Key Breed Facts
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Norfolk Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Norfolk Terrier
The Norfolk Terrier is the smallest of all the working terrier breeds and like the Norwich Terrier they were named after the county. These charming little dogs were originally bred to hunt vermin, but over the years they have found their way into the hearts and homes of many people and for good reason. The Norfolk is not only a very sweet looking terrier, but they boast having extremely affectionate, albeit lively personalities too.
Norfolk Terriers and Norwich Terriers were considered one and the same breed during the 1800s when they were simply thought of as working farm dogs, although they were also a popular choice of companion with Cambridge university students too and eventually became their mascot. Although the actual origins of the breed remain a bit of a mystery, but it's thought that certain terriers were used to create Norfolks which includes red Cairn Terriers, Glen of Imaals and Dandie Dinmonts.
These charming little dogs have been around for well over 100 years and were originally bred to control vermin becoming known as exceptionally good "ratters". The breed was recognised by The Kennel Club in 1932 as being Norwich Terriers, but later in 1965 dogs with drop ears and dogs with upright ears were classed as separate and unique breeds in their own right with dropped eared dogs being called Norfolk Terriers. Today, Norfolks are still as popular as companions and family pets as they ever were thanks to their charming albeit often feisty, terrier natures. They have also found their way into the hearts and homes of many people in other countries of the world as well as being popular when exhibited in the show ring.
Height at the withers: Males 23 - 25 cm, Females 23 - 25 cm
Average weight: Males 5.0 - 5.4 kg, Females 5.0 - 5.4 kg
Norfolk Terriers are short-legged, little dogs that boast having compact, strong bodies. They are built to be excellent ratters, a job they excel at. They are the smallest of all the terrier breeds and have broad, slightly rounded heads with a nice width between their ears. They have wedge-shaped, strong muzzles and well defined stops. Their eyes can be dark brown or black and oval-shaped with Norfolks always having an intelligent, keen and alert look about their eyes.
They have medium sized, V-shaped ears with slightly rounded tips which drop forwards, lying close to a dog's cheeks. The Norfolk Terrier has a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Their necks are moderately long and strong with dogs having well laid back shoulders and short, well-muscled, straight front legs.
Norfolks have compact bodies with short backs and nice level toplines with well sprung ribs. They have powerful hindquarters with well-muscled back legs. Their feet are rounded with strong nails and firm, thick pads. Tails are moderately long which adds to the overall well balanced look of a dog, being thicker at the base before tapering to the tip. Norfolks carry their tails as straight as possible and gaily when excited or on the move.
When it comes to their coat, the Norfolk Terrier boasts having a straight, hard, wiry and close lying coat with the hair around their necks and shoulders being rougher than on other parts of their bodies. Their hair on their ears and heads is short and smooth except around their muzzles and over their eyes where the hair is slightly longer forming eyebrows and whiskers. The accepted breed colours are as follows:
Norfolks can have some white in their coats which is allowed under their Kennel Club breed standard although not desirable.
Norfolks are feisty, determined little terriers that don't give up easily when they are in a working environment. They are energetic and always ready to be involved in everything the goes on around them being just at home and happy in a home environment as they are working as long as they are given enough to do. They are known to be outgoing, confident little dogs that thrive on human company as such they are best suited to families where at least one person stays at home when everyone else is out. They are a good choice for first time owners, as long as they have to the time to dedicate to keeping their canine companion well exercised and busy.
Norfolks tend to like the sound of their own voices which needs to be gently curbed when dogs are still young and before excessive barking develops into a real problem. They also like to dig which sees these little terriers digging up flower beds, the lawn and the furniture when the mood takes them and which is another trait that needs to be gently nipped in the bud as soon as possible.
It's really important for these little terriers to be well socialised from a young age so they grow up to be confident, outgoing mature dogs. Their socialisation has to include introducing them to lots of new situations, noises, people, other animals and dogs once they have been fully vaccinated. It's also crucial for their training to start early too and it has to be consistent throughout a dog's life. A Norfolk is never happier than when they know their place in the pack and who they can look to for direction and guidance. If they don't know who is the alpha dog in a household, they may quickly take on the role of dominant dog which can make them harder to live with and handle.
The Norfolk Terrier is a smart dog and a fast learner. The downside to this is they are just as quick to pick up bad habits as they are the good. Their training has to begin early and it has to be consistent and always fair throughout a dog’s life so they understand what their owner expects of them. Norfolks are never happier than when they are given something to do which is why they are so amenable to learning new things.
