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Norwich Terrier

Oliver Jones

Norwich Terrier

The Norwich Terrier is a small purebred dog from the United Kingdom bred originally to hunt rodents and vermin. It is one of the smaller working terriers that have been bred. It is also called the Trumpington Terrier, Jones Terrier, Prick-Eared Norwich Terrier and Cantab Terrier. As well as being valued for their hunting ability they were loved for their loyalty, outgoing nature, their spirit, friendliness and being more agreeable than many terriers. As well as being great companions they do well in the show ring excelling at racing, earth dog competitions, obedience and agility.

The Norwich Terrier at A Glance
Name Norwich Terrier
Other names Trumpington Terrier, Cantab Terrier, Jones Terrier, Prick-Eared Norwich Terrier
Nicknames Norwich
Origin United Kingdom
Average size Small
Average weight 10 to 12 pounds
Average height 9 to 10 inches
Life span 12 to 16 years
Coat type Wiry, thick, harsh and rough
Hypoallergenic Yes
Color Black and Tan, Red
Popularity Somewhat popular – ranked 103rd by the AKC
Intelligence Quite intelligent – above average
Tolerance to heat Very good – can handle hot climates but nothing extreme
Tolerance to cold Very good – can live in cold weather but nothing extreme
Shedding Light – does not leave a lot of hair around the home
Drooling Low – not a breed known to be prone to drool or slobber
Obesity High – prone to weight gain, be sure to measure food and treats and give enough physical exercise
Grooming/brushing Moderate – brush regularly
Barking Frequent – training to control it with a command will be needed
Exercise needs Fairly active – will need daily exercise opportunities
Trainability Moderate – experience would help
Friendliness Excellent with socialization
Good first dog Good but better with owners who are experienced
Good family pet Excellent with socialization
Good with children Very good with socialization – older children
Good with other dogs Very good with socialization
Good with other pets Good to very good with socialization – can have high prey drive around small animals
Good with strangers Very good with socialization
Good apartment dog Excellent due to size but barking is frequent and could be a problem
Handles alone time well Moderate – does not like being left alone for long periods
Health issues Somewhat healthy breed – several issues include tracheal collapse, epilepsy, hip dysplasia, breathing problems
Medical expenses $435 a year for basic health care and pet insurance
Food expenses $75 a year for a good quality dry dog food and dog treats
Miscellaneous expenses $460 a year for grooming, toys, license, basic training and miscellaneous items
Average annual expenses $970 a year as a starting figure
Cost to purchase $1,500
Rescue organizations Several including the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club
Biting Statistics None reported

The Norwich Terrier’s Beginnings

The Norwich Terrier was developed in Norwich a city in the north of England in East Anglia in the mid to late 19th century. At the time the Norfolk and Norwich Terrier were considered one breed but with different ears. The Norwich had pricked ears so one of its names was the Prick-Eared Norwich Terrier and for a while the Norfolk was the drop-eared Norwich Terrier. It was bred to clear barns of rats and to clear out fox dens, once the fox bolted hunters on horses with their hounds would chase it.

In the late 1880s it became fashionable in Cambridge university amongst the students to own a Norwich Terrier and it became like an unofficial mascot. There it was called a Cantab Terrier. Later at the beginning of the 20th century Frank Jones bred a working terrier from Norwich with a Cairn Terrier and a Glen of Imaal Terrier and then that offspring was crossed with further terriers from Market Harborough, Norwich and Cambridge to further develop the breed. For a while dogs he sold were known as Jones Terriers. But there was a problem, when the drop eared mated with the prick eared the resulting litter had ugly ears that were neither one or the other.

In the 1930s the Norwich was show in the show ring and breeders began to make more effort to have the two types separated into two breeds. It was recognized the English Kennel Club in 1932. With the arrival of World War II the drop eared variety became less popular and nearly disappeared but the prick eared maintained most of its numbers. In 1964 the Kennel Club separated them finally and each was classed as a different breed with the Drop eared Norwich Terrier becoming known as the Norfolk Terrier.

New Lease on Life

The Norwich Terrier came to the US in 1914, bred by Frank Jones so it and its offspring were called Jones Terriers. In 1936 it was recognized by the AKC, at this point both types being called now the Norwich Terrier. In 1938 the Norwich Terrier Club of America was started. It became more popular in the US and in 1979 the AKC also separated the two types into two recognized breeds. The club was renamed the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier Club of America. In 2007 members voted to split into breed clubs. Today it is ranked 103rd in popularity out of all purebred registered with the AKC.

