Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier
Other names: Norfolk
The Norfolk Terrier : a jolly little dog, easy-going in company but fearless in the field, she loves humans and detests rodents. While the Norfie will make an excellent addition to a variety of homes, it is important to note that she is not quite the teddy-bear that she appears. From the mouse to the fox, there is no size of foe, below human knee-height, that will intimidate the mighty Norf; but she does not fight for fighting’s sake, and will not start trouble unless she senses unwelcome company. She has an independent streak, and can be fiercely protective of her people. She needs a lot of exercise and may be better suited to country life than the big city. But she is a lot of fun, incredibly cute, and great company.
Key facts about the Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier
Life expectancy :
Temperament :Affectionate Playful Hunter
Origins and history
The Norfie can count among her ancestors such distinguished terriers as the Glen
of Imaals, red Cairn Terriers and Dandie Dinmonts. At some point in the 19th century, a distinctive reddish off-shoot appeared among the unpretentious and little-distinguished farm dogs of Norfolk county, who worked daily to keep local vermin in order alongside other duties as required.
This off-shoot eventually became known as the Norwich Terrier, and was accepted onto the books of the Kennel Club in 1932. Along the way, she picked up such names as the Cantab or Trumpington Terrier, as she had been adopted first into Cambridge University life (where her ratting skills were first rate) and later to stables on nearby Trumpington Street, where Jodrell Hopkins made a business of breeding the creatures for his fellow students.
One such Trumper, Rags, ended up in the employ of Frank “Roughrider” Jones, who bred him with a hunt terrier/Dandie Dinmont cross named Ninety, their red-haired children becoming an important terrier family. In fact, the dog is known as a Jones Terrier in the States.
But varieties with both upward- and downward-pointing ears continued to be recognised as the same breed until 1964, when a campaign to acknowledge that somewhere along the line one strain of Norwich Terriers had become quite a different dog was finally ceded by the UK Kennel Club. The down-eared dog was christened the Norfolk, and eventually became the more popular of the closely-related breeds.
FCI breed nomenclature
Group 3 - Terriers
Section 2 : Small sized Terriers
Physical characteristics of the Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier
Female : Between 9 and 10 in
Male : Between 9 and 10 in
Female : Between 9 and 13 lb
Male : Between 9 and 13 lb
Red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle (blend of all the above). Possible white patches.
Type of coat
Mid-length; longer around neck and shoulders.
The type of the coat is hard, wiry, flat to the body.
Dark brown or black.
Not to be mistaken, for fear of causing offence, with the Norwich Terrier, the Norfolk is a tiny bit longer than the Norwich, and her ears flap down rather than pointing up. However, the two breeds are together described as the smallest of the working terriers. The key word here is ‘working,’ since the Norfie should not be mistaken for a toy. She is strong and agile. Her dark little eyes peep urgently through her fringes in search of love or vermin. A perfect button nose crowns her strong, door-stop-shaped beak. Her tail stands tall like an antenna, and her coat is wiry and fringed at the extremities. In some ways, she resembles a little quadruped Wookie; a mistaken identity that she encourages when she opens her mouth to alert you to unexpected company.
Good to know
Although not as rare as her cousin the Norwich Terrier, the Norfolk can be hard to come by and there may be a waiting list to join.
The Norfie loves people, particularly her own people, and will distribute her affections generously around the pack – although this sociability may be channelled more through play than cuddles.
La Norfa is an energetic and intelligent dog, and she will require serious stimulation if her instincts are to be fulfilled. If you live in a country house, by all means encourage her to take responsibility for the regulation of the local rodent community; if not, find her surrogates in the form of sticks and toys.
Not really. While she’s not exactly neurotic, the Norfolk Terrier is certainly vigilant, and her active little eyes and body will often be found to be on standby mode when you thought that she was fully switched-off.
She’s a fairly intelligent creature, and if she fails to heed your instructions it is more likely down to poor training or selective hearing than any fault in her intellect.
Boy-oh-boy does she like a hunt. She was bred for this purpose. The county of Norfolk – aside from its thriving mustard industry – is known for its ditch-lined arable landscape, which has provided plenty of rodent action for the Norfie’s ancestors over the years.
Fearful / wary of strangers
The Norfie is generally friendly towards strangers but will not hesitate to step up if she feels her people are being threatened.
She has a significant independent streak as befits her rat-catching vocation, so firm training is essential for her to develop into a responsible adult.
Behaviour of the Norfolk Terrier and Norwich Terrier
The Norfie is okay on her own for reasonable amounts of time but may become destructive or attempt to dig herself to freedom if abandoned longer than she feels is fair.
Easy to train / obedience
She is quite straightforward to train, and it is essential that owners do so since she can be quite a free spirit without the education required for participation in conventional society.
She is not the worst of barkers, but can become annoying if bad habits aren’t curtailed early on. Small moving creatures in particular will bring out the Norfie’s vocal side.
Tendency to run away
The Norfie is somewhat prone to escape, due to her excellent digging skills and the fact that she is driven so quickly to distraction by the appearance of small furry things. Perimeters should be carefully secured, and the dog should be adequately tagged – perhaps with GPS location transmitters – since she is the same colour as the countryside and can soon slip past a search party unnoticed.