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Norwich Terrier Breed Information: Facts, Traits, Pictures & More

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Last Updated: February 14, 2024 | 11 min read | Leave a Comment

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Norwich Terriers are rare pups in America, but they make incredible companions for the right family. They are small-sized dogs that only weigh up to 12 pounds, but their thick coat makes them look larger than this. Despite their small size, they are tough doggos who love to mess around with their favorite humans all day. They also crave attention, company, and lots of cuddles.

This breed is a typical terrier in a small package. They can be highly trainable and obedient, but they test their owners with their stubbornness. You must be willing to commit to persistent training if you want to get the best out of this pooch. If you’ve got what it takes, they are super affectionate and entertaining.

In this Norwich Terrier breed guide, I explore everything you need to know about them, such as their history and how that affects their personality and needs. I also examine their exercise and grooming requirements, puppy prices, and more. Curious to know if you’re the right match for this pooch? Let’s take a closer look.

Norwich Terrier
    • weight iconWeight12 pounds
    • height iconHeight10 inches
    • lifespan iconLifespan12-15 years
    • color iconColorsRed, wheaten, black & tan, and grizzle
  • Child Friendliness
  • Canine Friendliness
  • Training Difficulty
  • Grooming Upkeep
  • Breed Health
  • Exercise Needs
  • Puppy Costs

History

Norwich Terrier breed standing outside.
This pint-sized companion is all about spunk and style.

The Norwich Terrier is one of the many terrier breeds bred to control rodents in Britain. Despite their small size, they are incredibly athletic and quick, which is why they were also successful during foxhunts. Despite their name, they originate from Cambridge, and they are commonly associated with Cambridge University. During the late 19th century, they became popular with undergraduates who wanted a small companion to rid their dorms of rats. These dorms were on Trumpington Street, which is why they are commonly referred to as “Trumpington Terriers.”

A stableyard owner from Norwich acquired one of these terriers named Rags. Rags had several litters, and these adorable pups became known as Norwich Terriers. One of these puppies, Willum, traveled to America with his owner, Frank Jones, in 1914. Most Norwich Terriers in America descend from Willum, and many American fanciers refer to them as Jones Terriers.

The American Kennel Club (AKC) recognized them as a breed in 1936. However, they didn’t distinguish between them and their close relative, the Norfolk Terrier, until 1979. Norwich Terriers are rare in America, and they haven’t made it into the top 100 dog breeds yet. However, a recent comedy-style mockumentary movie, “Best In Show,” featured a Norwich Terrier named Winky.

Temperament

Norwich Terrier standing on back legs jumping in the grass.
From alert ears to a wagging tail – the Norwich Terrier’s zest for life is contagious.

Norwich Terriers are alert and curious, like many traditional terrier dogs. They have a high prey drive and chase anything that whizzes past them. This is why they aren’t always suitable for multi-pet households, especially those with rodents. However, with early socialization and gentle introductions as a puppy, they might accept other pets. For this reason, it’s best to keep them on a leash in public and ensure their yard is secure.

Their energy and love to chase things make them super fun Fidos, and they have so much character packed into their tiny bodies. These terriers have boundless energy and could play all day long. Don’t let their little legs fool you, and don’t expect them to be all-day lapdogs. They can keep up with very active families. If you’re looking for a tenacious playmate, Norwich Terriers are top contenders.

Norwich Terriers adore their humans, and they need a family that can spend most of their time with them. They don’t like being left alone for too long, and they can suffer from separation anxiety. If you work long hours, this might not be the best canine choice for you. But if you can offer them lots of interactive playtime in the day and cuddles in the evening, they make incredible companions.

Size & Appearance

Norwich Terriers are small and compact. They stand up to 10 inches tall, from their paws to shoulders, and weigh around 12 pounds. Their breed standard is more concerned with proportionate build and prime working condition rather than strict requirements, unlike many other breed standards. Despite their small frame, they are sturdy and athletic under their bushy coat.

These terriers have a foxy expression and a cheeky smile. Their signature feature is their pricked ears, compared to their doggy doppelganger, the Norfolk Terrier, who has drop-down ears. They also have a medium docked tail, short enough to allow them to work but long enough for working owners to grasp if needed. Their eyes are small and dark, showing their fearless but friendly nature.

Coat & Colors

A Norwich Terrier coat is hard and wiry in texture and lies close to their body with a straight form. Their undercoat is soft and keeps them warm in harsh conditions. It is much thicker around their neck, chest, and shoulders, giving them a mane-like shape. The hair on their head, ears, and muzzle is shorter, with slightly bushy eyebrows. Traditionally, their coat should be left as natural as possible.

Norwich Terriers look chunkier than they are, thanks to their bushy jacket. Their coat comes in various shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle. Grizzle is where the coat has a mixture of hair color in no particular pattern, normally brown, red, and black. Some of these pups have small white marks, but in the show ring, this is undesirable.