The Dog You See Today

This is a small dog weighing 10 to 12 pounds and standing 9 to 10 inches tall. It is short but strong and sturdy with straight legs and round feet that have black toenails. It has a level topline and a medium sized tail that is high set and in places where still allowed it is docked to half length. It has a double coat, the under coat is thick and the top coat is straight and wiry and medium length. Hair lies close to the body and is waterproof. It is a shaggy looking dog and common colors are wheaten, red, black and tan, tan, grizzle, white markings and some have dark points. The hair is thicker around the shoulders and neck to create a mane that protects that area.

The Norwich’s head is wide and a little rounded with a lot of space between its pricked and pointed ears. The muzzle is strong and wedge shaped and its eyes are oval shaped, small, dark with black rims. Its eyebrows are a bit bushy but elsewhere the hair on the head is short.

The Inner Norwich Terrier


The Norwich Terrier is alert and makes a good watchdog. It will bark to let you know if there is an intruder but is not considered to be a protective dog though so is not likely to act against the intruders past barking. It is a dog new owners can consider but does better with experienced ones. It is an affectionate, loyal, brave, energetic and social dog. In the right home it can be a great family dog and companion. It might be small but it would not be content just as a lap dog, it likes to be active, busy, can be independent and is also very sensitive. While it is not as yappy as many other terriers it barks frequently still so a command to stop that should be included in its training. It is smart but it can be sassy.

It will want to be a part of all family activity and will view members of the family as their pack. It loves to play especially with balls and will have a puppy like energy even into old age. It has a great zest for life, enjoys challenges but is still very even tempered. It does not like being left alone for long periods of time so make sure you leave it plenty of toys and things to do when you are out. If you have other dogs that will be good companionship for it. With strangers it has a friendly reserved manner so make sure it is well socialized.

Living with a Norwich Terrier

What will training look like?

The Norwich is a moderate dog to train, it is more agreeable than many terriers but is still has the terrier independence and fire that can make it stubborn and slow things down. Owners with more experience though may find it easier. Make sure you set rules that you stick to as consistency is really important. Also make sure you treats it as a small dog and do not spoil it like a baby as that can lead to it developing small dog syndrome. You are the pack leader not it, be firm but use positive methods. Treats, rewards, encouragement and praise are a good way to motivate it. Being very sensitive it does not respond well to to harsh tones or physical punishment. Once basic training is complete you could consider taking it further to keep it mentally engaged.

While obedience training may go fairly well house training is a lot harder. This breed is hard to housebreak and will requite a lot of patience from you. As with a lot of small dogs it is good at sneaking off to do its business around the home. Keep with it, consider using crate training and make sure you have a regular schedule you stick to. Early socialization is another thing that is important. Expose your dog from an early age to different sounds, people, children, places and experiences. It is less likely to have problems with being suspicious or shy and will be a dog you can trust when you are out with it, or when people come over.

How active is the Norwich Terrier?

This is a fairly active dog so will not just want to sit on a lap all day, though for sure it will want some of that going on too! It likes to plat, especially with balls and it likes to chase things. It will need a couple of good 15 to 20 minute walks a day, (it can even keep up with short jogs), especially if it is living in an apartment with no yard access. If there is a yard that is a bonus place to explore and play in but it should be well fenced, and this dog does like to dig. If it is an apartment dog a command to stop its barking is going to be needed. It would enjoy going to a dog park where you can play with it safely off leash and it can socialize but being so small it is best in places where they have separate sections for small dogs. It has a lot of energy so it needs lots to do and lots of mental challenge too otherwise it will get bored, restless, more barky, destructive and difficult. It has strong chasing instincts so make sure it is kept on a leash.

Caring for the Norwich Terrier

Grooming needs

Grooming and maintaining the Norwich will require a moderate amount of effort and work. It will need occasional stripping, especially if it is a show dog, by a professional groomer. If it is not a show dog and you do not mind the texture of its coat changing you can choose to clip it now and them. It is light shedding so not much clean up is needed around the home or on clothing. If you do clip that shedding does go up a little, it is the texture of its coat that traps loose hairs and keeps it low shedding. Give it a comb or brush at least a couple of times a week otherwise it can become a tangled mess. Only use a dog shampoo when bathing and only bathe when it really is dirty and needs one. Doing this too often damages its natural oils and that leads to skin problems.

Other needs will include taking care of its ears, its teeth and its nails. Ears should be checked once a week for signs of infection such as redness, irritation, wax build up and discharge. At the same time you should give them a wipe clean. Use a cotton ball and a dog ear cleansing solution your vet has approved, or a warm damp cloth. Just do not insert anything into the ears, as well as causing pain it can do a lot of damage. Its teeth should be brushed at least two to three times a week for good oral hygiene. This will help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and keep its breath fresher! Dog nails are not like ours. There are vessels and nerves in a part of them which makes clipping something to be done with care. If you cut ir even just nick there it will cause bleeding and a lot of pain. If you are unsure have a professional groomer or vet do it for you. You could also ask your vet to show you how.

