Norwich Terrier

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norwich terrier portrait
Meet the Norwich Terrier: a pocket-sized powerhouse with a heart as big as its personality! With their perky ears, expressive eyes, and boundless energy, these little dogs have a way of winning hearts and taking center stage.

Join us in this comprehensive guide as we explore everything you need to know about this breed, including their appearance, temperament, ideal environment, grooming, exercise requirements, training tips, dietary needs, health concerns, history, and more.

Best For

Norwich Terriers are the perfect match for those who love a good adventure! Their lively spirit makes them great companions for active individuals or families. They’re small but sturdy, making them ideal city dwellers and country explorers alike. If you’re seeking a loyal, energetic companion, look no further than the Norwich Terrier.

Overview

OFFICIAL NAMENorwich Terrier
ORIGINUnited Kingdom
BREED GROUPTerrier Group
BREED SIZESmall
HEIGHT9-10 inches
WEIGHT11-12 lbs
LIFESPAN12-15 years
LIVING SPACESmall
SENSITIVITY TO COLD WEATHERModerate
SENSITIVITY TO WARM WEATHERModerate
GROOMING NEEDSModerate
EXERCISE NEEDSModerate
TRAINABILITYModerate
BARKING TENDENCYHigh
BITING TENDENCYLow
DROOLING TENDENCYLow
SHEDDING LEVELLow
POPULARITY RANK109th
norwich terrier standing on green grass
Photo: CaptureLight/Getty Images

Appearance

The Norwich Terrier is a small but mighty dog with an irresistible charm. Standing at just 10 inches tall and weighing between 11 to 12 pounds, these dogs are compact powerhouses. Despite their petite size, they’re robust and sturdy, thanks to their well-muscled body and solid bone structure.

One look at a Norwich Terrier, and you’ll notice their distinct head. It’s slightly rounded and wide, with generous space between their perky, pointed ears that stand alert to every sound. Their medium-sized tails, carried high and proud, add a touch of cheerfulness to their overall appearance.

Their eyes are arguably one of their most endearing features. Dark, round, and full of expression, they sparkle with curiosity, intelligence, and a hint of mischief. The Norwich Terrier’s expression is often described as foxy, capturing their playful personality perfectly.

Now, let’s delve into their coat. The Norwich Terrier is graced with a double coat that’s both functional and attractive. The outer layer is hard, wiry, and straight, serving as a protective shell against weather elements and rough play. Beneath this, there’s a soft, insulating undercoat that keeps them warm during colder seasons.

An interesting feature of the Norwich Terrier’s coat is the protective mane of hair around the neck and shoulders. This adds an extra layer of protection and contributes to their ruggedly handsome looks.

The Norwich’s coat comes in a variety of colors, from red, black and tan, wheaten to grizzle (a blend of black or red hairs with white hairs). Regular brushing and combing are necessary to keep their coats in tip-top shape.

norwich terrier playing with a ball outdoor
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Temperament

The Norwich Terrier is a small dog with a big heart and an even bigger personality. Despite their petite size, these dogs are full of life, courage, and intelligence, making them an absolute joy to be around.

One of the things you’ll notice immediately about the Norwich Terrier is their affectionate nature. They love human companionship and thrive on being part of the family. Their jovial and loyal temperament makes them easy to love and even easier to form strong bonds with. Whether it’s snuggling on the couch or playing in the park, they’re happiest when they’re by your side.

Norwich Terriers are known for their courageous spirit. They’re fearless and bold, always ready to take on whatever comes their way. But don’t mistake their bravery for aggression. These dogs are well-balanced and should never show signs of hostility. Their courage is tempered with a gentle nature, making them pleasant companions.

Intelligence is another hallmark of the Norwich Terrier’s personality. They’re quick learners and enjoy mental stimulation. Their sharp minds are always at work, whether they’re solving a puzzle toy or simply observing their surroundings. This intelligence, paired with their curious nature, often leads to some delightful and sometimes mischievous antics.

Speaking of mischief, Norwich Terriers are known for their playful and lively demeanor. They’re always up for a game and have a knack for turning even the most mundane moments into fun-filled adventures. Their playful nature, combined with their infectious enthusiasm, can brighten up any day.

But it’s not all about play for these dogs. Norwich Terriers also possess a strong-willed and assertive side. They’re determined and tenacious, not easily swayed once they’ve set their minds on something. While this stubbornness can sometimes be challenging, it’s also a testament to their resilience and determination.

