Norfolk Terriers, otherwise known as Norfolks, live up to the Terrier name. They are feisty and confident little things that are immensely loyal and are always up for adventure. Despite their small size, they are quite sturdy and act as if they were a much larger breed. In the early 20th century, an English dog breeder and horseman named Frank “Roughrider” Jones developed the breed to catch rats and foxes. He had developed two different Terriers that were, back then, considered part of one breed- the Norwich with upright ears and the Norfolk with ears that point down.
Characteristics of the. Norfolk Terrier
Let’s discover what makes Norfolk Terriers unique in both appearance and personality.
Although Norfolks are the size of Toy dogs at only 9 to 10 inches in height, they are a member of the Terrier group, and they sure act like it. The smallest of the working terriers, Norfolk Terriers can weigh between 11 and 12 pounds when full grown. Their sturdy appearance and agile bodies, despite their tiny size, distinguishes Norfolks physically from the Toy dog group. The Norfolk Terrier coat is wire-haired and can be seen in shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle. Unlike their Norwich cousins, Norfolks have ears that are pointed downwards, rather than upwards.
Norfolk Terriers can be described as fearless, alert, and fun-loving. Like most Terriers, Norfolks have an independent streak. However, Norfolk Terriers, along with Norwich Terriers and Border Terriers, have the softest temperaments of the Terrier group.
Norfolk Terriers are self-confident and often work in packs, so they get along with other dogs very well. There should not be any problems with your Norfolk Terrier and your other household pets- when introduced to unfamiliar dogs and cats as a puppy, the Norfolk Terrier will cohabit well. However, Norfolk Terriers are natural hunters for small vermin, so it is not a good idea to bring a Norfolk into a household that has pet rodents.
Norfolk Terriers make great family dogs as they get along with children well, and generally are kind and friendly towards all people. They thrive on human contact, and thus can suffer from separation anxiety when not around their owners. They should not be kept outside permanently as this would cause the Norfolk Terrier to become too lonely and unhappy. Due to their small size and sweet temperament towards strangers, Norfolk Terriers can adapt well to apartment living as long as they receive the proper exercise they require. However, Norfolks do not make good guard dogs as they are usually friendly to everyone they meet. This breed is an excellent travel companion as he will do well in a small crate and is always up for adventure.
You can expect your Norfolk Terrier to live between 8 and 14 years of age.
Caring for the Norfolk Terrier
Let’s look at the proper care required for a Norfolk Terrier.
Your Norfolk Terrier will need to be fed a high-quality dog food- wet or dry- that is appropriate for its age- puppy, adult, senior, etc. Treats can be a valuable tool to use during training but avoid feeding your pet too many treats as this can cause obesity, which can lead to many other problems. Table scraps should also be given sparingly and avoid especially those table scraps containing bones and contents rich in fat. In addition, clean, fresh water should be available at all times. Always consult your veterinarian if you are concerned about your pet’s diet or weight.
The Norfolk Terrier double coat insulates their bodies from getting too hot or cold, which can be useful during exercise in a wide range of climates. Your Norfolk will enjoy a long daily walk to get his energy out, especially if you are living in a small apartment. Norfolks have quite a lot of energy despite their small size. He will also enjoy playing fetch and running around with you. Due to his high prey drive and boundless energy, your Norfolk Terrier should be kept on a leash when not in a fenced in area, lest he chase after a rodent.
Though small, Norfolk Terriers are full of personality, which can mean stubbornness on some occasions. Although they are smart and enjoy pleasing their owners, Norfolk Terriers can have independent streaks when they are feeling feisty. Most of the time, though, Norfolk Terriers are relatively easy to train. The important thing when training your pet is to stay consistent with both rewards and consequences. Due to the Norfolk Terrier’s tendency to run off, make sure that you are training him in an enclosed area.
Norfolk Terriers have a double coat (a hard outercoat and soft undercoat). This coat is fairly easy to care for and will require only a weekly hand-stripping to remove old outer hairs and excess undercoat. Hand-stripping is very beneficial for your Norfolk Terrier and will keep his coat looking shiny and colorful. Though the Norfolk doesn’t shed often, hand-stripping can further reduce shedding. If you don’t know how to hand-strip, try to learn or find a groomer who can do this for you. If you are unwilling to learn or visit a professional groomer, the Norfolk Terrier may not be the right breed for you.
It is also important to clip the nails, clean the teeth, and check the ears frequently, in addition to regular check-ups at the veterinarian. Like any breed, Norfolk Terriers can be prone to certain health ailments. These can include patellar luxations (sliding kneecaps), mitral valve disease (a heart condition), shallow hip sockets, eye issues, and incorrect bites (the teeth on the top and bottom of the mouth do not align). These issues are much less likely to occur if you’ve purchased your Norfolk Terrier puppy from a responsible breeder who performs genetic screenings on the Norfolk Terrier parents. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s health.