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Norwich Terrier

If you’re looking for an affectionate, loyal companion that will bring a little mischief and fun to your life, then take a look at the Norwich Terrier. Combining all of the cuddly traits of a teddy bear with an enviable level of intelligence and trainability, this spunky breed is guaranteed to fill your home with joy from sun up to sundown. From their distinctive coats and big personality to their eagerness to please their owners, there’s no arguing that Norwichterners make great family pets! So before you decide what four-legged friend will be joining your family, read on and find out why these pint-sized cuties are worth considering!

Norwich Terrier
Norwich Terrier

Norwich Terrier Description

The Norwich Terrier is small and compact. Despite their small size, they are sturdy and strong, built for agility and speed. Their scruffy, wiry coats, which can be red, wheaten, black and tan, or grizzle (a mix of black or red hairs with white hairs), add to their charm and distinctive appearance. These coats are weather resistant and require regular brushing to prevent matting. They possess a fox-like expression with their dark, sparkling eyes and erect, pointed ears. Their small size doesn’t hinder their ability to show off an impressive smile, complete with strong, relatively large teeth. Although they are small, Norwich Terriers are not delicate or fragile; they are robust dogs bred for the active life of a working terrier. What truly sets the Norwich Terrier apart, however, is its personality. They are known for their happy-go-lucky attitude, always appearing to be in a cheerful mood.

Norwich Terrier Habitat

The Norwich Terrier is adaptable and can thrive in a variety of living conditions, making them a suitable choice for both urban and rural dwellers. They’re not overly sensitive to cold or hot weather, courtesy of their weather-resistant coats, but owners should still take precautions during extremely hot or cold days. Although they can do well living in an apartment, they are energetic dogs and therefore need regular exercise, which can be provided through walks and playtime. If you’re a city dweller, ensure you have access to a park or a safe outdoor space where your Norwich can run and explore. Ideally, Norwich Terriers would have access to a securely fenced yard where they can romp around and indulge their curious nature. However, it’s important to ensure that the fencing is secure as these dogs are known to be excellent diggers. They were originally bred for fox hunting and have strong instincts to chase and dig, so do not leave them unattended in the yard for extended periods of time. They might find a way to escape in pursuit of a small animal or just for the fun of exploration. Despite their adaptability, the best habitat for a Norwich Terrier is ultimately one filled with love, care, and attention.

Norwich Terrier Diet

Like all dogs, Norwich Terriers thrive on a balanced and nutritionally complete diet. High-quality commercial dog food that is specifically formulated for small breeds is typically an excellent choice. This is because these foods are designed to support the energy needs of small, active dogs. When choosing a brand, look for one that lists a source of animal protein, like chicken or beef, as the first ingredient. Avoid foods with unnamed meat meals or by-products, as their nutritional content can be questionable. However, every dog is unique, and the ideal diet for your Norwich Terrier may vary based on factors such as age, overall health, and level of physical activity. Puppies, for instance, have different nutritional needs than adult dogs or seniors. Consult with your vet to create a diet plan that’s tailored to your dog’s specific needs. If any health issues arise, like food allergies or weight gain, your vet can offer guidance on adjusting your dog’s diet accordingly.

Norwich Terrier Image
Norwich Terrier Image

Norwich Terrier Size

As previously mentioned, the Norwich Terrier is a small and compact breed. Fully grown adults typically weigh between 10 to 12 pounds, making them easy to handle and a good fit for those living in smaller spaces. Their small stature, however, does not make them delicate or fragile. They are surprisingly strong and muscular for their size, which contributes to their agility and robust nature. In terms of height, Norwich Terriers stand approximately 10 inches tall at the shoulders when they are fully grown. Their short yet sturdy legs allow them to move with speed and agility. Despite their smaller stature, they are quite capable of keeping up with larger dogs and enjoy a good romp in the park. It’s important to remember, however, that despite their energy and strength, their small size does mean they could be at risk of injury if play with larger dogs becomes too rough.

Norwich Terrier Lifespan

Norwich Terriers are known for their relatively long lifespan compared to other breeds. They typically live between 12 to 15 years, with some even reaching the age of 16 or 17 with good health care and genetics. The longevity of this breed showcases their overall robust health and adaptability. Yet, it’s essential to note that a dog’s lifespan can be significantly influenced by its lifestyle, diet, and access to medical care. Regular vet check-ups, a balanced diet, plenty of exercises, and adequate mental stimulation are all critical in maintaining your Norwich Terrier’s health and potentially extending its lifespan. Regular vet visits can help detect any health issues early when they are more likely to respond to treatment. Feeding your Norwich a high-quality diet can support their immune system, maintain a healthy weight, and benefit their overall well-being. While Norwich Terriers are generally a healthy breed, they can still be prone to certain hereditary conditions and diseases, like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and some eye conditions. Early detection and treatment of these conditions can help to prolong the dog’s life. Responsible breeders should screen for these conditions to ensure they’re not passed onto puppies.

Norwich Terrier Behavior

Norwich Terriers are known for their engaging personalities, and their behavior often reflects their energetic and affable disposition. They are inherently social and are known to get along well with both humans and other animals. Their small size belies a remarkable enthusiasm for life, and they’re often described as having the heart of a much larger dog. They express a keen interest in their surroundings and are always ready for an adventure. Their intelligent and curious nature means they require mental stimulation to prevent boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors if not met. However, it’s essential to understand that the Norwich Terriers are also terriers by nature, meaning they can exhibit typical terrier traits like stubbornness and independence.

