The Norwich Terrier

By BarkUpToday

Image Credit: Pixabay

The Norwich Terrier comes from the U.K and is part of the UKC/AKC Terrier Group. This was one of the dog breeds among many, used to kill rats. This dog breed was used in packs to travel in foxhunts. That said, they were bred to be much more pleasant than the regular Terrier.

Brief History

The Norwich Terrier and the Norfolk Terrier were known to be the same breed until 1964. After that, the main difference would be the Norwich Terrier’s prick ears. 

The Norwich Terrier was bred during the 1870s and 1880s. Undergrads at Cambridge University came to enjoy this dog breed. This dog breed became dorm-room ratters for Cambridge and livery stables nearby. This breed then was named Trumpington Terriers. 

One of these dogs was bred numerously at a stableyard and sired beautiful Terrier pups. The breed then became the Jones Terriers in the U.S. The UKC and AKC recognized the Norwich Terrier in the 1930s. Both the Norwich and Norfolk Terrier are closely related. That said, they were recognized as separate breeds in 1979.

Physical Description

The Norwich Terrier is spunky and alert. With prick ears and a foxy expression, this dog breed is the most diminutive working terrier. This dog breed has good bone. With dark, oval-shaped eyes, the skull is broad and slightly rounded. The body is moderately short, and the tail is of medium length and docked. The hindquarters are strong and muscular. 

The Norwich Terrier has a wiry coat that lies close to the body and has an undercoat. The skin on the neck and shoulders forms a mane. The coat can be shades of black and tan or grizzle, red, or wheaten. The movement is one of excellent forward propulsion for this small terrier breed. The temperament is happy, fearless, and alert.


9-10 inches


11-13 pounds

Life Expectancy

12-15 years


The Norwich Terrier is alert, fun-loving, and affectionate. This is a good-natured dog breed that enjoys children and other dogs. That said, it should not be around small animals unless well socialized. This dog breed is fearless and highly trainable. Like all dog breeds, positive dog training and socialization need to start during puppyhood.

The name Terrier comes from the Latin word “terra,” meaning earth. These dog breeds were used to dig tunnels so that they could chase rats and other small prey. This dog breed is bold and lively. These are high-energy dogs that enjoy exercising and free play.

Activity Level


Special Needs

The Norwich Terrier needs to have a securely fenced backyard or garden. This dog breed is known for its escapades and tends to dig beneath fencing to escape. Socialization with cats, children, people, and other dogs is necessary, starting during the first four weeks of puppyhood, and continuing for the dog’s lifetime.

Positive dog training is needed, focusing on maintaining the fabulous and happy temperament that this dog breed displays. As with all dog breeds, the use of harsh or loud reprimands does not serve any purpose. Instead, it tends to negate any positive bonding and subjects a dog to unnecessary stress and possible trauma.

Possible Health Concerns

The Norwich Terrier is an active and healthy dog breed that may be susceptible to the following health conditions:

  • Hip Dysplasia: This is a hereditary condition that affects this dog breed. HD is an abnormal development of the hip joint in dogs. It is generally characterized by a loose joint and then common degenerative disease. Dogs should be fed a high-quality diet that is geared towards their life stage. Puppies should only be fed high-quality puppy dog food. Excessive growth, types of exercise, nutritional factors, and hereditary factors all play with hip dysplasia. Consult with your veterinarian for expert advice.
  • Epilepsy: is an inherited disease that causes seizures. Dogs will generally require treatment with anticonvulsants from their veterinarians.
  • Degenerative Myelopathy:  This is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that may be found in the Norwich Terrier. The SOD1-A gene causes it. It happens during adulthood. Some symptoms may include limb weakness, muscle wasting, muscle tremors, and stumbling. Consult with your veterinarian.
  • Upper Airway Syndrome:  This is a respiratory condition that presents as noisy breathing to acute distress. It may result in death. The condition is breed-specific and can occur without warning. Consult with your veterinarian.
  • Dental Disease: This is common in smaller dog breeds like the Norwich Terrier. Brushing your dog’s teeth every day, followed by twice-yearly dental cleanings, will reduce the chance of periodontal disease.
  • Luxating Patellas. This is a hereditary condition that is caused by the abnormal development of the kneecap(patella). X-rays will aid in seeing the severity of the displacement. Treatment usually involves surgical options.


The Norwich Terrier needs moderate exercise with super brief bouts of fast activity like running after a tennis ball. This breed should never be over-exercised. The breed benefits from a few daily walks at a moderate pace with lots of off-leash runs at the beach or dog park. 

The Norwich Terrier needs plenty of socialization, like going to the dog park or out and about the neighborhood. If not exercised sufficiently, this dog breed can become overly cranky and anxious. They should not be allowed to jump off tables, run up flights of stairs, or overexert themselves. 

Swimming is an excellent exercise for this small dog breed that will promote bone and joint strength. Canine sporting activities like doga and dog plates are fun for the entire family, Norwich Terriers included!



High-quality dog food for the appropriate life stage is recommended for the Norwich Terrier. Pet parents should never underestimate the importance of a well-balanced diet for this small and aggressive breed. That said, dog food that works for one dog may not work for another. Dog parents should assess their dog’s activity level, age, breed, and any medical conditions that he or she may be prone to. 

Dog food recipes are also constantly changing, and it’s up to every dog parent to read the ingredient label carefully. It’s most important to feed puppy Norwich Terriers, a puppy formula to prevent excessive growth and joint problems later on in life. Senior dogs need to be on a senior dog food formula. Look for life stage-specific dog food.

Look for dog food formulas that contain ingredients like duck, eggs, chicken, lamb, cheese, fruits, and vegetables! Another huge factor that comes into play is that the dog food formula should not contribute to plaque buildup. It should not contain sugars, salt, or added preservatives. Consult with your veterinarian for the very best nutritional advice!


The Norwich Terrier has a double coat. The outer coat is harsh and almost 100% waterproof. The undercoat is soft and insulating. That said, clipping is practical yet may remove the colored tips from the coat. The coat texture will be much smoother when clipped.

Daily grooming is necessary, with bathing recommended as needed since this breed loves playing around in the bushes and mud. The Norfolk Terrier is very active and does well with regular grooming. 

Regular ear cleaning and daily tooth brushing are needed to prevent tartar buildup. Nails need to be trimmed as needed. As with all dog breeds, it’s necessary to bring your dog in for a twice-yearly dental cleaning.

 Adopting a Norwich Terrier

Perfect for dog vacays, a trip to Starbucks for a Puppuchino, the Norwich Terrier makes for tremendous companionship! This bright and quirky dog breed is delightfully playful and always ready for adventure! Hikes swim, boat rides, or just hanging out next to you with a good book; the Norwich is just plain fun. 

Adopting this dog breed makes for a lifetime of loyal companionship. Be ready to spoil this wonderful dog breed! As with any dog adoption, make sure that you have the time and resources to allow for the very best in veterinary care!

Woofs & Wags!


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