Norfolk Terrier Guide

Terrier Dog Breeds

Unlike the Norwich terrier, the Norfolk is slightly longer than it is tall. Like the Norwich, it is a formidable adversary to vermin and fox and can bolt and dispatch its quarry working along or with a pack. It is small, short-legged and compact, with good bone and substance. Its gait is low and driving. Its double coat is weather resistant, with the outer coat consisting of hard, wiry, straight hair about 1½ to 2 inches long, with a longer ruff. It wears a keen, intelligent expression.

Feisty, bold, inquisitive, game, scrappy, stubborn and independent, the Norfolk is all terrier. It has been called a "demon" in the field, and it loves to hunt, dig and investigate. It must be exercised in a safe area. It is clever and amiable but strong-willed.


FAMILY terrier



ORIGINAL FUNCTION ratting, fox bolting

TODAY'S FUNCTION earthdog trials

AVERAGE SIZE OF MALE Height: 9-10 Weight: 11-12

AVERAGE SIZE OF FEMALE Height: 9-10 Weight: 11-12


Energy level High energy

Exercise needs Medium

Playfullness Moderately playful

Affection level Somewhat affectionate

Friendliness toward other dogs Friendly

Friendliness toward other pets Friendly

Friendliness toward strangers Friendly

Ease of training Easy to train

Watchdog ability High

Protection ability Not very protective

Grooming needs Moderate maintenance

Cold tolerance Medium tolerance

Heat tolerance Medium tolerance

The Norfolk terrier needs an exercise outing every day, either a short to moderate walk or a lively and boisterous play session. It especially likes to hunt and investigate, but it must do so in a safe area. Even though it could live outside in temperate to warm climates, it is such a family-oriented dog that it is emotionally unsuited for outdoor living. It does best as a house dog with access to a yard. Its wire coat needs combing once or twice weekly, plus stripping of dead hairs three to four times yearly.
• Major concerns: none
• Minor concerns: none
• Occasionally seen: cardiomyopathy, patellar luxation
• Suggested tests: (cardiac), (knee)
• Life span: 13-15 years
The Norfolk terrier shares an identical early history with the Norwich terrier. During the development of these breeds, both prick and drop ears were seen, and neither could lay claim to being more authentic or original than the other.

In the 1930s, soon after their entry into the show rings, breeders found that crossing the two types of ear carriage resulted in uncertain ear carriage in the offspring, so they began avoiding crossing the two ear types. The prick-eared type were more numerous; in fact, the drop-eared type almost vanished during World War II. The drop-eared strain owes its existence to the single-handed and determined efforts of Miss Macfie of the Colansays. In the 1940s, breeders came to her to renew breeding the drop-eared type of Norwich, and they soon caught up with the prick-eared type in popularity, although not in show awards.

Eventually, amid some controversy, the breed was officially changed from one breed with two varieties to two separate breeds. This happened in 1964 in England and in 1979 in the United States.