Norfolk Terrier

Temperament: Fearless, Alert, Fun-Loving

  • Height: 9-10 inches
  • Weight: 11-12 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 12-16 years
  • Group: Terrier Group 

Norfolk Terriers are little, cute, and loyal, and they will gladly curl up in your lap, but don’t dare call them lapdogs. Norfolks, despite their toyish qualities, are genuine terriers—feisty, confident, sturdy, and game for adventure.


The Norfolk Terrier, game and hardy, with expressive dropped ears, is one of the smallest of the working terriers. It is active and compact, free-moving, with good substance and bone. With its natural, weather-resistant coat and short legs, it is a “perfect demon” in the field. This versatile, agreeable breed can go to ground, bolt a fox and tackle or dispatch other small vermin, working alone or with a pack. Honorable scars from wear and tear are acceptable in the ring.

About the Norfolk Terrier

Norfolk Terriers are among the smallest working terriers, standing no higher than 10 inches at the shoulder. The coat is hard, wiry, and straight. They share many traits with their close cousins, Norwich Terriers. To tell them apart, look at the ears: The Norwich has erect, pointed ears; Norfolk ears are neatly folded over.

Bred to work in packs, Norfolks are more gregarious than a typical terrier, but they have plenty of the old terrier pep. Few Norfolks these days earn their living hunting rodents, but a good one will fearlessly do so when given a chance. Norfolks bond closely, sometimes jealously, with their owners and make nice watchdogs. They have a reputation as a good traveller: portable, adaptable, and up for anything.

NUTRITION The Norfolk Terrier should do well on a high-quality dog food, whether commercially manufactured or home-prepared with your veterinarian’s supervision and approval. Any diet should be appropriate to the dog’s age (puppy, adult, or senior). Some dogs are prone to getting overweight, so watch your dog’s calorie consumption and weight level. Treats can be an important aid in training, but giving too many can cause obesity. Learn about which human foods are safe for dogs, and which are not. Check with your vet if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight or diet. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.

GROOMING A Norfolk Terrier should have a double coat consisting of a hard outer coat and a soft undercoat that insulates the body from heat and cold. Hand-stripping removes old outer hairs and excess undercoat so that new hair can grow in. Wire coats that are cared for properly by hand-stripping have a beautiful shine and rich colour. Learning to hand-strip, or finding a groomer who will hand-strip, is an important consideration in choosing this breed.

EXERCISE Long walks, socialising, and games of fetch with his owner will expend some of the Norfolk’s boundless energy. With his active nature and extremely high prey drive, the Norfolk should be on leash while on outings, and his yard should be fenced.

TRAINING Created to hunt in packs, Norfolks are geared to be more gregarious than the typical independent terrier. They are very smart and bond closely with their families, but they may challenge their owner’s limits, so obedience training is a must. They have a very strong prey drive and pose a danger to small pets in the home, such as ferrets and hamsters. For this reason they should not be allowed off leash in areas that are not securely fenced. Early socialisation and puppy training classes are recommended to ensure that the dog grows into a well-adjusted, well-mannered companion. A Norfolk travels well: He’s portable, adaptable, and up for anything.

HEALTH Norfolk Terriers are generally healthy dogs, and responsible breeders test their stock for health conditions such as heart and eye issues and patellar luxation. A Norfolk’s teeth should be brushed often using a toothpaste formulated for dogs. Regular visits to the vet for checkups and parasite control help to ensure your dog will have a long, healthy life.

Recommended Health Tests from the National Breed Club:

  • Patella Evaluation
  • Cardiac Exam
  • Ophthalmologist Evaluation

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