Norfolk Terrier Puppy Facts

Did you just bring home a new Norfolk Terrier puppy and want to learn more about the breed?

Maybe you are thinking about buying a puppy and want to know if this is the right breed of dog for you and your family?

No matter what your situation may be, you will find the answers to your questions right here!



Breed History

This is one of the younger of the terrier breeds. Its history and even existence is closely intertwined with that of the Norwich Terrier. These two breeds are so closely related that it's impossible to describe the Norfolk Terrier without describing the other breed first.

The Norwich is the older of the two breeds. It was developed in East Anglia, England at the end of the 19th century. Some of the breeds used to develop it include the Irish Terrier and the Yorkshire Terrier.

It's commonly accepted that a dog named "Rags" is the original sire of the modern breed. He had stocky body, short legs, cropped ears (more about the ears a little lower) and possessed exceptional ratting skills.

Like all terriers, this breed was developed to hunt and was used extensively for ratting. Over the next several decades other terrier types were crossed with Rags and his descendents to extend the breed's hunting abilities beyond ratting.

The breed was introduced to the United States in 1914 and recognized by AKC in 1936.

Up to now, I described the history of the Norwich Terrier but it also happens to be the history of the Norfolk Terrier. These two breeds used to be classified as the same breed until 1964 when the distinction was made in England. The AKC followed in 1979.

There are several small differences between the breeds, and the most visible one are the ears. While the Norwich has erect ears, the Norfolk Terrier has drop down ears.

Today, both breeds are used mostly for companionship.

Physical Characteristics of Norfolk Terrier Puppies

The Norfolk Terrier is one of the smallest working terriers.

It has a short and compact body with wide chest, well-sprung ribcage, and strong medium length neck. The tail is medium length, straight and carried high. It's usually docked in U.S. but docking tails (and cropping ears) is against the law in most of Europe.

The front legs are short, straight and powerful. The back legs are broad, with powerful and muscular thighs. The feet are round with thick pads.

The skull is wide and slightly rounded. The oval shaped eyes are dark and small. The V-shaped ears and are medium size and drop down.

The coat consists of straight and hard outer coat and a softer undercoat. The outer coat is between 1 1/2 to 2 inches long. The coat on neck and shoulders forms a protective mane. The hair on head, with the exception of eyebrows and whiskers, is short and smooth.

The coat comes in all shades of red, wheaten, black and tan, and grizzle (a mixture of black or red hairs with white hairs).

    Height Weight
  Male up to 10 inches 12 pounds
  Female up to 10 inches 12 pounds


Just like its close cousin, the Norfolk Terrier is an intelligent and active breed without any nervousness associated with a lot of the smaller breeds.

Affectionate towards their family, they enjoy human company and are good with children. Norfolk Terriers are good with other dogs and even cats but like other terriers, they can't be trusted with smaller animals such as rodents.

The Norfolk Terrier thrives on human contact. Being an active breed and a good family pet, the Norfolk will enjoy participating in all family activities. He loves to retrieve things tossed towards him, playing games or just spending time with their family.

Similar to other terriers, the Norfolk Terrier can be a bit stubborn. Unless you establish yourself as the dog's leader, your pet can resort to many destructive behaviors, including separation anxiety, jealousy, and even excessive guarding.

The breed can also be somewhat difficult to housebreak.

Best Owner / Living Conditions

Despite being an active breed, the Norfolk Terrier can adjust to a city apartment lifestyle.

Its pleasant disposition makes it a good pet for any family, including the one with small children.

Some Norfolk Terrier breeders may interview prospective owners to make sure this is the right breed for them.

Activity and Exercise

Norfolks thrive on an active lifestyle. They are little bundles of energy and enjoy playing, chasing and retrieving things tossed at them, and running off leash. To protect your pet from escaping, never leave him off leash in an unprotected area.

They are also pretty good at dog agility, a sport that is entertaining for both, dogs and their owners.

At a minimum, take your pet for several long walks every day.


This breed is a light shedder and is relatively easy to care for.

At a minimum, you will need to comb and brush the Norfolk 4 to 5 times per week but for best appearance, do it on a daily basis.

You will also need to hand strip his coat twice per year. Stripping involves pulling out the dead top coat. It will maintain the coat's hard texture and reduce shedding.  

Bathe only when necessary.

Health Concerns

Like all dog breeds, Norfolk Terriers are susceptible to complications caused by internal and external parasites such as ticks, fleas, and worms.

While it's considered a healthy breed, some dogs may be predisposed to eye problems, epilepsy and back problems. For more information about dog diseases and health, visit dog health problems.

Buy only from reputable Norfolk Terrier breeders to reduce the risk of the above and many other health problems (visit dog breeders to learn how to identify responsible dog breeders).

Even healthy dogs get sick. While many health problems will require an immediate attention from your Vet, there are many others that you may handle on your own. Learn how to save time and money (and how to keep your pet healthy) by diagnosing and treating dog health problems that don't require your Vet's attention.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy for Norfolk Terrier puppies is between 12 and 16 years.

Did you ever consider adopting your next pet?

If this is the breed you are interested in, and adoption appeals to you, consider contacting your local Norfolk Terrier rescue. There are thousands of pets waiting for a loving home and, yes, it's possible to adopt a purebred dog.

Puppy Training

Not happy with your pet's behavior? Need help with training your dog for obedience? Then check this dog behavior and obedience training guide.

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