Despite their feisty disposition, Norwich Terriers make wonderful and lovable companion pets. They’re sociable dogs that get along well with people and other animals. They’re also known for their friendly and outgoing nature, making them great ambassadors of goodwill wherever they go.

norwich terrier standing on grass
Photo: Droidfoto/Getty Images

Ideal Environment

When it comes to the ideal environment for a Norwich Terrier, think active, engaging, and full of love. These dogs are versatile and adaptable, comfortable in both city apartments and country homes. But no matter where they live, they thrive in environments where they can be part of the family action.

Ideal Owner

The best pet parents for Norwich Terriers are those who enjoy an active lifestyle and have time to invest in their furry friends. They’re well-suited to families, singles, or seniors who can offer plenty of affection and engagement. Despite their small size, these dogs have a big appetite for fun and love to be involved in all family activities.

Other Pets

Norwich Terriers also get along well with other pets. They’re sociable creatures that are known for their friendly and outgoing nature. Whether it’s a fellow canine, a cat, or even smaller pets, they generally coexist peacefully, provided they’ve been properly socialized.

Physical Environment

When it comes to physical environments, these little dogs are pretty flexible. However, they do appreciate having a secure outdoor space where they can explore and play. A yard with secure fencing is ideal, as their curious nature may tempt them to venture out on unsupervised adventures!

Precautions should also be taken indoors. Norwich Terriers are agile climbers and notorious counter-surfers. Keeping harmful substances and small objects out of reach is crucial for their safety.

Climate Adaptability

As for weather adaptability, the Norwich Terrier is a sturdy breed that handles a range of climates well. Their double coat provides insulation against the cold, but that doesn’t mean they’re immune to extreme temperatures. In very cold conditions, a doggy sweater could provide extra warmth.

Conversely, in hot climates, it’s essential to provide shade, fresh water, and avoid intense midday heat to prevent overheating.

norwich terrier standing behind a fence
Photo: Ekaterina Gorokhova/Getty Images

Grooming

Grooming your Norwich Terrier doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be a bonding experience and a great way to keep your furry friend looking their best. The Norwich has specific grooming needs, but with a little knowledge and the right tools, you’ll be a pro in no time!

Coat Care

Let’s start with their coat. Norwich Terriers have a dense, wiry double coat that’s designed to protect them from the elements and rough play. It’s not prone to matting or tangling, but it does require regular brushing to keep it healthy and looking its best.

Aim for a good brush-down at least once a week using a slicker brush or a comb with both wide and narrow teeth. This will help remove loose hairs and distribute natural oils throughout the coat.

Every few months, your Norwich may need hand-stripping. This process involves plucking out the dead outer coat to allow new growth. It helps maintain the coat’s texture and color and is typically done by a professional groomer. However, pet owners can also learn to do it at home. If you prefer, you can clip the coat, but this will soften the texture and may alter the color over time.

Bathing your Norwich should be done as needed — when they’re dirty or start to emit a doggy odor. Use a dog-specific shampoo to keep their skin and coat healthy. Remember, too much bathing can strip the natural oils from their coat, so it’s best to keep it to a minimum.

Dental Care

Dental care is another important aspect of grooming. Regular brushing of their teeth can prevent gum disease and bad breath. Starting this habit early can make it easier for both you and your dog. Aim to brush their teeth a few times a week, and don’t forget to use dog-safe toothpaste!

Nail Trimming

Don’t overlook their nails. Norwich Terriers are active dogs, and regular exercise may naturally wear down their nails. However, if you can hear their nails clicking on the floor, it’s time for a trim. Use a dog nail clipper or grinder, and always be careful not to cut into the quick.

Ear Care

Lastly, remember to check their ears regularly. Clean them as needed with a vet-approved cleaner to prevent infections. Their perky ears can be prone to a buildup of dirt and wax, which can lead to problems if not addressed.

norwich terrier sitting near a wall outdoor
Photo: Oksana_Bondar/Getty Images

Exercise

Despite their compact size, Norwich Terriers are incredibly active and require regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Exercise Amount & Types

On average, a Norwich Terrier needs about 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. This can be split into two walks of at least 15 minutes each, coupled with plenty of time for play.

But remember, walks aren’t just for physical exercise – they’re also an opportunity for your Norwich to explore their environment, which provides important mental stimulation.

Norwich Terriers love to play and will happily engage in games of fetch or tug-of-war. They’re also great at agility and obedience training, which can provide both physical exercise and mental challenges. Their agile nature and high intelligence make them naturals at these activities, and they’re often seen excelling in dog competitions.

But the fun doesn’t stop there! Norwich Terriers also enjoy a good run. Whether it’s chasing a ball in the yard or running alongside you on a bike ride, these activities can help burn off their abundant energy. Just remember to keep them on a leash or in a secure area, as their instinct to chase can sometimes get the better of them.

