The Norwich Terrier comes from the U.K, and is part of the UKC/AKC Terrier group. This is a breed that was originally trained to kill rats. This dog breed was used in packs to travel in foxhunts. Even so, they are more sociable than a regular terrier.

Brief History

The Norwich Terrier and the Norfolk Terrier were known as the same breed until 1964. After that, the main difference would be the Norwich Terrier’s prick ears. The Norwich Terrier was bred during the 1870’s and 1880’s. Undergrads at Cambridge University came to enjoy this dog breed. This dog breed became dorm-room ratters for Cambridge and nearby stables. This breed then was named Trumpington Terriers. One of these dogs was bred numerously at a stableyard, and sired Terrier pups. The breed then became the Jones Terriers in the U.S. The UKC and AKC recognized the Norwich Terrier in the 1930’s. Both Norwich and Norfolk Terrier are closely related.

Physical Features

The Norwich Terrier is spunky and alert. This dog breed is the smallest working terrier. With dark eyes that are oval-shaped, their skulls are broad and slightly rounded. The body is moderately short, and the tail is of medium length, and docked. The hindquarters are strong and muscular.

The Norwich Terrier has a wiry coat that lies close to their bodies, and has an undercoat. The coat on their necks and shoulders forms a mane. The coat can be shades of black and tan or grizzle, red, or wheaten. Their temperaments are happy, fearless, and alert.

Average Height:

9-10 inches

Average Weight:

11-13 pounds

Life Expectancy:

12-15 years


The Norwich Terrier is alert, fun loving, and affectionate. This is a good natured dog breed that enjoys children and other dogs. In order to spend time around other small animals it’s a good idea if they’re socialized first. This dog breed is fearless and highly trainable. Positive dog training and socialization needs to start during puppyhood. The name Terrier comes from the Latin word “terra” meaning earth. These dog breeds were first used to dig tunnels so that they could chase rats and other small prey. These are high- energy dogs that enjoy exercising and free play.

Special Needs

The Norwich Terrier needs to have a securely fenced backyard or garden. This dog breed is known for its escapades, and tends to dig beneath fencing to escape. Socialization with cats, children, people, and other dogs is necessary starting during the first four weeks of puppyhood, and continuing for the dog’s lifetime. Positive dog trainings should focus on maintaining the happy temperament that this breed displays. Harsh or loud reprimands tends to negate any positive bonding, and subjects a dog to unnecessary stress and possible trauma.

Possible Health Concerns

The Norwich Terrier is an active and healthy dog breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a hereditary condition that affects this dog breed. HD is an abnormal development of the hip joint in dogs. It’s generally characterized by a loose joint, then degenerative joint disease. Dogs should be fed a high-quality diet geared towards their life stage. Excessive growth, types of exercise, nutritional factors, and hereditary factors all come in to play with hip dysplasia. Consult with your veterinarian for expert advice.
  • Epilepsy: An inherited disease that causes seizures. Dogs will generally require treatment with anticonvulsants from their veterinarians.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy: This is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that may be found in the Norwich Terrier. It is caused by the SOD1-A gene. It happens during adulthood. Some symptoms may include limb weakness, muscle wasting, muscle tremors, and stumbling. Consult with your veterinarian.
  • Upper Airway Syndrome:  This is a respiratory condition that presents as noisy breathing to critical distress. The condition is breed specific, can occur without warning, and may be fatal.
  • Dental Disease: This is common in smaller dog breeds. Brushing your dog’s teeth everyday, followed by twice yearly dental cleanings, will reduce the chance for periodontal disease.
  • Luxating Patellas. This is a hereditary condition that is caused by the abnormal development of the kneecap(patella). X-rays will aid in seeing the severity of the displacement. Treatment usually involves surgical options.


The Norwich Terrier needs moderate exercise with brief bouts of fast activity like running after a tennis ball. This breed should never be over-exercised. They benefit from a few daily walks at a moderate pace with lots of off-leash runs at the beach or dog park.

This breed needs plenty of socialization like going to the dog park, or out and about the neighborhood. If not exercised sufficiently, they can become overly cranky and anxious. They should not be allowed to jump off tables, run up flights of stairs, or overexert themselves. Swimming is a great exercise for this small dog breed that will promote bone and joint strength.  


A high-quality dog food for the appropriate life stage is recommended. Dog parents should assess their dog’s activity level, age, breed, and any medical conditions that he or she may be prone to.

Look for dog food formulas that contain ingredients like duck, eggs, chicken, lamb and Wisconsin cheese, fruits and vegetables. Another factor that comes into play is that the dog food formula does not contribute to plaque buildup. It should not contain sugars, salt, or added preservatives.


The Norwich Terrier has a double coat. The outer coat is harsh, and almost 100% waterproof. The undercoat is soft and insulating. Clipping is practical, yet may remove the colored tips from the coat. The coat texture will be much softer when clipped.

Daily grooming is necessary with bathing as needed, since this breed loves playing around in the bushes and in mud. The Norfolk Terrier is active, and does well with regular grooming. Regular ear cleaning and daily tooth brushing is needed to prevent tartar buildup. Nails need to be trimmed as needed. As with all dog breeds, it’s necessary to bring your dog in for a twice yearly dental cleaning.

This bright and quirky dog breed is delightfully playful, and always ready for adventure. They enjoy hikes, swims, boat rides, or just hanging out next to you.

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