Norwich Terrier

Kelly Roper
Norwich Terrier

Come meet the Norwich Terrier.

A Little Norwich History

The spunky little dog known as the Norwich Terrier is the product of English ratting dogs. A fierce pursuer of vermin, this courageous beast has no fear of diving down a foxhole to flush the animal back out again and continue the chase.

The Norwich was officially recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1936, but it wasn't until 1964 that the pricked-eared and drop-eared varieties were sorted out into two separate breeds. The drop-eared dogs were renamed Norfolk Terriers at that time.

General Description of the Norwich Terrier

The Norwich may be mighty in determination, but he is actually one of the smallest Terrier breeds, standing around ten inches tall at the shoulder and weighing approximately twelve pounds. Although small, he is by no means slight. A Norwich is sturdily built and well-muscled, giving him the stamina needed to work in fields and on farms for hours on end.

These dogs have a typical Terrier-type head with prick ears as previously mentioned. The eyes are dark, and these dogs have a slightly fox-like expression. The neck is fairly short and easily blends into the shoulders. The chest is reasonably broad and the legs are short, lending the dogs a rectangular appearance. The upright tails are docked, but only to a medium length that still enables owners to grasp them and retrieve the dogs from den holes.

The coat is quite wiry with a rough around the neck and chest, yet fairly smooth except for a set of whiskers and eyebrows. There is also a good deal of fur on the pants.

Colors include:

  • Wheaten
  • Red
  • Black and tan
  • Grizzle

Personality

To put it simply, the Norwich Terrier is not aware that he is a small dog. He has a hearty and fearless nature, but it is balanced with plenty of calm intelligence. He is a happy creature under most circumstances and easily adapts to whatever is going on at the moment. He has a good deal of that patented Terrier energy and spunk, yet he makes a wonderful family companion for adults and well-behaved children.

The Norwich is also loyal and somewhat protective of those he considers part of his pack. In most cases, he will greet strangers with guarded manners until he decides if they are friend or foe. Having been bred to hunt in packs, these dogs are able to get along with other canines a little better than the average Terrier, but they should be socialized to accept other household pets at a very young age.

Training

The Norwich has a strong character, so early socialization is necessary to prevent him from trying to assume the leadership position in your home. Obedience training is beneficial, but don't expect this inquisitive little thinker to follow your commands blindly. He'll most likely want to think things over for himself before he decides if you are on the right track. That said, he does have a willingness to please, and will go along with you more often than not.

As with so many Terriers, the Norwich is fairly difficult to house break. You must begin this training as early as possible, and remain consistent in scheduled breaks to give the greatest opportunity for success. Accidents must be cleaned immediately with an enzymatic cleaner to prevent the dog from being drawn back to the scene of the crime for a repeat offense.

Norwiches are most at home with field sports, but many enjoy agility activities as well.

Exercise Needs

Norwich Terriers have boundless energy, so they need a lot of activity to keep them healthy and well-adjusted. They positively must be taken for brisk daily walks, and a variety of toys are a must. These should include chew toys as well as interactive toys that give your dog a way to occupy his mind. These dogs will also burn off a lot of energy while playing around with other canine companions.

Grooming Needs

Shedding is low to moderate with this breed, but due to their highly active natures and love of exploration, they do need some regular maintenance to keep them looking their best. A good brushing should be carried out a couple of times a week to remove burrs and other debris that may stick in the coat, especially on the undercarriage. Bathing may be carried out on an "as needed" basis, but frequent bathing tends to dry out the coat. Pets can be clipped for easy maintenance, but show specimens must have the dead coat stripped away.

With proper exercise, the nails will wear down on their own. However, it is necessary to check them and trim as needed. The ears should be swabbed out once a week. Norwiches also have an impressive set of teeth for their size, and they will benefit from a gentle brushing at least once a week.

Health and Longevity

Norwich care book

Norwiches can be quite long-lived, averaging between twelve and fifteen years if there are no other health issues in play. That said, there are a number of health concerns to watch for in this breed.

These include:

  • Heart problems
  • Allergies
  • Joint problems
  • Narrow tracheas
  • Epilepsy

Try to find out as much as you can about the health history of a particular dog's family so you have a better idea of which challenges you may face through the years.

Norwich Terrier