Breed Type:  Terrier
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Size: Small
Also known as: Jones Terriers
Males: Height: 24-25.5 cm Weight: 5-5.4 kg
Females: Height: 23-25 cm Weight: 4.5-5 kg
Exercise Requirements: Medium
Care Requirements: Medium
Lifespan: 12-16 Years
Best Suited as: Family Pet

A rare breed, the Norwich Terrier is a loyal companion and a trusted pet. Always underfoot, this spirited dog will not let you forget about him. Although once classified as a Norwich Terrier, the Norfolk Terrier is now a different breed.

The Norwich Terrier, commonly compared to its cousin, the Norfolk Terrier is shorter in the legs and sturdier than the Norfolk Terrier with erect ears. Their eyes are dark and expressive and are full of personality. Their coat is wiry and it comes in a variety of coat colors – wheaten, red, black, tan, grey and grizzle.  The hair on their neck, throat and at the base of their ears is longer and thicker than the rest of their coat and their eyebrows and whiskers are long.

They have short, powerful legs and are known as one of the smallest terriers.

The Norwich Terrier is a happy, spirited and foxy breed.  What this dog lacks in size is made up for in personality. All terrier, they are intelligent, spunky, and assertive. They are more social than many terriers, but they prefer their owners and are initially suspicious of new people and other dogs.
The Norwich Terrier, like most terriers, is prone to barking but is not known for being yappy like other small dogs can be.  A dog from this breed should not be overly aggressive, quarrelsome or shy.  Make sure you obtain this dog from a reputable breeder and observe the dog before selecting him.
An identical early history is shared between the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier.  They were both originally referred to as the Norwich Terrier.  Around the turn of the 20th century, Frank “Roughrider” Jones developed the breeds from other working terriers in the stables of Norfolk, England.They were bred as barn dogs to chase away vermin and were nicknamed “Jones Terriers” after their originator.

The only way to determine the difference between Norwich Terriers from Norfolk Terriers is to look at their ears. The Norwich has erect or prick ears and the Norfolk has floppy ears.  In the 1930’s, breeders wanted to separate the two varieties so they ceased cross breeding the prick and floppy ear variety dogs. In 1932, the Norwich was registered in the English Kennel Club and in 1936; it was added to The American Kennel Club.

In 1964, the prick ear and floppy ear variety of Norwich’s were officially separated by The Kennel Club, in the show ring. The American Kennel club and the Canadian Kennel Club followed suit in 1979. From that time forward, the Norwich Terrier only referred to the erect ear variety of the breed.

Adding to their notoriety, students at Cambridge University kept Norwich Terriers as pets in the 1880’s.

Care and Grooming
The Norwich Terrier needs daily brushing with a steel “greyhound” comb to remove dead hair and to prevent matting. Their undercoat is soft while their topcoat is harsh and wiry. The Norwich Terrier needs to be bathed only when dirty and should not be trimmed with clippers. They are a light shedder and hand stripping may be needed several times a year.  Although expensive, many owners prefer to take their Norwich Terrier to a groomer for this service.

Norwich Terriers love to eat and care must be taken to prevent obesity. Breeders recommend a mixed diet of fresh meat and dry food, with water.

Many dog breeders recommend crate training for this fun loving puppy, as they can be difficult to housebreak.

While Norwich Terriers tend to be healthy, there are a few health concerns to note.  Some instances of epilepsy have been reported as well as narrow tracheas, hip dysplasia and mitral valve disease.  Some Norwich Terriers also exhibit an incorrect bite but this condition should not be a major concern unless you are planning to enter your pet into the show ring.

More Norwich Terriers are being diagnosed with Upper Airway Syndrome. You should be concerned if you dog’s breath becomes raspy or moist. If these symptoms develop, you should visit your veterinarian right away.

Norwich Terriers are difficult to breed and litters often bare no more than two puppies.  The birthing process is also risky and many females need Caesarean sections.

The Norwich Terrier has an average lifespan of 12 to 16 years.

Suitability as a Pet
Make sure to purchase your Norwich Terrier from a reputable breeder.  Recent internet scams have lead people to buy Cairn Terriers with docked tails being passed off as Norwich Terriers.  There are very few breeders in Australia and you can expect to wait for your pet.

Although they might look like adorable lap dogs, the Norwich Terrier is too busy to sit still.
The Norfolk Terrier loves to be part of the pack, and hates isolation. Because of their long history of hunting vermin, they should not be trusted alone with smaller pets such as hamsters, mice or guinea pigs.  Norwich Terriers love to play games and need either a walk or a play session daily.  They love to hunt so including games that cater to this prowess will make them very happy.  While their rightful place is inside with you, your Norwich Terrier will appreciate a small yard for playing.  Beware of tunnels under your fence, though – this dog loves to dig.  Place your fence at least 30 cm underground to prevent this problem.

It is important to keep your Norwich Terrier on a leash in case a squirrel or rabbit catches his eye. This breed is usually obedient, but even the most faithful Norwich will lead you on a wild goose chase to catch a running squirrel if you let him.  Early training is important and use gentle reinforcement to correct negative behavior.  Norwich Terriers are sensitive to criticism and scolding. If you plan to have your Norwich around children, make sure they are socialized early.

Veterinary Surgeon, London at Blue Cross UK | + posts

A London based Veterinary surgeon, Sanja is also an avid writer and pet advocate.