Norwich Terrier dog breed characteristics, origin and care

Norwich Terrier breed characteristics

  • Size: Small
  • Traits: Alert, Active, Keen, Sociable, Friendly
  • Maintenance: Medium maintenance, brush coat 1-3 times a week
  • Best Suited To: Families, Active individual
  • Lifespan: 13 to 14 years

Sociable, active and friendly, the Norwich Terrier is an energetic breed that will be keen to spend some quality time with you. They also enjoy giving chase to rodents in the yard so for heaven’s sake, keep your pet rat confined!

Where I'm From

The Norwich Terrier is a close relation of the Norfolk Terrier, with the two breeds first recognised as unique by the British Kennel Club in 1964. You can easily tell the difference between the two by looking at their ears. The Norfolk Terrier has a drop-ear whereas the Norwich Terrier has a pricked ear like a witch’s hat.

The breed originated in England and enjoyed a period of inflated popularity during the late 1800s when students of Cambridge University became infatuated with them.

Norwich Terriers were first used to drive rats from farms and later to chase foxes from their dens. The hunting instinct of the breed is still strong today so be careful if you’re planning on introducing them to your pet rabbit!

What I Look Like

The coats of these cute little pooches are shaggy and medium in length. Their topcoats are straight and wiry but nestled below is a soft, insulating undercoat. This breed has small dark eyes surrounded by short hair on their head.

These pooches stand roughly ten inches high and have a stocky look about them. Pet owners will have to monitor their portion size because they can end up overweight if not exercised properly.

Norwich Terriers come in five shades including black, tan, red, grizzle and wheaten.

How I Act

They may be the smallest of the terrier breeds but what they lack in size, they make up for in personality. Norwich Terriers are sociable, friendly and alert dogs. They’ll let you know if something or someone is suss. These dogs will bark when they’re unsettled, bored or in need of exercise, so for a quiet pooch, make sure you tick all their boxes.

They’re known to be independent which can make housetraining difficult. If you come up against this problem, stick to a regular training schedule, be patient and consistent with your lessons. It will also help if you socialise this breed early on so they get used to hanging out with other dogs.

Norwich Terriers enjoy having a sense of purpose so they’ll like going to obedience classes or taking part in dog sports. They adore having company too, so activity with their favourite person will be very satisfying for these little tail waggers.

The natural hunting instinct of these pooches will keep you on your toes. If they see a rodent or bird, they may give chase unexpectedly which could leave you in a tricky situation. You also won’t be happy if your Norwich Terrier preys on your pet rodent or rabbit, so if you’re planning on having both, keep them in separate areas. Other dogs and cats will be welcomed by this otherwise social breed.

Looking After Me

The Norwich Terrier is an endearing character who’s a bit of an all round champ. First time owners looking for a small dog should consider adopting this breed. They adapt well to apartment life, get along well with kids and they’ll only bark when they have good reason to.

You’ll have to devote 10 to 15 minutes, twice a day to exercising these little pooches, so think through their requirements before your commit.

Another important consideration is grooming. They’ll need a weekly brush to remove any dead hair, a brush of the teeth two or three times a week, and their nails trimmed when needed.

Norwich Terriers are generally healthy dogs, but there are certain conditions they’re more likely to develop. These include tracheal collapse, elongated soft palate and epilepsy.


  • Great for keeping mice and rats out of your yard
  • Enjoy going for a walk
  • Suited to apartment living


  • Needs to be walked twice daily
  • May prey on existing small pets
  • Prone to certain health conditions

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