Once mingled with the Norfolk Terrier, as a single breed, the Norfolk and Norwich have now separated into their own individual breeds. The Norwich is known as one of the world’s smallest working terriers and is recognized from his sister breed, the Norfolk, by his pricked ears.
Norwich Terrier History
Developed during the late 1800’s as a ratting dog, the Norwich Terrier was the result of one Frank “Roughrider” Jones, who set out to breed the ultimate scrappy vermin hunter. By crossing a variety of different terriers, he began to breed a dog that would be courageous and yet small enough to fit into the narrowest of spaces, where rats would commonly go. He chose his dogs from various stables throughout Cambridge, Norwich and Market Harborough, until he had created one of the smallest breeds of ratting terriers in the world. These courageous little dogs would be used in packs to rid the stables of vermin, as well as being sent down into foxholes, so they could flush out the quarry when the fox had gone to ground.
When these tough little terriers were originally registered in the AKC Stud Book, however, they were all grouped together and called Norwich Terriers, despite the fact that there was a great deal of controversy surrounding ear carriage and various styles of Norwich Terriers. In 1964, the English Kennel Club decided to recognize the dog as two seperate breeds, based on whether they had pricked ears or drop ears; the dogs with dropped ears would go on to become the Norfolk Terrier, while the scrappy little individual with pricked ears would retain the title of Norwich Terrier. By 1979, the AKC followed suit and the rest, they say, is history.
Norwich Terrier Appearance
One of the smallest of the terrier breeds, the Norwich Terrier embodies all it is to be terrier – short and powerful legs are able to propel him nimbly across the ground. His wire-haired coat is dense and bears a somewhat adorably shaggy appearance, and he is found in all different shades of red and wheaten, as well as black-and-tan varieties and grizzle.
The Norwich has alert, pricked ears and always seeming to be listening for something and ready to take on the world.
Norwich Terrier Temperament
Like many terriers, the Norwich is an adorably scrappy little dog. Very lovable, when it comes to their masters, Norwich puppies are generally quick to warm up to (and swarm over) the neighbors as well. Possessing a very playful and clown-like attitude, they are wonderful companion animals.
While the Norwich does well in numbers and thrives in the company of other Norwich Terriers, careful consideration must be given if you have other pets – remember, it’s natural instinct for these dogs to hunt vermin and they can’t differentiate between a wild rodent and your pet rabbit, rat or guinea pig.
Norwich Terrier Exercise Info
The Norwich is a busy little dog but, fortunately, he does enjoy long periods of rest between his exercise. Because of their activity levels and their playfulness, they are ideal for families with older children or with very active adults who want an ‘on the go’ companion.
If you plan on bringing a Norwich into your home, plan on going for regular walks, taking frequent trips to the dog park, or playing a good half-hour or more’s worth of fetch the ball every day. These scrappy little terriers are no couch potatoes!
Norwich Terrier Grooming Info
The Norwich’s coat is not prone to matting easily, but he will require a weekly brushing, just to keep the natural oils distributed through his coat and to help remove any dander that may have accumulated on his skin. This is also a good opportunity to spend quality time with your little terrier and it will give you a head’s up, when it comes to other potential problems.
Additionally, this breed does require occasional stripping, to gently pull the dead hair from his coat. Be sure to have a responsible breeder show you how to do this properly or be sure to take your Norwich puppy in to the groomer’s regularly, in order to help keep him comfortable and happy.
Norwich Terrier Training Info
The Norwich Terrier puppy is quick to learn, both good things and bad. Quick-witted and intelligent, they pick up things at a fast rate, so it’s important to be consistent to avoid confusion. Additionally, they are willing to please, love praise, and seem to work exceptionally well with clicker training and positive reinforcement.
Norwich Terrier Health Info
The Norfolk is generally a very strong and healthy breed, though there are a few complications that they may be more susceptible to. Hip dysplasia is a concern with these scrappy little terriers, as well as luxating patellas and they can be prone to cataracts. There are also a small number of individuals that have shown to have troubles with mitral valve disease, so it’s important to purchase your puppy from a reputable breeder. Never be afraid to ask questions or voice your concerns with your potential puppy’s breeder – they’ll be more than happy to answer them all.
Norwich Terrier Right Breed Info
The Norwich is an amazing little family dog and makes a wonderful companion for young and old alike. He thrives on attention and the company of others, so it’s generally not a good idea to get a Norwich if you’re someone who works a good portion of the day and doesn’t enjoy a dog on your lap and lots of play and snuggles throughout the evening.
Another thing to consider is the natural instincts of these wire-haired terriers. Bred as vermin hunters, they are not well-suited to homes that keep pets that he may consider possible prey. Rabbits, guinea pigs, or pet rats and mice do not mix with Norwich Terriers and, occasionally, even the family cat may be at risk if proper socialization doesn’t take place.
If you don’t mind this, or the occasional hole in your lawn (they’re natural diggers), a Norwich Terrier puppy may be the perfect dog for you and your family!
More Information about the Norwich Terrier Dog Breed
Norwich Terrier on Wikipedia