Norwich Terrier

"All Terrier, All the Time"

Photo of Norwich Terrier


Vermin-catching terriers with short legs existed all over Great Britain for many centuries, and went by many different names, sometimes according to where they lived. Around the turn of the twentieth century, short little terriers called Cantab or Trumpington terriers were in fashion at Cambridge University, and one in particular, named Rags, was particularly well-known as a talented ratter with great virility – he sired many offspring. This dog became the father of the today's Norwich Terrier. Some people still call the Norwich a Jones Terrier because the first Norwich Terrier to make an impression in the United States, a son of Rags, had an owner with the surname Jones. The AKC recognized the Norwich Terrier in 1936, when both the prick and drop-eared varieties were considered Norwich Terriers. In 1979, the drop-eared variety was recognized as a separate breed, the Norfolk Terrier. Always a favorite in the show ring, the Norwich has been less popular as a pet, perhaps due to his high energy and terrier-to-the-extreme temperament. Today, the Norwich is the 92nd most popular breed.


The Norwich Terrier wants everybody to know he's large and in charge. Feisty and full of energy, he can hardly stand to sit around all day. He'd rather be on the move, riding in the car, walking through the park, or chasing anything that moves. Sure, he has his own opinions, and his loud barking will alert you to just about anything going on outside the house (or inside, or in his own little mind). Sure, he can be a challenge to train. But he's all terrier all the time, so those with spirit, spunk, and a sense of adventure will appreciate his oversized personality.


Sturdy with short legs and a square body, the Norwich is a small dog at just about 10 inches tall and 12 pounds. He has big teeth (the better to chomp rats with, my dear) and ears standing always at attention. His double coat has a hard, wiry outer layer and a thick layer under the mane, and his face should look foxy and clever. He can come in any shade of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle, preferably without white markings.


Sit? OK. Sit again? Boring! The Norwich likes to be on the move, so training must be creative and fun with lots of rewards. Otherwise, he'll wander off to find something more interesting to occupy his active brain and body. Creative trainers with a sense of fun and a knack for sports will have the most success with the Norwich, who really does like to please you…as long as he's also pleasing himself.

Grooming & Care

To maintain a true Norwich Terrier coat texture and look, dogs should be stripped about every three months, a process of pulling out dead hairs by hand or with a stripping knife. Groomers tend to clip down the Norwich, which shortens but does not remove dead hair, compromising coat texture, but this method may be more comfortable for older dogs and more efficient for busy pet owners. In between stripping sessions or grooming visits, comb the coat several times each week. Also, trim nails and keep ears and teeth clean. Norwich Terriers need regular, vigorous exercise, especially during the first few years. Hunting trips, walks in the woods, or leashed explorations around the block will keep the Norwich healthy and engaged.

Health Concerns

Generally healthy little dogs, Norwich Terriers sometimes suffer from seizures, allergies, hip dysplasia, patellar luxation (kneecaps slipping out of place), and cataracts. Ask the breeder about hip and eye clearances, and ask to see the test results.

Famous Norwich Terrier

Ch. Chidley Willum The Conqueror took the Best in Show honors at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog show in 1994.

Ideal Owner
Activity Level 3
Schedule 6
Home 44
Children 49
Experience 11
Quick Facts
Grooming 57
Exercise 61
Challenges Barks a lot; will chase small animals.
Height 9 to 10 inches
Weight 10 to 15 pounds
Life 12 to 14 years
Home Alone 20
With Kids 86
With Strangers 91
Availability 23

This client information sheet is based on material written by: LifeLearn

© Copyright 2014 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

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