Norwich Terrier

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Key Breed Facts
Breed Characteristics
Intelligence / Trainability
Children and Other Pets
Caring for a Norwich Terrier
Average Cost to keep/care for a Norwich Terrier

Key Breed Facts

Popularity #203 out of 241 Dog Breeds.

The Norwich Terrier breed is also commonly known by the names Norwich.
12 - 16 years
Pedigree Breed ?
Yes - KC Recognised in the Terrier Group
Males 24 - 25.5 cm
Females 24 - 25.5 cm at the withers
Males 5 - 5.5 kg
Females 5 - 5.5 kg
Health Tests Available
No Health Tests Currently Recommended
Average Price (More Info)
£325 for KC Registered
£350 for Non KC Registered

Breed Characteristics


The Norwich Terrier is the smallest of all working terriers, and were named after the county where they were first bred during the early part of the twentieth century. They look very much like their Norfolk Terrier cousins with the difference being that they have pricked ears whereas Norfolks boast having drop ears. Although once a very popular choice as both a working dog and family pet, these charming, affectionate and lively dogs have fallen out of favour over recent times. As such, they have been placed on The Kennel Club's list of vulnerable native breeds.


Norwich Terriers were bred to keep vermin under control and they proved to be excellent ratters. These charming little terriers have been around for over a hundred years and it is thought their ancestors could well be the Border Terrier, the Cairn Terrier and Ireland's Red Terrier. The Norfolk and Norwich Terriers were developed by Frank Jones by crossing various working terriers with an end goal being to produce smaller dogs. His endeavours produced terriers very capable of digging into small burrows and soon these little terriers were to find favour with many people throughout the land.

It was not until 1932 that Norwich Terriers were recognised as a breed in their own right by The Kennel Club. However, it was only after the end of World War II that breeders crossed the Norwich and the Norfolk Terriers in order to produce two distinct breeds with the drop ears of the Norfolk Terrier becoming their own unique hallmark and hence they were renamed "Norfolk" terriers to distinguish them from Norwich Terriers with their "pricked" ears.

Today, these little terriers remain a popular choice with breed enthusiasts, but over recent times their numbers have dropped and as such Norwich Terriers have been placed on The Kennel Club's vulnerable native breeds list.


Height at the withers: Males 24 - 25.5 cm, Females 24 - 25.5 cm

Average weight: Males 5 - 5.5 kg, Females 5 - 5.5 kg

Norwich Terriers are very similar looking to the Norfolk Terrier with the main difference being they have pricked ears. They have rather wedge-shaped muzzles and well defined stops with the top of their head being slightly domed and boasting a nice width between a dog's ears. Their eyes are quite small and oval in shape being dark in colour with these terriers boasting a bright, keen expression in them.

Ears are set well apart on the head which dogs hold erect. They have pointed tips and are medium in size. When relaxed, a Norwich Terrier holds their ears laid back. They have a strong jaw with a perfect scissor bite where their upper teeth neatly overlap their lower ones. Necks are strong and quite long flowing nicely into a dog's shoulders. Front legs are short, straight and powerful. Their backs are short with a good depth and long, well sprung ribs. Toplines are level and loins are short.

Their back legs are strong, muscular and broad. Feet are well rounded, nicely padded and quite cat-like. Tails are moderately long which adds to the overall balanced look of these terriers being thicker at the base before it tapers to the tip. Dogs carry their tails straight and quite gaily when they are excited or alert.

When it comes to their coat, the Norwich Terrier boasts a double coat with the topcoat being wiry, hard, straight and close lying whereas their undercoat is softer and much denser. The hair on a dog's neck is longer and rougher forming a ruff that frames the face. The hair on their head, ears is shorter and smooth, but dogs have eyebrows and whiskers. The accepted breed colours are as follows:

  • All shades of red
  • Wheaten
  • Black
  • Tan
  • Grizzle


Affectionate, active, intelligent and courageous, the Norwich Terrier is known to be a very good choice as a family pet. These little dogs get on with everyone, including children and other animals with no problems whatsoever which is especially true of dogs that have been well socialised from a young age. With this said, the Norwich Terrier has a tendency to be a little bit suspicious of strangers and new situations, although they would rarely show any sort of aggressive behaviour towards anyone they did not know, preferring to just keep their distance rather than get up close.

