Norwich Terrier dog breed is a small-sized dog with a lively and playful character. They may be small enough to be lapdogs, but these dogs are too energetic and active for that. Originally developed for hunting vermin, they are still working dogs at heart. They are the smallest among working terrier breeds. These little dogs are excellent choice for active people and households with children. They can be accommodated even in apartments if they can be frequently taken out for some outdoor activities.
The Norwich Terrier dog breed is closely related to Norfolk Terriers, both coming from the County of Norfolk in England. They were once considered the same breed. The only difference between them at that time was their ears. Dogs with folded ears were later classified as Norfolk Terriers while the ones with ears standing upright retained the name.
The origin of the breed was in the 1800s, and they became popular with home and barn owners who depended on these excellent hunters to keep their premises free of vermin. They were sometimes used in packs for fox bolting too. These dogs became a favorite of Cambridge University students who kept them as companions.
When these dogs were first introduced to the United States, they were known as Jones Terriers after the person who exported them from England. The breed got recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1939. Today these dogs are in high demand but the supply cannot keep up due to their small litter size. Another deterrent to fast-paced breeding is that the dams require caesarian section to deliver the pups.
The Norwich Terrier dog breed is short, but has a relatively long body. They are covered from head to tail in a rough, wiry coat. The color may range from different shades of red, tan and wheaten to black and tan combination and grizzle patterns.
Their upright ears, while giving these dogs an alert look, distinguish the breed from the Norfolk Terrier breed. They have a comparatively rounded appearance unlike the more angular body of Norfolk Terriers. The tail is medium long, but often docked to half length in countries where docking is not yet illegal.
Norwich Terriers are brave little dogs with a well balanced and amiable nature as long as their exercise needs are met. They are affectionate, and like to be with their owners at all times. These dogs are excellent with kids who match their energy levels; they especially enjoy games for chasing and retrieving things.
The Norwich Terriers get along well with other dogs and are friendly with even strangers. But it may not be safe to leave them with smaller household pets as they may trigger their hunting instincts. They enjoy chasing squirrels and other small mammals in the yard. It is important to keep these dogs on leash while taking them out for walks as they may take off after some small prey if they are given a free run.
Physical and mental stimulation, as well as human company are essential to keep them happy and well-behaved. These dogs are known to become troublesome barkers and diggers if they are bored. Like many other small dog breeds, Norwich Terriers are a bit difficult to house train. However, patience and consistency may pay off.
Grooming and exercise
The wiry coat of Norwich Terrier dog breed requires a thorough brushing once every three days to keep it neat and tangle free. In addition to that, it should be hand stripped 3 to 4 times a year. Trimming the coat is not advisable as it will spoil its unique texture.
These lively little dogs need plenty of exercise and activity. They take care of most of their exercise needs by running around within the house, but spending some time outdoors in a secure yard will do them good. These dogs were once excellent ratters, and they still retain their hunting instincts. Nothing makes them as happy as running after small prey.
They love the outdoors, but are not suitable for living in the yard. Even though they tolerate cold heat and cold to some extent, they should be taken indoors to spend the night with the family.
Common health issues of Norwich Terrier dog breed
The Norwich Terrier dog breed is quite hardy with only a few health problems, the most serious among them being hip dysplasia. Patellar luxation and common eye problems like cataracts may occasionally occur. Some dogs may have seizures or deafness. This breed is prone to cheyletiella mite infestation. Regular health checkups may help keep these dogs in good health. They typically have a life expectancy averaging around 13 years, but many healthy dogs live beyond that.