AKC Dog Breeds: Norwich Terrier

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Terrier Group
Height 9-10 inches  Weight 11-12 pounds Color Red (all shades), Black/Tan, Gray

The Norwich Terrier originated in Great Britain in the 19th century. They are one of the smallest Terriers. This breed is low, compact, and strong. The Norwich Terrier was first recognized in East Anglia in the mid-1800s. Believed to be a descendant of the Irish Terrier through unknown channels of cross-breeding, Norwich Terriers were used as ratters and hunting dogs from their earliest years, and by all reports were thought to excel at both duties. Norwich Terriers were most commonly relied on to flush foxes out of underground hiding places (when the foxes had "gone to ground"), allowing horses and other hunting dogs to continue the hunt. Until 1964 Norfolk Terriers were also classed as Norwich Terriers, but the two were separated in the 1960s because the Norfolk Terrier has folded ears and the Norwich Terrier has erect ones. The breed was registered with the AKC in 1936.

General Appearance

This lovable little dog is among the smallest of the working terriers. It has a short, strong, sturdy body with strongly boned legs and a fox-like muzzle with large solid teeth. The eyes are dark and expressive and the ears are upright. The tail is docked by half. Their coats are wiry and straight and come in red, wheaten, tan, black & tan, and grizzle - occasionally with white markings. The faces sport jaunty whiskers and eyebrows.

A hardy, adaptable, and inquisitive little dog, the Norwich Terrier is a small dog with a big personality. These dogs, cousins of the Norfolk Terrier, have plenty of energy, and love to play, exercise, and have fun. Early socialization is important with the Norwich Terrier to ensure an even temperament and to reduce the risk of timidity. These dogs can be hardy, headstrong, and determined, which means that the owner needs to be assertive and confident in order to establish leadership. Therefore, the Norwich Terrier is best suited to more experienced dog owners with some knowledge of training. With the right training, the Norwich Terrier will fare well, as he is intelligent and a quick learner. The Norwich Terrier can be very possessive when it comes to his food or belongings, and can be jealous of other pets. He will get along well with children that are gentle and those he has been brought up with. This breed should be introduced to cats from an early age. With strangers some Norwich Terriers will be friendly, but others may be more reserved. Those with beautiful gardens should be warned that the Norwich Terrier is a very keen digger, and if you are looking for a quiet life this may not be the ideal choice, as he also loved to bark. However, he will bark to raise an alarm too, and this makes him an effective watchdog.

The Norwich Terrier is a fairly low-maintenance dog. Some light brushing and combing should be done every week, with this schedule possibly increased during the brief shedding season. But overall, the size of the Norwich Terrier (and its comparatively indoor lifestyle) keeps the dogs from getting messy or matted enough for more than the occasional bath.

Health Problems and Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of the Norwich Terrier is around 12-14 years. There are a number of health problems associated with this breed, and this includes: epilepsy, collapsing trachea, elongated palate, luxating patella, heart problems, allergies, and HD.

Activity Level

Norwich Terriers, being energetic terriers, create most of their own exercise. As long as you're willing and able to give them the personal attention that they crave, Norwich Terriers can be kept in the home, lightly supervised, for some time without causing any destruction and while still getting a large measure of the exercise they need. To give them the rest of the exercise they need, however, you'll want to take your dog out for a walk once in a while. As far as individual play goes, Norwich Terriers enjoy tug-of-war games a great deal, especially with rope-style toys. Something about the ropes sparks that old ratting impulse in their minds, and the companionable temperament of the Norwich will enjoy playing with you, one of the beloved humans, more than any private game in an empty house or apartment. Don't be surprised, however, at the aggressiveness of your Norwich during games like this: all terriers tend to enjoy the company of people, but they also tend to enjoy winning and getting their own way.


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