They can be assertive and determined, particularly when they’re on the hunt or trail of a scent. Even though they’re generally amiable, they can exhibit a feisty side, especially when challenged. This spiritedness, coupled with their intelligence, can sometimes make training a challenge, so it’s necessary to use firm, consistent methods and plenty of positive reinforcement. Despite their feistiness, Norwich Terriers are known for being good with children and can make excellent family pets. They are typically patient and tolerant, and their playful nature makes them a good match for energetic children.

Norwich Terrier Picture
Norwich Terrier Picture

Norwich Terrier Speed

Norwich Terriers, despite their small size, are known for their agility and speed. While their top speed is not often documented as regularly as larger dog breeds, they are quick on their feet and can cover a respectable amount of ground when needed. On average, it’s estimated that a Norwich Terrier can reach a speed of around 20 miles per hour. This may not compete with the world-record-holding Greyhound, which can run up to 45 miles per hour, but it’s still impressive for such a compact dog breed. The Norwich Terrier’s agility and speed are reflected in their history as ratters and fox hunters in East Anglia, England. They had to be fast and agile enough to keep up with the hunting horses and chase after their quarry. These traits still shine through today when Norwich Terriers play or chase, demonstrating their light-footedness and rapid movements. Their short but sturdy legs provide the strength and endurance necessary for sustained speed.

Norwich Terrier Grooming

Norwich Terriers have a hard, wiry, and straight coat that usually requires minimal grooming. They have a double coat, with a harsh topcoat and a soft, warm undercoat. The texture of their coat helps repel dirt and minimize shedding, which makes them a good choice for people who want a relatively clean and low-shedding pet. However, despite being low maintenance, they do require a specific type of grooming known as “hand-stripping” to maintain the texture and color of their coat. Hand-stripping is a grooming process where the loose, dead hairs of the dog’s top coat are plucked out by hand or with a stripping tool rather than being cut with clippers. This process helps to maintain the coat’s color and texture and promotes new hair growth.

It’s important to note that this process should be done with care and patience, as rough handling can cause discomfort to your pet. While it may sound daunting, many owners can learn to do it themselves, or they can opt to have a professional groomer do it. Besides hand-stripping, regular brushing to prevent matting and tangling, and to remove any dirt or debris, is recommended. Their nails should be trimmed regularly, and their ears checked for any signs of infection. Additionally, good dental hygiene practices, such as regular brushing of teeth, are essential in preventing dental diseases. Overall, grooming your Norwich Terrier is not just about maintaining their physical appearance but is also an important part of their overall health and well-being.

Norwich Terrier Hunting

Norwich Terriers have a rich history of hunting due to their keen senses and agile body. Originating in the United Kingdom, they were primarily used for ratting and chasing small game, such as foxes. Their small size made them ideal for flushing out prey from tight spaces, and their notable speed enabled them to keep up with the chase. Even today, they retain their hunting instincts and can be seen displaying these traits in their daily activities, such as chasing after toys or other small animals. Their innate curiosity and high energy levels make them excellent hunters, able to focus on their tasks with undeterred determination. However, it is crucial to remember that while their hunting instincts are an integral part of their nature, it is not advisable to let them off-leash in an unsecured area.

Their urge to chase can override their sense of safety, leading them to wander off if they catch a scent or spot a moving object. Therefore, they should always be in a secure area or under close supervision when outside. Despite their historical role in hunting, modern Norwich Terriers are primarily companion animals. While they still retain their hunting traits, they are more commonly seen in dog sports events, where they get to showcase their agility and speed. Activities such as earth dog trials, where dogs navigate a series of underground tunnels to “hunt” a target, provide a safe and controlled environment for Norwich Terriers to express their hunting instincts, providing them with both physical exercise and mental stimulation.

Norwich Terrier Facts
Norwich Terrier Facts


In conclusion, the Norwich Terrier is an incredibly versatile and adaptable dog breed. Despite their small size, they are energetic, agile, and quite swift, with a rich history in hunting. The breed’s grooming needs are relatively minimal, requiring regular brushing and the specific process of hand-stripping for coat maintenance. These dogs make excellent pets due to their active nature and need for companionship, though they do require regular exercise and a well-balanced diet to prevent obesity. Whether they are participating in dog sports, chasing toys in the yard, or simply enjoying a leisurely walk, the Norwich Terrier is a robust, healthy breed that is well-suited to a variety of homes and lifestyles.

Frequently Asked Question


Yes, Norwich Terriers are known for being vocal dogs and may bark to alert their owners of any perceived threats or changes in their environment. Proper training and socialization can help manage their barking tendencies.


The average lifespan of a Norwich Terrier is around 12 to 15 years, with proper care, diet, and regular veterinary check-ups playing a crucial role in their longevity. Providing a healthy lifestyle and addressing any potential health issues promptly can contribute to their overall lifespan.


Norwich Terriers can be prone to certain health issues like hip dysplasia, patellar luxation, and heart conditions. Regular veterinary visits, a balanced diet, and proper exercise can help manage and prevent these potential health concerns.


Grooming a Norwich Terrier involves regular brushing to prevent matting, occasional hand-stripping to maintain their coat texture, and routine care for their teeth, nails, and ears. Their wiry coat benefits from professional grooming every few months to maintain its appearance and health.


Norwich Terriers typically grow to a height of about 9 to 10 inches (23 to 25 cm) at the shoulders and weigh between 10 to 12 pounds (4.5 to 5.5 kg), making them small-sized dogs with a sturdy build.
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