overweight.
The Norwich Terrier is known for his affectionate nature. He generally loves everyone and will do well in households with multiple pets and children.
His sensitive intelligence and alert nature ensure that he'll bark an alarm if he spots anything or anyone suspicious near his home.
Norwich Terriers have a mind of their own, but they generally enjoy life and enjoy pleasing both themselves and their owners. They are small, but that doesn't mean you should overindulge or coddle them. That simply leads to behavior problems.
The Norwich is active and loves playing with balls and toys or just playing a good game with the people he loves. He thrives on the companionship of humans and will fit himself into your life completely.
Like every dog, Norwich Terriers need early socialization--exposure to many different people, sights, sounds, and experiences. Socialization helps ensure that your Norwich Terrier puppy grows up to be a well-rounded dog. Enrolling him in a puppy kindergarten class is a great start.
Inviting visitors over regularly, and taking him to busy parks, stores that allow dogs, and on leisurely strolls to meet neighbors will also help him polish his social skills.
Norwich Terriers are generally healthy, but like all breeds, they're prone to certain health conditions. Not all Norwich Terriers will get any or all of these diseases, but it's important to be aware of them if you're considering this breed.
- Tracheal Collapse: Tracheal collapse is often seen in small breed such as the Norwich. It is caused by a weakening of the tracheal rings, which flatten until finally obstructing the airway. Signs of tracheal collapse include coughing that sounds like a goose honk, fainting, and an inability to exercise for long periods. It is treated medically with antibiotics, steroids, and cough suppressants. You may be advised to walk your dog with a harness rather than a collar to reduce pressure on his neck. If medical treatment doesn't work, surgery is recommended.
- Elongated Soft Palate: The soft palate is the extension of the roof of the mouth. When the soft palate is elongated, it can obstruct the airway and cause difficulty in breathing. The treatment for Elongated Soft Palate is surgical removal of the excess palate.
- Epilepsy: The Norwich Terrier can suffer from epilepsy, which is a disorder that causes seizures in the dog. Epilepsy can be treated by medication, but it cannot be cured. A dog can live a full and healthy life with the proper management of this hereditary disorder.
If you're buying a puppy, find a good breeder who will show you health clearances for both your puppy's parents. Health clearances prove that a dog has been tested for and cleared of a particular condition.
In Norwich Terriers, you should expect to see health clearances from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) for hip dysplasia (with a score of fair or better), elbow dysplasia, hypothyroidism, and von Willebrand's disease; from Auburn University for thrombopathia; and from the Canine Eye Registry Foundation (CERF) certifying that eyes are normal. You can confirm health clearances by checking the OFA web site (offa.org).
The Norwich Terrier is an intelligent working dog. He's happiest when he has a job to do. Training can be fairly easy with this breed as long you provide clear and consistent rules and training. Making a training session interesting rather than repetitive is another way to keep the Norwich Terrier engaged and interested in learning.
Housetraining can be a challenge and may take a significant amount of time and patience. Use a crate to prevent accidents in the home.
Crate training benefits every dog and is a kind way to ensure that your Norwich doesn't have accidents in the house or get into things he shouldn't. A crate is also a place where he can retreat for a nap.
Never stick your Norwich in a crate all day long, however. Norwich Terriers are people dogs, and they aren't meant to spend their lives locked up in a crate or kennel.
Norwich Terriers require daily exercise and like many terrier breeds they have an ample supply of energy. They make wonderful walking companions, and their exercise requirements can be met with a couple of vigorous 10- or 15-minute walks per day or playtime in a fenced area.
It's important that a Norwich Terrier remain on lead when he's not in a fenced area or his strong desire to chase can cause him to run right in front of a car.
Although the Norwich Terrier is known to bark, he can live in an apartment if his stimulation and exercise needs are met.
Recommended daily amount: 1/2 to 1 cup of high-quality dry food a day, divided into two meals.
NOTE: How much your adult dog eats depends on his size, age, build, metabolism, and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don't all need the same amount of food. It almost goes without saying that a highly active dog will need more than a couch potato dog.
The quality of dog food you buy also makes a difference--the better the dog food, the further it will go toward nourishing your dog and the less of it you'll need to shake into your dog's bowl.
It's been said that the Norwich will eat anything that doesn't eat him first. Not surprisingly, he's prone to obesity. If you're unsure whether he's overweight, give him the eye test and the hands-on test.
First, look down at him. You should be able to see a waist. Then place your hands on his back, thumbs along the spine, with the fingers spread downward. You should be able to feel but not see his ribs without having to press hard. If you can't, he needs less food and more exercise.
For more on feeding your Norwich, see our guidelines for buying the right food, feeding your puppy, and feeding your adult dog.
Coat, Color and Grooming
The Norwich Terrier wears a hard, wiry, straight topcoat over a soft, downy, insulating undercoat. The hair on his neck and shoulders forms a protective mane. Small dark eyes twinkle beneath slight eyebrows. The hair on the rest of his head, including the ears and muzzle, is short.
The Norwich coat can be any shade of red, grizzle (a mixture of black or red hairs with white hairs), wheaten (pale yellow or fawn), or black and tan.
Like all breeds, Norwich Terriers shed, though not as much as some. Brush them weekly to remove dead hair. Regular brushing will keep your Norwich clean. He won't need frequent baths unless he rolls in something stinky.
Stripping the coat twice a year--pulling out the dead topcoat by hand or with the aid of a stripping tool--maintains the coat's characteristic hard texture. Without stripping, your Norwich will look a little scruffy, and he'll shed more than he would otherwise.
If you clip your Norwich's coat instead of stripping it, the color and texture changes, becoming lighter and softer and more prone to shedding.
Other grooming needs include dental hygiene and nail care. Brush your Norwich's teeth at least two or three times a week to remove tartar buildup and the bacteria that lurk inside it. Daily brushing is even better if you want to prevent gum disease and bad breath. Small breeds such as the Norwich are especially prone to severe gingivitis.
Trim nails regularly if your dog doesn't wear them down naturally. If you can hear them clicking on the floor, they're too long. Short, neatly trimmed nails keep your legs from getting scratched when your Norwich enthusiastically jumps up to greet you.
Begin getting your Norwich accustomed to being brushed and examined when he's a puppy. Handle his paws frequently--dogs are touchy about their feet--and look inside his mouth and ears. Make grooming a positive experience filled with praise and rewards, and you'll lay the groundwork for easy veterinary exams and other handling when he's an adult.
As you groom, check for sores, rashes, or signs of infection such as redness, tenderness, or inflammation on the skin, in the ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and on the feet. Ears should smell good, without too much wax or gunk inside, and eyes should be clear, with no redness or discharge. Your careful weekly exam will help you spot potential health problems early.
Children and other pets
Norwich Terriers are known for their love of everyone, and this includes children. They do much better in homes with children if they are raised with them. An adult Norwich who's unfamiliar with children may do best in a home with children who are mature enough to interact with him properly.
Always teach children how to approach and touch dogs, and always supervise any interactions between dogs and young children to prevent any biting or ear or tail pulling on the part of either party. Teach your child never to approach any dog while he's eating or to try to take the dog's food away. No dog should ever be left unsupervised with a child.
Norwich Terriers also do very well with other dogs and tend to have no issues with other canine pets. They can adjust to living with cats but they need to be properly socialized to them to do so.
Norwich Terriers are sometimes bought without any clear understanding of what goes into owning one. These dogs may end up in need of adoption and fostering.
Below are breed clubs, organizations, and associations where you can find additional information about the Norwich Terrier.
All Breed Characteristics
Measures how well this breed potentially adapts to different environments
Measures the amount and difficulty of training potentially required for this breed
Health & Grooming
Measures how much effort this breed potentially needs to keep a tidy hound and home
Measures this breed's potential to get along with other dogs and humans
Measures this breed's potential to require lots of physical activity
Adapt well to apartment living
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn't necessarily an apartment dog make -- plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents, are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Affectionate with family
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they've been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn't the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
Amount of shedding
If you're going to share your home with a dog, you'll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds: Some dogs shed year-round, some "blow" seasonally -- produce a snowstorm of loose hair -- some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you're a neatnik you'll need to either pick a low-shedding breed, or relax your standards.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs even if they're love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn't the only factor; dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least 6 to 8 weeks of age, and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you've got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you're a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog that rates low in the drool department.
Easy to groom
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog that needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Easy to train
Easy to train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word "sit"), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training. Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a "What's in it for me?" attitude, in which case you'll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they're more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells. Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you'll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise -- especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, such as herding or hunting. Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don't like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Friendly toward strangers
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with a wagging tail and a nuzzle; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn't mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they're at an increased risk. If you're buying a puppy, it's a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you're interested in, so you can ask the breeder about the physical health of your potential pup's parents and other relatives.
Good for novice owners
Some dogs are simply easier than others: they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They're also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies. Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time owner to manage. You'll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don't get the mental stimulation they need, they'll make their own work -- usually with projects you won't like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
A vigorous dog may or may not be high-energy, but everything he does, he does with vigor: he strains on the leash (until you train him not to), tries to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who's elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who's on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (aka pit bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren't so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they're not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Potential for mouthiness
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn't puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or "herd" their human family members, and they need training to learn that it's fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a chew toy that's been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Potential for playfulness
Some dogs are perpetual puppies -- always begging for a game -- while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Potential for weight gain
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that's prone to packing on pounds, you'll need to limit treats, make sure he gets enough exercise, and measure out his daily kibble in regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Dogs that were bred to hunt, such as terriers, have an inborn desire to chase and sometimes kill other animals. Anything whizzing by -- cats, squirrels, perhaps even cars -- can trigger that instinct. Dogs that like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you'll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren't a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won't chase, but you'll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called "easygoing," "tolerant," "resilient," and even "thick-skinned," can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world's smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if he is compatible with you and your living space.
Tendency to bark or howl
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how the dog vocalizes — with barks or howls — and how often. If you're considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you're considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious "strangers" put him on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby?
Tolerates being alone
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive, barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Tolerates cold weather
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Tolerates hot weather
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can't pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, the dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you'll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they'll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses, or that bunny that just ran across the path, even if it means leaving you behind.
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