Exercise & Living Conditions

Norwich Terrier sitting on bed and woman lying and smiling on background in the bedroom.
The Norwich Terrier is a small, adaptable breed that generally thrives in various living conditions.

Norwich Terriers need a moderate amount of exercise of around 45 minutes daily, but this is relatively high for such a small breed. It’s a great idea to mix up their exercise activities throughout the week to keep them engaged and fit. Long walks, jogging, chasing balls, and doggy agility courses are all activities that most of these terriers enjoy. Remember to keep this pup on a leash in public because they pursue everything.

On top of that, they need plenty of mental stimulation throughout the day. Otherwise, they become restless and potentially destructive. A bored terrier is a naughty one. They need lots of interactive playtime, and a squeaky toy they can chase not only gets their heart racing but also satisfies their prey drive. I recommend giving them plenty of puzzles and chew toys to challenge their active and curious brain.

As long as Norwich Terriers get plenty of exercise and company, they are adaptable to most families. They do well with young singletons, families with dog-savvy children, active retirees, and everyone in between. Norwich Terriers can live in apartments thanks to their compact size and large homes. They appreciate a yard to play in. Just ensure it is secure because they can easily escape if they want to chase something.

Training

Norwich Terrier puppy on a leash walking in grass.
Norwich Terriers are intelligent dogs, but there are some stubborn ones, too.

Norwich Terriers are typical terriers, and they are intelligent and eager to please. But they are sometimes too smart for their own good, and they can be stubborn and independent thinkers, too. This means they are trainable, but you must be persistent and consistent with their training to get the best out of them. If you let them rule the roost, they won’t respond to you. Speak to a professional dog trainer like Doggy Dan for any training assistance.

I advise you to start training and teaching them basic commands as soon as you bring them home. If you don’t want them to sleep in your bed with you, don’t let them in on the first night as a “one-off.” Stick to the rules from day one. Make training sessions short and fun to keep their attention. All training should be rewarding too, and give them plenty of praise for doing a good job. With a persistent trainer, they can make very obedient and well-balanced doggos.

Socialization is critical to them getting along with other humans and dogs, so take them to a doggy park and mix them with other pups as much as you can. Norwich Terriers can feel lonely quickly, so crate training is an excellent idea for this pup. Crates make them feel safe and secure when you aren’t there. It also gives Norwich owners peace of mind, knowing they can’t trash the place when you aren’t there.

Health

Norwich Terrier at the vet being examined.
From heart to paws, it’s important to understand the health concerns of the Norwich Terrier.

Overall, Norwich Terriers are a healthy breed with a life expectancy of 12 to 15 years. To keep your pooch as healthy as possible, you must keep them fit with daily exercise and high-quality nutrition. You should also keep up to date with regular health checks and vaccinations. Considering pet insurance is important, too, as it can help offset costs associated with healthcare, which can be expensive. Here are the most common health concerns in this breed.

Eye Conditions

Like many terriers, these pups can suffer from various eye conditions, such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA) and cataracts. PRA is a group of degenerative diseases that affect the retina, and if left untreated, it can lead to total vision loss. If you notice any changes in your dog’s eyes or vision problems, you should take them to the vet for an examination. Vision problems exhibit themselves through bumping into objects or nervousness in low visibility, such as at nighttime.

Hip Dysplasia

Hip dysplasia occurs during the growth stage when the hip joint forms abnormally. Over time, this abnormal development causes additional wear and tear, mobility issues, and arthritic pain. Symptoms of hip dysplasia include struggling to stand up or climb, pain when moving, or an unstable gait. If you notice these symptoms, take your dog to the vet for diagnosis and advice. Work with a responsible breeder who screens their dogs for good hips and request the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) certificate.

Patellar Luxation

Patellar luxation is another joint condition that affects the knee joint. This condition causes the kneecap to dislodge, which is why it is often called a “floating kneecap.” Symptoms of patellar luxation include skipping and kicking out. Sometimes, a vet can slip it back into place, but sometimes, it requires surgical correction to treat. When speaking to a breeder about a puppy, ask to see their OFA certificate.

Nutrition

Norwich Terriers are small, which means their bowl and contents are too. How much you feed your pooch depends on their age, size, activity levels, type of diet, and more. All dog food should provide feeding instructions to help you determine how much your terrier needs. It’s essential to follow these instructions and keep your pup at a healthy weight. Norwich Terriers have a neverending appetite.

It’s important to feed them an age-appropriate diet, especially during the first year of their life when their body is developing. Choosing a small-breed puppy diet can help to reduce joint problems such as hip dysplasia and patellar luxation. Why not consider a fresh food service that offers small breeds a great range of meals, such as Nom Nom?

Always pick a diet compliant with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). This means it meets the standards to fulfill your pup’s nutritional needs. Look for ingredients such as high-quality meat protein, carbs, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and healthy omega fats, such as fish or eggs. Always choose a diet that suits your dog’s individual needs and preferences.