Exercise Precautions

Despite their energetic nature, it’s also important to remember that every Norwich Terrier is an individual. Some may require more exercise than others, so it’s always best to pay attention to your dog’s signals. If they’re restless or engaging in destructive behavior, they might need more exercise.

On the other hand, if they’re struggling to keep up during walks or seem overly tired, it might be time to scale back.

norwich terrier running at an agility trial
Photo: Kyle Reynolds/Getty Images

Training

Training a Norwich Terrier can be a rewarding experience, filled with fun and a few surprises! These dogs are known for their intelligence and eagerness to please, which makes them quite trainable. However, they also have an independent streak that adds a dash of spice to the training process.

One key aspect to remember when training your Norwich is to keep it fun and engaging. These dogs thrive on mental stimulation and will respond best to training sessions that feel like games. Incorporating toys, treats, and plenty of praise can help keep their attention and make learning a joyous occasion.

Norwich Terriers are often successful in obedience training. They’re quick learners and can master basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and down with relative ease. Consistency is key here – repeating the same commands and rewarding them for correct behavior will help reinforce the lessons.

Socialization is another important part of their training. Norwich Terriers are naturally sociable and generally get along well with other animals. However, early exposure to different people, environments, sounds, and experiences can help ensure they grow into well-rounded adults. Puppy classes or dog parks can be great places for social interaction.

Despite their trainability, Norwich Terriers can occasionally display a stubborn streak. They’re independent thinkers and may sometimes decide to follow their own agenda. Patience and positive reinforcement are crucial during these moments. Remember, harsh corrections or punishment can damage their trust and may hinder the training process.

Lastly, don’t forget to train them to walk nicely on a leash. Norwich Terriers are natural explorers and may try to chase after small animals or dart off in interesting directions. Leash training from a young age can help prevent this behavior and ensure your walks are enjoyable for both of you.

norwich terrier lying on a wooden staircase
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Diet & Nutrition 

Feeding your Norwich Terrier a balanced and nutritious diet is key to ensuring they live a happy, healthy life. These little dogs have big appetites, and it’s important to provide them with the right kind of food in the correct amounts.

What to Feed & How Much

When choosing food for your Norwich, look for high-quality dry, wet, or raw food that follows the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines. The food should be rich in animal proteins to support their active lifestyle, along with a good balance of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals for overall health.

The amount you feed your Norwich will depend on their age, size, and activity level. Puppies usually require small meals fed multiple times a day, while an adult Norwich typically does well with two meals per day. Always check the feeding guidelines on the pet food packaging and adjust as necessary based on your dog’s individual needs.

Keep an eye on your dog’s weight. Norwich Terriers love to eat and can easily become overweight if their diet isn’t properly managed. Regular weigh-ins and body condition checks can help you catch any weight issues early.

Treats

Treats can be a valuable training aid and a way to show your Norwich some love. However, remember that treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake to prevent weight gain and nutritional imbalances. Choose healthy options like dog-friendly fruits or vegetables, or specially formulated dog treats.

Water

Don’t forget about water! Norwich Terriers are active dogs and need plenty of fresh, clean water to stay hydrated. Make sure they always have access to water, especially after exercise or during hot weather.

norwich terrier sitting in a garden
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Health

The Norwich Terrier is a generally healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. However, like all breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Here are common health issues associated with Norwich Terriers:

Hip Dysplasia: This is a genetic condition where the thighbone doesn’t fit snugly into the hip joint, which can lead to discomfort or lameness in severe cases.

Patellar Luxation: This condition occurs when the kneecap (patella) slips out of place, causing pain and mobility issues.

Eye Conditions: Norwich Terriers can be prone to various eye problems, including cataracts and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), which can lead to blindness.

Upper Airway Syndrome: This syndrome includes a variety of respiratory problems that can affect Norwich Terriers due to their small size and facial structure.

Allergies: These dogs can suffer from allergies that cause itchy skin and other discomforts. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, and certain foods.

To ensure your Norwich Terrier stays healthy, a balanced diet is crucial. High-quality dog food that meets their nutritional needs can help maintain their overall health and ward off diseases. Treats should be given sparingly to prevent obesity, which can exacerbate health issues.

Regular veterinary check-ups are also essential for early detection and treatment of potential health problems. Your vet can provide vaccinations, heartworm prevention, flea and tick treatments, and other preventative care to keep your Norwich healthy.

