Norfolk Terrier dog breed: one of the smallest terriers

Facts, characteristics and care of this energetic and active terrier

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By Alex

One of the several terriers originated in England, the Norfolk Terrier in the past was a prized hunter of mice, badgers and foxes. Today, this very energetic and active small dog is an excellent companion dog, although less well known than other terriers, such as the much more famous Fox Terrier.

Let’s get to know it better and find out more about its character and know how to care for it.

Origins of the Norfolk Terrier

This breed back in the nineteenth century used to be a farm dog widespread in Norfolk County. It then gradually spread to other countries in Europe and later in America.

This dog was officially recognised by the English Kennel Club in 1932, although until 1964 this breed was not distinguished from the Norwich Terrier. Back then there were two types of this breed: one with straight ears and one with drooping ears. Later, the second type, the one with drooping ears, was recognized as a separate breed, that is, as Norfolk Terrier.

Physical characteristics of the Norfolk Terrier

As we said, this is one of the smallest terriers. Short and stocky, it is a strong and compact small dog. The maximum height it can reach is 25 cm.

Here are its physical characteristics in detail.

  • Head: wide and round with a well-proportioned muzzle
  • Mouth: wedge-shaped
  • Mouth: strong jaws and teeth. Teeth are also quite wide and have a perfect scissor closure
  • Ears: small and triangular in shape, they are pendulous and carried forward
  • Eyes: oval-shaped, they are small and dark, and well spaced apart. Dark (black or brown) they are very lively and witty
  • Arms: the hind ones are short, straight and with good musculature
  • Paws: wide and with prominent pads
  • Tails: carried curved on the back has a medium length
  • Hair: short, hard and shaggy in places, it is somewhat longer on the shoulders and neck
  • Color: fiery black, fawn, wheat red, or grizzled

Character of the Norfolk Terrier

This is an energetic, lively and tenacious dog, always alert to stimuli, and never hostile or aggressive. It is one of the least quarrelsome of terriers. Sweet and caring with his family, it is quiet with the people it is familiar with. However, it is very alert in case of danger and, in case of real risk, may even attack.

Norfolk Terriers are an excellent company for children and easily socialize with other dogs. However, deep down, they have an independent nature. If not well-behaved from puppyhood, they can become stubborn.

This breed adapts smoothly to apartment life, but needs regular outdoor exercise. There is a never-suppressed instinct to hunt that will surface from time to time. Ideally, a fenced garden would be the best environment where to raise this dog. In fact, when left free, it tends to stray.

norfolk terrier
Like all terriers, the Norfolk Terrier needs to be able to play outside every day.

Health and diseases of the Norfolk Terrier

In general, this dog breed is quite healthy and enjoys excellent health. The only diseases to which this dog is predisposed are elbow and hip dysplasia.

Also, as is quite common for other small dogs, it may suffer from luxation of the kneecap.

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Care of the Norfolk Terrier

Its tough coat should be brushed at least a couple of times a week and thinned two times a year. It can adjust to apartment life, but still needs to move around often. Ideally, country living would be ideal for it. It would be good to provide your Norfolk Terrier with at least half an hour a day of intense physical activity, as well as stimulating and intriguing it with play.

As for feeding, being a small dog, it has a rather fast metabolism. Since it has a rather small stomach, it should eat little and frequently. Small dog foods, specifically formulated with appropriate levels of key nutrients and smaller sizes so as to promote chewing, swallowing and improve digestion, are recommended.

How long does a Norfolk Terrier live?

With an average lifespan of 12-15 years, it is a fairly long-lived dog.

norfolk terrier
The smallest of terriers can be a real playful one.

Related articles

Here are also a few guides on the various breeds of small and medium sized dogs: