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Norfolk Terrier Dog Breed Information

Norfolk Terrier – The Kindest Of The Terrier Breeds

The Norfolk Terrier is a small dog that stands no taller than 10 inches at the shoulder.  These cute little canines will do anything for their family due to the extreme loyal traits they hold.   This dog looks like a typical lapdog, but don’t let looks deceive you. The Norfolk is quite the spitfire and a little scrappy.   However, they have the kindest temperament of all the terriers, and they have very strong bonds with their families.

Norfolk Terriers love to hunt and they could dig forever.  They are known to be little devils out in the field due to their love of hunting.   Even though they are a very small dog breed, they require daily exercise and should be done in a secure area.   They are extremely smart and warmhearted. 

At A Glance

  • Breed: Norfolk Terrier
  • Breed Group: Terrier
  • Temperament: Alert, Fun, Brave
  • D.H.T. Outdoor Ranking: -6/10 For Temperate Climates
  • Worldwide Popularity: Low
  • Breed Origin: England

General Information And Breed History


Originally bred as a ratter which is a dog that hunts rats and other vermin, the Norfolk Terrier originated from England in the 1880s.  These short-legged little canines are said to have been created by cross-breeding with small terrier-like Irish dogs as well as the small red terrier.

In the beginning, they were called the Cantab Terrier and were quite popular with the students of Cambridge University. The students would keep them in their dorms.  Some years down the road the Cantab Terrier was renamed the Trumpington Terrier for the street named Trumpington where these dogs were used at a livery stable ( a horse stable where people would pay weekly to keep store their horses).  There was another name change jus before WWI. That name was Jones Terriers. Named after Frank Jones who was a leading Irish horse rider. He was known for selling large quantities of these dogs to the United States of America. He also declared that the dog was from Norwich. 

The English Kennel Club accepted the Norwich in the year 1932.  The American Kennel Club recognized the Norfolk Terrier in 1964 and the Canadian Club in 1979.

General Info

Norfolk Terriers are the kindest of the terrier breed.   They are extremely loyal and loving dogs and make a great family dog, and they get along with children and other pets if you have any.

They worked in packs and need to be with other dogs.  So if you decide to get a Norfolk, then you will have to get two. They are not really hunters anymore, but more a family pet.   These dogs will form a strong bond with their owners, and they make great watchdogs. 

General Appearance

The smallest of the terrier breeds, the Norfolk Terrier is a great little terrier that loves to chase after vermin and fox. These short-legged little canines stand no taller than 10 inches at the shoulder.  They have v-shaped ears, that are slightly rounded.  

They have a wired-haired coat that comes in various colors like red, wheaten, grizzle or black and tan.


These little guys have a super strong neck that isn’t too long nor too short.  Their chest is wide and deep with sprung ribs.

Their little bodies are actually quite strong and they have a heavy bone structure.  The body of a Norfolk Terrier can get very low to the ground which helps them to bolt after foxes. 

Skull is rounded slightly and has a decent width between the ears.  The muzzle is very strong and sort of wedge-shaped.


Norfolk Terriers have a wire-haired coat that is straight and around 1.5 inches – 2 inches in length and is weather resistant.  This coat is very close to their body and they have an undercoat.  

The coat that lies on their neck and shoulders are actually longer in length and is a little fuffy around the throat and ears of this canine. Hair on their head is expected to be short.

Rough on the legs for protection when out in the field hunting and bolting after foxes in the field. 

Legs & Feet

These little field devils have round feet, with thick hardy black nails.  The padding on their little feet is also thick. Their legs are quite strong and straight.  These physical characteristics are very important for this breed. That is because they are a digging canine and require strong legs and protective padding for their feet for all that digging.

Tail & Hindquarters

The back legs are strong just like the front legs, and they have very muscular thighs.  Feet are the same as they are in the front, thick padding and strong black nails. Their tails are docked and erect.

General Statistics

  • Life Expectancy: 12 -16 years
  • Height Male: 9-10 inches (22 cm – 25 cm)
  • Height Female: 9-10 inches (22 cm – 25 cm)
  • Weight Male: 10-12 lbs ( 4.5 kg – 5.4 kg)
  • Weight Female: 10-12 lbs (4.5 kg – 5.4 kg)

Recommended Dog House Dimensions

The recommended dog house dimensions can be found on the dog house dimensions charts for 440 recognized breeds which includes this dog breed that looks like a wolf.  But to save you time, here are our dog house minimum size recommendations:

  • Door Height: 11 inches ( 27 cm)
  • Door Width: 7 inches (17 cm)
  • Inside Ceiling Height: 13.5 inches (32 cm)
  • Interior House Length: 22 inches (55 cm)
  • Interior House Width: 14 inches (60 cm)

Expected Costs

Breed Average Puppy Cost: $2,100 USD

Starter Costs: $3,100

This is our estimate for initial purchase, shots and a few things like food, a bed, leash, that sort of thing.  Basically, this will get you set up but the costs will be greater once the dog is old enough to get spayed or neutered.