Feeding Time

The daily amount recommended for a dog of this size is ½ to 1 cup of a good quality dry dog food, split into at least two meals. How much exactly can vary from one Norwich to another depending on its level of activity, size, health, age and metabolism rate. Be warned this dog loves its food and will eat almost anything. It is prone to obesity so make sure you do not leave food out for it to graze on, and keep your food and the dog food where it cannot get to them. Do not let it con you into giving it table scraps either!

How is the Norwich Terrier with children and other animals?

The Norwich Terrier is good and affectionate with children especially when raised with them and when it has had socialization. It is a playful dog which makes it a great match for children, and they can also burn off energy together, a win for you! They are best though with children who are older. While this is a more mellow terrier type, all terriers can have problems with teasing and being pulled at or being cornered. Toddlers tend to do these things. Supervision with young children is important then if they are around. Make sure you teach the children too what is acceptable when touching and playing with the dog and what is not.

With other pets like other dogs or cats even, the Norwich is usually fine, it actually even likes having other dogs to grow up with and have as company, being part of a pack. It can be possessive of its toys though and sometimes bossy towards them. But because of its rodent hunting days it has a strong drive to chase and catch small animals like mice, guinea pigs and hamsters. It is best not to be in a home with these kinds of pets. It will chase them if it seems small animals outside, or try to, and with other dogs who are dominant and might try to challenge it, it will not back down from that. If it is adult aged and you are trying to bring a new dog home that may also be a problem.

What Might Go Wrong?

Health Concerns

This breed has a life span of 12 to 16 years and are somewhat healthy but there are a number of issues to be aware of that might come up. These include eye problems, back problems, collapsing trachea, epilepsy, elongated soft palate, upper airway syndrome, obesity, caesarian sections needed commonly for birthing, hip dysplasia, luxating patellas, dental problems, heart problems and small litters.

Biting Statistics

When looking at reports of dog attacks against people that lead to bodily harm in the US and Canada over the last 35 years, there is no mention of an attack that involved a Norwich Terrier. This is not a dog to be concerned about especially when it comes to aggression towards people, but that being said any dog, regardless of size or breed has the potential to be so. It could be something that prompts it into an attack or it could be something to do with its upbringing, but also some times dogs have a bad day just like we do. To lower the odds make sure it is well trained and socialized, gets enough attention and exercise and is well looked after.

Your Pup’s Price Tag

The cost of a Norwich puppy is high because of how few there are and their low litter numbers, and need for caesarian help. The lowest is likely to be around $1500 from a trustworthy breeder, but that number can go up by quite a lot and if you are using a top show breeder it can go up even further. You will have to wait on a waiting list too, but it is still best to use decent and experienced breeders than turn to puppy mills, pet stores or backyard breeders. There are shelters and rescues but finding this dog at one is not likely. Still take a visit to your local ones, there may be a mixed dog you form a bond with and mixed dogs make just as good companions as purebreds. Adoption would be $50 to $400.

When you have found a dog to bring home you will need to take it to a vet as soon as possible. There it can be examined, have blood tests done, be dewormed and given up to date vaccinations, be microchipped and spayed or neutered. This will cost about $260. There are also some items your dog will need. A crate, carrier, collar and leash, bowls and so on. These will cost $120.

There are also ongoing costs to pet ownership. Food that is of a good quality and dog treats are going to cost about $75 a year. Basic health care like flea and tick prevention, shots and check ups as well as pet insurance come to about $435 a year. Then those miscellaneous costs like basic training, grooming, toys, license and miscellaneous items will come to somewhere around $460 a year. This gives a starting yearly figure of $970.


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This is a small but tough and sturdy dog with a lot of energy and zest for life. It is not a delicate lap dog, it will need play, activity, challenges and a family that includes it. It can be bossy and it does have a stubborn side but it is also loving, affectionate, loyal, cheerful and inquisitive. It does not shed a lot and is able to live with other dogs and pets when raised with them. Early socialization is important as it does have strong chasing instincts. It is hard to house train but it is a great family companion.

Featured Image Credit: Oksana.Bondar, Shutterstock

Oliver Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones - A zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia with his partner Alex, their dog Pepper, and their cat Steve (who declined to be pictured). Ollie, originally from the USA, holds his master's degree in wildlife biology and moved to Australia to pursue his career and passion but has found a new love for working online and writing about animals of all types.