Grooming

Norwich Terrier playing on the beach in the water.
The Norwich Terrier has a double coat that requires regular grooming to keep them looking their best.

Grooming your Norwich Terrier is a relatively simple task. Their hard and reasonably thick coat only needs brushing once or twice a week throughout the year to keep them looking neat and healthy. They shed heavier during the shedding seasons, so you might have to brush them a little more during these times. The best type of brush for this pooch is a de-shedding tool and a slicker brush. You might also need a thinning brush to help with their thick mane. Just remember that if you plan on showing your terrier in the conformation ring, only minimum tidying is acceptable.

Norwich Terriers only need bathing once every two months to keep their coat clean and skin healthy. Your curious canine will likely get mucky on their adventures, so they might need bathing slightly more than this. Their thick and hard coat needs a doggy formula that can penetrate their jacket for a thorough clean, so it’s recommended to use a concentrated formula. Remember to dry them thoroughly after each wash to prevent moisture and bacteria from growing.

Norwich Terriers have tiny mouths that are tightly packed with teeth. This means that they are at higher risk of dental diseases, so you need to establish a regular dental care routine early on. Brush their teeth several times a week to keep their pearly whites fresh and healthy. Clip their nails when they become too long to prevent sore pads and clean their ears to avoid a build-up of dirt and wax.

Breeders & Puppy Costs

Norwich Terrier puppy next to a pink rose in the grass.
Norwich Terrier puppies are adorable, energetic, and intelligent.

Norwich Terriers are a rare breed in America, so depending on your location, you might need to travel to find a reputable breeder. A great place to start your search for a responsible breeder is on the AKC’s Norwich Terrier breeder page. However, researching potential breeders is crucial because you need to know they are ethical and only breed healthy dogs. Avoid irresponsible breeders who cannot answer questions, refuse to let you meet the pups beforehand, or have many different breeds for sale.

The cost of a healthy puppy from a reputable breeder typically ranges from $1,500 to $2,000. Don’t be tempted by cheaper puppies from irresponsible breeders. It’s likely they haven’t met the needs of puppies or parents, which usually results in health or behavioral problems in the future. After the puppy price, you need to purchase everything that a puppy needs, such as beds, crates, food, toys, healthcare, and more. The first year of a dog’s life is usually the most expensive.

Rescues & Shelters

Norwich Terrier rescues behind a fence.
When rescuing a Norwich Terrier, remember that adoption processes may vary, and it’s crucial to ensure that the rescue organization or individual is reputable.

Finding a Norwich Terrier in a rescue shelter is rare, and if they end up here, they are usually snapped up quickly. Not only are they rare, but many breeders request they be returned should owners can’t care for them. Head to your local shelters and speak to the staff about your desire for a Norwich, as they might know about one in a nearby shelter.

Alternatively, there are a few online rescue organizations that dedicate their time to rehoming Norwich Terriers. The Norwich Terrier Club of America helps to match dogs in need with suitable homes. The cost of rehoming a dog from a shelter is usually much less than buying a puppy from a breeder.

As A Family Pet

  • Norwich Terriers are small and only weigh up to 12 pounds.
  • Their coat is thick, but it is relatively simple to groom.
  • These pups are alert and curious.
  • Norwich Terriers love to play and are active for their size.
  • They need around 45 minutes of daily exercise.
  • You need to provide them with lots of toys to keep their minds stimulated.
  • Norwich Terriers adore their family and like to spend as much time with them as possible.
  • They can live with dog-savvy children and other dogs if socialized early.
  • These dogs have a high prey drive and might not suit homes with rodents or cats.
  • Owners need to provide firm and consistent training.
  • Norwich Terriers can escape easily and need a secure home.
  • They are incredibly fun and cheeky little companions.

Wondering About Other Small Terriers?

If you’re looking for a Norwich Terrier because you’re after a small but sturdy pooch packed full of cheeky character, they could be a top choice. But there are other very similar dogs that you might want to consider. The Norfolk Terrier is almost identical to the Norwich, and the Cairn Terrier is a very close cousin. Why not take a look at our comprehensive comparison of the Westie and Scottish Terrier?

Most small terriers are adaptable dogs suitable for apartment living. All they need on top of their essential needs is an active family who can spend lots of time with them, firm but fair training, and lots of love. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a Norwich or other small terrier owner, you are in for a real treat.

Why Trust Canine Journal?

Emma is a dog owner with over 20 years of experience. She has also worked as a professional dog walker and sitter for many years, taking care of countless dog breeds with different needs, including a variety of small terriers. Emma dedicates countless hours researching the latest pet care, health, food, and training developments to keep her two best buddies and other doggy clients as happy and healthy as possible. She works alongside a professional and experienced team to bring the best, most accurate, and up-to-date information to our readers.

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