In addition, regular exercise can help your Norwich maintain a healthy weight and promote good overall health. Combine this with plenty of love and attention, and you’ll have a happy, healthy Norwich Terrier by your side for many years to come.

norwich terrier walking on grass
Photo: Kyle Reynolds/Getty Images

History

The Norwich Terrier holds a rich history rooted in the rural landscapes of the United Kingdom. Originating in the late 19th century, these small but mighty dogs were developed in East Anglia, a region known for its agricultural richness.

Initially, these terriers were bred to rid the stables of rats and other vermin, proving their worth as working dogs. Their compact size allowed them to burrow into rodent dens, making them an invaluable asset to farmers. They were also popular with Cambridge University students, who kept them as pets and named them “Cantab Terriers.”

The breed we know today as the Norwich Terrier was developed by crossing small Irish Terriers with other short-legged terrier breeds. One of the resulting puppies, a red dog named Rags, is considered the patriarch of the Norwich Terrier breed. His descendants carried his distinct traits – prick ears, wiry coat, and tenacious spirit.

In the early years, Norwich Terriers existed in two types: prick-eared and drop-eared. Both were referred to as Norwich Terriers until 1964 when the British Kennel Club separated the two types into distinct breeds: the prick-eared became the Norwich Terrier, and the drop-eared became the Norfolk Terrier.

Across the pond, the American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized the Norwich Terrier in 1936. However, it wasn’t until 1979 that the AKC followed suit and split the Norwich and Norfolk into separate breeds.

While not as famous as some other breeds, Norwich Terriers have made a few appearances in popular culture. They’ve been featured in books like “The Art of Racing in the Rain” and movies like “Hudson Hawk.” Despite their limited screen time, they’ve captured hearts with their charming personalities and adorable looks.

Today, the Norwich Terrier ranks 109th on the AKC’s list of Most Popular Dog Breeds. While they might not be as well-known as some of their terrier cousins, they hold a special place in the hearts of those who know them.

Parent Club

The parent club for the Norwich Terrier breed in the United States is the Norwich Terrier Club of America (NTCA). The NTCA is dedicated to the health and welfare of the Norwich Terrier, providing resources and support for owners and breed enthusiasts. You can learn more about the NTCA by visiting their website.

Breed Standard

A breed standard is a set of guidelines established by breed clubs or kennel organizations, defining the ideal appearance, temperament, and physical traits of a specific breed. 

It serves as a reference for breeders, judges, and enthusiasts to evaluate and maintain a breed’s unique qualities. Covering aspects like size, appearance, and temperament, breed standards are used in dog shows and competitions to assess individual dogs against the ideal representation of their breed.

Check out the Norwich Terrier’s breed standard as set by the American Kennel Club (AKC).

norwich terrier puppy in a garden
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Acquiring

Planning to welcome a Norwich Terrier into your life? That’s exciting! To prepare, ensure you have the basics: a comfortable bed, food and water dishes, high-quality dog food, toys for mental stimulation, and a leash for those fun walks.

If you choose to buy, remember to opt for reputable breeders who prioritize the health and well-being of their dogs. A good breeder should be able to provide health clearances and information about the puppy’s parents.

However, why not consider rescuing a Norwich Terrier? There are many wonderful dogs waiting for their forever homes. Both the American Kennel Club and the Norwich Terrier Club of America can assist with rescuing. Not only will you be providing a loving home to a dog in need, but you’ll also gain a loyal companion. Remember, a rescued dog is often a grateful one!

FAQs

Is a Norwich Terrier a good pet?

Absolutely! Norwich Terriers are known for their affectionate, friendly nature. They get along well with people and other animals, making them a great choice for families.

Are Norwich Terriers low maintenance?

While Norwich Terriers are small in size, they require a moderate amount of care. Their wiry coats need regular brushing to prevent matting, and they also need regular exercise to keep them happy and healthy.

Are Norwich Terriers rare?

Yes, Norwich Terriers are considered a rare breed. In fact, they’re one of the smallest and rarest terrier breeds.

Do Norwich Terriers like to cuddle?

Yes, they do! Norwich Terriers are known for their affectionate nature and often enjoy spending time cuddling with their owners.

How much exercise does a Norwich Terrier need?

Norwich Terriers are active dogs and require 30-60 minutes of daily exercise to stay fit and healthy. This can include walks, playtime, or even agility training.

Are Norwich Terriers good with children?

Yes, Norwich Terriers are generally good with children. They’re playful and energetic, making them great companions for kids. However, as with any dog, it’s important to supervise interactions between dogs and young children.

Do Norwich Terriers bark a lot?

Norwich Terriers are not excessive barkers, but they will alert you if they see or hear something unusual. Training from a young age can help manage their barking behavior.

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