Because they are so intelligent, these terriers need as much mental stimulation and exercise as possible on a daily basis otherwise boredom might quickly set in and when a Norwich Terrier feels bored, they find new ways to entertain and amuse themselves which often results in them developing some unwanted and destructive behaviours around the home which includes digging and excessive barking

Intelligence / Trainability

Norwich Terriers are known for their intelligence and the fact they love to please. However, like a lot of other terriers, they can be a little wilful when they want to be which can make training them a bit of a challenge. As such, their training has to start as early as possible and it has to be consistent for dogs to respond well to any commands they are given.

Being quite sensitive by nature, the Norwich Terrier does not respond well to any sort of harsh correction or heavy handed training methods. They do answer well to positive reinforcement and will look to their owners for guidance and direction as long as they know their place in the pack and who is alpha dog in a household for them to be truly obedient dogs.

There have been reports of Norwich Terriers being difficult to housetrain, but with perseverance and a lot of understanding, they can be taught to do their business outside, it may just take a little longer than with other breeds.

Children and Other Pets

Norwich Terriers are very outgoing and affectionate dogs by nature and as such they get on well with children. However, because they can be a little boisterous at times, especially when they are still puppies any interaction between children and a dog should be supervised by an adult to ensure playtime does not get too rough.

If well socialised from a young age and they have grown up with a cat in the house, a Norwich Terrier generally gets on well with a feline companion. However, they may just want to give chase on the odd occasion especially if a neighbour's cat dares to venture too close to them. Any contact with smaller animals and pets should be avoided because their terrier traits might just get the better of them with disastrous results.

For further advice please read our article on Keeping Children Safe around Dogs.

Norwich Terrier Health

The average life expectancy of a Norwich Terrier is between 12 and 16 years when properly cared for and fed an appropriate good quality diet to suit their ages.

Like so many other breeds, the Norwich Terrier 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 active and good looking dogs. The conditions that seem to affect the breed the most include the following:

  • Heart Murmurs
  • Skin Problems
  • Eye issues

Caring for a Norwich Terrier

As with any other breed, Norwich Terriers 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.


A Norwich Terrier has a coarse and wiry coat and as such they are low maintenance in the grooming department. A weekly brush is all that's needed to keep their coats tidy and tangle-free. However, they do need to be hand stripped at least twice a year, which is best left up to a professional dog groomer. This makes it that much easier to keep on top of things in between visits to the grooming parlour.

Puppies need to be introduced to all the tools needed to keeping their coats and skin in top condition and it's important to touch their ears, paws and other parts of their body which makes it a lot easier to trim nails and check an adult dog's ears further down the line. It's important to check a dog's ears on a regular basis and to clean them when necessary. If too much wax is allowed to build up in a dog's ears, it can lead to a painful infection which can be hard to clear up. In short, prevention is often easier than cure when it comes to ear infections.


Norwich Terriers are known to be high-energy little dogs and much like other terriers, they need to be given the right amount of daily exercise and mental stimulation to be truly happy, well-rounded and obedient dogs. They need at least one hour's exercise every day and as much "playtime" as possible to prevent dogs from developing unwanted and often destructive behaviours around the home.

A shorter walk in the morning would be fine, but a longer more interesting one in the afternoon is a must. These dogs also like to be able to roam around a back garden as often as possible so they can really let off steam. However, the fencing has to be extremely secure to keep these lively, active dogs in because if they find a weakness in the fence, they will soon escape out and get into all sorts of trouble, bearing in mind that there is nothing these little terriers enjoy more than digging.

With this said, Norwich Terrier puppies should not be given too much exercise because their joints and bones are still growing and too much pressure on them could result in causing a dog a few problems later on in their lives. They should not be allowed to jump up or off furniture nor should they be allowed to run up and down the stairs because this puts too much pressure on their still growing joints and limbs.


If you get a Norwich 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 or finicky eaters, but this does not mean you can feed them 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.

Average Cost to keep/care for a Norwich Terrier

If you are looking to buy a Norwich Terrier, you would need to pay anything from £300 to  over £600 for a well-bred pedigree puppy. The cost of insuring a male 3-year-old Norwich Terrier 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 May 2016). When insurance companies calculate a pet's premium, they factor in several things which includes where you live in the UK and a dog's age and whether or not they have been neutered or spayed.

When it comes to food costs, you need to buy the best quality food whether wet or dry, to feed your dog throughout their lives making sure it suits the different stages of their lives. This would set you back between £30 - £40 a month. On top of all of this, you would need to factor in veterinary costs if you want to share your home with a Norwich Terrier and this includes their initial vaccinations, their annual boosters, the cost of neutering or spaying your dog when the time is right and their yearly health checks, all of which quickly adds up to over a £800 a year.

As a rough guide, the average cost to keep and care for a Norwich Terrier would be between £50 to £90 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 pedigree puppy.

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