They excel at many canine sports which includes activities like flat racing and flyball because they thrive on the attention they are given during training and the one-to-one contact when competing with their handlers. The key to successfully training a Norfolk is to make their training as interesting as possible and to avoid too much repetition. It's also a good idea to keep training sessions that much shorter which helps dogs stay more focussed on what it’s being asked of them, bearing in mind that the more intelligent a dog is, the faster they get bored and that Norfolks are very smart little terriers.
They do not answer well to harsh correction or any sort of heavy handed training methods, but they do respond extremely well to positive reinforcement which always brings the best out of these intelligent and quick witted dogs, especially when there are high value rewards involved.
Norfolk Terriers are known to be very good around children of all ages although playtime might get a bit boisterous. As such any interaction between toddlers and a dog should always be well supervised by an adult to make sure playtime does not get too rough and tumble which could end up with someone being knocked over and hurt.
When dogs have been well socialised from a young enough age, they generally get on well with other dogs they meet and if they have grown up with a family cat in a household, they usually get on well together. However, a Norfolk Terrier would think nothing of chasing off any other cats they encounter because they would see them as fair game. Care has to be taken when they are around any smaller animals and pets because of their high prey drive as such any contact is best avoided.
For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.
The average life expectancy of a Norfolk Terrier is between 12 and 15 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.
The Norfolk is known to suffer from a few hereditary health issues which are worth knowing about if you are planning share your home with one of these lively little terriers. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:
As with any other breed, Norfolks need to be groomed on a regular basis to make sure their coats and skin are kept in top condition. They also need to be given regular daily exercise to ensure they remain fit and healthy. On top of this, dogs need to be fed good quality food that meets all their nutritional needs throughout their lives.
Norfolk Terriers have a harsh, wiry top coat that consists of longer hair around their necks, shoulders and on their legs. They are medium maintenance on the grooming front with their coats needing to be brushed several times a week to prevent any knots from forming. Their coats also benefit from being professionally hand stripped 2 to 3 years a year which makes keeping their coats in good condition and healthy that much easier in between visits to a grooming parlour.
They shed steadily throughout the year only more so during the Spring and then again in the Autumn when more frequent grooming is usually necessary to stay on top of things and to remove dead and shed hair from a dog's coat. It's important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to gently pluck any excess hair when necessary which is best left up to a professional groomer. Their ears need to be checked and cleaned them when necessary too because if too much wax is allowed to build up, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure with ear infections.
The Norfolk Terrier is a high energy, intelligent dog and as such they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation for them to be truly happy, well-rounded dogs. They need anything from 40 to 60-minutes exercise a day with as much off the lead time as possible, but only in a safe environment. If they are not given the right amount of mental stimulation and exercise every day, a Norfolk would quickly get bored and could even begin to show some destructive behaviours around the home which is their way of relieving any stress they are feeling and not necessarily because they are being naughty.
A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must with as much off the lead time as possible. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these active, high-energy dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape and could get into all sorts of trouble, bearing in mind that Norfolk Terriers are experts when it comes to digging their way out of a garden.
With this said, Norfolk puppies should not be over exercised because their joints and bones are still growing. This includes not letting a dog jump up and down from furniture or going up or down the stairs. Too much pressure placed on their joints and spines at an early age could result in a dog developing serious problems later in their lives.
If you get a Norfolk Terrier puppy from a breeder, they would give you a feeding schedule and it's important to stick to the same routine, feeding the same puppy food to avoid any tummy upsets. You can change a puppy's diet, but this needs to be done very gradually always making sure they don't develop any digestive upsets and if they do, it's best to put them back on their original diet and to discuss things with the vet before attempting to change it again.
Older dogs are not known to be fussy eaters, but this does not mean they can be given a lower quality diet. It's best to feed a mature dog twice a day, once in the morning and then again in the evening, making sure it's good quality food that meets all their nutritional requirements. It's also important that dogs be given the right amount of exercise so they burn off any excess calories or they might gain too much weight which can lead to all sorts of health issues. Obesity can shorten a dog's life by several years so it's important to keep an eye on their waistline from the word go.
If you are looking to buy a Norfolk Terrier, you would need to pay anything from £500 to over £1000 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Norfolk in northern England would be £18.12 a month for basic cover but for a lifetime policy, this would set you back £41.22 a month (quote as of August 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK, a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed among other things.
When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry making sure it suits the different stages of a dog’s life. This would set you back between £20 - £30 a month. On top of all of this, you need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Norfolk and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying a dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over £800 a year.
As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Norfolk Terrier would be between £50 to £80 a month depending on the level of insurance cover you opt to buy for your dog, but this does not include the initial cost of buying a well-bred puppy.
Click 'Like' if you love Norfolk Terriers.