Anticipated Annual Care Cost: $500 – $1,000

How The Norfolk Terrier Reacts To


This dog gets along just great with babies and children.  Being the kindest of the terrier this little dog is highly affectionate and they love playing with children.  They make excellent sidekicks for children and will even become protective of them if they feel their child companion is in danger.  

So if you have children then have no fear, the Norfolk Terrier is a great choice for a family pet.   Due to their small size, there is no worry of a small child being knocked over by mistake as there is with a medium to large dog breed.  

Because of the special bond, they form with their owners, they will be protective if they feel the need and can even be a little jealous, but they will not attack.  They are not known to be aggressive or attack people. More than likely if they feel jealous they will just come around and try to be extra affectionate to get all the attention.  Kinda like my dogs does when she thinks someone is taking away from her time with myself or my husband.

Other Dogs:   

The Norfolk Terrier will tolerate other dogs that are in the family.  However, they may be aggressive towards dogs outside the family. It is recommended to socialize these dogs with other dogs early in life so when they come across paths with another one they are not aggressive towards it. 

If you are bringing a Norfolk Terrier into a house that already has a dog, then you will have to introduce them slowly and make sure to never leave them alone unsupervised until they are used to each other and have accepted each other.


Having a cat and a Norfolk Terrier living in the same house can be a bit of a quest at first if the dog has not been socialized early.  Slow introductions are recommended and remember to never leave the two alone unsupervised while they are getting used to each other. Once they accept each other, they can actually become friends. 

Other Animals:

If you have other animals in the house, then they should be okay with a Norfolk Terrier under the same roof as them.  However, if you have pet rats or other small rodents you may want to keep them away from this dog. They are hunters and may think of your small pet as prey.

Care Requirements


Norfolks enjoy lengthy walks, spending time with family and they love the game of fetch.  You could take them on hiking tail for some good fresh air. Rember to keep them on the leash though.  They are still hunters, and if any small creatures cross their path, they will most definitely give chase.

There is a lot of energy in this little feisty canine, so your walks should be at least 30 minutes.

If you are going to play outside in the back with your Norfolk, make sure the yard is locked down and you have a lot of activities for this dog.   They love to dig, and if they get bored they will dig forever to escape and find something fun and exciting to do.

Grooming & Coat Info

Like A Norfolk Terrier should have a double coat consisting of a hard outer coat and a soft undercoat that insulates the body from heat and cold. Hand-stripping removes old outer hairs and excess undercoat so that new hair can grow in. Wire coats that are cared for properly by hand-stripping have a beautiful shine and rich color. Learning to hand-strip, or finding a groomer who will hand-strip, is an important consideration in choosing this breed.

Health & Nutrition

Norfolks are generally a healthy dog breed.  Breeders will screen their breeding stock for health issues like eye and heart issues, and patellar luxation.

The Norfolk Terrier like most dog breeds benefits from high-quality dog food.  However, make sure to follow the portion instructions. Some dog breeds gain weight easily and you don’t want this to happen to your dog. 

If you want to feed human food to your dog, make sure you know which foods are safe. Therefore, contact your veterinarian if you are unsure.


The Norfolk Terrier is incredibly intelligent, and love their families, however training them may be quite the quest.  It is essential that you enroll this dog into obedience training. Their hunting instinct is so strong that you have to be very careful if you have small pets in your house.  

It is not recommended to keep this dog off a leash when out on walks, and you must have a well-fenced back yard.

To make training easier it is also recommended to take puppy training and early socialization classes. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Does The Norfolk Terrier Shed A lot?

The Norfolk Terrier sheds but not to worry, they only shed a little throughout the year. They do however require to be hand stripped once in the Spring and Fall. If this Norfolk gets dirty since they like to dig a lot, then you can wash its hair with a dog shampoo.

Can The Norfolk Terrier Swim?

Good news! The Norfolk Terrier does like to take a dip every now and again. However, it is very important to never leave a Norfolk alone unsupervised in the water. This breed is very small and has been known to drown because they are too small to get out of the water themselves.

It is recommended to get them a good quality person floating device for extra support.


  1. The Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds – D. Caroline Coile Ph.D
  2. American Kennel Club
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Canadian Kennel Club
  5. The Kennel Club UK

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